Classicalfencing.com Forums

You are not logged in.

#1 2006-09-22 15:18:31

Akilles
Member
From: Saint Louis
Registered: 2006-06-06
Website

Proposal for a Meeting of Professional Fencing Teachers & Masters, v.1

In true wiki-fashion I named this version one and hope that others will contribute to the proposal until we get a solid working idea that can be put into action.  Feel free to cut and paste, re-edit and copy, or code away and make your suggestions.  Submit it in a new post below this one so we can view the sequence of edits and contributions.  Thanks!

1) For about 10 years fencers and fencing masters have talked about forming an umbrella organisation to support CF here in the US.
2) this has not happened, though some smaller, regional orgs have formed.  these regional groups do not now cooperate with one another along the lines of achieving any established goals of preserving CF in this country.
3) our current fencing masters have not yet convened, all together, in one location to meet, fraternize, and have an open discussion.  reasons for this not happening have included cost, location, time - in effect planning.
4) there are fencing masters on both coasts of this country.
5) I have a facility dead in the center of the same country.
6) to help facilitate the processes in forming an organization for CF in the US - OR -  a conference for professional fencing teachers/masters,  I am offering:

a- my facility as a neutral meeting place for attendees - at no cost. this facility includes a restaurant and bar, gymnasium, smaller rooms and courts, locker rooms with showers and sauna, and parking!
b- to spearhead the planning of the practical needs for the meeting (hotels, food, local transportation, etc) - and to help subsidize the costs involved
c- whatever else people might recquire, like transcription services of the meeting, multimedia, etc. - and to help subsidize the cost

I realise that:
1) fencing masters would need to recognize the need for such a meeting and desire to attend - I have no claim to any authority to bring them here. but I do think that authority and reputation for such an organisation would be best understood in the context of our professional fencing teachers. which is why I posit their meeting as crucial to the inception of the organisation.
2) fencing masters would need to find the time in their schedules for the meeting.  my facility is rather fluid in its availability so this should not be an issue.
3) most likely, it would recquire fencing masters to pay for their flights here and to a degree other personal expenses - (I can't pay for everything myself even though it would be great) - although we could perhaps find a grant or underwriter for these expenses, or contributions from their own students/salles could offset this expense for them (rather like the model Mr. Waller is using for the Paddy Crean workshop this year).

We were already planning on having Maestri Hayes and Martinez here in the Fall of 2007.  This was to be a private instructional weekend for the CFS members, but we could easily piggy-back the meeting.  After all,  2 fencing masters will be here already.

Last edited by Akilles (2006-09-22 18:31:19)


all conditioned things decay - seek liberation diligently

Offline

 

#2 2006-09-24 07:32:03

Adam Adrian Crown
Maître d'Armes
From: Ithaca, New York
Registered: 2006-04-04
Website

Re: Proposal for a Meeting of Professional Fencing Teachers & Masters, v.1

The idea of an organization to support classical fencing has some great possibilities. It also raises some questions that I think we might kick around.  I don't believe in being more organized than you absolutely have to be. No point in three guys chatting about horses to conduct their discussion according to Roberts' Rules of Order, is there?

Just off the top of my head, here are some questions I'd like peoples' specific ideas on:
1. What is the purpose of a national organization?
One answer is to obtain discounted insurance rates.
Another is to sway manufacturers that it's worth their investment to produce particular products.
Anything else?
Some folks have mentioned "standardizing the rules," or words to that effect. Am I the only one who knows what the rules are? As far as I can tell they didn't change much from at least the mid-19th century to around 1980 when the USFA/Olympic Committee
honchos apparently dropped some bad acid.  What rules are there exactly that have to be agreed on/codified, and for what?

If the purpose is keeping fencing alive, why do we need an organization? I've kept it alive and well here in Ithaca since 1980. Others have done likewise. What exactly do you think we can accomplish with an organization that we can't accomplish individually without one?

What's wrong with having several small organizations? Let people choose which one to join.  I trust I don't have to point out the tremendous dunghill were all stuck in as a result of the consolidation of power in a monopoly.
Perhaps a very loose association, formal or informal is all that's required?

2. Who runs this hypothetical organization? Who's a member? Are there different classes of membership?  Voting/non-voting members? Officers? Structure?

3. Who's a Fencing Master? What credentials must one have? Must a person have stood before an examining board of peers and been endorsed by them? Or is it enough to be given the secret handshake by your teacher?
Would this organization set criteria for teaching credentials? And if so, how would that be managed/enforced?

It would be grand to get together with some other professionals, drink champagne, swap teaching techniques, tell stories, etc. It's a big continent and we're spread pretty thin. But it involves a big chunk of time, energy and money.
Airfare is nothing to sneeze at and travel time/expenses are considerable even for those of us who have the honour to be on an official "no-fly" list or simply refuse to submit to the nazi shitheads now strip-searching nuns at the airports.

So, I think, before we run too far or too fast in any direction, we should decide where it is exactly that we want to go.

