I had a great conversation with sword master Guy Windsor, about the relationships between philosophy, martial arts, and sword fighting. Here's a very short exchange:
GW: There are all sorts of unfounded claims that are made, like you practise this particular martial art, you’ll get better at self-defence. Well, OK, if they're looking at self-defence scenarios and training you in identifying those scenarios and avoiding them or training you in surprise attack from behind by somebody bigger and stronger or whatever. If that's what they're actually modelling, then yes, it might work. But you don't just sort of magically get better at self-defence by practising, say 17th century rapier, that isn’t going to help.
DY: No. But suppose it did work and you then became extremely good at killing people with a rapier, what would the everyday modern value of that be? Well, I can defend myself if I'm allowed to murder people, but without the whole murder thing, I'm not so good. You know, it's impractical. And, in fact, it sounds odd when you say it using HEMA when you talk about rapier here like that. But that's legitimately a claim that some traditional martial arts make, that we will teach you how to kill people. Like, why? Why do you need to know how to kill people? That's absurd. You work an office job. The most annoying thing in your day is when the Uber is late.
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