Event Ideals (fighting)

Robert G. Ferrell rferrell at bga.com
Wed Jul 12 17:10:55 PDT 1995

>>Kein MacEwan writes:
>(lots of snipping)
>>I have a plea to tournament organizers. Please remember to allow 
>>fighters to practice their art, as well as their showmanship.
>>I have dropped out of tournaments because the tourney organisers 
>>(nonfighters) were trying to make it more interesting for the audience. 
>>This usually makes it hard or impossible to display my art, sometimes 
>>silly and demeaning.
>Could you (or any other fighter reading this list) give more concrete 
>examples of both of these statements? As a non-fighter, I don't know 
>exactly what a fighter might deem as silly or demeaning, which I might 
>think sounded fun.
>Personally I would like to see more ransom tourneys or passage at arms 
>(I've only read about this one). I find double- & single-elimination and 
>swiss-type tourneys *really* boring to watch. These types of tourneys 
>make an emphasis on a "winner", when in my opinion, there should not 
>necessarily be "a winner".
>Estrill Swet
>dssweet at okway.okstate.edu
Well, here's my comment...
     Demeaning denotes anything the audience or organizers ask us to do that
has nothing to do with the art form that we try to practice on the field.
An example is asking fighters to use such implements as diapers or fruit as
weapons.  In specially-organized circumstances (such as Courts of Love and
so on), these things can be fun and period as well.  But at normal tourneys,
as boring as it may seem to some spectators, swords, shields, polearms, and
such are the only appropriate weapons.  We are trying to recreate wars and
the exercises by which military skills were maintained and honed, for Pete's
sake.  You wouldn't ask a weaver to make a rug from spaghetti and enter it
in a serious Arts and Sciences competition, would you?  (I hope not).  Like
it or not, the chief occupation throughout the middle ages was war.  If you
make fun of that, or in any way try to make it generally more whimsical, you
get further and further away from ever glimpsing what life was actually like
then.  If you've ever had a "medieval moment," you'll know that the apparent
boredom is well worth it.  If you really find tourneys boring (and I'm not
saying that I don't), try to do something about it, like wagering on the
outcomes or "close captioning" the bouts ("My lord squire, that's quite a
flourishing ecosystem you have growing on your kidney belt."  "Indeed, Sir
Knight...thank you for your kind observation, and for your equally
thoughtful efforts to alleviate this condition.  I don't believe it will
return for some time." 
     Additionally, try not to fall victim to the 'let's have a tourney where
we pile all the armor and weapons up in the middle and make the fighters
scramble for them' syndrome.  It leads not to hilarity but to chaos and,
finally, a lot of sweaty, aggrieved fighters who will remember the combat
organizer's name forever, even if they forget their own after a serious head
trauma.  Variety is the spice of life, but spice is not an ingredient in


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