Fighting Like A Girl

Today I took myself off to Bristol (by road because the train line between Bath and Bristol is closed for engineering works). I was taking part in the launch event for Fight Like a Girl, the latest anthology from by good friends Jo Hall and Roz Clarke. It was held in The Hatchet, one of Bristol’s older eating establishments (it dates from 1606), which was entirely appropriate for a bunch of fantasy writers.

The entertainment for the day included readings from Lou Morgan, Sophie Tallis and Danie Ware. There was also a discussion panel, chaired by me and featuring Dolly Garland, Gaie Sebold, KT Davies and Jo Hall. And there was the thing everyone had come to see: martial arts demonstrations from Juliet McKenna and Fran Terminiello.

Juliet, of course, did Aikido. Using Fran as a partner, she demonstrated a variety of ways of dealing with an armed attacker, most of which were shockingly swift and looked like with a bit more force they could easily result in a broken wrist, elbow or knee. Just for good measure, Juliet also demonstrated how you can get an opponent armed with a knife to cut his own throat without having to get your fingerprints on the weapon.

Fran, together with colleague Lizzie, demonstrated a variety of sword fighting techniques from the Renaissance period onward. They made a good team. Fran has a dancer’s body and is great with a rapier. Lizzie is taller and more muscular, and looks really good with a landsknecht greatsword.

Assuming all of the tech worked, I have audio of everything. The audio of the fight demos probably won’t work as the participants were not miked up and sound alone won’t make much sense, but hopefully I have the readings and panel for you. Roz was taking video on her phone. Hopefully that will come out.

It was an excellent day, very well attended, including by a bunch of local writers such as Gareth Powell, Liz Williams and Jonathan Howard. We do really good book launches in Bristol.

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