Thursday, September 5, 2013

The USFCA Has No Right To Govern Me

I recently read a blog entry by Guy Windsor concerning the modern sport fencing organization known as USFCA seeking to establish their own system for granting titles for HEMA instructors, even though their organization does not practice any historical systems.  Guy's comments can be read here:

I find this incredibly disturbing. I am in complete agreement with Guy about the historical ignorance displayed by this "certification," and how its generic format is, in itself, both indicative of their ignorance about the subject and a bar to learning real HEMA.

Far more than that, however, I am deeply troubled by the likelihood that those of us who refuse to participate in this farce will be penalized legally for failing to do so. Guy says: "I agree with my esteemed colleague Randy Packer that this move on their part is dangerous in that once a certification is available, perfectly competent but uncertified instructors may find themselves unable to get insurance or use public spaces without submitting to this farcical exam process. This is deeply worrying." It is more than merely worrying, it is both worrying and infuriating, and it is wrong!

A lot of people refuse to use or recognize the title master. This clearly demonstrates they have a ludicrously exaggerated sense of what that title should mean because they refuse to break away from Asian martial arts memes and the comic-book way in which popular culture represents such things. So my problem is not with the USFCA granting the title master, but with the fact that they have (a) no right to present any HEMA titles of any kind since that isn't where their expertise lies, and (b) no right to decide who is or isn't qualified to teach an art they, themselves don't understand. No group or organization has any right to pass formal judgement over the rank structure of any other--rank should be an entirely internal matter.

I see from Guy's post that Ken Mondschein is behind and/or associated with this--now it becomes much more clear. I've had unpleasant dealings with him, and this is exactly the kind of thing people like Ken would fall all over themselves to put into place.

These people need to stick to poking one another with car antennas and stay out of other people's business.


stag said...

I concur. As you know, I prefer the title "Marshal" for myself, since I don't consider myself to have mastered this art. I get a warm feeling when people call me their Sword Master, that is true, but borrowing credibility by borrowing a title is not something I am comfortable with. But you have discussed this, and have proved to my satisfaction that it is a perfectly good title, so I am all right with it being used by anybody who wants to call themselves a Maestro, Master, or more accurately for modern usage, perhaps "owner-operator" or "proprietor. Whatever. Hard to get excited over what people want to call themselves. Its not the title which makes the man.

There are good EMMA clubs out there. Some are well run (like me)...some are fumbling in the dark (like me..grin!) many are playing catch up as they discover that there may be several paths, all discover the power of large numbers. Insurance companies won't do anything to make it easy, but every rental space says "okay then, when we have your proof of insurance, we are good to go. Then the devil comes out in the details.

Thank you for this blog entry. It is bang on.

Kode said...

This is just another step in the trend of the United State's, and by associate Canada's, desire to regulate everything according to absurd regulations that in no way reflect reality. You should be able to demonstrate you capability as a teacher and as a swordsman, but the guidlines they lay out are absurd. I sincerely hope that this restriction doesn't arrive here any time soon.