On public challenges

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Trevor Park
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:44 pm

On public challenges

Postby Trevor Park » Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:34 pm

Hello folks! Since "Under the Bridge" primarily appears to be for moderating out-of-hand threads, and this is my first post, I guess I had better do a quick introduction of myself: well, I am here because I like HEMA- particularly the Italian stuff in general. Bolognese sidesword, Fiore and Vadi's systems, etc. Due to limitations in local availability before settling in Canada, I had studied German longsword.

Public challenges with the intent showing up the instructors/masters at a martial arts salle is not just the stuff of movies; they actually happened.

  • Muay Thai masters, instructors, fighters, etc. understandably flipped out when they saw how negatively it was portrayed in a lot of kung-fu movies. They issued public challenges to Chinese martial arts masters in Thailand and Hong Kong. Some kung-fu salles in Thailand did close because of this.
  • The Gracie family, who bootstrapped Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu into its modern form, gained prominence by issuing, and prevailing, in the Gracie Challenges. When you have genuine video records of the founders personally defeating accomplished masters in other arts, you cannot beat that kind of PR.
  • Immediately after the Korean War, South Korea was a pretty rough place; many cities and towns still had not recovered from the destruction, and public disorder was still prevalent. For martial arts masters that operated in Korea during those days, this meant that they had to, among other things, fight off challengers regularly, which included racketeers (since martial artists helped with law enforcement, the thugs could be testing the waters; they could be seeking revenge after the martial artists caught them harassing the local merchants; etc), wanna-be tough guys, cocky students (and even masters!) from local salles in the area, would-be avengers of the said cocky students (and let's not forget masters!) after you beat them once, etc.
  • Oyama Masutatsu, founder of Kyokushin Karate, was notorious for challenging and showing up local karate masters- not unlike the Gracie family in Brazil. In fact, this is how he spread such a modern style so quickly, despite competing against much older styles of Karate with much stronger roots entrenched.

On a related note, there is a thread on dealing with "Winners, Solvers, and Heretics", and Sean Franklin had something to say about dealing with them during the early days of Blood and Iron. I have different questions and angles, different from what is discussed in that thread:

  • Have you ever had local martial artists, particularly those dealing with weaponry (many Chinese martial arts forms actually derive from weaponry-based forms; also, the Japanese ones are self-explanatory), issue a public challenge/duel/etc. to you? Have you ever responded to one? If you refused to fight, how did you do it gracefully while still saving face?
  • On the flip side, have you ever went out of your way to "challenge" a local martial artist, especially one focused on weaponry?
  • What are your perspectives on public challenges? If HEMA masters issued public challenges to local Kendokas and what not, how do you think it would reflect on HEMA? (Noo, I am nothing like a master, do not worry about me going out and challenging people! :lol: )

Tea Kew
Posts: 92
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:27 am
Location: Cambridge, UK

Re: On public challenges

Postby Tea Kew » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:59 am

To be blunt, I'd consider them an asshole.

Fun exhibition matches, etc? Sure, awesome. Informal or semi-formal challenges between two people who respect each other as friends and fencers? Knock yourself out. But just showing up to be an arse about other people's training and arts doesn't do anything for anyone.

I've never been challenged, nor challenged out to someone else. If someone rocked up at my class and demanded to challenge me, I'd tell them to leave, and call the police if they didn't. Not interested in that sort of macho bullshit.

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