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Gavin Kisebach




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Nov, 2007 10:34 pm    Post subject: How do you know when you are an Expert?         Reply with quote

Tod's thread about archery experts got me wondering. I knw there have been threads about what makes a craftsman a "Master", but I couldn't find any concerning what makes on an "Expert". The dictionary defines it thusly:

–noun 1. a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field; specialist; authority: a language expert.

By that definition, most of the regular posters in this forum are experts; after all, this is still a relatively particular field. Of course, most of us would run screaming from this title, lest we find ourselves outgunned by someone of even deeper knowledge, or if nothing else come across as just arrogant.

So what defines an expert in the study of arms and armor? What separates an enthusiast from an authority?
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Greyson Brown




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Nov, 2007 10:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You have to start out by being a spert. Then, when you retire, you become an ex-spert. Razz

In all honesty, I think this is one of those terms that can easily become context dependent. I know a guy who was an expert witness for a case, but he doesn't walk around introducing himself as an expert. He just knew more about the subject than anyone else they could find. I've had class mates tell me that I'm an expert on the military (for the same basic reason; I know more about it than they do), but I did not learn everything there is to know about the military while I was in. Even if I had, things keep changing. I'm only an expert (if I really am) because they are not.

-Grey

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
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Peter Bosman




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PostPosted: Fri 09 Nov, 2007 12:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Like Grey writes, 'expert' is relative since nobody even knows all there is to know about anything.

Well known is the saying that the more you know, the better you know how little you know.

I guess the crux is that a true expert has understánding of what is in his/her field. Knowledge is data. Data can be found in an encyclopedia p.e. Understánding is the value of an expert.

I look on 'expertise' as being the understanding of the knowledge.

In spanish the word experience and experimenting are linked; a very experienced person is very 'experimentada', he is an 'experto'.

A person who has been there, done that, 'experienced' = expert.
This opposed to people who have not, are not.

Throwing spears from a galloping horse is an experience I have and most riders do not. Therefore I understánd more about that but because I have experienced I have félt the abyssmal gap between my limited 'expertise' and this field.
Becáuse of the experience I have I am acutely aware that I am nót an experienced person nót an any where near an 'expert' in this.

I guess the difference between having experience and being experienced is a differentiation to indicate 'expertise', expertness.

peter
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David Donovan




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PostPosted: Fri 09 Nov, 2007 1:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can personally vouch that one of the most horrible things that can happen is to find yourself erroneously labeled as the resident "computer expert" at your place of employment simply because you have a basic functional knowledge of mysterious things like "e-mail" and putting "documents" into "folders."
"Do something meaningful in this meaningless world."
Takasugi Shinsaku (1839-1867)
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Michael S. Rivet





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PostPosted: Fri 09 Nov, 2007 1:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greyson Brown wrote:
You have to start out by being a spert. Then, when you retire, you become an ex-spert. Razz


1. noun. A compound word formed from:
Ex, meaning something that has been,
and Spurt, a pressurized drip of water,
together meaning "a has-been and a drip under pressure."
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 09 Nov, 2007 1:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Let's try to be serious about answers to this question, please. Humour is fun, but let's try to also add something of more value to the discussion.
Happy

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 09 Nov, 2007 1:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's a tough one. Most of the people I know who I'd call an "expert" wouldn't apply the term to themselves. Even someone like Ewart Oakeshott (who I wish I had known) didn't call himself an expert. His writings seem to indicate he thought of himself as just another student.
Happy

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Stirling Matheson





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PostPosted: Fri 09 Nov, 2007 2:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think that the prize fights Paul Wagner has been putting on for people occasionally are a good test.

By forcing a person to defend himself with a variety of different weapon simulators, against a variety of opponents, one can see his knowledge and training be tested to the limits. If a fighter can judge from looking at his opponent's stance whether or not he is going up against Page, Angelo, or Silver he is clearly studied enough to be considered an expert. Then sucessfully defending himself proves he has the experience needed to understand what he has studied.
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Gary A. Chelette




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PostPosted: Fri 09 Nov, 2007 2:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have documentation saying that I am a Master in the Art of Karate. It took me Many, many, many years to achieve this. Long hours and a lot of pain.
An expert only has to endure half as much. Example:
As a Sho Dan, I could be called an expert.

