Recruitment and Retention: because it is illegal and ineffective to kidnap people and make them fence me.   10 comments

So at Master Wistric’s elevation I spoke with him about my time thus far as a Gleann Abhann rapier fighter. My sentiments were something along the line of “Well the events are very far away… blah blah blah when I do make it to events the rapier fighters only fight for a little bit and in a very similar tourney styles… blah blah blah (more whining about how I want there to be a gazillion rapier fighters that live in my apartment complex). Newly made and swaged to the max Master Wistric’s response was something along the lines of “Quit your whining you aren’t a baby or even that new of a fencer (I’m sure the words were significantly meaner and most likely had some profanity) and actively MAKE the community what you want it to be”

So with emphasis on making the community I want, I began pondering the best approach. This required examining my assets and detriments as a fencer, organizer, and person in general.  External drivers that cause people to stop fencing such as school, work, family are outside of my control so I don’t really want to focus on them.  Instead I want to focus on things I can control thus the assets and weaknesses list (Admittedly there are somethings outside of my control on both lists but I think these are the biggest things effecting recruitment and retention in my area)

  • Goal
    • Grow both local and kingdom wide fencing community (hopefully with a more diverse group)
  • Assets
    • In college- comes with access to many young individuals looking for hobbies, also access to modern fencing clubs,  gym spaces, etc
    • Passion and the passion to share my knowledge
    • super informal practice- pretty much just mask gloves gorget (Helps keep initial costs down)
    • Not the worst fencer in the world- I may not be top tier, but I am definitely working my way there and can at the very least teach basic fundamentals
    • pretty much willing to fight anyone any time anywhere/ not afraid of letting a new fighter learn their limits with me as the pin cushion
    • Experience doing the SCA on the cheap ( link this to recruiting college students)
    • As far as fencers go I don’t feel I have a huge ego and  can examine this objectively
  • Weaknesses
    • Often too intense/ abrasive for some people
    • Can throw too much info at new fighters
    • Occasionally present negative or dismissive attitude towards things, people, rules I don’t like or see as out dated
    • Irregular schedule due to school
    • Often disorganized
    • Often don’t have more than one way (or ocassionally too many ways) of explaining something simple
    • I often have a challenging time teaching women (this is of course not ubiquitous, but I’ve noticed that in fencing and in teaching Tang Soo Do I am often either too intense or my teaching style doesn’t seem to be the most effective manner in conveying information)
    • I often make reference to Atlantean customs which does sometimes does not seem received well (often includes the phrase ” when I was X we did Y”)

Now in the past I have successfully recruited and contributed to the retention of rapier fighters (Torse and Cailin in Atlantia) and two strip fencers in Gleann Abhann and 1 crossover from heavy.    All of the people I recruited already liked fencing or the SCA (in the case of the heavy crossover) so it really was as easy as ” Hey wanna fence with these bigger swords, ohh and you get to use your off hand”  and they were all like “HELLS YEAH”.   So there wasn’t much work on my end other then showing up and fencing.  Yet, these resources for fencers have been thoroughly taped out and the community always had room for growth.

I have some specific questions I would like to mull around with all the readers of this board.

1.  What techniques have you used to specifically recruit and retain new rapier fighters from outside the SCA?

2. What are some techniques/ ideas to get heavy cross overs to fencing? (Don’t say introduce them to C&T we know that is a possible solution, but I’m not sure if I see C&T heavy cross overs jumping on the rapier boat)

3.  How do you approach  recruitment for diverse groups of people?

4. How do you approach your weaknesses in the realm of recruitment and retention and work towards reducing or even eliminating those problems? (If you have any advice on overcoming some of my personally listed weaknesses please feel free to share)

5. How do you keep things interesting for a variety of beginner level fighters

6. Looking at what I’m working with what assets do you think would result in the best recruitment and retention and which weaknesses should be top priority for adjustment

Thanks all for your input.

Miguel Mono De Hierro



Posted January 6, 2016 by miguel in Teaching and Training

10 responses to Recruitment and Retention: because it is illegal and ineffective to kidnap people and make them fence me.

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