Just my opinion.


AAC

Offline

 

#3 2006-09-25 11:25:18

cfaustus
Member
From: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Registered: 2006-04-20
Website

Re: Proposal for a Meeting of Professional Fencing Teachers & Masters, v.1

Forgive me if I seem impudent, but I feel that many of these questions are only answerable by the existing Masters.

Which is why I feel it is increasingly important that the existing Masters congregate to discuss these things and physically SEE what each other is doing ... ours is a physical art... not just theoretical...

other than that... many of these things could be achieved via more than one organization... to keep one organization from becoming too unwieldy...

Last edited by cfaustus (2006-09-25 14:28:56)

Offline

 

#4 2006-09-25 11:55:38

Akilles
Member
From: Saint Louis
Registered: 2006-06-06
Website

Re: Proposal for a Meeting of Professional Fencing Teachers & Masters, v.1

Maitre Crown,

I think what many of use want is a tradition or curriculum based organisation, if any at all.  Rather than have a disjointed board of directors and politicians running the show it would ideally be headed by those who know what fencing is, as you say.

But all this is tangental, I think, to the goal of getting the heads of our fencing together. Yes, time is precious, airfaire is not cheap - all factors to impeding progress.  But this is why I am stepping forward with the assests that I have and making them available.  You write,

"before we run too far or too fast in any direction, we should decide where it is exactly that we want to go."

I read that as the mission statement to the meeting that I proposed.  Even if, as you suggest, it becomes clear that remaining a confederation of autonomous fencing schools (an idea that I have always preferred) is the way to go forward, at some point a meeting of schools should take place to further the common goals - or to identify those goals should they exist.

If not, then maybe we don't need to talk about the possibility of a national organisation anymore?

Last edited by Akilles (2006-09-25 11:56:52)


all conditioned things decay - seek liberation diligently

Offline

 

#5 2006-09-25 14:49:42

Adam Adrian Crown
Maître d'Armes
From: Ithaca, New York
Registered: 2006-04-04
Website

Re: Proposal for a Meeting of Professional Fencing Teachers & Masters, v.1

Which is why I feel it is increasingly important that the existing Masters congregate to discuss these things and physically SEE what each other is doing ... ours is a physical art... not just theoretical...   (CF FAUSTUS)

I think I may understand what you mean here.
But you must understand that there is another reason that the various fencing masters have not all flocked together: We don't NEED to see what we are all doing because each of us KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING.  If you know how to use a hammer, how much time do you want to invest in getting together with other guys to see how THEY use it?
As much fun as I think it might be for us -- and sure, we might swap an idea or two on teaching technique -- I think, all things considered, we need a better reason than a little fun to go to all that effort. 

What is it that you who are non-fencing masters want fencing masters to do, specifically?  And why?  What problems do you want to solve?

AAC

Offline

 

#6 2006-09-25 14:56:46

Akilles
Member
From: Saint Louis
Registered: 2006-06-06
Website

Re: Proposal for a Meeting of Professional Fencing Teachers & Masters, v.1

I apologize for being thick here, but when the discussion of the possibility of instigating an organisation at the national level with the specific goal of preserving CF in this country comes up (this time from Maestro Lurz), we, the non-fencing masters, would like for such an organization to take form, from its inception, out of the collaborative effort of our current fencing masters.

Who else would YOU like to see form such an organisation - as a fencing master?  Who else would YOU put in charge?

Maestro Lurz wrote, "The classical fencing community, though it has existed for some time in this country, remains small, ill-defined, disjointed, and uncoordinated.  This latest development brings it one step closer to extinction.  If it is to survive it will have to get its act together, form a national association, codify a body of regulations, and provide for the proper training and certification of qualified teachers.  Only in this way can it grow, command the respect of equipment manufacturers, and see the light of another day."

It wasn't a non-fencing master who proposed this.  I pointed out that we have had this notion before at least once about 10 years ago on CFML and that we can actually take steps to make it a reality.  If there really is no interest in solidifying the national CF, so be it.

My offer still stands.  On the other hand, everybody could join the AHF - they seem to be talking about these very ideas and taking steps to make some of them reality (like insurance, equipment, etc.).

Last edited by Akilles (2006-09-25 15:04:27)


all conditioned things decay - seek liberation diligently

Offline

 

#7 2006-09-26 06:33:59

wleckie
Member
From: Soest, Germany
Registered: 2006-06-24
Website

Re: Proposal for a Meeting of Professional Fencing Teachers & Masters, v.1

I swore to abstain, I really did, but….this will be my last statement.

“Who else would YOU put in charge?”  That pesky authority question again.  This craving for Authority!  Or is it a yearning for the Parousia?  Waiting for Godot?  Why should anybody be “in charge?” (NOTE: This is not a personal attack, it’s the ideas that pull my chain. Certainly there should be better communication, but I agree with Maitre Crown--following post--What specifically are the challenges?)

