When I started my training I did what any geek would do. I got a hold of every book I could on the subject. I read "Shimmering Sword" by Nick Jamilla. Because the Jedi style is ultimately stage combat I read "Actors on Guard." I read articles by John Clements and a series of books on Eskrima, Kendo and Western Olympic fencing. I did not do this to learn moves or techniques. I did so to learn the history and culture of what I was entering into.
I learned that different sword styles are formed through the following environmental variables:
- Who is doing the fighting. Armed villagers are taught differently than a specialized warrior class
- Who the opponent is. If the enemy always wears armour, and carries a pole arm, you train differently than if they are un-armored and bring knives.
- Sport vs combat styles. Kendo and Olympic fencing is fought for points, while kenjutsu and traditional Shoulin styles are combative.
When I began sharing my new interest in swordplay with others, I learned other factors to consider:
- You seldom meet an amateur.
- There are more misconceptions about techniques and the reasoning behind techniques than there are about most religious doctrine/
- Everyone is in the one true school. At some point in every discipline, students graduate and move on and start their own school, leaving many students to believe that there is a right branch and several wrong branches. Anyone you meet will be in the correct one. Of course if anyone thought that they were in the wrong branch, they would quit and find another place to train. But if there were a true path to a discipline, the shear quantity of competing schools would seem to place most people on the "wrong" path.
It would seem that most people are 45th dan black belts in Ken-punchalot Ru.
Any reading on martial arts forums and magazines will yield a wide result of arguments for and against any point you could think of.
So where does this leave a novice martial artist beginning training in an esoteric style? I'll leave that for you to decide for yourselves.
Tags: Martialarts StarWars Lightsaber Rant