This past weekend inspired me to get another post up a bit quicker than usual. Since this isn't a catch up post like my last one it will be a bit more focused I hope. I will be talking about what I have been learning in the process of writing fencing research papers and compare that to the act of fencing itself.
First, at Barony Beyond the Mountain (BBM) Yule on Saturday I was honored with the East Kingdom Silver Brooch for my fencing research and teaching of La Verdadera Destrea (LVD). I was extremely surprised and left speechless. I do what I do in LVD because I have fun. The combination of learning history and another mindset, placing it directly into action to see if it works, and getting other people excited about the same thing, gives me a sort of child like glee. Having this research and passion recognized as being useful to other people is beyond awesome.
The Future Paper:
Next, as I mentioned briefly in my last post I have been reading Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics in preparation and research for my next paper on Destreza. Specifically I am looking to discuss how the ethics and Catholic religion of Carranza was responsible for how LVD was created. There is no doubt that if you have a Catholic lawyer who writes dueling books during his free time, there is a very good chance that his fencing style and philosophy will have some heavy outside influences.
The Past Mindset:
That being said I have been going back and forth in my head about how I should move forward with my A&S activities. While I WILL be writing the ethics paper soon, I have been considering if writing a NEW paper is the right thing I should do for Kings and Queen's Arts and Science competition in February. I wrote a paper last year for KnQ, but due to some bad stuff happening in my life I was unable to enter it there. I did get feedback from some judges who read it and I also submitted it to the Laurel's prize tourney a month or so later and received some awesome feedback from Mistress Lissa on how to improve my paper in the future. Here is a blog post I wrote in March about that great experience: LVD Research Paper Experience.
After that last event I thought I learned what I needed to from that paper and pretty much shelved it and started thinking about my next work. After several discussions with my Lady Elena and after getting some great advice and consultation at the A&S research table last weekend, with Master Magnus and Lady Raiza, I am now rethinking things a bit.
In my education and research paper experience prior to the SCA, once you submitted them and received a grade, you moved onto the next work. Sure, you can get some advice and have reviewers help you before you submit the paper and make changes then, but you didn't submit the same paper to two different classes and that is how I think I have been viewing my work.
The Advice to Drill First:
Based on feedback and wisdom from the folks mentioned above, that mindset does not need to be the case when writing papers for the SCA. Most crafts people will submit their work to multiple competitions to get feedback and figure out how to improve their craft. In fact, as I was reminded, it would be considered very rude to not listen to advice you were given and show how you incorporated it into your future work or how you took that into consideration as you moved forward.
This is where the comparison of the process of SCA research papers to Fencing competitions and drills came into the consultation conversation with Master Magnus. When you enter a competition and/or fence someone better than you, they will sometimes give you advice on how to improve your game. You then take that information and alter what you are doing, practice/drill , practice/drill, practice/drill and try and put it back into action in another fight or tourney. For those that don't know, fencing drills are repeated movements, frequently done with a partner, that you do to train your brain and body to learn how to fence better. If you value the opinion of the person who gives you the advice you do not just ignore it and go about your business making the same mistakes over and over again.
Now to bring it back to the paper. It would be possible, but not very efficient to enter a tournament (read: A&S paper), receive some good advice, and then just move onto another tournament (read: new paper) without practicing and drilling the previous material first to make sure that what I learned is ingrained in my brain. Sure I could do it, but the more that I thought about it, if I want to get the most out of that original paper I need to change my previous mindset and see my research paper and tournament entry as more of an opportunity to drill my academic skills and paper writing abilities to get the most out of them. This way, when I do get to my Detreza ethics paper, I will have that much more time with the pen/sword in my hand and brain.
SO, what I will now be doing is breaking out the previous paper and drilling the you know what out of it. I want to get the most out of that experience and also try and get it out to as many people as possible to share the fun that I have with Destreza.
I hope my insights and experiences as a fencer and fencing researcher in the SCA can help other people. Each path is unique, but it is very much a journey and a fun one if you take the time to look around and listen to folks.
Thank's for reading.
Bonus picture of my Silver Brooch. Squee!! :-)