Pop Culture

First Friday: Journey to Middle Earth

When: Fri., Aug. 5, 6 p.m.-12 a.m. 2016

You've probably grown up believing that martial arts are the sole provenance of the Far East, but that's just not true. Plenty of wars were fought in Europe, and the men who prosecuted them needed to know more than just how to swing wildly with a sword. From the hints that Icelandic sagas give us about the holmgang (ritual duals fought on an island) to the transcribed teachings of German sword master Johannes Liechtenauer, it's clear that the West has a well-developed martial history. You can see modern practitioners demonstrate various techniques for unarmed, up-close fighting tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Saint Louis Science Center (5050 Oakland Avenue; www.slsc.org). It's part of the First Friday celebration Journey to Middle Earth. In addition to the fight demo the event offers free screenings of The Fellowship of the Ring and the first episode of the BBC's Merlin series, "Call of the Dragon." You can also check out the "Fires of Mordor" science demo and a performance on the Celtic harp by Melissa Purves. Admission is free, but some events require a small feel.

Paul Friswold

Price: free admission, some activities require a small fee