"We write what we know." "We write from life." You've heard these sayings and similar before, I'm sure. It's no wonder, then, that one of the weak points most roleplayers admit to is combat and fight scenes. Most of us have never actually been in the middle of a castle siege, never participated in a samurai duel, and never been in a gang brawl. So when we write about those scenarios, how are we supposed to convey a good picture if we don't have the ability to visualize it in our own minds? Knowing what sword strokes look like (and how they are actually countered) adds a whole level of depth and opportunities to your combat scenes. Your character's movements transform from a whirl of indistinct attacks to a thrust, a parry, and a well-timed dodge. Now, we can't all go out and politely ask some knights to murder each other for us, unfortunately. So what does that leave? Video examples! :D Between martial arts schools, historical reenactment societies, and fitness groups, there are still a wide range of people who practice and show off combat skills and techniques. Even just a few minutes of checking out sparring matches can help you get an idea for what your character might do in a particular instance. So, let's post some videos! I'll start us off. This is one of my favorites. These guys are into hardcore beating each other with real swords, none of that Hollywood stuff. Although this demo is for commercial promotion, it does show off both Western and Japanese swordplay. It's really more worth it for the guy demo-ing Western swords though, for the info he gives on differences between combat in the movies versus actual sword-fighting. These guys might be dressed funny, but they show off a fairly wide range of sparring, including unarmed wrestling, daggers, polearms, and swords- in and out of armor. This gives a good idea of the discrepancies in long-range versus close-range melee arms. And one more video of sparring with swords! Next time I'll try to post some examples of something different, like Eastern fighting styles or unarmed combat. In the meantime, FEEL FREE TO POST YOUR OWN VIDEOS! You can post fight scenes from movies, too.