Mashable Paid a Visit to Sword Class NYC (Video)

For several months I took classes at Sword Class NYC. I only stopped for financial and scheduling reasons, and plan to go back later this year. I loathe and detest both sportsball and traditional exercise methods, so Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) works well for me. It also plays into my fondness for high fantasy.

If you live or work in the New York City area, check out Sword Class NYC. They have a special rate for first-timers taking the introductory classes, and you don’t need to buy any equipment unless you decide to continue. Gym clothes and scuff-free wrestling shoes (or you can practice barefoot) are all you need to start.

Let The Gods Defend Themselves

Early in my first attempt to make Brazil my home, in 2001, I discovered that they have laws preventing any speech that would offend religious sensibilities. There’s an infamous case of a Brazilian pastor kicking a statue of a saint on live national television in 1995, something that caused outrage throughout the country. Catholics were furious and even non-Catholic Brazilians felt it was wrong to insult the religious beliefs of others in such a public manner. As someone raised with the First Amendment of the US Constitution and with a firm belief in the necessity of such freedom to test old ideas and explore new ones, the thought of silencing someone’s criticism of any religion has always rubbed me the wrong way. It isn’t just Brazilians that would like to limit speech in the name of religious tolerance, of course. Every derogatory depiction of Islam’s prophet Muhammad results in riots and death threats, and Hindus have no patience for even humorous jabs at their beliefs. This latter is illustrated in the outcry in response to an ad for lamb by an Australian company.

Indignant Hindus are calling for this ad to be banned and for the company to be penalized. They say it is an offense against their culture and beliefs, something that cannot be tolerated. Never mind that numerous religions are the butt of the joke in this 2+ minute ad, or that it’s clearly all in good fun. 

Here’s what I say: If your preferred deity, demigod, or other similar spirit has been offended, let them defend themselves. If they don’t do anything about it, it’s either because they don’t care or they don’t exist. My money’s on the latter, but whatever gets people to calm down and focus on living in the real world is good with me.