I was asked, recently, by a friend, “Why do you do that sword fighting thing?”
As I’ve pondered this question, I found my answer in the words of Jack Donovan.
“Strength, courage, mastery, and honor are the alpha virtues of men all over the world. They are the fundamental virtues of men because without them, no “higher” virtues can be entertained. You need to be alive to philosophize. You can add to these virtues and you can create rules and moral codes to govern them, but if you remove them from the equation altogether you aren’t just leaving behind the virtues that are specific to men, you are abandoning the virtues that make civilization possible.
“Plato at one point in time compared men to dogs. One of the great tragedies of modernity is the lack of opportunity for men to become what they are, to do what they were bred to do, what their bodies want to do. They could be Plato’s noble puppies, but they are chained to a stake in the ground—left to the madness of barking at shadows in the night, taunted by passing challenges left unresolved and whose outcomes will forever be unknown.
“If you are never truly challenged in a meaningful way and are only required to perform idiot-proofed corporate processes to get your meat and shelter, can you ever truly be engaged enough to call yourself alive, let alone a man?
“Men cannot be men—much less good or heroic men—unless their actions have meaningful consequences to people they truly care about. Strength requires an opposing force, courage requires risk, mastery requires hard work, honor requires accountability to other men. Without these things, we are little more than boys playing at being men, and there is no weekend retreat or mantra or half-assed rite of passage that can change that. A rite of passage must reflect a real change in status and responsibility for it to be anything more than theater. No reimagined manhood of convenience can hold its head high so long as the earth remains the tomb of our ancestors”
Sword fighting encompasses it all.
I’ve come to realize that training with the sword, against other men, fulfills a masculine yearning and desire I’ve felt for over 50 years. Why would God include hundreds of chapters of wars and sword fights in the scriptures? Because, the nobility of prophets and kings, their strength, courage, mastery and honor, was often forged at the hilt of a sword.
That’s why I sword fight.
Watch the video below and you can see where sword fighting provides the repeated opposing force, risk, hard work and accountability that are prerequisites of success. Sword fighting is really just rapid short and very exciting lessons on life.
I hope you enjoy watching as much as I enjoyed participating.