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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
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PostPosted: Sun 02 Aug, 2009 8:18 pm    Post subject: HEMA, in the Olympics?         Reply with quote

NO this is not an announcement (I wish), rather its a question, do you think HEMA will ever make it into the olympics?

If so why or why not.

I personally think that we do not have enough people practicing it yet, but it already is international, and I see no reason for us not to have an international competition (If we can agree on a set of rules and make it a sport without ruining it).

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Jim Mearkle




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Aug, 2009 8:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I recall some years ago, there was talk about dropping modern fencing from the Olympics, in part because it is mostly a European sport, without that many participants worldwide. At the time, I thought the solution was adding Kendo rather than dropping foil, epee and saber.

Will HEMA ever make the Olympics? I sort of doubt it. There isn't enough of an audience (yet). Maybe the X-Games?

Jim
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Aug, 2009 9:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think it's an interesting idea but the way to define a winner is problematic and might turn HEMA too much into a sport rather than focussing in it as a martial art and as historical research.

On the other hand one might keep HEMA as it is and have a " sports version " with it's own rules for scoring ?

Hard rules based on hits ( accurately evaluation hits is always a problem and simultaneous or near simultaneous hits should mean that both are dead and lose points ! This to encourage treating it as a combat simulation and not just a touch first and win by 1/100 of a second mentality ).

Or, soft rules more like gymnastics or figure skating ( without the corruption ? ) i.e. style points for successful use of master strokes adding to " hit " points ? A hit, any successful hit being rewarded by 1 point but the same using a master stroke giving 2 points and maybe the option for the judges to give an extra point for style or completely dominating the opponent using well the basic principles of timing and distance, judgement, measure or just doing something extraordinary !?

Oh, the rules should allow going to half swording and wrestling also.

A combination of hard and soft scoring ?

Anyway, a sports form might be equivalent to Judo versus it's true martial arts origins.

Just suggestions for rules and scoring but the actual rules could be very different than above and I'm sure one could come up with numerous different approaches from no contact, light contact to full armoured full contact versions of a European Medieval based fighting " sport ": One might even have different " sports " and rules evolve in parallel ?

Oh, the fights if based on " soft " rules could even be recorded at high speed for slow motion playback from multiple camera angles that the judges would then score after viewing in slow motion Question I find that when participating or arbitrating sword exchanges/duels it is very difficult to follow the action and be sure exactly what one saw or " thinks " one saw, the hand being much faster than the eye. I also think this would be better than an electrical ( foil type scoring ) where all that counts is getting to score first ?

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Nicholas Allan Wilson




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Aug, 2009 9:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

First of all this would never happen.

IF it did however, HEMA would change from martial art to sport-like which is a fundamental difference. That goes for any martial art, look what happened to Judo.
Being that HEMA is relatively young, I think it would become so distorted and manipulated that it would veer far from any kind of historical or martial accuracy. The rules and the weapons would soon be manipulated in order to score points and do outlandish things that no one would realistically do. The flick in sport fencing is a great example of this as well as the leaping and vaulting. It is my opinion that adding HEMA to the Olympics would be the worst thing that organization could possibly do.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Aug, 2009 10:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nicholas Allan Wilson wrote:
First of all this would never happen.

IF it did however, HEMA would change from martial art to sport-like which is a fundamental difference. That goes for any martial art, look what happened to Judo.
Being that HEMA is relatively young, I think it would become so distorted and manipulated that it would veer far from any kind of historical or martial accuracy. The rules and the weapons would soon be manipulated in order to score points and do outlandish things that no one would realistically do. The flick in sport fencing is a great example of this as well as the leaping and vaulting. It is my opinion that adding HEMA to the Olympics would be the worst thing that organization could possibly do.


Yeah, mostly or completely agree and in my post I do make a distinction between what HEMA is and should remain and what a HEMA inspired " Sport " might be like: But yes there is a great danger in " sportifying " HEMA and losing it as historically research!

( Oh, but it also is something I enjoy as FUN. Wink ).

Oh, as a sport, maybe? An Olympic sport: I don't think so in any way until it first matured as a popular activity, and then it would probably be like Judo and separate from the martial arts form !

The video recording and playback at slow motion would sure be useful though after our duels/bouting not so much to declare a winner but to better understand what worked or not and why.

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Neal Matheson




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Aug, 2009 10:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

singlestick was an olympic sport for the first modern olympics. It's from was quite different to backsword fencing with a singlestick but would be easier to return to the olympics.
I don't care for the idea myself overly as the sporting mentality is a constant bugbear for (western) sword arts instructors
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Aug, 2009 11:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Neal Matheson wrote:
singlestick was an olympic sport for the first modern olympics. It's from was quite different to backsword fencing with a singlestick but would be easier to return to the olympics.
I don't care for the idea myself overly as the sporting mentality is a constant bugbear for (western) sword arts instructors


Yeah, my training group tries to de-emphasize competition or trying to win at all costs and prioritizes trying to learn from one's successes and from one's mistakes and the reason for bouting is mostly to try and use the master strokes or other techniques when the training partner isn't being cooperative i.e. with opposition.

