Sunday, March 22, 2009

Let me Introduce Myself

This is Casper.

Up until this point, Brandon has been the only one doing anything at all with this blog so I thought I should put down my glass of wine and throw in a little, since the purpose of it is, after all, supposedly about our upcoming book, and Brandon tells me people are actually reading this. So, in light of that, I’d like to get a few little things out of the way.

1. Brandon and I make a pretty good team when we write and we’re turning out a fine book in my opinion, and we share a lot of the same views. But, for the most part, we post things here individually and one’s opinions or views don’t necessarily reflect the other’s at all.

2. I’m not big on the internet (i.e. I dislike it). At least the public side of the internet. I used to post on forums years ago, but found the amount of stress, wasted time and annoyance always outweighed any benefit I gained, so I now abstain. This blog is about the extent of my public internet presence. I’m also no believer in any cohesive “WMA community/movement” (or whatever you want to call it) as such. I believe that idea to be an internet fiction of squabbling egos and an area of display for petty vanities. I’m an old-school martial artist, and I believe in limiting what and how I share information and insight. Conversely, the internet RMA side of things seems to be the idea that if you don’t post, publish or share everything you know, you just don’t know it. I didn’t get my start as a reenactor, boffer fighter or sport fencer who jumped on the bandwagon. I do want to educate, and to legitimize our ancestral Western martial arts traditions, but I certainly won’t be giving anything away. Like most real martial artists, I share my insights and skills with those I trust, i.e. my friends and my personal students, and not at all equally. And naturally, not everything goes into a book. Take note on that insight when you’re reading a fechtbuch from a time when these skills were a matter of life or death.

The real movement is not internet posturing with cliques, but showing true legitimacy in these arts to the world, not to a pathetic virtual microcosm. The world at large is the true peer review board, not a circle of backpatting, ankle biting non-athletic posers. You shouldn’t be offended if it doesn’t apply, and I certainly hope it doesn’t.

3. Rumor control: I was an ARMA member for 10 years. I served a large portion of that time as a senior instructor in the organization, developed and oversaw their historical unarmed combatives curricula while it lasted, and contributed my fair share in several other ways and projects. It’s been kept rather quiet outside the ARMA, but I was recently forced out, and it has leaked here and there. It’s been said that I had a falling out with the organization, which is an absolutely false attempt by an individual or two to save face and retain a facade of legitimacy. I honestly can’t even claim difference of opinion. I think the ARMA is the best organization of it’s kind, within it’s own avenue, out there. But, alas, I was forced out in a pointless private quarrel with the director, with the assistant director’s complicity, in a very undignified manner, and thusly banned from the ARMA forum (nothing to do with any posts there; I rarely posted anyway). But the members of the ARMA with the courage to question the matter and who did and continue to support me have my most sincere respect and gratitude. I hope I was of service to you.

So, I’m sure I’ll be posting again, but with something more interesting next time. We are making you all a good and useful resource with this book, and I do sincerely hope you approve.


“That there are persons of mistaken ideas in almost every Art or Science, is what few will deny. Yet I am inclined to believe there are more erroneous opinions entertained with regard to the Art of using the Sword than on most other subjects.”

- Joseph Roland, Amateur of Fencing, 1809