Would you, David,  be willing to appear before an impartially empanelled board of masters and take both written and practical exams to reinforce the explicit and implied claims about the state of fencing you make and yet--perhaps age has done something to my reading comprehension--seem to eschew? I would be thrilled if you did well.

I conclude this post with a positive view of the state of traditional fencing in the USA. It does not need to be saved. To achieve the structure Maestro Lurz rightly desires is already an on-going development. It's quite active, and the problem seems to be that people want an ideal in the 20 or so years it's been around.  At least, I think it's in the Grand Tradition of regional groupings--"national" is not entirely accurate; take for exaple un-unified Italy after the Napoleonic Wars, where as Maestro Gaugler has pointed out, French influence was regionally based and caused much controversy--institutional irivalries, debates over style and technique, rules, and even personal animosities all characterizing 19th century European fencing.  In fact, such rivalries are mild in the US by those European standards.  I write only as someone who's been seriously exploring that European past.  I make no other claims as I bumble along over here. Some kind of organization, well-defined of purpose, could be very useful, but I remain betwixt and between, and obviously I have problems with the current proposal from St. Louis:

I remain nervous about the authority issue.  It raises problems beyond a meeting agenda, which would require much thought and preparation with a time horizon perhaps farther out than realized?  How would our current reformers react to Domenico Angelo, who was never certified a master to teach?  I must add that the reaction to L’Ecole des Armes in Paris was more complex than envy; by 1760--before his book appeared in London--the doctrine he represented was becoming passé in Paris and the Parisian masters were embroiled in doctrinal controversy.  So much for static tradition, embalmed fencing, a kind of Burke and Hare pluck it out of the past and pickle it notion.

Fencing doesn’t need a Man on a White Horse.  The Frenchman who gave us that image as his legacy was General Georges Boulanger, famous for a coup attempt against the Third Republic.  He was an undisciplined fencer who in 1888 charged an opponent and got his throat cut almost out for it (he survived, and committed suicide on the grave of his mistress three years later); romantic martial and aristocratic ideas made for lousy fencing, and there are commentators, H. A. Colmore Dunn, for one, who pointed to Boulanger’s stupidity as one example of the reason for the theoretical characteristics of the development of the French 19th century masters, in the direction of economy and precision with detours along the way.  Academicism wasn’t just for the fencing room and foil but the epee de combat. 

I’m reading those French masters, and the message is loud and clear—19th century classicism was not, as Rondelle’s been misinterpreted it would seem, as a kind of ballet. Romantisme like that of Boulanger was wreaking havoc on the white ground and in the fencing room, something Bazancourt earlier rued in the 1850s. Translation: The parry and riposte is the basis for sound dueling practice, to put it mildly.  Living tradition is nevertheless adaptive, especially if you want to live or not be seriously hurt.

There is a tradition and a traditional curriculum already.   We are definitely in trouble if someone implies there isn’t one or generally we petty mortals aren’t aware of it or get it wrong, and no one calls him on it.

The common principles of French and Italian styles have been emphasized—noting the differences in execution—by Maestro Gaugler. Masters such as Nick Evangelista, Adam Crown, and others, are within it.  The KFS curriculum is taught in regular consultation with Maestro Evangelista within that tradition.  Maitre Crown is on a very short list of other masters I’ll consult in a heartbeat. Indeed, you can trace Maestro Evangelista’s doctrine in a straight line back to 19th century France.  You can do the same for Maitre Crown.  Yet I must always be aware of distance and always be attentive to both those masters I consult and my students, and above all my own limitations.  Unsatisfactory?  Yup.  Have I made errors?  Yup.  When I have caught them, I openly admit and correct them, and it can be a bear to do that in a language not your own.  Heck, I was crazy enough to do it in convalescence, and you ain't taught anything 'til you've discovered you've zoned out from lack of oxygen. (Thank heaven that happens no more!) Has anyone begun teaching who did not err?    Sorry, I've been around the block too many times to believe anyone who makes such a claim, even if they believe themselves. Maybe I err more than most. I seriously doubt that. Should I therefore because not perfect cease?  Gimme a break.  How are today's masters failing you with respect to tradition and curriculum?

You can “genealogize” Maestro Gaugler-- and his students, including Maestro Lurz, mind you again—back to 19th century Italy.  There is both human and textual continuity here.  Just what genealogy would an implied “new tradition”—an oxymoronical notion--possess?   Especially one invented by young people mostly with limited linguistic--even acknowledging Alexis speaks German--and critical skills and lacking broad and deep historical knowledge?  (I hasten to add this is not because they are stupid—since the 60s we’ve seen the deliberate destruction of the liberal arts and assimilation by the internet Hive Mind:  “Resistance is futile.” Both David and his partner Alexis are talented youg men. If I am wrong in this generational assessment, although it is reinforced by longitudinal meta-studies and anecdotal commentary in the literature on higher education, then Maitre Crown's inquiry should receive a higher level of product than we've seen so far.)

