We are in a growth point where taking another step forward is necessary. For a while the club has been running more like a "fight club" than a legitimate martial arts institution of learning and practice. The changes we are now to implement will incorporate and legitimatize what we do, who we are, and how we do it. Big changes always bring a bit of anxiety, but we are ready and able to face the challenges. Here's to a new step and a greater destiny.
We have had an awesome first half of the year. We acquired permission to use an incredible indoor space. We've had a couple bumps in numbers and a few of us have traveled to our first "away" tourney. We've learned a lot, and are even considering setting things up to open doors as an actual Martial Arts school. As a Club we rock, and are getting only better. As a school it would bring a lot more Responsibility/Duties to the administration staff, but it would help pave the way for some rapid and needed advancements in our curricula, study, and development.
We are gaining some skilled members who are ready to help others learn and grow. Testing these Scholars for their advance to Free-Scholar status will be a pleasure. Seeing where they take their independent studies will be equally pleasing. It will mean more expertise in Weapons/Styles that we can offer as a Club/School, and more people who carry the torch and love for the art.
Obviously these are some exciting moments in our history.
So here we are at the end of a year and beginning of a new one. Our club has seen a lot of change over the last year, most of it good. We are now in a place where we can expect some fantastic things, but some growing pains as well. We have gained new members, acquired new equipment, and grown in our understanding and approach to the manuscripts and our training. As we look to the new year, we are committed to greater application of the manuscripts and we anticipate great things to come.
So, our club is steady on and like other clubs around the world, we are experiencing a lot of the ebb and flow of changes. We are feeling the conundrum of needing more members to sustain momentum and get a solid location and more equipment, but not the resources to acquire the equipment and indoor location that will effectively accommodate more members. This is perfectly normal and one of the major hurdles most every organization experiences.
We, as a club just participated in a second tournament setting. Kreig School hosted a mini-tourney that we were able to put 4 competitors into. It was a great experience. We learned a lot, saw alot, felt our accomplishments and improvements, and all in all had a good time. We are enjoying the sport aspect of our hobby. At the same time the Principals are working hard on curriculum development so that we are steadily refining our craft as it comes out of Steel Ring Academy.
All the things we want are clear and present in our Club experience. We are building good camaraderie with several clubs - Thanks Kreig School, Knights Blade, and the online brothers from the HFA. We are studying and working out a lot of the confused issues we had been having in our early days. We are also becoming active as players in the field, meeting others in competition and gatherings. So far, all we want and hope for out of our club.
Whooo wee! The heat and humidity this summer is really oppressive this year. We are still searching for an indoor venue to practice and in which to set up shop. our growth is slow and steady and we are definitely in a place where people are checking us out and what we do.
We are going through a bit of growing pains as well as we re-investigate our Manuscripts and the curriculum development plan we are setting forth. Change is always a bit uncomfortable but often necessary for positive development. I believe we are pretty far off from out ultimate goal of opening a Martial Arts school that specializes in HEMA, but we are also on the right track and path to get there.
So we have made it through our first tourney experience as a club. It was overall a great time. we learned a lot, we connected with a lot of great people and saw the sport aspect of "our thing" in full swing - pun intended. Here are a few keynotes that have stuck out in our minds.
What to do when you are "too sore, too tired, too worn, too.....(fill in the blank)" to train. I am no spring chicken, and I am admittedly a bit out of shape, and that means I have a bit of a struggle sometimes with motivation on training days. I often push through and train anyway, but it really is a struggle sometimes. With the upcoming tournament looming I am aware of just how much I need to train. As I sit here drinking my morning coffee, I am feeling like I don't even want to spar tonight at practice.
So how do I resolve this struggle? One answer (and, my typical solution) is to "just do it". Reach down in my Kool-Aid pumping heart and force myself to get up and train. This is great, but sometimes, I don't want to push through. Another answer is to reason with myself about the reward of training and honing my skills. This works too, but often the results are like a long term diet - a fair distance beyond my problem today. That distance makes it easy for me to justify putting it off. Another way is to convince myself of the need to do it. Again a great motivator, but the improvement is sometimes a slow process. Yet another way is to be inspired by others skill or achievement. This is the most encouraging way i know to overcome the Blahs about training. It is a good reason we should all contribute to our HEMA community visually, physically, and with correspondence. The exhortations and celebrations of others are not only a cool a part our community, but a huge encouragement to those of us who need it.
Perhaps i will have a moment to watch a video or read a great encouraging e-mail today about an accomplishment or something
So here we are, less than two weeks before the first tournament our group will have the honor to be a part of. Not only are some of us competing, but we are also running the First Aid station and being the "medic" team for the Event. None of us competing are expecting anything but to make a first step into the Competition scene. We all however are a bit excited and nervous at the prospect of being a part of it.
The big Competition debate is whether tournaments actually impede the spread of the True art or if they aid in the expansion of this thing we do. Both ideas are correct and both are wrong. I feel it is up to the individual artist/player to make the choice to perfect his play to whatever degree he or she wants. We in SRA feel that we ought to compete to aid each of us in that individual "perfection". We have seen instances where people begin to Train themselves only for the competitions. In this way they do perfect a certain skillset and show a great deal of skill, but in our humble opinion, it cheapens the art to reduce it to a sporting event with rules of Points and tallies and lists. All those things have a place in this Art, but to compete is chance to test our mettle not prove our worth.