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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Everything that is made must be destroyed

Blake Friesen
Most schools ban weapons. At one school, they make them. A student explores Sabre Days at Livingstone School.

Blake Friesen, Livingstone School - Maker Day. One of the three Sabre Days we have per year. As a passive observer tasked with recording the day, I walk into the art room where people will be creating medieval weapons and armour. After a long and boring -- but ultimately necessary, as proven by “the incident” that occurred fifteen minutes later -- safety talk, people head off to collect materials, and the first thing I hear is “I need a secret stash of cardboard.” students made these weapons chiefly out of cardboard, duct tape, and spray paint. All of these things were highly contested, from what I could tell. For instance, a discussion on duct tape:

“My weapon’s falling apart.”

“Just use duct tape.”

“I did, but somebody stole it.”

“Yeah, that was me.”

As the weapons start to take shape, I see that axes are a common theme here, from double bladed battle axes to hatchets. Eventually even a two-sided, double-bladed axe was made. I also see swords, a bow and arrow, flails, and a halberd. Mrs. Paton calls me and I run over, only to learn that, despite the safety talk, somebody has cut himself with an X-acto knife. Funny that the injuries were not caused by the dozens of weapons being made around me. After I grab a First-Aid kit, multiple people start coming in from other sessions and ask to take everything from hot-glue guns to ribbons.

After 10:00, people start creating armour, which at this point are just boxes with duct tape on them. Many weapons are completed, from a sledgehammer that doubles as a rattle (yes, this was intentional) to a spear that kinda looks like a mirror (which was NOT intentional). I also see weapons falling apart and an axe head completely destroyed as the owner challenges another to a duel.

Near lunch, almost all of the weapons are done, and the armour has taken more creative and functional shapes. The Rattle-Hammer now is painted with red gore, and the mirror looks less like a mirror. The finished weapons were being stockpiled to the side, as if a war would soon start, and people were using scrap cardboard to create what they called “Bananaknives” which were crescent-shaped knives with two ends. I didn’t get it. Armour was also looking very good, just needing a touch of paint.

At the end of the day, they held a joust, a competition of strength and valor. Mrs. Paton first made all the kids line up in their most ferocious pose, and then charge. The charge was accurately described a couple seconds later with a belated warning from the teacher: “Now, as Anthony found out, don’t run with armour on or you will fall flat on your face.”

She then splits the kids into groups, and says “Now, who knows what decapitation means?” followed by “Now decapitate carefully; we don’t want to hurt anyone.”

Then the duels began.

In the first couple seconds, the mirror-spear breaks, a double sided axe is chopped in half, and one kid’s weapon is ripped out of his grasp as an axe catches it.

Chaos ruled the day.


Most schools can’t say this, which is one reason why our school is unique. Now, where’d I put that duct tape?

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