About Me

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Either an author who fences, or a fencer who tends to write a lot. I found a passion for writing first, then I found fencing. I also found that the pen and the sword work very well together. The pen may be mightier than the sword but together they are much greater.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Let's Talk About Space

I am going to apologise to all the astronomers and astrologers, that's not the sort of space that I am talking about. I am talking about the space in which a person fences with another. This can be the training area, or it can be a formalised arena such as a list field.
There are considerations that need to be made concerning this concept of space, especially in regard to the concept of Distance as it relates to space in this context, as will be seen as this discussion progresses. This is because Distance occupies space. The Distance between two combatants occupies a certain amount of space, and this is contained within the overall space in which they are fencing, or training.
For simplification, and for focus, we are going to focus on the space within an arena (or a list field) as this is where this concept becomes most important. The individual who can "occupy" the space the best is the one who will dominate the space. This will give the individual the ability to move the other around the space, and by virtue of this ability, control the Distance between the two individuals. 
Now we need to break this down a little bit, isolate some of the aspects and how they apply to see how we can use this to our advantage...

Read the rest here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/lets-talk-about-91803789

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Of Things Long and Pointed...


I have not been writing here for a little while. I have been focusing on some larger projects which are found on my Patreon page. I will no doubt be back again at some point, both to promote projects found here and also to present some shorter ideas that I have had, however, on to the meat of the conversation...

Speaking of which I have just presented part of one of these for public viewing. It concerns a project concerning the subject of "spears." I say "spears" in that they come in different forms and this is demonstrated in parts of the investigation throughout. Have a read of what I have put in the post indicated in the link above, and you will have an idea of where this project is heading.

The project itself will be presented in a little while, this is just a "taster" for what is to come. While you are on the page why not have a look at some of the other things on the page, see if they interest you. There will be quite a few more coming as the months progress. If you've enjoyed my posts here, and there will be more coming, just not as regularly as they used to be, then it is likely that you will enjoy what you find on my Patreon page. Come have a look, come join the adventure.



Monday, May 1, 2023

Practice Targets


A short note about practice targets that I noticed...

  1. People's brains are obsessed with hitting the middle of a target, or target areas where delineated. Point a dot on a target and people will try and hit the dot.
  2. The target needs to be identified to serve a particular purpose, or sections for particular purpose if multipurpose in design. The trainer and trainee both need to understand this purpose before they begin.
  3. "Body Targets" need to account for the position of the weapon, thus Lines, or recognise that they are absent.
  4. The target size needs to be proportional; a) to the skill of the combatant, b) to the target being sought, c) to the height of a "normal" thrust of the combatant.
These are just some quick points to consider when designing and using targets. They need to be considered when training students, especially when training them for a particular technique. Are you training them to strike a particular target, or use a particular technique? The target you use will affect the training that you use, and the result. Is the target you are using the most effective for the result you want? 



Like this post? You will find more posts like this, and more in-depth studies of fencing, along with some of my other writings on my Patreon

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Response to Changes...


I have noticed a distinct drop in readership of my articles, and I seriously am thinking whether it is time whether I have said all that I need to say on this blog. This is not a decision that I take lightly considering how long I have been writing the articles on this blog and the number of times that I have heard from people about how they have found this or that article useful. 

My first article was posted on 9 April 2009, which means at the publication of this post, I have been writing A Fencer's Ramblings for 14 years. Overall, I am quite surprised about the number of people who have visited its pages, and the number of people who have found the articles useful. I have always written from my perspective as a fencer. I have always tried to be as honest as I can about my feelings on matters which I think are important in regard to fencing, and fencing of all kinds for that matter. 

I believe there is a bond which holds fencers together. When I say "fencer" to doesn't matter if you use a longsword, foil, rapier, shinai, epee or lightsabre, if you wield a sword there is a connection between you and others who use a sword. Indeed, that community is larger if you include those who use other martial arts weapons. In all cases there are two things in common Time and Distance, we are all affected by it in our Arts. There is even a comparison and connection to be made with all combat arts due to these two principles.

A person who holds a sword, that is a fencer. Matters of politics and religion should be left outside the training space. That is, all matters of politics, that includes social politics thus gender, sexuality and disability, they should all stop at the door of the door of the school or practice hall. They have no place in the practice of the sword or any other combat art. If the person can safely hold the weapon and safely control the weapon in a practical setting, they should be trained. This is my policy in regard to training, this is how I feel on the matter. I hope that I have made myself clear on this matter throughout my articles. Any other interpretation is an interpretation of the reader, not the author.

