Not the art/concept itself. I love that people are resurrecting centuries old techniques. I love that they test them in sparring matches that they spend hours checking translations and images trying to get it perfect, knowing they probably never will. That’s awesome and I hope someday to participate in that work myself in some small way. That’s all great. But I’m tired of some members of the community giving a self righteous dismissal to any other attempt at enjoying Western Sword Play, looking down their nose’s at the rest of us because theirs is the one true way.
I’m tired of HEMA people telling me my sports are a bunch of untrained morons, when I’m in the gym training multiple hours 6 days a week. I hate them talking about a lack of technique when I’m working on the pell for a minimum half hour a day, sometimes past the point my hands blister. I hate the talk that we don’t study when I watch video of fighters in my sport and break them down, talk with the guys who’ve been playing the game for decades about strategy and technique. And you know what? I even read the damn fight books, not that should matter. Just because wisdom didn’t come from a master 400+ years dead doesn’t mean it’s not valuable.
Here’s the thing. None of us, SCA, ACL, Boffer games, Olympic Fencing, HEMA, or any other org has the one true way. None of us are fighting with real sharp swords with the intent to injure or kill. Even these crazy fuckers aren’t doing the real thing.
There’s always a level of abstraction. Something taken in account, whether for safety or fun. We can’t even claim it’s for self defense the way a Kung Fu, Jiu-Jitsu, or other unarmed martial artist can because when are we ever going to have swords? In the end we’re all just people who thought sword fighting was cool and were dumb enough to try it in some form. We all pick our level of dumb, how extreme we want to go, what we want to focus on. And no form is objectively better than the other. To quote a Larper, it’s all just dork battle. To the rest of the world we’re all nerds and there isn’t really a substantial difference between doing it in armor as hard as possible to fighting with foam weapons and tapping lightly. Anyone who takes there form of Weapon combat in a European tradition seriously, as in trains, researches, studies, should be encouraged in their pursuit.
Yeah, I’m basically just saying we should all just get along. It may be hippy bullshit but it’s damn good advice. We’re far more similar than we are different. And I know it’s not just the HEMA guys. ACL and SCA shit on HEMA, LARP, and each other all the time. I’m sure LARP guys shit on the rest of us. It’s stupid. Don’t hate on another persons sport because it has different values than yours. If you aren’t going to try and understand it, than just ignore it. Stop trying to talk about how terrible it and how much better your form is, because you inevitably sound ignorant to everyone outside your echo chamber.
In the end I know this won’t stop keyboard warriors people will always hate, but before you try to talk shit next time, why don’t you get out there and try the other persons game. You might find that out somethings you didn’t expect.