Putting aside winning or ego is not 100% successful but we do try to concentrate on learning.

With a sport winning is everything ! If we where fighting for real then I guess winning would also be THE first priority but when learning techniques winning at all costs can lead to very sloppy technique and not learning much except very reflexive actions which although they can be successful get in the way of getting better i.e. a failed use of a master stroke doesn't mean one stops practising the master stroke, but as one gets better and better at using a master stroke one eventually can use it successfully without conscious though.

In other words when learning a new skill one doesn't do it by going as fast as possible at first, one does it by doing it slowly: Doing it wrong and fast will never get you to doing right slow or fast ! Anyway, getting a bit off topic with training theories

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Sam Barris




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PostPosted: Mon 03 Aug, 2009 6:58 am    Post subject: Re: HEMA, in the Olympics?         Reply with quote

Michael Curl wrote:
NO this is not an announcement (I wish), rather its a question, do you think HEMA will ever make it into the olympics?

No, and I don't think I'd want it to. Sport fencing and kendo can both serve as examples of what happens to a martial system when it's translated into a sport, and part of the point of WMA is to not go down that path. This is not to dismiss the idea of competition per se, but rather to suggest that a tourney we put on ourselves would be much nicer than thrusting Fiore or Liechtenauer into the Olympics. I think we'd lose something essential in doing that.

However, the thought of Christian Tobler or John Clements on a Wheaties box is pretty funny. Wink

Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
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PostPosted: Mon 03 Aug, 2009 8:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well said everyone, I didn't think it would be that hard to translate it into a sport, but after all that is exactly what modern fencing is.
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Andrew Shultz




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PostPosted: Mon 03 Aug, 2009 11:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well true, but to me it would be like translating an opera into a pop song. Not really much left of the opera after you're done, except the title and maybe part of the theme.
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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Mon 03 Aug, 2009 1:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The difference between sport and martial art is not so clear cut.

A martial art is a theory of actual combat, with exercises designed to transmit an understanding of this theory as well as the physical capacity to apply it. Often these include practice in opposition, and these exercises are the part that can be turned into competitive sports. This is not a recent thing, but a natural evolution that happened in many places. Becoming good at these exercises is a very valid objective. The problem is that if you take one such exercise in isolation, there are many techniques that are not optimal. Then the techniques start to diverge. So the main problem appears when you specifically design exercises to get better at simulated combat.

Where the matter becomes complex is that bouting is also used today in WMA to assess the validity of reconstructed techniques. In a way, the techniques are already tuned to a form of simulated combat. The thing is that we think that our simulation is good enough...

I think that with a proper ruleset, there are many things that can be learned from competitive bouting. The competitive setting gives a great incentive to win, which you should have if fighting for real. If you think defence is essential, then just design the rules so that you have to defend in order to win... Of course competitive fights can be ugly with plenty of mistakes on both sides, people doing stupid things in the hope of winning, etc. But this happens in real life too... A real fight between trained fighters should not be nearly as clean and perfect as what we are shown in manuals.

To me, it seems that many manuals show what a trained fencer can do to someone that does not know the system or makes a major screw-up. This is not something that is often seen in a competition or fight between two fighters trained into the same system. This is exactly why in judo and many combat sport you see more and more athlecism. That's because the difference in skill is not sufficient to win the fight anymore. I'm fairly sure a trained judoka can still get me down using minimal strength...

In my opinion, competitive bouting is something that should not be excluded from WMA, because it's as close as you get to a real fight (assuming a consistent ruleset, which is another topic). It's the next stage after being able to replicate the techniques from the manual in drills.

That said, I can't see the interest in becoming an Olympic sport. Actually I'm not sure I see the point in Olympic Games anymore Happy

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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Mon 03 Aug, 2009 2:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Actually I'm not sure I see the point in Olympic Games anymore



Product placement and overt nationalism. HEMA can be a very valuable tool in regards to experimental archeology. I'd hate to see it bastardized like every other sport that's included in the olympic pantheon. (this coming from a former fencer who was once an olympic hopeful)
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Jon Wolfe




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PostPosted: Tue 04 Aug, 2009 9:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The only aspect of HEMA that should be re-introduced to the modern Olympic games should be Pankration. I don't think there would be a broad enough base of appeal to have the rest of HEMA added to the Olympics.
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Jordan Pohl





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PostPosted: Tue 15 Mar, 2016 6:22 pm    Post subject: Olympic HEMA Rules         Reply with quote

A lot of HEMA people fear that by having HEMA become a sport that it will become like what kendo or modern fencing has changed to. I feel that that HEMA could translate into an Olympic Sport quite easily without such a problem by implementing three simple rules.

1) Weapons and to some extent armor must be historically accurate for the time period of the style used. This prevents such things as rapier turning into a foil and also.

2) The style must meet historical standards of the weapon used. This prevents the use such exaggerated lunges and vaults since they have no historical precedent.

