Since posting my article on the Girardoni gun, ‘Steampunk Warfare – The Real Deal’, I find myself inventing a whole new martial art to accommodate the weapon.
As a writer, I love the way a simple decision can drive the development of a whole story world. In this case it is the adoption of a certain gun mechanism, but it could equally be a political, institutional, religious, technological, hierarchical or social idea, just as our response to these things change the real world around us.
A story world must hang together logically for the whole thing to feel real to the reader. To give your story an ‘other-worldy’ feel, just turn a social norm on its head and follow the logical consequences of that decision.
The other day, I took the family to see the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, UK. The Mary Rose is a Tudor warship built on the cusp of a military revolution – the introduction of cannons. She was originally designed in 1510 as a floating castle, from which bowmen and musketeers could help in the boarding and capture of enemy ships. She was refitted in 1536 with heavy cannon as a floating gun platform. The refit was only partially successful: she was so top heavy she could not turn with her gun ports open, because she leaned over so far they were under water. She tried the maneuver in battle in 1545 and promptly sank.
The museum clearly shows how the introduction of new weaponry changed the entire nature of offensive and defensive warfare during the ship’s lifetime. I highly recommend visiting the Mary Rose museum if you ever get the opportunity, it the best museum I have ever been to – 19,000 artifacts and everyone original.
I reckon, if the Girardoni gun system had continued in use, it would only have been a matter of time before a martial art was invented to accommodate the continuous reloading and firing of two Girardoni pistols used simultaneously.
I have researched the art of Gun Kata, invented for the film Equilibrium – but the moves mainly revolve around visually impressive, but totally impractical, stances for the camera. I have also researched Gun Fu, invented by the Asian cinema as a visually entertaining alternative to kung fu action films. Neither of these ‘disciplines’ serve any practical purpose other than to visually entertain – which is fine, we are all in the entertainment business, but they are particularly difficult to transpose into prose.
To satisfy literary demands, and still achieve the cool feel I’m after, I have had to invent my own martial art with which to populate my new novel, Coggler’s Brood. This is a new departure from the weapons of Gaia’s Brood, and a fitting extension of the story world, so I am particularly excited. I have called this new martial art, Girardoni Kata, a Steampunk Martial Art.
Based around Gun Kata, the moves are all practical ways in which to continuously reload, cock, and fire, two Girardoni pistols simultaneously, while taking on a large number of opponents in close quarter fighting.
Here are two of the basic moves:
A standing six, eight, ten, twelve, fourteen or sixteen point star, where the gun wielder aims and fires toward opposite points of the star, whilst rotating either clockwise or anticlockwise. The practitioner reloads the breach block with parts of their upper body, killing their opponents with deadly accuracy.
A crouching six or eight point double-rate-of-fire star, where the gun wielder fires in a predetermined pattern, without accurate aiming, whilst rotating in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction. The practitioner reloads the breach block with parts of their lower body, arms, and legs. The objective here is to fire as fast a possible to create such a hail of bullets that the enemy are cut down and killed as they fall through the deadly curtain of lead.
All I need now is for some kind soul to make up a pair of mirrored Girardoni pistols with working breaches and cocking hammers, complete with gun holsters, so I can practice my Girardoni Kata moves – I’m just not a good tinkerer, except with words.
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