Monday, November 29, 2021

Martial Arts in Sherlock Holmes Canon & Premium Tobacco Pairings Vol. 2 Single-Stick

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Martial Arts in Sherlock Holmes Canon 
& Premium Tobacco Pairings 
Vol. 2 Single-Stick


"I'm a bit of a single-stick expert, as you know. I took most of them [the blows] on my guard. It was the second man that was too much for me." - Holmes to Watson, in The Adventure of the Illustrious Client [ILLU]. This, after Watson races to check in on him on account of that attack. You see, newspapers were fed a line which had him on or near his deathbed. Also, before he sends Watson off to learn all there is to learn in regards to Chinese Pottery. The two thugs, of course, were sent by renowned no-goodnik Baron Adelbert Gruner, he who has stolen the heart of poor Violet... a spell which must be broken.

"Is an expert singlestick player, boxer, and swordsman." - Watson on Holmes, A Study in Scarlet [STUD]  this from a list penned by Watson in hopes of understanding his new flat-mate. The full list reads: 

"1. Knowledge of Literature. - Nil. 2. Philosophy. - Nil. 3. Astronomy. - Nil. 4. Politics. - Feeble. 5. Botany. - Variable. Well up in belladonna, opium, and poisons generally. Knows nothing of practical gardening. 6. Geology - Practical, but limited. Tells at a glance different soils from each other.  After walks has shown me splashes upon his trousers, and told me by their colour and consistence in what part of London he had received them. 7. Chemistry - Profound. 8. Anatomy - Accurate, but unsystematic. 9. Sensational Literature - Immense. He appears to know every detail of every horror perpetrated in the century. 10. Plays the violin well. 11. Is an expert singlestick player, boxer, and swordsman. 12. Has a good practical knowledge of British law."

Keeping in mind this is a Watson still quite new to Holmes, and/or vice-versa. Some thoughts punintentionally 'stick,' and some do not--but it is a nice overview of Holmes in 12 easy steps. I believe also in STUD that when holmes attempts to bruise up a cadaver in the interest of forensic work, he employs a singlestick. It also is worth noting that Holmes often carries a cane, which could be wielded in a single-stick manner, need be. In a French form of stick-fighting known as Canne de Combat, there is a walking stick varietal. I believe, however, that the riding crop remains Sherlock's weapon of choice, "You could blow with this. You could blow with that." - Fatboy Slim. 


Ah, but first the singlestick itself: made of ash and slender-round with a basket hilt. The actual dimensions were about 34" long with about an inch diameter. The whole thing was tapered with the business-end being thinnest and the handle being thickest. The granddaddy of the singlestick was called a waster--a 16th-century practice Backsword. On the road from that to singlestick were cudgels, 17th-century clubs with hilts. The basket hilt was soon to follow, in replacement of metal.

As soon as the then modern form was found, rules were put in place, including NO HITTING BELOW THE GIRDLE. I'd imagine the more informal CHRIST NOT IN THE FUCKING FACE, co-evolved. President Theodore Roosevelt was a big fan of the codified sport, as he and General Leonard Wood would lump each other up as their tight schedules permitted. Then, in 1904, singlestick became a Summer Olympics sport. It didn't grab hold, however. The whole thing sorta vanished until its most recent of a few slight revivals--when the Royal Navy re-introduced it in the 1980s. 


First pipe tobacco. I'd recommend something sharp & zesty, because man, those singlesticks must have stung-some. In keeping with that--a perique-heavy Va/Per should sting your palate on-par with a singlestick to your just-above-girdle zone. That matter concluded authoritatively, we move now onto premium cigars where it's less about blend and more about vitola. Namely, Belicoso, Pyramid, Torpedo. 

These format names are oft used interchangeably in error. A Belicoso is typically a 5-6" by 50-52-ish ring gauge offering. The taper is shorter, more sudden than the other vitolas. A pyramid is traditionally tapered narrow head to wide foot, it's also the largest of the three confused figurados. Finally, we came to the Torpedo which used to have a bulge in its middle, a lot like you do currently. Nowadays though, they seem to just be noticeably shorter Pyramids. Also lost along with that bulge, was a closed foot.

That cleared up, a Belicoso would pair well with singlestick enjoyment or even after singlestick partaking. It is sharp in its lines, and why the very word means warlike, pugnacious. I suppose if you insist on bringing the blend back into the equation, a nicotine-heavy Nicaraguan would be at home here, particularly leaf hailing from the Esteli region.


Via the Search Kaplowitz Media. feature on the right of your screen, you can find other entries of this series. Namely, Baritsu. Next will be Boxing. Before that, there were card games (Whist, Ecarte, & Poker). Also, Adult beverages (Whiskey & Soda, Port, & Brandy). Entering any of these keywords should get you as afoot as the game.


I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere
Simanaitis Says
Holt's Cigar Company

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Live from the Throne Room Episode Eleven of the Stolen Throne Cigars Program "Sport Walking"

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Live from the Throne Room 
Kaplowitz Media. Presents 
The Stolen Thrown Cigars Program 
Episode Eleven "Sport Walking"

[originally streamed live on IG 11/26/21]

Lee & I talk about the sport of Sport Walking. A challenge is accepted. A warning (regarding coffee creamers) is issued. Also, calling fouls in pick-up games and some geeking out over Japanese Strong Style pro wrestling. This one has it all, but don't they all?

Live from the Throne Room. Streamed live twice a month on a pop-up schedule. From the pop-culture inane to the cigar industry sublime. Most times w/ myself & Lee Marsh, other times w/ all or part of the Stolen Throne Cigars crew. 

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