August 16th, 2012

Common Old Wives Tale Rituals/Spells/Folk Magic

I'm writing a graphic novel in which a woman is an early 1600's practitioner/researcher of folk magic, the sort that's often some pagan holdover and often gets lumped together with Old Wives' Tales. Nothing fantastical, just something that was actually practiced.

The problem is, I need something that either visually or through word bubbles effectively and immediately conveys THIS PERSON PRACTICES FOLK MAGIC. As long as it's European and well-known enough to get across to the reader what's happening in a panel, it'll work. I've tried a lot of different search terms and always just come up with wart cures and other stuff that just doesn't pertain(specifically, I've used "old wives tales", "old wives tales rituals", "old European folk rituals", "European folk rituals", "divination old wives tales"). A lot of it is "if such and such happens, then such and such will happen to you later"--while I need a pro-active RITUAL that people can recognize. Sort of like using a voodoo doll--people immediately understand what you're trying to accomplish(but that's African in origin, so it makes no sense for my character to use it :/ And yes, yes, I know the misconceptions around voodoo dolls, but it's just an example of the sort of thing I need).

The workings I know the character actually practiced at the time(it's Erzsebet Bathory, for those curious)like beating a black rooster to death with a black cane or baking things into bread and making the person eat it...just look crazy when presented visually. No one's going to have any idea what I'm doing if I have a picture of her sticking a thing in some unbaked dough. And I'd really like to avoid an obvious word bubble saying OH HAY THIS IS MAGIC WE'RE DOING OKAY GUYZ. So I'm completely willing to throw historical accuracy to the wind if it helps get the message across. Being a European tradition and being well-known enough to communicate what's happening is the important thing.

Arm Injury During Kendo Match/Playing Kendo Despite an Injury

Setting: A Japanese high school in a futuristic/Cyberpunk world (maybe two hundred years or so more advanced than modern day)
Search Terms Used: "common arm injuries in kendo," "playing kendo with an injured arm," "dirty kendo strikes," "kendo cheap shots"

I have a character who is on her school's kendo team. I've been doing a lot of research since I know next to nothing about it, and by and large I'm getting all of my questions answered - but there's a few details that have me stumped, and quite frankly they're so specific I don't know how I'd begin to search for answers.

Here's the scenario I'm hoping for: I need this character to sustain an arm injury during a match, preferably at the hands of her opponent, that would typically be ruled as an incapacitating injury. I don't have a specific injury in mind at this point, but I'm thinking something along the lines of a broken/sprained wrist or a dislocated shoulder - something that isn't necessarily career ending, but should take long enough to heal that it would effectively keep her out of the of the tournament. I'm open to suggestions. However, because of Plot Circumstances, she knows she can't afford to lose the match or to drop out of the tournament. So despite the doctor ruling her unfit to continue, she goes back out there and badasses her way to victory (both in this match and throughout the tournament) with only one good arm.

However, in my reading, I've hit a few snags:

First of all, according to my research, if a competitor is injured in a match in such a way that they are unable to continue, and it is ruled to have been caused by their opponent, the opponent is disqualified and the injured party wins by default. So would it be possible for her opponent to deliberately do something to injure her that's subtle enough that the referees don't catch it? If so, what sort of injuries could my character be facing?

Second, is there some kind of precedent for a competitor to continue after sustaining that sort of injury, or does the doctor's evaluation override everything? If it was her dominant arm that was injured, would it be possible for her to switch the hand with which she holds her shinai without being penalized? It seems that form and posture are considered highly important when evaluating whether or not a strike is valid, so would the fact that she wouldn't be able to use her other arm much during the match be held against her?

Since the fic is set a few hundred years in the future, I probably have some wiggle room to work with as far as rules go. But I'd like to keep the rules as close to their traditional form as possible.

Is there anybody who can help me with this?