Not-so-Newbie Question of the Week   4 comments

Greetings again from sunny Bjornsborg, Ansteorra, where the winter chill and holiday madness have receded enough to once more  make stabbing a delightful addition to my weekly schedule. I missed my armful of bruises, I did.

I am happy to report that there have been quite a few new fencers at practice down here, three of whom are female. The Barony has been doing an excellent job of making all of the new fighters welcome, but I must admit that I  have taken a special interest in the women. I’ll worry about whether or not that makes me sexist later. As a female fighter, I consider it my special duty to make fighting fun and accessible to other women, so that someday they will make it fun and accessible for still other women. I believe I generally have an advantage in this over most men simply because women tend to feel  less intimidated with other women than with men, even when men are trying their best not to be intimidating. I imagine there are all sorts of psychological and physiological reasons for this which we can speculate on at some later point when we all feel like arguing.

Just to make my position on female ability in fencing clear:

I believe any difference between  “women’s fighting” and  “men’s fighting” in the art of rapier is purely mental in origin.  Where greater strength is not necessary for victory, the physical differences between the genders become moot.

But yes, I am not intimidating to women. I tend to make them giggle a lot. Giggling means they are having fun, and if they are having fun while I am doing my best to share my knowledge (like a good Scholar should), then I’m doing something right.

Now, to the question:

I have noticed in some teaching situations the tendency of fencers to join in and start providing additional advice without prompting. I have witnessed this both as the student and as the teacher.  In my experience, this seems to be a male character trait more than a female.  That, of course, could simply be a sampling error: I am seldom in a situation where there are gobs of female fencers around. With the “Gender Issues” round table at University coming up, I started thinking about this and was wondering: Do other fencers see this urge to add or correct as a gender-isolated behavior?  Does the gender of the student or the person teaching affect the frequency of the behavior?

I’m eager to hear what you all think. It’s been great reading the discussions that have been taking place here. I’m grateful to all of you who share your insights, and to Wistric for providing such a nice medium for the message.

Posted January 28, 2010 by Dreya in Newbie Question of the Week

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