Choose Your Own Adventure
If you want to be a swordfighter for glory, turn to page 51.
If you want to fight for friends and fun, turn to page 23.
This is an age old conundrum for students in any pursuit, but it seems in physical training ones a bit more. What kind of student do I want to be, is the question often asked, or at the very least felt on a visceral level. There is an inherent thought that in competitive sports, participation should be on a level geared towards winning and winning alone.
It doesn’t -have- to be that serious. There is a wide range of lanes to be occupied and nothing says you can’t hop from one to the other as time goes on. Where do you fit? Let’s examine the enjoyment spectrum and the-choose-your-own-adventure destinations.
(This is fun!)
This -IS- fun! Coming to class is just enjoyable. Did that drill go just right? It doesn’t
matter, because it was fun to participate, learn, and experience. It’s always glass if half full when it’s full of positivity! This is an outlet and brings happiness (don’t toss it out!).
(The Kid with the Heart Ring from Captain Planet)
My people! There is so much love for fellow students and the group at large. Being surrounded by folks pursuing the same nerdy things is half the fun! It’s a gateway to a shared experience that leads to socialization both in class and beyond.
(The MMO Player Who Discovered the Auction House)
There is a drive to understand. It matters if it’s correct or not and time is put towards finding out. Class time is for focusing on technique and asking questions. A level of investment is reached where there is...well...investment and by that, I mean gear.
(Soopr Srs Time)
Practice, practice, practice. Classes are augmented with sanctioned practice time in the space as well as at home. The drive to learn is urged along with a desire to tackle more difficult maneuvers and succeed. Time is the investment now.
(Ready for Solo-ing Dungeons)
You’re ready. All the pieces have come together. Your gear is your own and your focus is on testing out practiced skills. It’s time to test the mettle of what has been learned against others on the same path. Time, effort, and focus are all zoned in on competing.
Now, these are just archetypes and hardly ever is someone just one. More often than not, we are a mix of a few or we change over time. So once you kinda pinpoint your needs/desires, how does that inform what kind of experience you want?
Culture, culture, culture.
Knowing what your expectations/needs/desires are, will help you understand what kind of school will best support your goals. It’s mostly a series of questions.
-Does the school offer a competitive team?
-Do they travel as a school to tournaments?
-Are there social gatherings for students?
-In classes, are all levels welcome or are they divided by ability? If so, how is that assessed?
You can see where I am going with this.
Finding a good fit is important and part of that is “Know Thyself” so that you can better ask questions about what a potential (or even current school) can provide. That isn’t to say that once you have identified a lane, you have to stick with it either. Enthusiasm ebbs and flows, available time is subject to real life (pfffft...work), and there are even injuries that can affect it all.
In the end, remember that you really can choose your own adventure. Seek out the experience that best suits you and the school that best lets you do it.
HEMA on, Wayne.
HEMA on, Garth.
- Sidesword Diva