Perspective

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Jake Norwood
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Perspective

Postby Jake Norwood » Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:13 am

A refrain I've heard a lot lately is about how tournament-centric the community has become, and how the tournament fighters are the ones getting all the love and adoration anymore...as opposed to the researcher/teachers or whoever it is that used to get all the love before it was tournament fighters.

So...listen...while I agree that there are a lot more competitive events nowadays, and that much of our "national" discussion ends up referencing tournament play, is the above statement really true?

Are successful tournament fighters "more famous" in our community than researcher-instructors?

How many successful tournament fighters aren't better known (or didn't used to be better known) for some other contribution (such as research, instruction, or whatever)?

Do people that spend a lot of time on the internet actually have significantly more influence on this than tournament fighters?

...

I mean, how many of you can list the winners of the last two years' tournaments, even the big ones? Without going to Youtube, who knows who Szymon Chlebowski is or what he's done lately? How many of you know Anton Kuhtovic from his technique demonstration videos as opposed to his victory of Jan Chodkiewicz last year? Who won anything at Fightcamp this year? Name the only female to win the same longsword tournament two years in a row.

Here's what I'm saying: unless you actually happen to be friends with these people, you're not likely to know their accomplishments. The whole thing is a straw man, IMO. More people know who Mike Chidester and Roger Norling are than probably Dennis Lundquist, despite the fact that Dennis is one of the winningest tournament fighters in the world, with a record that rivals or even trumps Axel's.

And yes, we all know Axel. He is, IMO, the exception that largely proves the rule.

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KeithFarrell
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Re: Perspective

Postby KeithFarrell » Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:23 am

Good perspective. I have received a little recognition for my tournament performance, but most of my reputation comes from my teaching skills, from the various articles I write and from the pieces of research that I make available. People are more likely to tell me that they loved my workshop at a particular event than that they know me because of my tournament and competitive success.
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Michael Chidester
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Re: Perspective

Postby Michael Chidester » Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:46 am

Jake Norwood wrote:More people know who Mike Chidester and Roger Norling are

That's a lie. No one knows who I am.
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Davinel
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Re: Perspective

Postby Davinel » Thu Oct 03, 2013 7:49 am

Jake Norwood wrote:And yes, we all know Axel. He is, IMO, the exception that largely proves the rule.

That half the people in tournaments/sparring intense clubs run around in a jacket with his name certainly helps.

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Ben Floyd
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Re: Perspective

Postby Ben Floyd » Thu Oct 03, 2013 8:13 am

I know of one club that's done this. What are the other clubs?
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Re: Perspective

Postby Roger N » Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:37 am

This is a bit of a tricky question I think. I doubt I am THAT well known in the HEMA world, but to the degree I am, I think it is much like for Michael, very dependent on the respective sites we run and are associated with.

As for other researchers, most of the ones that are known, are known for their published books I think. I can think of a great many very good researchers that most people have never heard of, especially without HROARR and Wiktenauer. For younger, unpublished researchers, the situation is quite different than to that of the well-established HEMA researchers and largely their work is done in silence and often with little reward outside of their own pleasure in working.

On the other hand we do have some really good and well-known tournament fighters, but most are completely unknown to the great majority of course. Only a few are known by the larger "public". However, they do receive well-deserved praise when they do succeed.

Instructors are mostly known for teaching workshops I think, and as the events tend to be rather restricted to different subcommunities and often invite a certain group of instructors repeatedly, this "fame" doesn't necessarily spread much outside of the close community. However, if you share material in text or videos, then it is easier. Facebook, Blogs, Wiktenauer and HROARR help in that respect.

On the whole, it is probably about 50/50 with some of the renowned published researchers being known and well respected and the same for a number of fighters who place well in tournaments.

A big difference though, I think, is that while in some cases the tournament wins are a rather short-lived thing in terms of fame (unless you do something remarkable, like win many tournaments), published research or teaching material stays for a much longer time.

On the other hand, as we feel more and more confident in our interpretations and with our performance in sparring and competing, there is also a growing risk that research is regarded as less and less important and I have even heard such comments repeatedly, with the idea being that we are now at a level where we understand the "art" well enough to even develop and improve on it ourselves. This is where the fear of the "sport" taking over comes in I think. Fortunately, there is also a strong awareness of this, not least among event organizers.

To me, all these aspects are equally important as they make each piece stronger and we need to make sure that they are all given due focus and credit.
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Michael Chidester
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Re: Perspective

Postby Michael Chidester » Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:44 am

Ben Floyd wrote:I know of one club that's done this. What are the other clubs?

Done what now?
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Ben Floyd
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Re: Perspective

Postby Ben Floyd » Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:42 pm

Davinel wrote:
Jake Norwood wrote:And yes, we all know Axel. He is, IMO, the exception that largely proves the rule.

That half the people in tournaments/sparring intense clubs run around in a jacket with his name certainly helps.
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Michael Chidester
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Re: Perspective

Postby Michael Chidester » Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:57 pm

Certainly seems like it. I go to events and tons of people have the AP jacket these days. Hell, even I do and I don't generally compete.
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Jake Norwood
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Re: Perspective

Postby Jake Norwood » Thu Oct 03, 2013 1:51 pm

It's definitely the most popular jacket. And with good reason, IMO. However, I'm the only guy in my (fairly large, by US standards) club to have one. So it's not quite that bad. ;)

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