I have spoken on disability issues because I am a disabled fencer, from this perspective I have spoken from experience and the research that I have performed. I have found fencing to be the thing that keeps me going regardless of whatever else is happening in my life. I hope that I have inspired some other fencers in similar condition to be the same.

I have spoken about some gender issues. Some of these were from the perspective of a teacher teaching people of different genders, and some of these were from the perspective of a fencer playing against a person of a different gender. Of the second, let me make it clear, I do not treat my opponents differently based on their gender; a fencer is a fencer, an opponent is an opponent. Regarding the student, that is an entirely different matter, a person's body is different to another person's body, and a teacher needs to take this into account, more so when it comes to different genders. I have written these articles on the basis of study and experience, I hope that they have encouraged people. 

Mostly, I have enjoyed writing these articles. Some have been written out of frustration for the state of affairs of swordplay in our current era, but most have been on the basis of a spark of interest, something that people might find useful. I hope that people have found the articles interesting regardless of their origins. My intent has always been to write things which are of use to my readers.

I would like to thank all of my readers, you are the ones who have kept me going. I would also like to thank those who have encouraged me along my way, writing special comments, and encouragements. Even criticisms of my work have sparked me to do better, to ensure that I get the right information to people. I thank you all. I will continue to write, don't worry about that. It's just that the posts and articles that I write will arrive in a different format. 

I have found that there are people who derive benefit from my posts, and that fills me with some joy, unfortunately this feeling does not put books on my shelf, nor money in my account, so I can keep my readers up to date. The commercial element which I mentioned some time ago is going to have its sway.

So, some statements need to be made about this blog, some of which have already happened: 

  1. "A Fencer's Ramblings" will remain without on-site advertising; 
  2. Articles which have been previously published in my book Un-Blogged: A Fencer's Ramblings will be cut, and people directed to the published form. This is to encourage people to buy the published form and thus support my writing. Of note, the disability, and articles about females and fencing will remain;
  3. Posts presented here from now on will be less regular and smaller, and will indicate toward a new source of information (see below); 
  4. I am going to move to a more fiscally-opportune method of delivery for my information, and an opportunity for those who really enjoy my work to demonstrate just how much they enjoy it, in a fiscal sense, as unfortunately good feelings doesn't publish books or pay for what needs to be paid;
  5. I know that there are some people will not appreciate these changes and will make statements of their own about the content, and myself, that is their prerogative, and no care of mine. 

I have set-up a Patreon site for those who are interested in continuing following my writing and fencing exploits. If you want some one to blame, you can blame these changes on the state of economics, the increasing price of food and basic necessities, governments' obsession with money rather than people, and the capitalist system in general, among others. I was happy writing as I was, prepared to write as I have been, but pressures have forced me away from this. To maintain my lifestyle I must find additional means of income, hence, I must change format. If this causes issues with some of my readers, I bid you a fond farewell. I look forward to seeing everyone else in my new venture.

Thank you all again.



Friday, March 17, 2023

A Response to: "Can you wear medieval armour to a longsword tournament?"


The following article is a response to an article posted by Keith Farrell, Can you wear medieval armour to a longsword tournament? The reason being that I have found quite a few assumptions regarding the wearing of armour, and the SCA...

I have previously written about the difference between armour and PPE. So, I am not going to go over that old ground. I will summarise, the gear that people wear during HEMA is PPE it is not armour.  There is a distinct difference between the two sets of gear, and that is the point that Keith Farrell is making in his article, unfortunately he has also made some assumptions, and inadvertently pointed out some issues. My statements for this article...

1. It isn't about what a person wears, it is about how the person acts.

2. Take a better look at the SCA, at least it has standards; standards which do not exist in HEMA,  standards which HEMA groups are only just realising they need.

Beginning "Reasons"

"However, the vast majority of events would not. It could be for safety reasons (such as making sure there are no gaps through which a thrust could slip), for aesthetic reasons (at this tournament, we want everyone to look like modern sportspeople), for liability reasons (our insurers require that we mandate that every piece of equipment is CEN rated), or for whatever reason the organisers deem relevant."

The majority of HEMA events will not let a person wear armour to them, he states and then he gives reasons...

Safety, making sure there are no gaps; if the armour is fitted to the individual, and they are wearing the appropriate material underneath, there are no gaps. Considering there are no universal safety standards for HEMA, no established conventions, only rules established for each tournament, I disagree. Unlike the SCA which has such universal standards and conventions.

