One of the reasons I love teaching is that it forces me to distill and confront my knowledge, and refine it into sensible bits. Another reason I love it is because the students are often smarter than I am.
I don't teach much, mostly because I resent the time away from writing, but also because I am a body that desperately resists a schedule. Don't tell me I have to be somewhere every day, I won't do it. But I currently teach three hours a day, two days a week, which is just about perfect. And I teach something I know in my bones - stage combat.
Last week was the first classes of the new term. I had them up on their feet, learning some Tai-Chiesque moves. Then on the second day, I lectured a little bit on the history of the sword. After that I put wooden boken (Japanese practice swords) in their hands and took them through the SAFD defenses. We discussed how the best defenses are circular, and how the best attacks are horozontal ("You're blowing my mind, Mr. Blixt," said one). And the question was raised about straight swords v. curved blades. Were straight blades more aggressive? Were curved blades more defensive?
"Not necessarily." I moved into different fighting styles, how the curved blade assists the wielder to keep his sword in constant motion, and is better on horseback when facing a broken and fleeing foe. Then I casually mentioned that another reason the straight-bladed broadsword was popular in the Middle Ages was that knights on Crusade could reverse it, kneel, and use it as a cross to pray upon.
At which point one student raises her hand and asks, "Is that why the Muslim warriors liked curved blades?"
I looked at her blankly for a moment, then smiled. "I'd never thought of that, but it makes a lot of sense to me."
Definitely food for thought as we head into future Star-Cross'd novels.