There are three quotes from influential people in my life, and two thoughts of my own I will share in this article.
An ancestor of mine said this: “The best we can do is the least we should do.” This doesn’t mean we are going to be perfect right away. It simply means that every time we do something we should give it our best effort. Including learning, executing and teaching fencing.
After watching me make a mess out of a sweeping job, my patient father lovingly taught me this, “If you’re going to do something, do it right.” This has been a hallmark admonition in my life. It has taught me to consider situations carefully, and to plan the execution of any project, big or small, with sensible care. I apply this in my study of fencing, always striving to do it right.
One of my favorite teachers quoted this to our class frequently, “Do it right the first time, so you don’t have to do it twice.” This taught me to take the time it takes to do something right the first time, because there might not be time to do it again a second time. It takes years to become a skilled fencer, but if we take the time it really takes to hone our skills correctly, we won’t have to waste time unlearning something we did poorly to begin with.
My first thought is this, that Skill is the drive. There are many reasons I love fencing, friends and camaraderie are predominant. But I actually love the Skill of fencing as well. For me Skill is the drive behind fencing. I like to fence because I want to get better. I like working on something, practicing it over and over trying to get it right. Perfecting the Skill is what keeps me coming back.
My second thought is, that Skill is what we are doing to embody the other Four Levels of Importance. Not that our level of Skill determines our Safety, Honor or Attitude. Rather the Skill of fencing is what we are doing to manifest them. It could just as easily be baking, stocking, church service, parenting, a desk job, or customer care. This is part of a Swordsman mentality. As a wife and mother I should do things skillfully to show that I’m Safe, Honorable and have a positive Attitude about life. This is being a Swordsman Wife and Mother. Being a friend, becomes being a Swordsman friend. In our jobs we become Swordsman employees. In our families we can be a Swordsman son or daughter, spouse, mother or father, grandparent, and grandchild. We can be Terrasylvan.
We can use our Skill to drive us forward in all that we are doing. Giving our best, doing things right the first time, exemplifies what it means to be Skillful. These are simple thoughts but they can be life changing. Inside or outside of Terrasylvae we should always strive to improve our Skill.