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Poster: email@example.com (ZMCW1)
Seventeen years ago, when I was in college, I studied full contact
Karate. This particular school had 14 different locations. Every six
months a tournament was held that brought together all the schools.
Like the SCA, students were expected to call a point for a solid
strike. A ref was present to start and stop bouts and "Maintain
Safety". We used hand and feet padding, cups and mouth pieces for
protection, (shin and forearm guards and head gear optional).
One of the schools had a head instructor that was also a
professional body builder and encouraged weight lifting in his
students. This particular school began to take and give blows a little
harder in their daily routine. Gaining hardness of body was encouraged
and they slowly began to bring blow calibration up in all the schools
by example. They were harder, stronger, but not faster or more
skillful. They were good fighters, honorable people and didn't even
notice the change that was occurring. Part of being a good student was
respect for your opponents and good sportsmanship. This never failed,
but blow calibration continued to rise. Too many trophies were
stacking up in that one schools window.
In retrospect there were signs of what was happening. Tournaments
were being won by the ones who took the hardest blows to get a point.
Women stopped competing in the tournaments, being much wiser than men
regarding bodily harm. Hard feelings were often voiced (or unvoiced)
by competitors who felt they had been cheated. Minor injuries became
more and more common. Then finally, one of the fighters, one who
required serious blows for him to call a point, received a ruptured
spleen during a match. Not knowing, he continued the bout. Later,
while sitting on the sidelines, he fell unconscious, was rushed to the
hospital and nearly died.
All tournaments were suspended. Parents demanded to know how this
had gotten so out of hand. The Police actually asked a few questions.
The Instructors felt disgraced. The school was almost forced to close.
A Law suite was threatened, despite protection by signed wavers.
The following year when competition resumed, "the burden" of
scoring was taken from the participants. A system was implemented that
used 4 corner judges and a ref. A vote was taken by the judges after
every clash and the fighter who received 3 votes got the point. Since
those days I have attended other schools that used the same system.
The tournaments got way better. Participation went way up. Students
learned a lot more because in practice they also corner judged. Women
returned to the ring and excelled. Hard feelings disappeared. A few
students disgraced themselves by showing bad sportsmanship but were
soon turned around by peer pressure. In all it worked out very well.
I don't know how close this story matches what is going on in
Atlantia. I would just hate to see what would happen if a severe, life
threatening injury were sustained by anyone in the realm, while
Hoping we never find out,
Alaric Luther - firstname.lastname@example.org
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