Food for Thought

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Re: Food for Thought

Postby Lee S » Wed May 04, 2011 9:43 am

I expect many tournament champions will comment... After all, it is our duty to do so.

First of all, the safety issue on fighting to the red sweat.

Human life is not looked upon as cheaply in the western world as perhaps it once was. Our culture has changed, as has our technology for safety gear.

So the idea of fighting to first blood, is simply outdated, and although a historical precedent, its a ridiculous assertion.

I think we can safely state that our common goal is the resurgence of the Historical Arts.

The simple fact is that if we started holding these tournaments...

They would:

A) Be shut down after horrendous injuries.

B) No insurance in the world would cover us.

C) When mentioning this to my legal advisor (who is a lawyer, and a HEMA practitioner) The lawsuit following the injury would kill the club hosting, and the organizers, and even perhaps the instructors who were teaching there.

In fact, lets imagine pitching this to an insurance agent:



Me: "Hi I need insurance for my sporting event"

Agent: "what will you be doing"

Me: "fighting to the red sweat"

Agent "Can you define that for me"

Me "Certainly... I will be taking a steel sword or simulator, and hitting an opposing fighter and attempting to make a bleeding head wound. Historically some people were permanently blinded, and others died. But I assure you we wont have any blinding... none of that, no eye gougers in this crowd."

Agent "Um.... umm.... yeah, no sorry we cant insure you."



I like you Kevin, your a passionate guy, and your perspective is refreshing, and your research is excellent and puts a lot on the table up for debate.

But we need to clear up the reality of competing in a completely historical fashion as it would be impossible to run.

The Buffel...

We can talk a lot about buffels... and who does not do enough of the arte in tournament, and who has more art in the fight, who is a thug, who is an ugly fighter... etc

First of all, there are many layers in combat that are not focused on the sword (or simulator) itself.

I would like to know how many of us actually take time to study human physiology, body mechanics, or fight psychology. How many of us can precisely target vulnerable areas on the body, and furthermore train to do so.

How many of us here train to manipulate time and measure in a fight?

After all these are all skills the masters, the men who wrote the treatises, and trained the fighters, would have definitely had an understanding of.

Using Mikes assertion that a fight is a conversation between two fighters...

If a fighter is simply vulgar, or a buffel, then why shouldn't a better fighter simply 'speak' laconically?

We need to be honest with ourselves here, in a tournament we are not exploring techniques... or trying out theories, thats what free-sparring is for.

In tournament the skilled fighter, is attempting to strategically use his trained skill set within the scope of the rules to win. This is exactly what it is, no more, no less.

As for going to tournaments, and being the only one from your country there competing (or there at all for that matter) like Scott, I have also been in this situation (just not nearly as many times).

Now multiply that stress when you go, and now you know no one, you do not speak the native language, and no one even knows who you are... because you are new to the scene.

Sometimes a person has to put down the keyboard, stand tall, put their foot forward and lead by example.

Oh, and as for Jakes comment regarding Axel... he is bang on the money.

In fact, this really hits close to home for me.

You see, fter my defeat at the hands of Axel in 2010. I trained my ass off, worked out, researched, endlessly watched video, and even trained a fight team so I had skilled people to drill with.

His skill, forced me to better my practice, as he was clearly better than I was.

Fighting Anders the day after in the parking lot with Longsword and getting completely destroyed and humbled almost effortlessly, taught me that i needed to train way harder, and read way more.

This one event, put in motion a series of events that bettered not only my technical knowledge, but my coaching, and in turn my entire school, and many practitioners in the local area.

And Jake is correct, it isn't all about the tournament.

However, the tournament is still an important test of skill and training, and is as much to your art as a martial artist, as what you are willing to make of it.

But if you are instructing and teaching people how to fight, not just presenting research as a scholar (because thats cool too), you do owe it to your students and your community to in least do some sparring during the event, publicly.

The teachers who I seek to learn from, and those I will have teach in my students, are those who are willing to fight publicly, for all to see, win or lose.

Anyway, I leave you with this quote, as its a thought from one of the authors in period.

"Because (as I said) it is one thing to know, and another to teach. The difference is plain; because one who only has practice is good for laboring for himself; but he who has theory is good for others; and he who has both theory and practice is good for himself and others. And such were those who were authentically made Masters."
 