As a Yo Dan, I was called a Jr. Master. (By my peers with a big smile!)

AS a Shishi Dan, I just feel like that I can speak on the subject with full confidence.

If a bunch of people call you an expert, then they must know something you don't , that or they want something. Laughing Out Loud

Expert sometimes mean that you know just Exclamation this much more than anyone else.

WE can all be called experts in one form or another. WE have lived and loved and fought. And we are still alive! Any man (OR WOMAN) who survives everyday life, is an expert.

Think about it.

Are you scared, Connor?
No, Cousin Dugal. I'm not!
Don't talk nonsense, man. I peed my kilt the first time I went into battle.
Oh, aye. Angus pees his kilt all the time!
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Fri 09 Nov, 2007 2:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
That's a tough one. Most of the people I know who I'd call an "expert" wouldn't apply the term to themselves. Even someone like Ewart Oakeshott (who I wish I had known) didn't call himself an expert. His writings seem to indicate he thought of himself as just another student.


Chad...

Being a student of the subject you love is the path to being an expert by definition. I think you never stop learning, no matter how much knowledge you gain about a subject and, frankly, I think if I ever gathered in all the knowledge there was about a particular subject I would almost immediately become bored with it.

The most knowledgeable people I have ever known on the subject of antiqure firearms continued to think they were but poor pilgrims on a journey toward understanding.

I will leave it at that.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982


Last edited by Lin Robinson on Fri 09 Nov, 2007 4:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jean-Carle Hudon




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PostPosted: Fri 09 Nov, 2007 3:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not an expert, but I do get to say who is and who isn't when they ask to be qualified as such when they testify before me.
The first thing that needs to be established are the credentials, either obtained through formal studies (university degrees and such, professional titles, etc..) or through the years of working in a specialized field ( stone masons don't have university degrees) and considering their achievements in their field through publications in known journals, prizes and recognitions received from their peers. It is admittedly more difficult when dealing with a more marginal activity, and fencing isn't exactly the most common activity around these days, and reenactment medieval sparring or renaissance swordplay are even more marginal, so qualifying an expert as such would not be the easiest thing to do. I think the evidence would need to show first the number of years devoted to the practice and study of the art, the prior credentials of one's own masters or teachers or schools attended, then move on to the number of publications accompanied with critiques by otherwise knowledgeable and established peers and finally to the number of students who have learned from the expert, either from his studies, or himself directly, or from the teachings of his own students. In a nutshell, peer recognition suffices, inasmuch as the peers are also publicly recognized and accepted as being knowledgeable in the field. I hope this is helpful.

Bon coeur et bon bras
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Ivo Malz




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Nov, 2007 4:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You have reached a certain level of expertise when people that you feel are way more knowledgeable than yourself call you an expert, and you blush and say: No, not me, I am just a hobby scholar.

Laughing Out Loud
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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Sat 10 Nov, 2007 12:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Many thanks to those of you who helped with providing me with leads looking for my expert and hopefully one will come good, though it was all handed over to the production company this end, so I will have to wait and see what come of it.

As regards to what makes an expert I think that the analysis above provides both thoughts and answers, but being involved with media alot over the past 15 years I will provide my understanding of what an expert is to them. "An expert is someone who knows more than the person from the production company talking to them does after they have done a little superficial research, combined with the ability to articulate well and look at least reasonable on camera without fumbling words or looking shy- if they genuinely know a lot, and evn better are animated and good looking then they are gold dust" It really is that shallow. As you all may have noticed 'experts' on programmes are often not quite as expert as they would have you believe. As a case in point I have just made a coil gun to be shipped out to Phoenix in a couple of weeks and I have been contracted as a 'scientist' is this better or worse than expert? Either way with my business studies degree it is a bit of a stretch.

