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Fencing and History Nut Extraordinaire. While I am tending toward 16th century at the moment, I am and have been interested in history for a long time. Hence the fencing focuses more on the Renaissance period than the modern. This explains two out of three of my blogs. The third is a more personal one focusing on fibromyalgia. What I write in these blogs, I hope will be of use to people.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Other Project: A Gentleman's Handbook


For those who are used to my more formal manner of writing, they will have to excuse me for this particular edition as this is a discussion of a more personal nature. I have mentioned previously about my project to create a fencing manual in the style of the Elizabethan period, and made some discussion of it. It is still proceeding and as I get further along I will give another update. At the same time I have been working on a second project and it is this one which I will be discussing here.

Before I go any further, I will apologise to my female readership as this project is aimed at the male fencer rather than the female fencer. This does not imply or suggest that the female is not suited to fencing, or cannot learn something from what is contained within this project, simply that it is aimed more at the male fencer. This is simply due to my own knowledge on the subject, the data which has been collected along with my own proximity to the subject being of the male gender. Once again I apologise for any offence taken in any form as it is totally unintended.

The project is what I originally called "supplementary education" and is designed to fill in those parts of the education of the fencer which are not usually filled in the usual aspects of fencing instruction. Since this time it has changed its name to "A Gentleman's Handbook" which more suits its contents, being aimed at the male fencer. With the simple aim of changing the fencer into a gentleman. In order to understand this particular project some information will have to be filled in. This will present an approach and reasons for the project.

I have had an interest in those aspects of fencing which occur both on and off the field for sometime. These are not the simple interactions of two fencers crossing blades with one another but the more social aspects of this encounter. I have already put some of my thoughts into words in an article that I wrote on fencing etiquette a while ago. If you are interested this can be found here: http://www.sca.org.au/rapier/index.php/Henry-Fencing-Etiquette. The writing of this particular article got me thinking about the less martial aspects of the art which is practiced and what the difference between a gentleman and a fencer is.

Before I can explain the thought processes some terms need to be explained. A fencer is someone who is interested and learns how to use a sword and then crosses swords with other like-minded individuals. Hopefully this individual is taught some respect for what he does and the others he does it with. When the gentleman is thought of in the modern conception he is polite and does nice things for people and is an example of good etiquette. This pales in comparison to the character that my project is attempting to inspire the reader to become. The goal in order for this achievement is to bring up the image of the fencer in general and also as a result fencing in general.

For my readers who are of a more sport or classical fencing bend this approach can still apply to you, but it is more aimed at my Renaissance fencing colleagues. This is not in order that a person can become more of their persona, though it will help with this, it is more so that they can more understand the type of individual who wielded a rapier in the Renaissance period, and who they emulate in the process of doing this themselves. It is the finer points of the gentleman of the period and the etiquette associated which gives the sword arts of the period their flavour, and also provides one of the reasons why we engage in combats on a "level playing field" and with courtesy.

There will be two versions for this particular project, one which is a discussion paper presenting theories and points of view in a more formal manner. This is the intellectual discussion of the material presented in the manual. This version of the handbook is singular and succinct and can be found for your perusal, should you be interested, here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/32538238/A%20Gentleman%27s%20Handbook%20-%20Discussion.pdf. This will form the basis for the second version of the handbook which will be more practical in nature.

The second version of the handbook will see the chapters and discussions presented in the discussion version turned into lessons allowing for more practical application of what is presented in them. This will hopefully allow the reader to take the knowledge presented and then be able to apply the knowledge in appropriate situation and as a process be able to grow as a fencer, hopefully toward the ideal which is presented in the handbook. This version of the book will have a more evolutionary nature in that there will no doubt be supplementary lessons which will be added on to it as time goes along. This is in order to enhance the reader of the handbook and increase his abilities to perform at his best furthering him along the path to the true gentleman. I had thought that I may have to create a website or another blog for the dissimulation of the lessons as they are created, an appropriate method will be found in order to do this. Any thoughts my readers my have about this would be greatly appreciated.

While this has been named the "other" project, I actually find that both projects are important as one another while they serve different purposes. In one way the information from one can be used to enhance the other and vice versa