To BE A HERO YOU DON'T HAVE TO:
TO BE A HERO, YOU MUST BE READY, WILLING AND ABLE TO:
- Have a magic ring.
- Pilot a gigantic robot.
- Get bitten by a radioactive spider.
- Be exposed to gamma rays.
- Be immortal.
- Carry a magic sword.
- Be exposed to radioactive waste.
- Be able to turn invisible.
- Act voluntarily
- At great personal risk,
- For the benefit of others, or for an ethical or moral principle,
- Without any expectation of any kind of reward.
We seem to be running short on heroes.
That's why we're not in the business of creating "fencing champions" who participate in fencing as a "sport" for their own self-aggrandizement at the expense of others.
We're in the business of creating heroes who will stand up for truth, freedom, equality, and justice.
The sword is just a tool.
It's the key we use to help you unlock the hero in your heart.
Just as regular lifting of increasingly heavy weights builds the muscles in your body, the regular practice of the various physical and mental elements of our training will help you build your "hero muscles."
It will empower you to become more self-confident and self-reliant. It will enable you to acquire the "heroic habits" of thinking critically, making rational decisions based on objective evidence, and taking decisive independent action in accordance with an infallible moral compass, no matter how great the cost to yourself - because all of these are things that you will do routinely in the salle d'armes (fencing studio) as an integral part of practice.
The True Art, Science and Spirit of the Sword
The word fencing dates to the mid-15th century. It is a shortened form of the word defend, which, in turn comes from Old French defendre (12c.) "repulse, resist," and directly from Latin defendere "ward off, protect, guard," (from de- "from, away" + -fendere "to strike, push." ) "Fencing," therefore, is the use of the sword to defend oneself in personal combat.
The cowboy humorist, Will Rogers, once noted: "It ain't that people don't know. It's just that they know so much that ain't so."
All that most people know about the sword is what they've seen in the movies, or in the Olympics, or in a public display by some fantasy role-playing group. That means, when it comes to fencing, most people know quite a lot that "ain't so!"
It may surprise you to learn the fencing is a "serious" martial art the purpose of which is to develop in each individual a strong, healthy body, an acute and agile mind, a gallant and gracious manner, and a joyful and dauntless spirit.
The ART of the sword is the mastery of precise and highly disciplined - yet infinitely adaptable - movement. Like classical music, classical fencing strives toward a particular ideal of "poise, balance, proportion, simplicity, formal discipline, craftmanship, and universal and objective (rather than idiosyncratic and subjective) expression," affording us a "standard or model of excellence that has enduring value." This art is developed through the repeated physical practice of fundamental skills in classes and individual lessons.
The SCIENCE of the sword is the critical analysis and understanding of the psycho-physiological dynamics of combat, (which we call "behavioral hoplology") including principles of tactics and strategy and how these principles apply in a wide range of combative circumstances. This knowledge is acquired by reflection and discussion.
The SPIRIT of the sword is the resolute commitment to the code of modern chivalry, to employ one's knowledge and skill benevolently. This spirit is cultivated through heroic action (which we refer to as "hero homework."), first in the salle d'armes, then in the local and global community.
Chivalry: The Moral Compass of the Ideal Knight
Our ethical code, which we refer to as "modern chivalry," has four foundational principles: excellence, truthfulness, loyalty and benevolence.
Excellence is the commitment to doing every task you undertake, whether grand or menial, conscientiously and to the very best of your ability.
Truthfulness means not being a party to any untruth, whether by commission, omission or obfuscation. Further, you accept the positive duty to ensure that the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, be known and understood.
Loyalty means unswerving faithfulness to whatever it is you pledge your loyalty to. It includes always keeping your word and never breaking a promise no matter what the circumstances may be.
Benevolence means the determination to do good, not just when it benefits you, or is, at least, not inconvenient, but rather by going out into the world and seeking out opportunities to do good no matter how great the personal risk or cost to you.
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