I must ask David, and this is not a personal attack either, to tell us what link to a living tradition he is working with besides occasional workshops with recognized masters?  On what specifically is his implied critique of the current situation based besides urging that there are too many of us out there and we need to be curbed?  No ad hominems please, but rather my questions are intended as Maitre Crown's in the subsequent post. This query is not--to repeat-- personal, but instead a way to clarify the position he seems to be taking.  I have acknowledged the limitations of mine. 

To emphasize: There has NEVER been a politically-correct-equivalent of fencing thought within that broad tradition.  There have always been debates and variations among masters.  That controversialism is, in fact, another hallmark of the tradition.  Is it being suggested that after a few centuries, in 2006 a small group of  Americans is going to descend from a mountaintop with golden tablets on fencing?  How will they relate to fencing in Europe, where the relationship of tradition to practice is in fact somewhat different? It must be the temper of the times, this need for a fencing Twelve-Step Program and a Higher Power.

I now work in European archives—heading off to Leiden next week—and believe me, though the effort may be a wonderful exercise, it’s hard, often frustrating, full of false leads, linguistic puzzles, takes long preparation, and taxes time and patience.  You can’t rely on translation with modern languages, connotations change, context is all. You have to consult with specialists in relevant fields.  You have to swallow hard and let others read often unfinished work and cut it to pieces. To prepare for Leiden, I’ve had to read a sometimes bewildering historiography.  A vital but small book is available only in Dutch.  Oh Lord have mercy.  I don’t know any Dutch.  I’ll need help. I hope I live long enough just to complete one project.

If our redeemers came up with a revised tradition, an Athorized Version, as it were, it wouldn’t be one such as the excellent pedigrees of Maestro Evangelista or Maitre Crown or Maestro Gaugler and his students, including Maestro Lurz.  They haven’t the equipment to do it.  The work involved would be overwhelming as critical scholarship.  It would mean the hard chore of responding to critical discussion when egos alas are always on the line. Philosophically and historically, it'd be a three-dollar bill anyhow.The call is for masters, but from a position that SEEMS to me to be critical of those masters' accomplishments.  In the context of estblished tradition and curriculum, to boot. This is not personal, I’m not assaulting anyone's self-esteem. 

I defer to Maestro Evangelista with genuine respect and admiration.  And I’m in awe every time I work in an archive.  I always feel as if I’m biting off more than I can chew, whether I teach fencing  or do research in fencing history.   Like with a Dutch source. They--our reformers--never have done so, I haven't detected self-doubt on either fencing or intellectual matters, or if they have such it doesn’t show. The apparent question, “Who will give us The Real Tradition and Curriculum then?” is a red herring.  We already have a tradition and foundational curriculum. It is a collective and continuous authority, which may not be palpable, evident, to those who are unsatisfied today. The actual question, "Who else  would YOU put in charge?" suggests the current masters are not in control of their own discipline.  To deny an implicit challenge to their authority seems disingenuous to me, but then,  I have been admonished that I don't get it.  Fair enough.  Maybe I don't.  But that's unlikely.

The elements of the real traditional curriculum have been assembled in accessible ways, as guides, I’m not saying you can learn fencing from a book, but perhaps too accessibly for their critics. Surely there must be more, a Higher Power, not fallible human beings seerms to be the cri de couer. Maitre Crown’s Classical Fencing offers a template for those in need of a teacher; Maitre Walter Green has eclectically assembled one in tabular form useful to beginning teachers, and I’ve adapted it, to offer examples. 

Though I prefer the German edition, Maestro Gaugler’s manual lays it all out, exercises, too (so does Maitre Crown’s delightful book).  Othmar Melichar’s 1958 German text, though postwar, opens the door to a part of that tradition unknown to English-speaking fencers. Maestro Evangelista’s writings embody the updating in popular form of the genuine rationalism of the French tradition: He wants students to learn to think for themselves, not give a Roman salute to One Who Knows.  No General Boulangers need apply. No Fencing Politburo, either. If you doubt a common tradition already exists and people are aware of it, read’em.  For starters.

You don't have to know about tradition qua tradition to appreciate that.  Good grief there’s a huge literature just on traditions and their nature anyway. Sure, anybody can pick anything to death. The problem may stem from unwillingness to acknowledge that we have a tradition that incorporates a common body of theoretical and curricular knowledge, or on the part of some from lack of knowledge of it, or--more likely-- from a sense the tradition and its representatives are inadequate.  Is this the reason for authority question?  In any case, I smell a revolt against tradition in its name.  It may be even an unwitting one, which is a shame. ( Boulangers' right-wing authoritarian romanticism, too, was such a revolt, but consciously so.) I hope I am wrong. 

Frankly, US traditional fencing is probably in better shape than people think, but it makes one wonder when one reads a curriculum is needed and in some unspecified way tradition is implied to somehow be wanting or perhaps observed in the breach?  It's not clear.  It’s in better shape there than in most of Europe, I can vouchsafe that anyhow. Especially if little new KFS can be called though auf Deutsch, as it has, "the only classical fencing school [sic] in Germany."  (We're only a year old, so give us time to reach a 5-year planned benchmark.)  From here, it--the US traditionalist scene-- looks downright impressive.   I think it is, I really do. Whatever the disagreements--and they are many and healthy--its influence is directly evident in Italy, Germany, Ireland, and indirect but strong in England.  That ain't shabby.

