Does Pedagogy Matter?

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Re: Does Pedagogy Matter?

Postby Cosmoline » 02 Oct 2015 17:44

Our whole concept of a competitive tournament is rooted in 19th century amateur sports. From the protective gear to the scoring and concepts of ranking and fair play. So what HEMA is, in a sense, is taking bits and pieces from medieval and Renaissance manuscripts and filtering them through a modern sieve. Those parts which don't find a place in the HEMA sport include:

--sharp blades, which were used in period
--fencing without protection, which was done in period
--acceptance of serious injury potential including death
--the goal of killing someone aggressively before he could kill you
--the goal of finding God's hidden truth by fighting another person to the death
--the goal of fighting in pitched combat on the battlefield
--the goal of maintaining your personal position in a brutal caste system that used violence in day-to-day life.
etc. etc.

So what you end up with is going to be of limited help in assessing the sources. But that doesn't mean that full speed sparring with intent is useless. I just think we need to make a concerted effort to remove as much Victorian era amateur sporting norms as possible. From the concept of matched bouts to the whole idea of scoring points. All of that is anachronistic. Yes they had tournaments in the middle ages, but they bore very little resemblance to what we see in HEMA tournaments.
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Re: Does Pedagogy Matter?

Postby Mink » 02 Oct 2015 19:28

That is true of all modern practice though, not just tournaments. Modern practice has to be legally and socially acceptable in the modern context. No one is training exactly like they used to, with the same methods, risks and rewards. For example we know that the fencing mask was invented because of the high occurence of face wounds and kills in training, something that cannot (and should not) be replicated today. We can ditch the fencing mask, but while doing so we remain constrained by the modern acceptability of such wounds, and are not therefore true to the old ways either. Focusing solely on the gear distorts the intensity, and focusing on intensity distorts the gear.

The idea of triangulation is that by having a variety of modern training contexts focusing on different aspects, we can get a closer idea of what they experienced in training and fighting, neither being possible today.

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Re: Does Pedagogy Matter?

Postby Cosmoline » 02 Oct 2015 21:51

But is triangulation really the goal with modern HEMA tournaments? Or is the goal taking home prizes and beating the other guy within the distinctly modern rules? I'm not convinced the existence of a tournament circuit is harmless, anyway. The creation of modern rules and "best practices" has already started to infect non-tournament events. This years WMAW came complete with an extensive and pretty absurd list of rules and regs for freeplay and sparring. These were of course ignored by pretty much everyone, because they were apparently cut-n-pasted from some competitive event and even referred to "padded weapons." But I know enough about how insurance works in this country anyway to know that once that sort of thing starts, it's only going to get worse and more pervasive. And it won't be long before we're all being forced into heavy sparring gear out of a truly misguided effort to turn historical swordplay into a modern sport. Heck, Combatcon even requires heavy gloves for the buckler hand, and limits swords to dinky plastic models. And of course you have the increasing power of sporting-type organizations that regulate how we do swordplay and get liability coverage for folks through membership. Once historic swordplay is defined in a certain way within the norms of modern sport and its obsessive/compulsive fixation on safety equipment, the kind of thing we do will be increasingly difficult. That's what worries me.

But I'm getting OT here, sorry.
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Re: Does Pedagogy Matter?

Postby ChrisBear » 06 Oct 2015 10:59

Herbert wrote:But I enjoyed the discussion and I think these discussions are a positive part of our culture.

Me too, and I've learned a lot

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