[Bards] Topic: Comparisons

Gerald Norris jerryn at houston.rr.com
Thu Dec 14 07:24:05 PST 2006

At Stargate Yule a question was asked; why must the A&S and bardic champion
be announced as a "surprise" to the winner, while the martial community has
the "advantage" of knowing the winner at the end of the final round.

My answer was simply that we can't compare the two; they are oil and water.

As with oil and water, tournaments for arts and martial champions have some
things in common; there is a tournament, the style is usually chosen either
by the group representative or the former champion, and at the end a
champion emerges.  

But the biggest difference, in my opinion, is that of the ability to call a

Fighters are taught the pressure of a killing/disabling blow, and over time
can learn to tell the difference and call the shot.  During combat the
fighters are, in essence, critiquing their opponent's performance in a very
interactive manner.  While the option exists for someone to ignore a blow in
the heat of battle, the training helps to lower that level of "missed" calls
for most fighters.  

The same is almost impossible to do in the static and performing arts.  This
is partially true due to the fact that most of us tend to be our own worst
critic.  We, each of us, know all the flaws within a piece of work and,left
to our own devices, will consider the flaws the basis on which all of the
work is judged.  Fortunately we place the responsibility of the judgement on
third parties that will look past the flaw and, instead look at the work as
a whole and judge from that.  Both static and performance arts suffer from
this lack of subjective view.  Whether it is a crafted item or a honed
performance, these things that we offer up are very personal.  

The other issue is that of style; fighters can fight style on style, or
mixed style, and can train against these options with other fighters.  But
how do you train a bowyer to compete against stained glass, or a poet vs. a
singer?  After a lot of discussion, the end result is that you can't.  The
best you can come up with is a group of well-rounded judges who can try to
balance one type of art against another.  In the case of Kingdom A&S, it is
the subjective scoring of a piece, whether performance or static, that is
the deciding factor.

So why do I bring this up at all?  In the recent past I've heard/read
several questions that go something like, "Why can't the
bards/performers/artisans have nyah-nyah-nyah like the fighters do?"  My
take is that, for the most part, we can't, or rather, we shouldn't, for all
the reasons noted above.  I think that we, in the performance community,
need to come to consensus on this, so we can spend our efforts/resources
where they will give us the most benefit, rather than trying to make our
community exactly like any of the others.  

In service to the dream with a song in my heart, I am,
HL Gerald of Leesville
A bard of Stargate 

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