It's returning a European tradition--distinct from "historical" fencing to varying degress--to where it originated.  Naturally it must contend with the differences I alluded to above. But that evangelizing in the Old World definitely is impressive--KFS I'm not bragging about here, for us as beginners just the fact we're making progress is enough, it's that the stimulus from the US is interesting--and has its inspiration in  current American masters, notably Maestros Evangelista and Ramon Martinez, and was immediately picked up on by the local and regional media here, where fencing gets attention from the public far more than in many other places, certainly--ironically and sadly--than in the States.

Again: There has never been a time in fencing history when masters were not embroiled in controversy, no Golden Age, sorry. I suspect that constant argument is one reason for fencing's survival into the 21st century. (I'll rein in my inner nerd here and not explain.)  Execept for the Boulangers of this world, fencing has nevertheless held its debates within a rationalist tradition--not a contradiction in terms-- and a basic curriculum both readily identifiable.  I'm with Maestro Lurz, if I understand him: Let things develp naturally.

Bill

Last edited by wleckie (2006-09-26 11:28:09)


Klassisches Fechten Soest

Offline

 

#8 2006-09-26 06:35:27

Adam Adrian Crown
Maître d'Armes
From: Ithaca, New York
Registered: 2006-04-04
Website

Re: Proposal for a Meeting of Professional Fencing Teachers & Masters, v.1

specific goal of preserving CF in this country....(Akilles)

I don't want to neglect acknowledging your gracious offer to host a summit conference. Thank you for that.

"Preserving classical fencing" is all right as a goal, I suppose. After all, that's presumably why we're all chatting here in the first place. But it's a little like politicians saying they want to "fight crime"  --- what are the particular objectives that need to me met in order to accomplish this goal?

What does "preserve" mean?
As long as there is one person who teaches the truth and one person interested in learning it, the truth does not die.  It may never be as popular as avarice and corruption, but dead it ain't.

I'm looking for details. Things that need to be done and how they might get done. Agenda items, no?


AAC

Offline

 

#9 2006-09-26 10:56:10

Akilles
Member
From: Saint Louis
Registered: 2006-06-06
Website

Re: Proposal for a Meeting of Professional Fencing Teachers & Masters, v.1

Maitre Crown,

I'm throwing ideas out.  And largely, if you'll review quickly,  I am just reiterating points made or hinted at by others (other than my proposal).

I have no agenda.
Seeing as how I don't invision myself even at the meeting - other than pouring water and driving people to and fro the aiport - so the agenda should derive from those who plan to sit down and talk about these things, e.g. the fencing masters.

If it's true that "presumably why we're all chatting here in the first place" - why do we not have the other fencing masters in on the discussion?  Can it be done online?  Maestro Lurz, again, was the person to raise the issue.  Seriously folks, all I am saying is, if you want to get together and make something happen I am happy to offer my resources to make it happen.  If its not viable then lets direct energies toward work that can be accomplished.  For example - if the concensus is for not traveling due to time and expense - then we could look into videoconferencing.  We have had great succes shere lately in using basic interest protocol connections to Canada.  Something similar could be setup for a larger scale conference.

Last edited by Akilles (2006-09-26 12:23:36)


all conditioned things decay - seek liberation diligently

Offline

 

#10 2006-09-26 11:45:56

Akilles
Member
From: Saint Louis
Registered: 2006-06-06
Website

Re: Proposal for a Meeting of Professional Fencing Teachers & Masters, v.1

wleckie wrote:

I swore to abstain, I really did, but…

“Who else would YOU put in charge?”  That pesky authority question again.  This craving for Authority!  Or is it a yearning for the Parousia?  Waiting for Godot?  Why should anybody be “in charge?” (NOTE: This is not a personal attack, it’s the ideas that pull my chain. Certainly there should be better communication, but I agree with Maitre Crown--following post--What specifically are the challenges?)

Can you be specific when you say "craving for authority"?  I asked you to explain that last time and you didn't.  Did you read the post from Maitre Crown to which that comment was directed? My suggestion, again, was that the fencing masters should convene to hold a professional conference and discuss issues relevant to CF in the US.  To my knowledge this has never been done (does anybody else have any other information on that point?).  Therefore, it was my final notion that the fencing masters would be in charge of any created organising body.  Much in the same way a board of masters convene to examine a candidate for certification.  Is that an authority problem?  If so can you please explain how it is?

wleckie wrote:

I remain nervous about the authority issue.  It raises problems beyond a meeting agenda, which would require much thought and preparation with a time horizon perhaps farther out than realized?