- From Swanger's Dall'Agocchie translation, page 8:


Cheers,
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Re: Food for Thought

Postby Mike Ruhala » Wed May 04, 2011 12:12 pm

Matt Galas wrote:Scott here again....

Lastly, for now, I'm also concerned about some of the attitudes that keep recurring regarding "athleticism". What? Really? Athleticism in sword arts is somehow a bad thing? Historical fencers were all a bunch of fat slow merchants who simply had some magickal "Arte" to protect them? Sorry, but that's just horseshit. Athleticism in high level fencers is both fundamental and essential.


I'll answer that since this is a subject that is often on my mind;

There's nothing wrong with physicality, a trained swordsman is an athlete. The problem is if all you have is your raw, natural athleticism you will eventually be defeated by an opponent who understands the theory and strategy behind the art. It's not b.s., I have seen it in action. That's the whole point of art, knowledge that evens out any differences in physicality. If I am defeated by a buffalo I don't blame them, I fault myself for allowing it to happen.

Anyway if you're still moving to Florida be sure and let me know when you get here, us Tampa folks love fighting and we'll fight just about anywhere... back yards, Renaissance festivals, ghetto parks, rec centers, heck we've even been known to fight in a tournament or two. It'll probably be about a year before my art is where it should be but I'm getting stronger with every week that goes by and, having seen you fight, you're on my list of swordsmen of interest.
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Re: Food for Thought

Postby John Harmston » Wed May 04, 2011 12:47 pm

Jake Norwood wrote:What this tells me is that the "bad" stuff isn't a product of the tournaments.


+1
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Re: Food for Thought

Postby Mike Cartier » Wed May 04, 2011 2:21 pm

Lastly, for now, I'm also concerned about some of the attitudes that keep recurring regarding "athleticism". What? Really? Athleticism in sword arts is somehow a bad thing? Historical fencers were all a bunch of fat slow merchants who simply had some magickal "Arte" to protect them? Sorry, but that's just horseshit. Athleticism in high level fencers is both fundamental and essential.


i do not remember ever saying anything about athleticism being bad, please do not attempt to put words in my mouth.I love athleticism in any art but that is not nor was it ever my point.
I am rather surprised that noone has tried to delve into the meaning of the word Buffel and why we must avoid being like the Buffalos? That is after all the point of my thread. There were two let me lay them out one more time before this gets off topic.

Point 1. Buffalos are whackers, simply jumping in and whacking people is not the art, this is told to us in many ways. My point was simply to bring attention to this and thereby not turn a blind eye to the obvious injuries and so forth going on at tournaments because peopel are trying to prove skill by applying too much speed and power. There is no reason for this and I think the whole reason is not everyone has enough skill to play fast and hard, that causes injuries. There is power and athleticism in the art no doubt but that is not the art, the art is much much more and the athleticism fits over the art not the other way around.

Point 2. I don't see enough of the art in tournaments or in most freeplay (including our own)
I am not going to sit here and pick out examples in videos, that is absurd and besides the point. Let me put it to you this way, how many guards do you see in your average tournament? or even average freeplay.
Not enough IMHO. If you deny that Scott then please do tell me where all the other guards are? I am not even talking about handworks or master strikes here just guards. So if even the simplest forms of the art are not showing up no wonder many other aspects of it are not.

Now whats the point of these talking points? is it to decry tournaments or to rail against athleticism? not at all and frankly its kind of proving my point for you to ignore my actual points, by telling me to shut up unless I go to tournaments you are already placing Tournaments above everything else in HEMA and measuring everything by that. Which is precisly my point, tournaments are nothing but another tool for us to use, but placing it above all other tools makes HEMA subservient to Tournaments which is absolutly wrong. For starters we are not holding fechtschule events we are making our own fight events, we are not on thier level of intent or skill.

This is a simple discussion to better make tournaments serve HEMA, or at least ours so please don't try to drag this down into some us vs Athleticism argument or us vs tournaments argument.

Stick to the points

what is a buffalo and why must we avoid it?
Why is the art not showing up more?

i would say off the top of my head more of the art does not show up because noone seems to care, everyone seems to be arguing that its there but i can make a fairly solid argument out of the guards not being present all by myself without videos.
if you think this issue is not worth discussing so be it, but don't act Like we are trying to drag anything down we are simply trying to counter certain bad habits in HEMA, that is all.

