My first turn at being the guy hiring people was a gleeful experience. Working as a Unix sysadmin, I knew precisely what I wanted from my first round of hires for an assistant position.

The ads went out, and the resumes came in. Lots of them…hundreds. They turned out to be easy to sort through, though. I tossed out all the people with comp-sci degrees. Anyone who spent that long in school was completely out of touch with the pace of technology, no good to us. Next up, I tossed anyone with certification. Certification was usually something people took a course to pass, which meant they had learned enough to pass a test. Useless people. Especially in the hacker-centric Unix world…I needed people that had a natural understanding of the OS…a love for the job, not the income.

That process worked for me. I hired ambitious hackers, motivated to excel and learn on the job. Good people…better at the job than me, as it worked out. Sigh. The real kicker came when I tried to get back into the IT world. It turned out I was in the minority bouncing people with certification. And now all those people with certification were the ones doing the hiring. They want to hire someone with qualifications they understood, which meant certification. After two years I gave it up. It was time to look for other things in life.

I’d always enjoyed getting people fit, so it seemed like a good idea to get into personal training. Having learned my lesson about certification, I checked out the options. There were some great choices…but the best required a degree, which I don’t have, and the next best wasn’t recognized locally. The local certification…was brutally stupid in it’s application and learning process. And the content looked dated and un-applicable to the kind of training I wanted to do with people. After some hemming and hawing, I opted to become certified in the Precision Nutrition method instead. That was an excellent decision, as the course was completely top-notch and I got a serious education in food. But…

Avoiding the local certification means I am cut out of the local community centers, as they only recognize that certification. I’m also unable to take advantage of the free insurance provided to cert holders, which means I have no easy way to find a training location. I can’t use community centres, and other locations require insurance which runs about $1500/year, which I don’t have. As is the usual story of my life, my quirky need to do things differently means I don’t have access to the easy ways.

Yesterday I saw a link to a new certification being offered by the US Fencing Coaches Association. Reading through the pdf, it looked good to me. Standing on it’s own merits, it’s a good exam standard. Someone put some excellent work into it, and should be congratulated for a nice piece of work. I would trust someone who passed that exam to be capable of good assistant coaching duties. I have no problems with how they are doing these exams at this point, and I understand and endorse their point of view and right to do so. Good for them for taking what is a major and historic step in the recognition of the art I love. But…

It’s also a clear declaration of war. It’s a back-hand slap in the face. I’m sure it’s delivered with the best of intentions, and possibly even a pure love of the art as it stands. But it’s still an incursion, a foot on the throat. IBM to Microsoft to Apple to Android. Portuguese trade ships to trading centers to colonies.

Or more accurately, and I know you all get the reference, it’s the Independents against the Alliance. This is our Browncoat moment, and there is a Serenity Valley in our future.