Perhaps that is something that constructive editing of the proposal could flesh out.  I can arrange flights, hotels, local transport, facilities and other accomodations in under 4 months.  In fact, we are doing that right now for another event (two actually).  So I have some experience in making these things work, and yet remain eternally grateful for all help.

wleckie wrote:

How would our current reformers react to Domenico Angelo, who was never certified a master to teach?

Maybe the way they have reacted to me and others...

wleckie wrote:

There is a tradition and a traditional curriculum already.   We are definitely in trouble if someone implies there isn’t one or generally we petty mortals aren’t aware of it or get it wrong, and no one calls him on it.

Actually, if you go back and read what I wrote, I admitted that what anybody like me would want is an organisation to be modeled on this very tradition and curriculum that we have.  Kind of the reason for having our masters oversee the ORG, right?  What I don't want and could not participate in again, would be an organisation run by non-fencing suits, a la the USFA.  And when I say "run" and "oversee" and "in charge" I mean the minds calling the shots when things need to be decided and to keept he tradition and curriculum flowing.  It doesn't happen on its own.  Even as Maitre Crown described it, so efficiently, as the relationship between master and student acting to preserve and pass on the knowledge - even that takes an concerted effort.  In other areas, like the Japanese koryu, master level teachers make it a point to interact with their students no matter where on the map they are located.  So it does take some work.

wleckie wrote:

The common principles of French and Italian styles have been emphasized—noting the differences in execution—by Maestro Gaugler. Masters such as Nick Evangelista, Adam Crown, and others, are within it.  The KFS curriculum is taught in regular consultation with Maestro Evangelista within that tradition.
<snip>
Gimme a break.  How are today's masters failing you with respect to tradition and curriculum?

You are guessing here.  I never suggested there was a failure in terms of teaching or what was being offered by the masters.  Can you show me where you may have misunderstood me?  It is probable that I typed something with my left hand while adjusting my microscope.

wleckie wrote:

Would you be willing to appear before an impartially empanelled board of masters and take both written and practical exams to reinforce the explicit and implied claims about the state of fencing you make?

Yes I would, would you?  And in fact I have had my fencing and the fencing of my training partners reviewed by 3 fencing masters over the last 9 years.  We have also had our curriculum reviewed.  Maestri Hayes and Martinez, and Nick.  But then, this gets back to your comment above, "How would our current reformers react to Domenico Angelo, who was never certified a master to teach?"  The process of working with teachers has happened on the piste and face to face, not over email.  Alexis is certainly more envolved in the process than I am.  I have no desire to be a fencing master.  I try to keep new students away as long as possible.  But this issue of authority seems to creep up, don't it, Bill?  Are you now asking me to proove by what authority I fence?

wleckie wrote:

You can “genealogize” Maestro Gaugler-- and his students, including Maestro Lurz, mind you again—back to 19th century Italy.  There is both human and textual continuity here.  Just what genealogy would an implied “new tradition”—an oxymoronical notion--possess?

What "new tradition" are you talking about here, Bill?  I don't know of any.

wleckie wrote:

I must ask David, and this is not a personal attack either, to tell us what link to a living tradition he is working with besides occasional workshops with recognized masters?  On what specifically is his implied critique of the current situation based besides urging that there are too many of us out there and we need to be curbed?  No ad hominems please, but rather my questions are intended as Maitre Crown's in the subsequent post. This query is not--to repeat-- personal, but instead a way to clarify the position he seems to be taking.  I have acknowledged the limitations of mine.

Oh, you are!  What would any answer serve, Bill?  You already have constructed an imaginary fencing universe for me - one I did not realise I occupied.  My story is transparent and known.  Further, it has no bearing on the offer of hosting the meeting.  Do I need to be a fencing master to offer to host the meeting?  Is that what you would say to Domenico?

I understand now.  You are railroading my offer to host a meeting for fencing masters because you imagine that I am trying to reinvent traditional fencing here in St Louis and set myself up as the Emporer of the Universe.  Sounds like an interesting novel.

wleckie wrote:

To emphasize: There has NEVER been a politically-correct-equivalent of fencing thought within that broad tradition.  There have always been debates and variations among masters.  That controversialism is, in fact, another hallmark of the tradition.  Is it being suggested that after a few centuries, in 2006 a small group of  Americans is going to descend from a mountaintop with golden tablets on fencing?  How will they relate to fencing in Europe, where the relationship of tradition to practice is in fact somewhat different? It must be the temper of the times, this need for a fencing Twelve-Step Program and a Higher Power.

With much sympathy, Bill, you are truly assuming too much.  I am sorry that you are so far from everybody and you rely on second or third hand information.  Use these thoughts for a manuscript that truly IS fiction so that we can all enjoy it together.  I'll show you what I mean.  Down here you write,

wleckie wrote:

If our redeemers came up with a revised tradition, an Athorized Version, as it were, it wouldn’t be one such as the excellent pedigrees of Maestro Evangelista or Maitre Crown or Maestro Gaugler and his students, including Maestro Lurz.  They haven’t the equipment to do it.  The work involved would be overwhelming as critical scholarship.  It would mean the hard chore of responding to critical discussion when egos alas are always on the line. Philosophically and historically, it'd be a three-dollar bill anyhow.The call is for masters, but from a position that SEEMS to me to be critical of those masters' accomplishments.  In the context of estblished tradition and curriculum, to boot. This is not personal, I’m not assaulting anyone's self-esteem.

