I wasn’t drawn to swordsmanship because of competition, and I have never really been very interested in it. I am not a very competitive person usually in any area of life, which isn’t to say I didn’t have ambitions and a will to succeed, but more that I wish to walk a different path. At the same time, there is a part of me that wishes to compete and win, but that part never seems to motivate me as much as studying the art itself does. I believe that the art can be expressed to its fullest in a friendly match or in a formalized duel (which does not exist in today’s culture).
This can perhaps be seen as cowardice (let’s face it, I am afraid of injuries in competition) but unless the tournaments favor technical fencing based on the research of the source texts, over brute force and mere athleticism, I am reluctant to participate.
I am not against competition, and I will compete in a context that appeals to me (as opposed to those who love competition and embrace it in almost any form). Perhaps I shall look into coming up with a form of Bolognese competition that I like and see if anyone is interested in trying it. I have a very strong view on what I want fencing to be like, perhaps just fantasies, but I will pursue them rather than my personal glory and success, since if my training and practice is focused on the art, it will not be the most efficient for competition. If I wanted to compete and trained for the competition, I would do a disservice for the research and study of the art. It is a difficult choice to make and one has to follow their instincts.
Still a little bit of competition and a will to win is important in being a swordsman, but it need not be the focus. A balance needs to be found that best serves my goals. Hence I will compete, but I will be careful to choose when and where. Still, I will not turn down a challenge to a friendly match in almost any weapon, even for points…