Five more days til our first class. I’ve added a nice new sidebar for our Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for insurance and hopefully a few other things. We are doing great so far, but we still aren’t there. The campaign will run for another week, but we need to pay for insurance by friday, or monday at the latest. Things are coming down to the crunch, so if you’ve been thinking of kicking in a few bucks, now is the time! Hell, if you just like the blog and want to say thanks, it’s a great way to do so!

Talking with some potential new students recently has been interesting. When you are involved with a community, you tend to forget that it’s still small and unknown. Western Martial Arts is still unknown even in Vancouver, so people still ask me what it means. They don’t really know what a Western, as opposed to Eastern, martial art is.

This is usually a fun conversation and I get to ramble for some time about all the neat historical things that people seem to have never been exposed to. I like that, it brings out the leo in me, and the giant ego of getting to be the person that shines the light…I think I probably should have capitalized that, but I’m shy on coffee this morning…

The real fun part is explaining things to experienced martial artists, and talking about what the practical differences in practice are. That’s where I tell them the hard part, that they have to expect to get their butt seriously kicked the first time they spar. No matter how long they’ve been training for, or what rank they are, they are likely to get stomped the first time they mask up and have a go. And they are likely to get stomped by a relative newbie. This will happen with the armed portion, and might even happen with the unarmed portion.

It’s not that the art is inherently better…I do believe all arts pretty much stand on equal footing…it’s that the practice tends to be better. The use of steel weapons and protective gear encourages a sense of reality about sparring and training that is rare in other arts. The extremely high proficiency of some practitioners encourages a competitive arms race for technique and training, and there is something about using the rapier and longsword…the complicated angulations of use, the permutations of power and speed, aggressiveness and deceitfulness, all married to a complete system with the weight of history on it’s side. It subtly twists the mind.

There are some wonderful Eastern arts out there, but it’s the rare instructor who can teach them correctly. They do exist, and they make students who can stand with anyone…but that’s rare. Currently the WMA’s are on top of the heap. I expect that will change as more crosstraining happens, and the WMA/EMA community expands into either becoming just the MA community, or certain regions re-create history and start to develop new local styles…