Why Be Fit?

Seems like a stupid question, doesn’t it? Why be fit? Why wouldn’t you want to be fit? Sometimes the answer that if given to that question is “because I want to be a better martial artist!” which implies that fitness is somehow a wasted expense, time shot sweating when you could instead be drilling on the minutiae of perfections that swordplay offers. I’m proud of my strength. I can stand next to a bodybuilder and know that her muscles were built lifting iron in rigid patterns, and my muscles were built solely by moving myself through space. My muscles show their usefulness in their shape. No roundness or bulges, but each muscle building into the thickness of the next. So I can perhaps see what people are thinking when they think they are better for spending all their free time drilling technical plays instead of working out. To me, they…

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Working with Assessments

Finished the first draft of our assessments over the weekend, and applied it to myself, Squeak and She-Hulk. We track thirty-six points of improvement, split over four categories. Each point is rated on a scale from 0-10, for a score range from 0-360. We consider a zero student to a be an average person with no interest or motivation, having their very first physical art class ever. A three-sixty student would be someone at the beginning level of being able to compete on a professional level in MMA, swordwork (if such a thing existed) and having the perfect fitness and mindset to go with that skill development. For professionals, we have a different scale. So running myself through the assessment, being assessed by my co-conspirators, the results were not unexpected. Harsh, but not unexpected. My martial skills reflect someone who has been training a very long time, but is not…

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Metrics and Assessment

Getting better is a nice feeling. It’s good to win more fights, it’s good to find techniques that were once awkward now flow easily. When you teach, you make students get better. Usually, improvement is noticeable to the student and the teacher both. Or at least, it feels like it is. The use of the “Master” title has come up a lot recently in online WMA/HEMA discussions. I’ve always stuck with a simple convention, the old saying I learned years ago: It takes ten years to become a Master. Bestowing the title of Master on someone after ten years should involve nothing more than making sure the candidate was actually training correctly and paying attention for those ten years. I realize this is not enough time for anyone to learn to fly by willpower alone and shoot fire from their mouths, but sadly, I suppose, we live in a real…

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White Eyebrows and More

Half way to being the aged martial arts master, at least according to the common wisdom of aging. To my twenty year old self, I’m old and wise. Rich with experience and knowledge. I’ve lived my dreams and then some, and suffered enough equal any of the tragic romantic heroes of fiction. Twenty year old me figures I must be a most awesome person now. Do you know what the difference is between a twenty year old person and that same person twenty five years down the road? Feels like about two weeks, give or take a day or two. You are still full of hopes and dreams. You want to achieve the next big thing. You feel more confident about your ability to do things, but. But. If you are twenty, imagine waking up two weeks from now. You don’t feel any different. Lying in bed, you think about…

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