You have invented this "redeemer" antagonist and his quest for a "revised tradition".  From where?  Where does this idea come from, Bill???

wleckie wrote:

We already have a tradition and foundational curriculum. It is a collective and continuous authority, which may not be palpable, evident, to those who are unsatisfied today. The actual question, "Who else  would YOU put in charge?" suggests the current masters are not in control of their own discipline.  To deny an implicit challenge to their authority seems disingenuous to me, but then,  I have been admonished that I don't get it.  Fair enough.  Maybe I don't.  But that's unlikely.

This much has been said already by everyone.  We want the tradition to take center stage.  We want the current masters of our tradition, representing as they do the beautiful variety of interpretation, to guide us and any organisation we may form to enable our practice to continue through 1) the curriculum and 2) the use of appropriate fencing equipment.  Right?

wleckie wrote:

I smell a revolt against tradition in its name.  It may be even an unwitting one, which is a shame. ( Boulangers' right-wing authoritarian romanticism, too, was such a revolt, but consciously so.) I hope I am wrong.

Uh, yeah. 

wleckie wrote:

I'm with Maestro Lurz, if I understand him: Let things develp naturally.

So is there something "unnatural" about getting fencing masters together at a table, face to face, and talking about these things?  Please tell me, Bill.  In the mean time, clear your sinuses, any revolts are well outside the fencing salle.

Last edited by Akilles (2006-09-26 14:13:58)


all conditioned things decay - seek liberation diligently

Offline

 

#11 2006-09-26 14:37:34

Akilles
Member
From: Saint Louis
Registered: 2006-06-06
Website

Re: Proposal for a Meeting of Professional Fencing Teachers & Masters, v.1

Maybe I can answer some of my own questions to Bill - and ask for his approval.  It appears as though his "problem with my problem of authority" rant may be due to this note I wrote in the original thread:

"The reason that the koryu ("classical" Japanese martial arts) have not been subject to this Americanisation is due precisely to the functional limitation of their availability.  You cannot walk into the strip mall Tracie's karate and take a class in Yagyu Shinkage Ryu.  The teacher of this school of ken - if there even is one in your area - is not going to advertise or even have a place to practice other thanhis own home or tucked away in a local park.  He will not charge an isntructional fee if you do find him.  And he is most likely not going to take you as his student for the first 8 years you know him.  He is also not going to have more than 2 students - usually only one.  And the demands are severe and 100% voluntary.  Thats how the koryu are surviving intact in foreign soil.  Fencing is ubiquitous and its getting very silly.  The reigns need to be tightened."

Is that true, Bill?  If it is not, then I will need more help understanding what you are saying and why.  If it is, then let me explain so you don't have to assume.

In the last 6 years the number of fencing clubs in St Louis has doubled.  Hollywood movies and local demos at festivals have increased public awareness and access to fencing.  To a degree not seen before.  The last energetic fencing fad occured here in St Louis around 1986-87.  Consequently, there are more clubs, fencers, instructors/coaches than ever before.  Additionally, the average Joe on the street actually has some kind of opinion about fencing - an opinion he wouldn't have had 6-7 years ago.

In the race to set up shop and get the attention of local news organisations these clubs are setting up everywhere: from the YMCA, elementary and secondary schools (through continuing education programs), community colleges, churches, etc.  One of these coaches rotates through about 4-5 different locations through the week.  Which is why I made the analogy to Tracies Karate.  For the non-St Louisans on the list, Tracies Karate is the McDonalds version of oriental martial arts.  I think we all have a working understanding of what that means.  Well, my argument is that this is precisely what is happening to fencing.  It is getting watered down and branded.

I remain critical of the National workshops held on large scales because I think it is contributing to the McDonaldisation of fencing. Joe goes to a workshop and comes back to teach German Longsword.  In fact, there is a local guy doing that.  There is another who advertises one of his "credentials" as having taken a cyber course with Maitre Crown. The problem is, when you go to his club, when he and his students fence they are strapping kneepads on and sliding around the floor at each other.  I am sure that Maitre Crown did not teach floor foil jousting - but nobody else here knows that.

This is the phenomenon that needs to be examined and curbed.  It is a good indicator of why we _may_ need levels of accreditation and review by a set of standards or goals - specifically when individual fencers are far from consistant, professional instruction.

I am sorry you misread this as an attack on the fencing masters or our tradition.  I don't see how you did, but, there we are.