The moral of this tale is, I think, that a great many people who frequent this site in media terminology are experts (don't be shy in coming forwards if asked), and the fact that when I tap into the odd thread as I do, the level of knowledge and inquiry is very high leads me to genuinely think there are many experts among you. As was implied earlier, when most of the books you read are about one subject or area, and a lot of your on line time is spent discussing the same with like minded people your level of knowledge will far, far exceed that of Joe Bloggs (our John Doe I believe) isn't that enough to be an expert in any reasonable terms?

Tod
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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Wed 14 Nov, 2007 11:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think it's a pretty relative title, depending on who you are and where you are.

Example: On the forum I normally frequent (which a comic book forum) I'm pretty much the resident sword expert. But here, compared to most of you guys, I'm probably one of the least knowledgeble. Wink
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Gavin Kisebach




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PostPosted: Wed 14 Nov, 2007 7:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anders that's the conclusion I am coming to. Of course I would hope in a court of law there would be some rigorous standards, but I may be suprised.

It's not that I have a burning desire to run around with an expert badge on my chest, but I'm convinced that some of the folks on this forum could go toe to toe with history professors, museum curators, and archaeologists in the study of weapons. But they would vehemently deny it Wink .
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Ed Toton




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PostPosted: Wed 14 Nov, 2007 9:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gavin Kisebach wrote:
Of course I would hope in a court of law there would be some rigorous standards, but I may be suprised.


IANAL, usual disclaimers apply... But I think an "expert witness" is essentially just someone with adequate knowledge or expertise in an area to speak factually about it. So an "expert" in a legal sense is very different than what we usually mean in common parlance.

-Ed T. Toton III
ed.toton.org | ModernChivalry.org
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Jean-Carle Hudon




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PostPosted: Thu 15 Nov, 2007 9:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ed, the term expert witness is not that different from the layman's concept, except that it takes the formal recognition of the court, but the intellectual process is the same. An expert is intitled to infer a fact as a matter of opinion from a series of other observed facts. A medical expert notes a series of symptoms and infers or concludes what the proper diagnostic is, an engineer observes facts such as soil composition and material strentgh and decides what type of structure can be erected or why the structure fell, an antique roadshow expert will look at the style of different components of a piece, the materials used, the markings (if any) and conclude on the date and identity of the piece, sometimes even the maker. These are all opinions that are brought forward and the layman accepts them as ''facts'' because of his reliance on the experts recognized degree of knowledge.
The recognition of his degree of knowledge is the key element. It is a simple proposition when recognized and chartered institutions have previously awarded diplomas or prizes related to the person's field of study, but failing that there are other ways to verify throughth person's achievements in the field and how these achievemnts have been received by the community. If neither process can be relied upon, then the use of the word expert is just a very generous compliment one makes to flatter a friend's ego, but it doesn't elevate the friend's opinions to the level of reliable fact that one can take to the bank.

Bon coeur et bon bras
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Gavin Kisebach




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PostPosted: Thu 15 Nov, 2007 3:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well said, Jean-Carle.

As this applies to the study of arms and armor, I would think a degree of hand-on study would be somewhat prerequisite, would it not? I might know a lot about weapons next to even most students of history, but Peter Johnsson has knowledge far surpassing because he has studied weapons first hand, in methodic detail. Surely this is an important factor. I can read all I want, but without firsthand knowledge, my knowledge is secondhand.
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Torsten F.H. Wilke




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PostPosted: Thu 15 Nov, 2007 7:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maybe someone becomes into an "expert" when they produce superior results with effectiveness, and don't ask many questions about the subject anymore...
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 15 Nov, 2007 8:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Then there is the anti-expert: One who thinks he knows everything because he read the manuals of strategic computer games, a few graphics novels, learned about swords watching the " Highlander " films and T.V. series, read some dubious stuff on the internet and doesn't know enough to know that he doesn't know as much as he thinks he knows !

Now, one can start one's interest about swords or history this way but the way one reacts to the shock of people NOT being impressed by that level of knowledge is the important thing: One can be stimulated to go and find more reliable sources of information or one can close one's mind and think that everyone else is wrong and refuse to learn anything.

If one is like this at 14 years old it's almost how we all started. Wink

If one is still thinking this way past 30. Eek! Sad

In many ways the one's least qualified to be considered experts are the most insistant that they are !

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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