A Sword-Fighting Lesson With Neal Stephenson

The sci-fi author plans to make a more realistic sword-fighting game
Photograph by Kyle Johnson for Bloomberg Businessweek

Throughout movie history, cinematic swordsmen have flung their weapons and flipped their bodies around during combat, all to create an exciting visual spectacle. Consider the somersaulting Jedis in Star Wars, for example, or the jousting warriors in Gladiator. As difficult as it is to believe, much of what we see on screen is technically bad form, according to the past thousand years or so of sword-fighting historical practice. “Turning your back on a man with a four-foot long steel bar who is trying to murder you is generally not viewed as a wise strategy,” says science fiction author Neal Stephenson.

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