Practice in a Nutshell
Type of Practice: Dueling
After lessons for Students and either a dueling challenge or open workshop for Swordsmen, our amazing Lieutenants, who are pulling back to back duty here, will lead us through dueling-focused activities.
- Newcomers: As Needed
- Initiates: Draw & Tip Cuts
- Novices: Fighting with a Disability
- Swordsmen: Dueling Challenge or Open Workshop
It’s August, time to bring in your five dollars. Thank you for supporting our company and keeping us going.
Fight of the Tabard
Alright, for reals this time we are doing a Fight of the Tabard. Bring yours.
You need a partner or group to work with on this one and it is all about dominating in the tangle. Pay attention during Opening Announcements for more details.
SHASy Month has Begun
This week our Company Scarves will be worn by:
- Safety – Veron
- Honor – Blaise
- Attitude – Evanlyn
- Skill – Velkahana
In my opinion, there are depths to this level of importance that no article can discover. It is also the least easy to define, and the most subjective. It’s extremely hard to quantify but is somehow universally understood. In short, Attitude is a delightful, plain-faced, mystery, but we all get it.
While that is fascinating to ponder on, I personally thrive on a purposeful discussion. After I’ve talked about something, I then want to become or do something. So I’m going to talk about attitude from that perspective using three characters from books. I’m an unrepentant book lover. (I love suggestions.) This is the hope that we can become or do specific things that will improve our Attitudes on and off the field.
In my previous article on the subject, I layered Attitude into three broad categories. Internal, External, and Influential. Read that for further understanding. Each highlighted character will exemplify one of these levels.
Matthias – Internal Attitude
Matthias is a supporting character from Endurance, by AC Spahn. This is a wacky, sci-fi, comedy, romp through space, with some pretty sweet characters and a great ending. Clean too which is hard to find in sci-fi. Matthias is an exceptional engineer and has to overcome devastating tech issues and life-threatening developments. His personal catchphrase is ‘be a duck, quack, quack.’ Without spoiling anything, this phrase is something his parents taught him. Ducks can’t control the weather, so when it rains they let the water roll off their backs. The point being that when Matthias can’t control his circumstances, he can control how he thought internally. Let go of the bad. They told him to ‘be like a duck, quack quack.’ Throughout the book, he chooses to be calm in desperate circumstances, cheerful when all others despair, and somehow he manages to keep working even when all hope seems lost. All the while he chants ‘be a duck, quack quack.’ I absolutely adore him. His quiet internal strength makes all the difference, for good.
We often can’t control our environment, on or off the field. We can control how we think internally though. We can let the disquieting, depressing, and distracting, roll off us. We can keep striving to become better fencers and better people. But it begins Internally. As I have tried to be like Matthias, letting the difficulties roll-off, focusing on the positive, I have become a stronger person. I have become a better fencer. It’s one of those deep, subjective, hard to quantify things, but for me, being like a duck, quack quack, makes it easier to get out on the field and put in the practice. I get better. I can’t control everything but I can control my attitude internally. I can be like a duck, quack quack.
Duck – External Attitude
Duck is the protagonist from David Shannon’s Duck on a Bike. Yes, this is another duck. A literal duck. And no, I am not kidding. This is a children’s book. Children’s literature is absolutely fantastic! You can learn any principle central to success, and happiness in kids’ books. They are wonderful primers for dealing with real life. I’m super passionate about this, just ask me about communist fish. Anyway, Duck had a wild idea that he could ride a bike. So he tried it. At first, he wasn’t very good, but as he worked at it, he got better. He went out and manifested his dream. I love Duck!
As our feathered friend rode through the barnyard he waved at each animal, and greeted them by name, then rode on. Though Duck is not, we the reader are privy to each animal’s thoughts. The dismissive, doubtful, excited, worried, envious, and supportive. What I find remarkable about Duck’s attitude is that he is out there bravely manifesting his internal attitude, regardless. He shows, by his actions, his hopeful positivity. He didn’t set out to change anyone’s mind, he just wanted to do and become something better. David Shannon didn’t give us Duck’s internal thoughts, but I imagine he could have been scared to try something new. Maybe he was worried about falling or failing. He might have been concerned with what the other animals would think, but he didn’t let it stop him. he chose instead to exude hope, confidence, and a willingness to try.
It is impossible to be positive all the time. I certainly am not. I’m not even suggesting that you fake that. What I am saying is that we can be like Duck. We may have those doubts and negativities, but we can choose what we manifest externally. This is a big one at fencing. I hear so many detrimental attitudes that most people don’t even recognize as destructive. Someone asks ‘how are you?’ and the response is very ho-hum, ‘I’m alive.’ Well good, I’m glad. But that attitude that you’re manifesting is going to kill your fencing this week. Figuratively and literally. Guaranteed. Then there is the exchange of, ‘try this with your fencing’ and the response is ‘I can’t.’ Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re probably right. And for me the ultimate killer, that upsets me more than any other is, ‘I’m tired.’ Yep. You are. We all are. We live in a universe, in a world, where nearly everything is trying to kill us from cosmic rays to falling vending machines, plagues and famines, cancer, and social obligations. Sleep is ever elusive. Time is forever short, and literally getting shorter with every second. We all have too much to do, and too few resources with which to do it. We are all tired. I know. But you can choose to manifest your love of fencing instead. You can choose to manifest your willingness to help someone in need instead. You can choose to manifest the better part, both on and off the field, instead.
I find it to be one of those deep, subjective, and hard to quantify things, but I know that when I manifest the better part of my internal attitude externally, invariably the circumstances surrounding me improve. On and off the field I do better and I become a better person.
Anne – Influential Attitude
Anne of Green Gables, by LM Montgomery. This is the Anne from the books, not that weird new show. That Anne is terrible. To me, Anne of Green Gables is the quintessential example of using your attitude to influence the world for the better. I wish everyone in the world could have a friend like Anne. I want to be like Anne. You should read these books. At least the first one.
Anne an orphan, comes out of obscurity, and poverty into the wonderful, beautiful world of Prince Edward Island, and into the home of a brother and sister Mathew and Marilla Cuthburt. She has had ‘no bringing up,’ and is consequently forever falling into troubles. With the help and love of the Cuthburts, the books chronicle Anne’s stories and her escape from the upsetting, awkward, frustrating, and sometimes dangerous. All through them, the reader is treated to the beautifully positive, internal thoughts of Anne. We see her bravely manifesting those thoughts in her actions. But, maybe most importantly, she spreads her quirky brand of positivity literally everywhere she goes. She is quite adventurous and talkative, so that influence is far and wide. This is what she says of herself:
I’d like to add some beauty to life. I don’t exactly want to make people know more, though I know that is the noblest ambition, but I’d love to make them have a pleasanter time because of me, to have some little joy or happy thought that would never have existed If I hadn’t been bornAnne
As Swordsman, as fencers, we have influential attitudes. Whether we want to or not. We influence each other, our families, friends, co-workers, and communities. It’s up to us if those attitudes are for good or ill. For my part, I’d rather be like Anne. Both on and off the field. I encourage you to do the same. By spreading our own positive, quirky, brand of positivity we can make the world a better place. And we can be better fencers too.
Thank you for reading. I hope this helps you on your fencing journey. Be SHASy…. quack, quack.