For aesthetic reasons "we want everyone to look like modern sportspeople"; where I say has the "Historical" gone from HEMA, let alone the "Martial Arts"? How HEMA has lots its way is another long subject which has certainly been highlighted by this statement, which I discussed in a previous article. This is a discussion which is controversial and ironically contrary. If people wanted to look so "modern" why is there such a popular line in medieval and Renaissance period looking equipment?

For liability reasons, equipment must be CEN rated; certainly a piece of steel has more resistance than any piece of cloth. Further, I refer forward and back to the SCA's standards, and it has insurance for each of its groups and its activities, which have a history going back to the 1960s. Again, this will be discussed in more detail below as it is a subject which requires further discussion.

The final one is the classic, "or for whatever reason the organisers deem relevant" autocratic rule at its best, a way for a person in charge simply to ignore the stated or printed rules and exclude by saying, "I don't like it." for whatever prejudices they might have. So much for being Inclusive (one of the reasons I went back to the SCA,), again discussed below.

Gear Inspection

"Without knowing the provenance of any given piece of equipment, it is probably easier just to mandate that people wear HEMA gear from recognised HEMA manufacturers, so that there is the best chance that everyone’s equipment is going to be fit for purpose with no nasty surprises."

What you need is experienced Safety Marshals, and to look at the equipment. If we want to play the like with like, let's look at Red Dragon gloves, or their old "gorgets", both by recognised HEMA manufacturers, both neither allowed in tournaments anymore. "Recognised HEMA manufacturers" do not guarantee against a) old gear, or b) gear in disrepair. A person still needs to inspect the gear to ensure there are "no nasty surprises." HEMA needs to train people to be Safety Marshals (Hey, like the SCA does, an idea which I tried to transfer locally, it lasted survived briefly until people realised a) they couldn't fight as much, b) it required them to do some extra work, and c) HEMA might have to look at standardising their rules. I keep saying that for some reason).

Armour and Assumption

"For example, the people who tend to wear steel helmets for sword sports tend to be reenactors, SCA people, and HMB people. The SCA and HMB people are certainly in the habit of hitting hard when they fight – the whole purpose of wearing the steel armour is so that they can do so."

Big assumptions made here, an assumption that SCA is like HMB, clearly Keith has not had a good look at the SCA. We don't all fight armoured combat. Yes, armoured combat, big difference. There is also period fencing, combat archery, and equestrian to play with. If you hit too hard in fencing, you get censured, and potentially removed from play, the same applies in armoured combat too. So you need to be specific. Apples and oranges, both fruit, but different. In period fencing, in cut-and-thrust we use longswords in much the same manner as HEMA (with many fewer injuries), so maybe armour works after all.

Wearing armour is not a sign of hard hitting, it is a sign of wishing to protect yourself. Nothing more to make assumptions about wearing armour and the calibration of the individual based on their kit, is the same as making an assumption about the skill of the opponent based on the value of their sword, or its condition. Such things are prejudices against the individual who is wearing or using the item, simply based on what they are wearing or using.

The SCA is a nice, easy, big target, that many people in HEMA will agree with. However the SCA at least has internationally-recognised and nationally-recognised safety standards. They don't change from group to group, or from tournament to tournament. I know that I can use the same kit anywhere around Australia, and with little modification, anywhere around the world. Further we have authorised safety officers, the system has checks and balances, that HEMA does not have. Issues that I have seen. Issues that I have witnessed  as a safety officer at more than one HEMA tournament. No, it may be a bigger target but it is also a safer target for those who play within its rules.


How would it feel if a person decided that:

"You shouldn't fence with those people because they do German longsword and that's all about wrestling and multiple strikes to the head?" OR "You shouldn't fence with that person because they are wearing pants from Leon Paul, so they will just whip their sabre about and flick your forearms?" OR "You shouldn't fence with that person because they are using a feder, because they are so light it will whip around and hit you too fast?" OR "You shouldn't fence against that one because his weapon is too heavy and so it will hit too hard?"

All of these arguments are false. All of these arguments are prejudices. They all pre-judge an individual based on what they study, what they are wearing or what piece of equipment they are using, and not by how they actually fence, not by how the individual acts. The same as judging person by the fact they are wearing armour.

If a person wearing armour was to scare people off, then why would the SCA be the largest organisation which participates in three different form of combats in the world? Hard hitting does not come from a person wearing a particular type of gear or using a particular type of weapon, it comes from the way the individual is trained, the individual's mind-set, and the individual's actions. Anything else is blatant prejudice, which a person needs to examine within themselves.

