As an accomplished rapier fencer, with a solid history of teaching, it’s fun to branch out and try new things. Electric fencing looks like it might be fun…those tiny little epees move so fast! They look like magic wands. It looks like a fun way to lark about with my friends. I’ve absorbed the Barth/Beck book on fencing, and Nadi’s “On Fencing” so we can actually get serious about it if we want. Teach some other people, make a club. Maybe make it popular, spread to a few clubs…write up some guidelines for a certification to make sure there is a standard to follow…
Okay, that’s too stupid, I can’t keep up the joke. But there is an important point buried in that feeble attempt, and I’ll get to it.
It’s a joke for a WMA body to create certification for modern fencers, but a threat for the USFCA to create a certification for Historical Fencing. Why? Why isn’t it a joke for both? The simple answer is that Modern Fencing is a sport. Historical fencing isn’t. I’m not talking about our own perceptions of what we do. I’m talking about official recognition. Modern fencing exists. We don’t. Modern fencing is an olympic sport, we are a large, disparate group of hobbyists (with notable exceptions.)
By creating a certification, the USFCA, if they were inclined to be evil, has given themselves the power to lock us out of every university, community training center, film set, or any other paranoid dramatic thing I can think up over my morning coffee.
Drama aside, I think it’s a challenge we should rise up and answer…but not with certification, or regulations. There is no way the community is ready to do that right now. Not without cleaning house first. Stop coddling your dirty little secrets, folks. Take a clear look at what is going on around you, and hold it up to a wider community standard. Be better than the best of the other sport organizations, not equal to the worst.
Start taking the steps to getting official recognition as a sport. Once you’ve done that, create an add-on component to the national sport coaching certifications. Work with the system. Forget about teaching (or worse, trying to define what should be taught outside of your own school) entirely, and focus on good coaching. If you don’t know the difference, learn it and practice it…or stop ruining a good thing.
I’ve run out of time to write today. If I stick to my plan, tomorrow I’ll talk about marketing and certification. Again, not reading any feedback until after I’m done, so…thanks for reading. See you tomorrow!