And just for the record telling me I do not go to tournaments so i should sit down and shut up is not really doing much for your case. Firstly I fight all the time, secondly these are not real fechtschule events.
We at the MFFG train periodically without any masks or gloves or other protective gear as we freeplay with steel. This I think helps us develop solid principlaes and basics. It is just a tool in the art however, we are not putting as much on the line as they did in the 16th cent. So i would never disqualify someones opinion because they did not do that , that would be me putting the highest value on what we do in an effort to effect preceptions of legitimacy. Its just another tool, like freeplay or drilling or whatever same as tournaments, great fun and great for testing under pressure but not what they did so lets not put too much into it. lets try to tweak the rules a bit maybe to get more art in the fighting(As i hear you did in one of your recent tournaments Scott)

certainly if we put our heads under a rock over it and examine it not we will not improve the tool. We are not slamming anything much less tournaments. For the upteenth time I will say that I like tournaments and will get to some when i can, no problem with them at all.

as for other folsk posting here, we are very much appreciative of any external input so never fear comeing here to chat or to tell us we are wrong about something, it all strengthens the guild.
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Re: Food for Thought

Postby Mike Cartier » Wed May 04, 2011 2:36 pm

However, one point I'd like to make is that of national pride. The citizens of the United States have a long and rich history of being competitors in all walks of life. They also have a history of excelling. Frankly, I'm getting more and more dissapointed in the U.S. HEMA scenesters for all this anti-tournament angst. Where is that American pride to get out there and put our mark on the scene? Where is the classical American pride to work hard and be recognized for that?



Well let me answer that in a few ways for you.

Maybe our ass kickings are due to the Europeans getting more of the art into what they do, quite honestly I see more art in alot of the Europeans in tournament and freeplay than i do in alot of US HEMA out there. Now I know thats not a real study and I am just going my general feel here. I don't think the answer is more competitiveness but perhaps more faith in getting the art to work for us, the two should in fact both be present. Too many people have an attitude about the art that is summed up by discarding alot of what we learn to be efficient, the art is efficient. Too many people study the art then drop it all when the fighting starts.

if we take this comment by Lee Smith for example
We need to be honest with ourselves here, in a tournament we are not exploring techniques... or trying out theories, thats what free-sparring is for.

In tournament the skilled fighter, is attempting to strategically use his trained skill set within the scope of the rules to win. This is exactly what it is, no more, no less.


Why are you not exploring techniques? why are you not trying stuff? if this is a good under pressure HEMA tool then why not explore more, you might surprise yourself by having the art jump up and smack you.
See for me trying to use the art is much more important than if i win or lose, honestly i would rather apply the art but lose than just do whatever works and win (not that i would just speaking hypothetically). That for me is how I have managed to squeak in a smidgen of art into what I do. If i had not put my ass out on a ledge to try these things i would never learn how to use them. Losing is an illusion anyways , I have consistently learned much more in life through defeat than I ever do through victory.

Its a trueism in combat sports that you fight how you train. Maybe more of the art is what we need not more desire to win.

Anyways we are American we sword fight with Guns don't we? :lol:



I appreciate the input rom everyone though, thanks.
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Re: Food for Thought

Postby Becca B. » Wed May 04, 2011 2:58 pm

Alright, there is a lot of talk going on about in this forum that I will not address because I either don’t know, have no opinion, or it is none of my business. However, I would like to bring up one point. Mike said, “I don’t see enough of the art in tournaments or in most freeplay (including our own)… Let me put it to you this way, how many guards do you see in your average tournament? Or even average freeplay.” I am not debating that you are incorrect in your observation, but I do think there’s a reason for it. We learn and study all of these guards because they are tools. Perhaps you use one against one kind of fighter while you use another against a different one. Or maybe you’ve been tricked twice in your normal guard and you don’t want it to happen again. However, most people pick a guard that is comfortable (and versatile) for them and stick with it unless the situation or opponent requires them to switch to one of the other guards they’ve studied in their art. I don’t think this means we aren’t seeing the art. Capo Ferro says, “To me it is not legitimate to speak of changing from guard to guard, one not making a good guard, if not a single one.” (Par. 102). I realize that it's a different weapon, but I think it still applies and that what we are seeing with the guards is not a lack of art. If participants were unwilling or unable to change guards when the occasion for it arrived, that would be a lack of art. I can think of one fighter, in particular, Hal Seigel, who switched up his guards in the Fechtschule longsword tournament. (I’m sure others did as well, but this is the example I remember off the top of my head.)