Signs and Symbols

I will state quite clearly that I have no idea about any other recreational group in the world, however I will state that the SCA has policies regarding anti-discrimination and Inclusivity which are stated in their organisational documents. The swastika is banned from display in the SCA, it has quite strict rules about Heraldry, which would be the symbols that are being spoken about here. So, there would be none of the stated issues from members of the SCA, at least.

"It is all a bit of a sliding scale. Does all of that apply if someone turns up with steel gauntlets because they want to keep their hands safe? What about steel knee or elbow cops, or a gorget with steel plates? There is clearly a reasonable end of the scale, and with some items the most reasonable explanation is that people want to wear them because they believe these items to be more protective than the more modern alternative."

Properly made and fitted gauntlet of steel protect properly and work better, why else would they have persisted with them for hundreds of years? Examine most of the gorgets available today and you will find that they are made of steel, as they were hundreds of years ago when they were used for real, little surprise. There are new ones made of hardened plastic, but their designs are the same as the steel ones. Previously there were no elbow or knee protectors for HEMA so people used skateboard pads. Later ones covered the front of the knees and a little of the side. Compare the modern ones and you will find they are copies of armour. So why wouldn't a person wear the steel ones instead? It would seem that the only unreasonable part is that people have assumptions or have double standards about aesthetics. I know the history, I watched it change.


"And of course, it is always worth revisiting some of our base assumptions every so often, to consider if the way that we are doing things or if the decisions we have made are still sensible and working well for us. It is always good to let people ask “why” or “why not”, and it is also important that if we feel strongly about the issue, we have a good explanation to offer in our answer!"

Yes, assumptions, there have been quite a few made in this article. I would have expected a little more research done about the SCA before making such grand statements about it. I would have expected there to be more interest taken in investigating the subject of what the SCA actually does rather than assuming that the SCA's armoured combat is all that they do. This is a big assumption. 

Go have a look at some actual armour. Go have a look at what is actually being offered. Go have a look at what people are actually wearing for armour in the SCA and outside. Make your statements based on some actual research done by some investigation of the topic at hand.

The aesthetic question is a double-standard. Make a choice. Either wear modern sporting gear or wear period gear. Admit that you are doing a modern sport version or perform it as a martial art. Pick which one you are doing. Plunder-hose for all those German enthusiasts belong to the sixteenth-century, many of the wonderful jacket designs which are coming out, likewise belong to the same period. The aesthetic question is an excuse, it is a lie. It might as well come under the autocratic organiser's "I don't like it."

I wear steel armour because I know it is not affected by heat. I know that it is not going to crack or degrade unless I allow it to rust. I know the state of the material. I know where my armour comes from, I know what it is based upon, the reason it was used. I know its history. More to the point it was made for me, so it fits me. This is my "why." More to the point I am doing an Historical martial art, so it is appropriate that I wear historical equipment or a reasonable approximation thereof, at least within my means.

If you're wondering about whether our art was practiced in full armour historically, examine Maximilian I tournament book, Freydal of 1515. These two combat with different weapons in armour, for sport, in much the same way we do, the armour is for protection, nothing more. Well not quite "nothing" there was a certain element of fashion involved, but that's another question.




Monday, March 13, 2023

On Teaching


I have discussed teaching from different perspectives, mostly the student-teacher relationship, and the differences between an instructor and a teacher, however it is a big step to go from student to teacher and there are many who stop at this precipice and look out and wonder if they have the wings to fly. I am going to tell you that you do. 

There are some simple things you will need to learn that will make you a better teacher. Just because you are a great combatant, and know your actions, doesn't mean that you will make a great teacher. The more interesting thing is that, if you've been fencing for a while, it's likely that you've actually taught before, maybe without knowing it. Newer students will learn from older students, this is how the culture of a school or organisation is built, implicitly. There are rules and regulations, but people learn more from the things that you do and don't do, more than from what you say. More directly, from the explicit aspect; if you've corrected, you've taught; if you've shown someone a trick, you've taught. 

Here are some simple instructions to follow to help with your teaching as you progress. Oh, one last thing, the best way to get more, and better, opponents is to teach them. This is how I started.

