Friday, October 24, 2008

Why don't we all get along in the WMA world?

It's seems that I'm one of the few who really thinks that we should.

14 years ago I learned the basics of modern saber and tried to apply it to the Scottish Highland
Broadsword... in other words, like many who have come to the world of Historic Fencing, I came via a back yard homemade system that was shite.... When I discovered the WWW and
others like me were working from historic manuals I knew I'd found heaven.

When I first discovered WMA on the internet I bought into the whole idea that it is a world wide movement... I still do, but it seems there are a select few out there that would rather turn this movement in to a "us vs them" mindset.

Sometimes it seems to be a ego thing: groups that formed around a strong personality then broke all ties with the rest of the WMA world as they are "the one and only true way of the sword". Other times it seems to be one (or more egos) battling it out to prove that they have"the one and only true way of the sword" on the internet to promote themselves (and in doing so feed their egos).

I know it's not about money as all of the WMA instructors I know either have a day job, or just earn enough to pay bills.

In my case, I spend a thousand or two of my own money on insurance and lender gear each year for my classes, then I donate my time to teach. Why? Cause it helps me understand the systems, helps me be a better instructor, swordsman and human being. By introducing more people to these arts it allows the WMA world to grow, by one new student at a time.

It's a shame more of us didn't do it this way, don't ya think?

I think with the many interpretations out there on the more popular systems a student of the sword should try them out, see what one instructor teaches vs another. Look at what works and why and be willing to take those ideas that work well and use them with your "base" in that system.

None of us have it 100% "right", some of us let prior training blind us on our own work that distorts the system in to something that it wasn't. I know when I first picked up the longsword in the German system, my years of backsword got in the way. I feel others let prior EMA training sometimes influence their work.

We are all only the sum of our personal knowledge.

It's this fact that brings me back to the concept of the WMA world... by putting egos aside and working together we can put the best bits of these interpretations together to try to come close to what the systems really were, or we can labor in our little ego feeding groups and hold ourselves back.


Hemaboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hemaboy said...

Sorry, this is the comment I accidentally deleted.

A nice ideal. But how do you get along with someone who will only associate with you if you accept that they are superior to you?

You either accept that they are indeed superior, or you choose not to associate with them.

Baskethilt Broadsword boy said...

Hello Hemaboy,

Maybe things are different in your part of the world.

Where I live I have to travel to events to train with "known" instructors and see what their interpretation looks like up close.

When I attend such events I am there as a student. I give my instructor the attention they deserve during class and decide
after if I agree with what they are teaching.

Now, how to get along with someone who's ego requires you to accept that they are superior to you? Easy, it's called social grace. I use it in the work place and sociably all the time.

If "superior man" has legitimate things to offer you, hang your ego at the door and learn. Just because ego boy thinks you submitted to his superiority while you haven't, that his mistake.

If "superior man" doesn't have legitimate things to offer you, it's actually "superior man" who withdraws from you because of his ego's needs.

Cheers Mate!

Hemaboy said...

So in order to get along you lie and let them believe they are superior so you can get what you want, or you choose not to bother getting along in the first place.

What a wonderful basis for a community.

Bill said...

"the one and only true way of the sword"

I believe that this is the source of all problems in the swordmanship community. I think it is a silly notion that there is one way and only one way. Historically people would have had tendencies toward individualized fighting styles just as much as it is natural today. There is no one way to fight. You can study one persons approuch or anothers and get some ideas, but ultimately as you advance in skill each person must create their own fighting style.