Also, you brought up something else in your post that I was wondering about. I wasn’t going to bring it up as it was unrelated to this topic but you mentioned it, so I guess I will. I watched a few of your free fencing videos and noticed that you, as you put it, “train periodically without any masks or gloves or other protective gear as we freeplay with steel.” I will consent that while it makes you look like total bada*ses, and it makes for a great video, I thought that it affected your fighting. You seemed to take fewer and less committed head shots. (And no wonder, I would too if I stood a good chance of seriously hurting my training partner.) Now, I am not there, and watching a few videos obviously doesn’t make me an expert on how you fight, but that was the immediate impression that I got. Do you balance this out by training with headgear too? What percentage of time would you say that you train with protective equipment as opposed to without it? I, personally, do not train without protective equipment, not because I don’t want to be historic, but because I feel I can’t fight in a historic way if I am pulling my hits and worrying about seriously hurting my opponent. I think that a fight with protective equipment in which you mean every hit to land as a killing blow would is more historically accurate than one where you are forced to fight differently because of a lack of gear. (Seriously, I mean this with no disrespect. I am genuinely interested in your opinion on this and am just expressing the way I view my fighting. Also, I’m sorry that this is a little off topic but I wouldn’t want to bring it up out of nowhere and have it sound like I’m attacking your videos.)
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Re: Food for Thought

Postby Mike Cartier » Wed May 04, 2011 3:21 pm

Thanls Becca
yes I think you bring up some important points about guard use in tournaments and/or freeplay. i think you might well be right too.

As far as fighting ungeared or Raw, yes you are right there about it effecting how we fight. Thats one of its limitations but its outweighed by its benefits. We do it much much less than we do geared up freeplay which is invariably faster and harder, I would say about 5% ungeared and the rest geared up). We are working on it as with everything else.
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Re: Food for Thought

Postby Becca B. » Wed May 04, 2011 3:24 pm

Mike,

Do you have any links to geared videos? How about two bouts between the same opponents, both geared and Raw. I think it would be interesting to look at them in comparison to one another.

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Re: Food for Thought

Postby Mike Cartier » Wed May 04, 2011 5:16 pm

Kevin Maurer
I am so filled with Angst at the poopeyheads for attempting to kill HEMA.


hahah you crazy bastard


Mike,

Do you have any links to geared videos? How about two bouts between the same opponents, both geared and Raw. I think it would be interesting to look at them in comparison to one another.

Becca


We have most of our videos up on our you tube channel, not sure what you want to look at for, but its mostly there. Comparing geared to ungeared freeplay is not especially useful ecept to look at the different ways you fight, its how it changes you in the fight thats important. Doing it against a geared person really defeats the purpose. We have not made too many ungeared videos though, its a training thing and rarely looks as good as the geared stuff because we can use much less control and go so much faster and harder. regardless both methods are of use as are many others. There is no one method or path IMHO.


Fighting ungeared is essential IMHO for true undestanding of the longsword, its a bit scary but you have to place your trust in how we use the weapon and the little details about defense suddenly become giant obstacles if you do not do them right. One does not attack as rashly nor expose as rashly in freeplay. Going to fast and hard can be just as dangerous to your own self as the opponent. Its a diferent environment. We are not doing it to seem like badasses, we do it to get as close to what we see in our beloved leaders plates. Its not something you want to do all the time either or the numbers catch up with you and you can get hurt with an unwise move. Our experience with ungeared play is that it has taught us some things we never would have learend as well or as quickly by going ungeared. Its not as scary as it sounds if you put in the time drilling.
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Re: Food for Thought

Postby Mike Cartier » Wed May 04, 2011 5:34 pm

well yes kevin i am feeling like this is a conversation that has already happened in some capacity, like we are opening up something already well oiled. That is an easy thing to have happen and understandable if they bring baggage of some kind into this debate its probably from some folks riding asses about tournaments, which really is not what we are trying to do. I think there is a wee bit too much defensiveness mostly due to misunderstanding our motives. Perhaps Lee and Scott have inadvertantly mistaken what we are saying and confused it with either people trying to excuse away a lack of athleticism or people who think any sort of competitiveness is bad.

Far from it. I see tournaments and athleticism as necessities on the path we just think it should have a bit of discussion about how its used is all.

For the record we don't have any angst over tournaments.
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