1. Everyone is Different

  • We have different bodies; this counts double when the student is of a different gender, and triple when they have a disability
  • We have different learning methods, because we have different brains

2. Preach what you practice

  • You know this method the best; teach how you fence, the only exception is when you are teaching a particular method, and don't do this your first outing

3. Say it, Demonstrate it, Get them to do it

  • This covers 3 out of 4 methods of learning
  • Encourage people to take notes to cover the 4th method

4. Don’t be Afraid to say “I Don’t Know."

  • Be honest about your knowledge; better to be honest than a found a fool
  • Go find the answer yourself – it makes you a better teacher; don't expect the student to find the answer alone

5. Enjoy it.

  • People want to learn; people who come to the classes come voluntarily
  • Critics are minimal annoyances; use them, take their criticism on board where it is applicable
  • You can have fun, and teach properly; there is no need to "act the drill sergeant"

6. Plan it.

  • Write a lesson plan; objectives, methods, and drills
  • Writing a plan is the best way to ensure you don’t miss anything
  • Take the plan with you; it's not much use if it sits on your desk

7. Update it.

  • Review your knowledge, keep learning; knowledge improves, the stagnant fencing mind is doomed to failure

8. Things will go wrong.

  • Sometimes this will lead to new avenues of research
  • Sometimes this will be something you missed
  • Sometimes you will get back to the plan, or not; depends on the way it goes

9. Practice it.

  • It takes practice to become a good teacher, always learn to become better

10. Encourage, and challenge, them to be better

  • Part of it is holding their hand, part of it is pointing the way and expecting to meet them there

These are my 10 points for teaching. They are a set of summarised aspects for the beginning teacher to get you started. The more experienced teacher will likely find some familiarity in the statements which have been made, and hopefully will find some use in what has been presented as well. Most important in all of this, always keep learning and improving your knowledge.




Some additions to the list from a good friend James Wran:
  • Keep learning.
  • Learn how to teach. Constantly seek out teaching and learning methodologies.
  • Teaching isn't the finish line.
The best teachers are also students, because they keep learning. They learn their art, but they also learn more about teaching and better ways to teach students. There should not be an end to your learning, your teaching should only be an able assistant to your learning process, now you can better understand what you do, and why you do it. One of the greatest advances to my learning and becoming a better fencer was becoming a teacher. Just keep learning.



Monday, February 13, 2023

Most important trait in swordplay...


What is the most important trait in swordplay? Is it courage, honesty, skill, or sportsmanship? The latter of which comes in many different forms. Indeed, each of these attributes could be considered to come in different forms, and there are other attributes that could be named as vital to a fencer who wants to progress. Maybe it is being inquisitive, having a sharp mind, the ability to analyse and question? Again, attributes which contribute to a fencer which will progress mightily along their path.

For our current discussion, I would like to look at the concept of honesty, and not just in regard to what belongs to you and what does not. I would like to look deeper into this concept as it applies to the training in swordplay and also the combatant using those skills in training and bouting with another. For without this trait, it is difficult to progress. A fencer who is not honest with themselves will stagnate,  cause their career to end much sooner than it could, and prevent them from attaining greater heights of skill and knowledge.

In Combat

Honesty is required for a combatant to acknowledge a hit against them. It is required to disallow a bad hit against an opponent when the blade may have landed flat or without the required impetus. Both of these allow the fencer to have an enjoyable bout with a fellow combatant as both will know what's going on. Both will know how effective they are being, and where their technique may need improvement, both in defence and in attack.

Being honest and acknowledging a hit against you, allows you to learn. It allows you to see that you have made a mistake in some fashion, and as such can analyse the action to find out where the mistake can be found, so you can fix it. If you disallow the hit, don't acknowledge it, you lose the chance to learn from your mistake; you lose the chance to grow.

Likewise, being honest and disallowing a bad hit against an opponent in the same way allows you to examine the technique and see where you went wrong. This allows for analysis where you can improve the technique so you can be a better fencer, so you won't make the same mistake again. If you don't acknowledge the mistake, you again lose the chance to learn and grow.


Away from the application of one weapon against another, there is still honesty to be found, and still honesty required of the combatant. This becomes even more important the more a combatant progresses. No fencer can know everything. The honest acknowledgement of this lack of knowledge gives the individual the opportunity to learn. Indeed, it opens the individual to learning.

The simple fact is, the more you learn, the more you will realise just how much there is to learn. The more knowledge you gain, the more you will realise just how much knowledge there is available, and the amount of knowledge that you do not have. This is a healthy attitude as it opens you to learn more, and keep learning.

