Monday, October 11, 2010

Dedication... too much to ask?


The question of dedication to something is something which will come up in every person's life. With regard to fencing, indeed in all its forms, it is an especially important one and one that needs to be addressed. Is it too much to ask for our students and teachers to be dedicated to what they are doing? What does it mean to be dedicated? This blog will investigate the idea of whether or not it is too much to ask a student or teacher to be dedicated to what they are doing.

First of all it is important to figure out what is meant by "dedication". There are many grades of this particular word and many different interpretations that may be used. For some dedication brings ideas about travelling vast distances in horrible weather in order to get somewhere. For others it simply means that they always put their mind to a single task. With regard to fencing and this blog, there is a mid-point between these two.

Dedication means putting in the effort in order to get somewhere and use the teaching that the teacher has so generously supplied. It is also about being regular to training and putting in the effort while being present at the training session. Sure, it is understood that things do not always go the way that they are supposed to. Injuries and illnesses will hamper the ability of the fencer, but aside from these there are certain things that should be expected from the student.

Most of the things that people are dedicated to in the modern world are those things which are most relevant to their existence. For example, people go to work each day and do what they need to do because this is relevant to their existence. So, with this in mind, could the fencer be on the wrong track as skill with a sword in the modern world is not particularly relevant? Can this be used as a valid reason for the student to be slack or the teacher to not give the students their full attention? This is clearly not the case. If the person has decided that fencing is what they want to do, and it is not just another hobby, then a certain level of dedication should be able to be expected.

Expectations are something which we have put on us and also are personally placed. The athletically gifted individual has a great advantage over someone who is not so gifted, it could be said that this person has a lot of potential. The same could be said of a person who picks skills up quickly and is able to put them into practice. Both of these people would be expected to do well, but only if they are willing to put in the work. Regardless of a student's potential, the student still needs to be putting in the same amount of effort as the student with less potential.

The expectation of a teacher is for the student to come along to classes regularly and participate to their fullest capacity. The student's expectation is that the techer will come along prepared to teach and give the students their full attention. Aside from this there are other expectations which can be present such as the expectation that both the student and teacher will do things "out of class" in order to further themselves. Unless both the student and the teacher meet these simple expectations, how can they be seen to be dedicated to what they are doing?

Is fencing just another hobby, or is it something more? Other hobbies expect that a person participating will put in a certain amount of time and effort in order for the person participating to achieve anything. The same can be said for fencing. Of course it can also be said that there are those hobbies which have much lower expectations of the person, but there are also those which have much higher ones also. The question that the fencer has to ask is whether or not fencing is just another hobby or whether it is something that he or she truly wants to be dedicated to. It can be easily expected that the more dedicated a person is and the more effort put in, the more benefit the person will get.

So it comes to the time where the question must be asked, is dedication too much to be asked of the fencer in the modern world? Or is dedication more of a personal thing? Dedication is clearly related to the amount of effort a person is willing to put into a thing, thus if the person is willing to put in the effort then they could be considered to be dedicated. Each fencer needs to ask themselves, how dedicated am I to what I am doing? How much effort am I willing to put in to get what I want out of this? Sure, there will be those people with their own expectations of what a dedicated fencer will or will not do, but it is up to the individual. Regardless of the potential of the individual, with the right level of dedication the fencer has the potential to do well.