[Ansteorra] A&S issues

Brian Martin BMartin at Corp.Prodigy.com
Wed Aug 28 07:26:08 PDT 2002

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Lady Gerita made some comments regarding A&S, competitions and judging upon
which I'd like to comment. While all of Gerita's comments are below, I've
paraphrased and then followed them with my thoughts.

Gerita stated that she feels that even though she isn't interested in
competition, she must compete in order for people to know that she teaches.
She also stated that she wants feedback but doesn't receive it on the
judging forms.

Pendaran: I'll be honest and say that I don't understand the link between
entering competitions and people knowing that you teach classes. Still, if
you don't want to compete, there must surely be some other way to get the
word out about your classes than entering a competition. Perhaps you could
display your work rather than compete with it. What I mean is, you could set
your work out at a competition with a sign that reads "Display Only - Not
For Competition". Along with that sign, you could provide commentary sheets
and ask those who come by for comments and critiques.

I also don't understand the assertion of current judges not offering
constructive comments. I have been competed in nine A&S and bardic
competitions in the last year, and have received excellent feedback in all
of them. In fact, had it not been for the constructive criticism that I
received from two Mistresses of the Laurel the first time that I entered
poetry in a static competition, I might never have competed in such a venue
again. Long story short: my display and documentation were pretty awful, but
Mistresses Charla and Corrine gave me very good feedback about how to
improve them both. Their praise of what I had done well and constructive
criticism of what I had done poorly encouraged me to continue to enter
poetry in static competitions. That was the first time that I entered, and I
have received very good feedback every time that I have entered. I don't
know, maybe I'm lucky. Have you tried asking the judges for your judging
sheet or for feedback?

Gerita feels that fighting is dominating things to the point that A&S is
getting squeezed out:

Pendaran: Being both a knight and an active participant in A&S, I don't know
if I have an advantage or a disadvantage in this topic of discussion. I must
admit that I was puzzled about there being a pas d'arms at Steppes Artisan.
I don't think that it was a bad thing, I was just puzzled by it. I think
that perhaps having fighting at A&S events is more to give the fighters
something to do while their SO's participate in A&S than it is to drum up
interest in the event. I can remember there being fighting at A&S events 16
years ago, so this isn't a new thing. Also, having seen the turn out in both
numbers and excellence at the pre-Gulf War competition, I don't think that
the arts are disappearing in the kingdom. I don't know what things are like
in Gerita's group, but I do know that interest in various activities does
tend to ebb and flow. Perhaps the arts are in an ebb in her group right now.

Having said all of that, I do think that we used to see more fighters
entering A&S competitions than we do now. There are a few of us, but not
many. I'm thinking about making some participation in the arts a requirement
for my squires in the future. Perhaps we can get some discussion going on an
A&S list about how to promote the arts and get some more cross interest
going between arts and fighting.

Finally, I applaud Lady Gerita for sending her post. Respectfully and
politely written posts such as this are an excellent means of opening topics
of thought and creation of discussion. Such discussion often leads to knew
ideas and issue resolution. Oops, I'm starting to let corporate speak bleed
in. I'd better stop now before I start urging people to "think outside the
box" or something.


In this humble craftswoman's view, what you write is quite close to the
truth.  Had i known that telling a Peer one's views was appropriate, i could
have written much of your letter to you months ago.
I have entered all of three A&S competitions in the 16 months i have been in
Ansteorra.  I've also taught at least 4 times.  I love to teach.  Others are
most welcome to my spot in the competitions, except for one tiny problem:
If i don't exhibit, then how do folks know that i also teach?  I feel
trapped into entering competitions that i really have little interest in.
This is made all the more so by the current habit of judges not offering
constructive comments, either in person or on judging forms (i have yet to
get even one back!).
I see the dichotomy as between Heavy List fighting and A&S.  Here in
Ansteorra, it is becoming the 'rule' that all events, including those
judging titled A&S competitions, must have fighting of some sort.
Otherwise, no one wants to attend.  Recently, i stepped down from a MOAS
position, largely due to frustration.  It was durn near impossible to drum
up Any interest in the Crafts of our period among a population mostly
dedicated to Heavy List fighting. (Don't they know the armor they just spent
weeks and months making is a Craft, and as such has merit at exhibits and
Since i send this to an open forum, let me hasten to state that i,
personally, enjoy watching the Lists.  I'm learning to be a List Mistress,
just for that reason.  I'm just really concerned that folks seem to be
separating into little interest-camps, with list fighters ruling the entire
My ultimate goal in the SCA is to learn all i can, and since teaching is
naught but learning twice, I will share 'my' gleanings with any who wish to
acquire them (or civilly debate my ideas).

Lady Gerita della Mara

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