The lack of acknowledgement of the amount of knowledge present demonstrates a person who is not interested in learning; it shows a person who has closed their mind, and is not interested in learning. A fencer who thinks they know everything they need to know, and really does not, as there is always more to learn. Knowledge is always growing and will never end, so the learning process must never end.


Learning is essential to the fencer so they can grow. The combatant should take the opportunity to learn from as many teachers as they can once they have their basics mastered; even before, as a different perspective of the basics is often useful. The fencer should take the opportunity to learn from teachers from outside their school of thought as this will broaden their mind and give them a better understanding of swordplay in general. It will give them an advantage against what other opponent's may use in bouts, but it is also useful for broadening their mind, and gaining the understanding of the universal aspects of swordplay.

The fencer who does not keep learning will not learn how to deal with new techniques that others learn, new weapon combinations that appear. Likewise they will be unfamiliar with approaches from other schools of thought and be taken aback, while they may have theories about how to deal with these approaches, learning from the sources is always better. Without consistent and constant learning and practice, the fencer is bound to fail.

Trained Instinct

Honesty must be a trained instinct that students within a school are shown and taught, as Seneca said, "No man’s good by accident. Virtue has to be learnt." They must be taught it by their teachers so they can understand its importance, and then have it demonstrated so the importance is shown from a practical perspective. For teachers this concept must be a consistent approach, so they must be aware of their actions. The students will learn everything from their teachers, both explicit and implicit in nature.

Students who are trained to call blows when they hit them are being trained in honesty. Likewise, they are being trained in honesty when they call bad blows on their opponents. The focus in these situations should always be on the progression of the students, not the outcome of the bouts. They need to be shown that it is better to lose with honesty than win with deceit; because they can learn from the loss. 

Win Focus

Unfortunately, this perspective is not the prevailing one in our present day; I can claim this for HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) as much as it is for sport fencing. As I write this I can already hear the arguments against what I have written, and against this I will ask some simple questions: 

Why are judges and/or electronic scoring apparatus needed? 

Why can't the fencers call the touches upon themselves?

The arguments I will get from the sport fencers are: the touches come in too quickly; they can't call the hits that quickly; they don't know whether the hit is clean or not; or they aren't used to calling the hits on themselves. If both combatants are being hit, then it is a double, simple. If you don't know whether it is clean or not, then your technique needs improvement. If you're not used to calling the hits, that's a mere matter of practice. The last argument is the prime one that the HEMA people give as well, the others sometimes fall in not far behind. In my opinion they are becoming like one another.

Simply put, this is a result of the result being more important than the journey. The focus here is on the win rather than the development of the fencer. Fencers are focused on what works rather than developing the Art and Science of Fencing, or Swordplay, they are both the same, just different weapons for different periods. The prime problem is that people refuse to be honest, because the win is more important that what they can learn - this is a failure.

In HEMA there are long arguments about "double-hits" and "after-blows" in regard to rules-sets. It is very simple to fix this problem. If both combatants get hit, it is a failure to defend on both their parts, they both are penalised, because both have forgotten the essential part of fencing, "to hit without being struck." Any gap of time in between is meaningless. The sport fencers solved this problem with electronic scoring, unless you want to go down this path, fix it quickly.

Honesty is Vital

Honesty is vital to a fencer's true progression in fencing. If a fencer wants to become truly skilled with a sword, or any other weapon for that matter, they need to be honest. They need to be honest in their practice. They need to be honest in their training, and the amount of training they are doing. They need to be honest in their study. They need to be honest in their combats, be it a bout with another student in a school or in a tournament. Every one of these situations is a chance to learn.

The teacher should encourage the fencer to follow a path toward honesty and responsibility. The important thing here is that the teacher can encourage, it is good for the fencing community and it is good for the community at large. Bringing things back to the fencer, it is also good for the fencer. The more honest the fencer becomes and the more responsibility the combatant takes for their actions, and their training, the better off they will be.

If you are not honest about how far you have come, how can you know how far you have to go? If you are not honest about how far you have to go, how can you dedicate yourself to that process?

If you are not honest in your combats, how can you learn from the experiences? This applies to both those fencers who under-estimate themselves as much as those who over-estimate themselves. You need to be honest about your level of skill and your current training, it is only with this honesty that you can progress further. 

The only trait which may stand a chance at being as important as honesty is courage. Regardless of the courage it takes to face an opponent, it takes courage to accept how far you have to go. It takes courage to accept a hit, be honest about it, and then keep going. It takes courage to honestly evaluate what you have learned realise you have made a mistake and acknowledge it. 

Ask yourself, how honest are you being?