A Shield of White
This past weekend was the SCA event Whiteshield. It is the first big tourney of the year and has a long tradition as one of the most fun tourneys of the year. It is often considered a predictor of victory in March Crown which usually happens a weekend or two later.
This was the first time I have ever entered a “heavy” tourney. As Baron of Darkwood for several years I had the privilege of overseeing this event. I made a promise to the populace of Darkwood that I would take to the heavy field. I didn’t manage to do so while I was Baron but I did finally manage it one year later.
It was an amazing experience and I was very proud to achieve this goal.
Unfortunately, like many bright points in my life, there is often a darker side and so I want to touch on this a bit to set the record straight on a couple of points.
As my friends know I have been a Rapier fighter for many years. I have been a Cut & Thrust fighter for a few years less than I have been Rapier fighter.
I consider Rapier and Cut & Thrust to be just at legitimate as Heavy fighting. Yes, it is true that Heavy fighting is considered “the norm” and that if you want to be sovereign then you must fight Heavy. But this does not mean that it is inherently better to my way of thinking. In much the same way that I don’t consider Aikido to be any better than Karate, or Judo to be superior to Jujitsu. Each has it’s strengths. Each has it’s weaknesses. And every single one of them offer an opportunity to learn something new and different.
But in our Kingdom there are still people who seem to feel a need to denigrate fighters who are not Heavy fighters. People who, rather than giving something a try, would rather just look down their noses or make comments dressed up with a smile that are still insulting in nature. I have no use for people who are so willing to limit their views.
Of course there is nothing wrong with “specializing” or “mastering” what they wish to master. I am all for that as well. But if you trap yourself in to the idea that your way, your martial art, is the one true way then I feel sorry for you. And when you tell me that you don’t want to “derail”, “pollute”, or “dilute” your training by picking up something different from what you are doing, well, believe me it’s not hard to tell the difference between a legitimate reason and an excuse to hold on to your prejudice.
This past weekend I achieved something that really only a handful of people in our organization have done – become “authorized” in all three of the combat forms available to us. I know a few others have done this as well but there just aren’t that many of us. I would love to see more.
Not only that but this past weekend I was able to fight all three forms on the same field on the same day. It was exciting. It was challenging. It was a lot of fun. I wish there could have been more people doing it.
For the record, even though I have now authorized as a Heavy fighter I have no intention of giving up fighting Rapier. I love fighting Rapier, and I am encouraged by the fact that more Rapier fighters are taking up Cut & Thrust as well. I am also encouraged that I’m starting to see more Heavy fighters go through the process to pick up Rapier on their way to Cut & Thrust.
I had a blast fighting Heavy. I intend to do a lot more. But if you are one of the people who thinks that I’m going to give up the rest because I’ve now crossed over to the supposedly more acceptable “one true way” then you are going to be disappointed.
From what I have seen so far Cross Trained fighters have more respect and understanding for everyone in the fighting community no matter what weapon they hold in their hands. I would like to see an attitude that we are all just “fighters” and the distinction of “Heavy”, “Rapier”, and “Cut & Thrust” are only used to determine the gear you need instead of stratifying the community at large.
I’m sure that’s a long way off but I can dream can’t I?