3) There are no restrictions on shots or strikes since after all there are no rules in war. (albeit improper protection may require restrictions for a match.)

I feel these three rules would be enough to prevent an Olympic version of HEMA from turning into some bastardized and babied version of the Traditional Arts. These rules exemplify the Historical part of HEMA which is what the society is about.
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Michael Beeching





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PostPosted: Tue 15 Mar, 2016 7:05 pm    Post subject: Re: HEMA, in the Olympics?         Reply with quote

Sam Barris wrote:
Michael Curl wrote:
NO this is not an announcement (I wish), rather its a question, do you think HEMA will ever make it into the olympics?

No, and I don't think I'd want it to. Sport fencing and kendo can both serve as examples of what happens to a martial system when it's translated into a sport, and part of the point of WMA is to not go down that path. This is not to dismiss the idea of competition per se, but rather to suggest that a tourney we put on ourselves would be much nicer than thrusting Fiore or Liechtenauer into the Olympics. I think we'd lose something essential in doing that.

However, the thought of Christian Tobler or John Clements on a Wheaties box is pretty funny. Wink


I'd totally eat Wheaties if Christian Tobler was on the box. Razz

That said, I find it hard to disagree with any of the sentiments about seeing historical swordsmanship in the Olympics. Simultaneously, so long as the martial aspect of the activity and the relevance of the sparring weapons as realistic analogs for the actual weapons would not be discarded, I don't think it could be that bad.

As an example in contrast, sport fencing is seemingly devoid of any martial relevance, at least on the surface, and the arms they use are in no sense representative of an actual weapon. Just forcing the use of actual epee's and gymnasium sabres would significantly change the dynamics of sport fencing. Getting sportsmen/women who are not actual martial artists to use the weapons like actual weapons is another thing entirely... but then, now we're blatantly changing the rules in all aspects of a current sport inclusive of a large body of active practitioners. It would totally work, right?

...If we can't get actual combatitive sports back in the olympics, could we get gliding back? Perhaps now we could get hang-gliding instead...
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Michael Kelly





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PostPosted: Wed 16 Mar, 2016 4:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the better question to ask is, "do you want it to?"

If so you better be prepared for the historical accuracy and realism that most seek to go by the way side... Cuz that is exactly what will happen.
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Richard Miller




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Mar, 2016 2:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Kelly wrote:
I think the better question to ask is, "do you want it to?"

If so you better be prepared for the historical accuracy and realism that most seek to go by the way side... Cuz that is exactly what will happen.


I would absolutely hate seeing any kind of HEMA pursuit become an Olympic event, for many of the reasons already so well stated.
I would also add that current state of affairs could use something to boost exposure, but The Olympics is no way to go. As soon as some self appointed "Governing Body" gets set up, the easy going and friendly atmosphere that I find so appealing would be a thing of the past.
Unfortunately, I've seen that whenever a call for organization and leadership goes out, the egos emerge and the only people who are really present for the "good of the game" are soon pushed aside.
I would far rather see no change at all than the kind of changes the Olympics would bring!
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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Wed 16 Mar, 2016 3:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The only good I can see coming to this the fact that getting into the Olympics would encourage ton of into going into Historical swordsmanship and introduce a huge incentive towards excellence, money and status. The fact that you make a living off it and potentially gain lasting fame in the global community would encourage alot more people to particpate and devote more time, because Competiton Hema can now be career path.
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Shahril Dzulkifli




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Mar, 2016 5:04 am    Post subject: HEMA in the Olympics?         Reply with quote

I think that's not going to happen. But I can't imagine if HEMA is accepted as an Olympic event one day. Surprised
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Mon 18 Apr, 2016 4:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Competitive HEMA becoming a career is exactly what I don't want to see. National government-sponsored sports organisations (or just government agencies outright) would probably take over the management of the professional athletes and then pour all the money into just a small minority of top competitors while stringing along a large number of young hopefuls who often have to take leaves of absence from school or work just to be able to attend enough intensive training sessions and competitions to keep them at the top of their game -- and be rewarded with nothing or at most a small stipend that's definitely not enough to live on, let alone pay for the loss of work and education opportunities outside the training camps.

At least that what I'm seeing here in the Third World. People and clubs/groups who want to pursue the sport for health or personal reasons (as opposed to competitive goals) get sidelined or even actively discouraged from continuing, while all the money and attention goes to the star athletes -- until they're too old to compete and the state just tosses them by the wayside, leaving them to petition year after year to be recruited as civil servants in a coaching capacity or to just fade away into poverty and obscurity because all that focus on training left them with no time and opportunity to learn other marketable skills.

All that just for some medals and an illusionary sense of national pride. The day that kind of soul-sucking attitude creeps into HEMA is the day HEMA dies.


Edit: Just to be clear, I don't object to HEMA competitions as such. They're a useful (and to some degree necessary) training tool. But that's exactly what they should remain -- as one training tool among many. When competition becomes the be-all and end-all of HEMA the way it does in many Olympic sports today, we're going to lose the historical aspects.
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