I had gotten all dressed (even shaved extra close!) and set out about 40 weapons. Some were short weapons hose-clamped to staffs, and the rest were the usual suspects – a varied collection of staffs, spears, halberds and other long weapons. Even a 3 meter waxwood staff that is a delight to haul around indoors (it is affectionately known as “lamp knocker”) and often a challenge to get through a doorway. So I wasn’t really paying all that much attention to the environment. I wanted to get the shooting done before the evening breeze became audible.
When my crack camera operator said, “There’s an orange tinge to the sky. Do you want to stay with the gray muslin outfit or switch to white silks?” I simply replied, “Let’s shoot!”
One of the first weapons was a Kwan dao (halberd) with a steel shaft and dragon-shaped blade collar. It is HEAVY. Of course, it took three takes before the cinematographer gave a thumbs up. At one point I had clipped an overhanging Peruvian pepper tree with the Kwan dao blade which got me a dusting of leaves and pepper berries. I had to brush the debris off with a towel and re-comb my hair before take #2. A world-class star video subject would have had an assistant to do this … Just sayin’
Something seemed a bit odd but I wanted to press on for fear of changes to sunlight, wind or even just camera battery limit. Then it was time for the video with the 3 meter staff. I looked upward (checking tree clearance) and took a deep breath. And another. I asked,”Does anyone smell smoke?” After various sniffings and snufflings everyone said yes, but that it was faint.
After another set or two it was, as Yogi Berra said, “Deja vu all over again”. We’d been there before. Yes indeed, another Northern California fire (or two).
Films of the modified weapons (usually a blade clamped to a staff) are at
http://www.silverwolfwushu.com/WeaponsSaber18.html and films or unmodified weapons are at