Thoughts on Prizing, Ranks, and Tournaments:
After following several threads on various HEMA forums (http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=14518
http://www.wmacoalition.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=319), I’ve been thinking that I ought to clarify my position on some of these topics and share them with the rest of you.
First off ranks, well I’ve never liked them. Secondly, there is scant historical documentation for their use in fencing guilds and schools. Third, who am I to be giving out ranks anyway? Finally, we are as our name suggests a collective and as such a rigid ranking system is, I feel, inconsistent with the ethos of our group. However, it is worth noting that an unofficial system already exists and I think ought to continue. In this group your skill and knowledge speak volumes, the more of these you have or develop…the more responsible your position within the group becomes.
Next, prizing. For those who are unaware of the practice, it is essentially a challenge by a student to face the schools other students and/or any others willing to fight them. The “prize” in this is varied, either it is the acclaim of the school, or it is an increase in rank, or something else. Ultimately the reason for prizing within a group such as ours is to demonstrate the skill of the group and the individual. Therefore, I intend to encourage you all to issue a challenge to the group to “play for the Prize”. That however leads us to a dilemma, what to use as the “prize”? After a discussion with others last night I think I have hit upon a solution. First though I must say this: we have no formal ranking system…some of you will want one and others will not. Prizing then will function as a ranking system that anyone may opt into, or out of, as they see fit. It will not be required, merely encouraged. That then said we can move onto the form the “prize” will take. I’m thinking that I will borrow an idea from a historic fencing group that I am acquainted with and an idea of Dr Hart’s. A simple ribbon is the answer, one colour for individual “prizes” and others for different multiples. I’ll leave it to the individual to decide how they will wear and display their prize; it is after all more a symbol for them then for us.
Finally, this brings us to tournaments…it is my intention that the IDC should hold several seasonal tourneys. Christmas, Spring, Summer, and Autumn…My intention is to make each a different format if possible (and if there is a format that you would like to see please let me know). The Spring tourney will be a random weapons tourney (in honor of my favorite tourney ever: http://www.pbase.com/darter02/p34_013) and the date for that will be announced soon. In the Autumn I think a Pas de Arms would be good fun. The format of the Summer tourney is up for debate and I am open to suggestions on that. As with the Christmas tourney the prize will likely remain cash, although the addition of formal prize such as a cup (that would be the winners until the next tourney) is a likely to happen.