Last edited by Akilles (2006-09-26 14:40:33)


all conditioned things decay - seek liberation diligently

Offline

 

#12 2006-09-26 14:39:34

wleckie
Member
From: Soest, Germany
Registered: 2006-06-24
Website

Re: Proposal for a Meeting of Professional Fencing Teachers & Masters, v.1

Briefly, by my standards, since I weary of this and said I wouldn’t write again, and I just gave a very long private lesson: Thank you for the clarifications, though it’s chronic lung disease not sinusitis.  I don’t even mind the barbs but appreciate them.  I'm flattered you took the trouble to respond at all.  Floored you went to such lengths.  I see no point in continuing a discussion that will go nowehere.

I’m sure we’re not on the same page, but won’t open the book again, and that, however, is fine with me.  If we were on the same page, I’d be disappointed anyway or I would be contradicting myself. If you didn’t respond strongly I’d be disappointed, too.  Not that I’m baiting you; we don’t need weak sisters [political incorrectness alert!] at the moment, either in fencing or in public life.  One should never engage an opponent one does not even grudgingly respect.

Part of our conflict David, frankly, may result from the uncomfortable possibility we may be more similar than either one of us would care to admit.  Don’t gag and scream—I wrote “uncomfortable possibility.” That’s despite all the stark contrasts it’d be gratuitous to list. Neither one of us is exactly a shrinking violet.  Both of us can come across to others as arrogant as hell, and, hell, when I get a grip, I know the others are right. We're both top-notch bullshit artists when we want to be, and we have the con man's gift --not the sociopath's, we pinch ourselves and know the game--of believing ourselves when we bullshit.   I suspect more than a few think we’re more than slightly crazy. We both, at the very least, feel a sense of mission—that’s putting it mildly-- when it comes to traditional fencing, and I’ve been chided, rightly or wrongly, for the genuine ferocity with which I’ve defended my beginners here in Soest. 

I denounce you as an elitist in the rhetoric of elitist.  I chuckled when I smugly felt you fell my Angelo ploy.  Uh...on that score, we could be evil twins, if nobody actually saw us. I will only admit you're better-looking than I am. I too have been encouraged to do the certification thing, believe it or not.  (I don’t have your physical gifts; I just worked obsessively and hard.) From a deceptively different perspective, however, at least for now I focus on preparing my really serious beginners to do so, and their training incorporates as an objective their attending AAI when they are ready. You look for a noble band of training partners, I look for my students to make a mark.  Our “philosophical” attitudes toward fencing are actually a matter of radical difference that makes us as people alike, despite the fact that I can say with certainty we both each think the other is irrational:  We actually are playing little philosopher-king and philosophe.  If you can look in a mirror and deny that, you have more gall than I, and that’s saying a lot.

I'm loyal and attentive to Maestro Evangelista and his teaching, you were not. I insist on the values of the Enlightenment, which he does, too, though with his own take from which I have learned, even as I criticize the Enlightenment.  I do not think you do.  I think you embrace ideas that gained currency as reactions to the Enlightenment, and I abhor them, and what's more I think they account for what I read as blitheness with inconsistency too glaring even to select and list from.  I let you write, that's enough, then use you as an occasion to jam and riff on my favorite themes.

To elide the personal, that philosophical difference alone is like potassium and water.  This can be a healthy thing.  Sure, I’m suspicious.  Somebody better be.   Sure I think you blithely contradict yourself and you think you’re being consistent while you do.  You think the same of me in your way. Neither one of us will ever roll over and play dead.  We’ll never agree, David.  That is not a bad thing.  It's the broader impact that counts. Neither one of us is exactly easy to bear, but we stir the pot.  And maybe, just maybe, we’ll differ in ways that prompt us—even as we annoy each other, maybe even occasionally because we annoy each other—to make a more substantive contribution to something both of us clearly love. Neither friends nor enemies can question that in us. And in that, pal, we're allies, like it or not.

Bill

Last edited by wleckie (2006-09-26 15:38:52)


Klassisches Fechten Soest

Offline

 

#13 2006-09-26 16:12:44

Akilles
Member
From: Saint Louis
Registered: 2006-06-06
Website

Re: Proposal for a Meeting of Professional Fencing Teachers & Masters, v.1

wleckie wrote:

I'm loyal and attentive to Maestro Evangelista and his teaching, you were not.

This is inaccurate and shows an utter contempt for the truth.  This is not a philosophical disagreement, its closer to libel.  I'm not sure how you have elevated the discussion with these tactics.  But thanks for "letting me write" anyway.  In the same spirit I'll let you fence.

Last edited by Akilles (2006-09-26 16:14:40)


all conditioned things decay - seek liberation diligently

Offline

 

#14 2006-09-26 19:15:23

Linda Wyatt
Prevost d'Armes
From: Danby NY
Registered: 2006-03-26
Website

Re: Proposal for a Meeting of Professional Fencing Teachers & Masters, v.1

This thread has clearly become personal rather than productive, and as such, is no longer appropriate for this forum.

Take it private, guys.

Thanks.

Linda

Offline

 

Board footer

Powered by PunBB
© Copyright 2002–2005 Rickard Andersson