By Ben Miller
When asked to recall a great martial artist of African descent born in the Americas, the average person is likely to mention a twentieth-century boxer such as Joe Louis, or a more recent exponent of the Asian martial arts, such as Jim Kelly. Or, those of the younger generation might name the modern mixed martial arts competitor Anderson Silva, regarded by some as the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all time.
What many do not know is that in centuries past, some of the greatest practitioners of European martial arts were of African descent.
Although Africans brought a number of their own indigenous techniques with them to Europe and the Americas (as can be read about here), they also sometimes trained in, adopted, and excelled at European swordsmanship—also known as classical and historical fencing.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, it was even possible (albeit difficult)…
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My ultimate inspiration was seeing a steampunked electric guitar on display a few years ago at Clockwork Alchemy, the San Jose steampunk con. The guitar incorporated a small plasma globe into its design and I thought it the perfect piece of steampunk technology. (Unfortunately, I can’t find a photo of this guitar on line, but if anyone knows its maker, please let me know and I’ll suitably recognize him/her.)
I remember when plasma globes were special enough that they were exhibits at science museum. That I could incorporate one into one of my creations was too cool.
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