So, Saturday, I helped Chris give his German longsword seminar at University of Mary Washington. It was an all-afternoon affair, from like, 1300 to 1700. So we did get some training time in.
All-in-all it was fun, and I think I had met or seen all but one of the participants before, from Fencing Club. Everyone was pretty zonked by the time we were done, but it was a satisfied exhaustion that comes from a long session of doing what you really like doing.
One of the nice things about coaching/teaching, and this is something I learned long ago, is that it helps you actually learn and internalize what you’re learning yourself. So I almost never balk at an opportunity to give someone instruction if they request it. Whether at physical activities for play, or at work on the job.
And that’s one of the reasons I help out at Mary Wash. That–and I have the pleasure of volunteering my time to a good cause. An added bonus is it’s just cool to hang out with people who have some of the same interests.
Although I probably will never have the same level of interest in being a re-enactor in period dress as most of the people who are really into it (whether classical Roman, Barbarian, Medieval, Renaissance, Civil War, etc.). Not that there’s anything at all wrong with that, it’s just that I approach most of this stuff as a martial artist, rather than a re-enactor. And so that’s how I train.
And note–the warrior arts of Europe had thousands of years to develop, and are quite sophisticated and potent. The definite decline in the need to train the sword arts occurred in direct proportion to the increased use of firearms.
If anything, though, my personality is less about era, and more about type–the “swashbuckler.” So, whether that’s “pirate-y,” or maybe “Three Musketeers,” or Napoleonic-era Hussars, or, perhaps most like (of all things), Simon Templar (The Saint)–then I swing more to the idealized versions of the roguish but gallant knucklehead who loves to fight, but treasures human life. Who will treat a prostitute like a Lady, and a Lady like a prostitute. Who gets the mission done, but has fun on the way!
P.S. It perhaps should be noted that Simon Templar, too, was more about the “being” rather than the re-enacting of the idealized swashbuckler. The author specifically writes in one of the Saint stories that Templar didn’t feel the need to affect the actual costuming and speech patterns of the earlier times in order to live the life of the romantic swashbuckler. Rather, he simply chooses to follow his own strict moral code and sense of adventure, and never to bow to societal norms or the pressure to be “ordinary.”