Would you fight if there was no melee?   Leave a comment

A while back, Caelia asked me this, and I’ve been putting some thought into it.

The easy answer is yes, I would.  I don’t think I’d seek out tourneys any more than I do now, but I love fighting.  Nothing else could get me to stand around in the cold for three hours freezing my gnards off.  What gets me to a non-melee event is “Hey, there’ll be a whole bunch of great fighters there,” not the chance to win a tourney.  If there happens to be a tourney, great, I’ll fight it.  Yes, of course, “self-improvement”, “great friends”, and all that wonderful stuff, too.  But if I take Stabby McStabberson out of his dark and cold lair and we drive four hours on a Saturday morning to BFVA, it’s ‘cause somebody’s there I want  to kill.

Were the question re-stated, though, to “Would I fight if there had never been melee?” I think the answer would be no.  I probably would have pursued aikido more than I have, and maybe taken up kendo, too.

When I was a strip fencer, and the only activity available was tourney fighting, I could never really get pumped about it.  It was fun to go to practice and fight a bit, but I fought in one tourney, did poorly, was miserable, and swore off that shit ever again.  I started an earlier draft of this with “I’m just not that interested in competitition.”  But that’s total bullshit.  I love me the fuck out of some competition.  The problem is I’m a shit-tacular loser.  It makes me cranky, so I try not to do it.  So when I did start fighting in the SCA, I avoided entering a tourney for a year and a half.  I fought every melee I could, but managed to avoid tourneys like the plague.  Finally, I was at a local event, the field was only about 16 fencers, and the tourney format (Triple Elim Progressive Weapon) sounded interesting, so I entered it, and managed to get to the finals (where Alejandro made sure I didn’t get too cocky).  I’ve often wondered how I would have responded if I’d been out in 3, but have the great fortune not to be forced to confront my personality in that much honest detail.

All of this thinking about Wonder Years Wistric has led me to think about my usual attitude towards my students: “Authorize Ymir so you can fight in the tourney!”  I wonder if I’m setting up some other Proto Wistric to be miserable.  So, new policy: Go to Ymir, fight pickups, and if you want to enter the tourney, good on ya!

So that’s my little slize of the world managed, now to fix the rest: Roz muses often about how most newbs love melee much more than tourneys, because they get to kill a bunch and can forget about how often they had to go rez.  If we didn’t have melee (as some kingdoms may or may not) would those newbs find the same sort of motivation and fire in the bellies that most of us have had the good fortune to find?

There’s an attitude, more common in armored than in rapier, but not unheard of here, that melee should be a secondary consideration, if it has to be considered at all.  Instead, the fighter from the first time they put on a helm should be inspired entirely by the attempt to master his form.  In my case, and most others’ I expect, that would have dumped a whole crap load of water on the little spark of fencing glee, and the SCA would be short a Wistric (and everybody else who was once a melee-thirsty newb).  But then it does fall to teachers to drag their students, kicking and screaming, away from the “I just want to have fun” mindset to “kick ass and take names, ’cause it’s fun.”

So, Caelia, kick ass and take names, and fight in a tourney when you feel ready.

Posted January 11, 2010 by wistric in Musings

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