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Fighting and fun

Poster: Kim_Salazar@BayNetworks.COM (Kim Salazar)

Unto my friends at the 'Rose, fair greetings -

Please excuse my long absence.  I join you from afar, now ensconced in a
new, more northerly Casa Magnifica after lengthy wanderings.

As those of you who have met me know, I am a shriveled artifact of the
Elder Days.  As such, I have cramped and conservative opinions.  I take
time now to leap into the discussion of death and dying to voice one.  Feel
free to turn aside if such things might annoy you.

Somewhere along the way from the deep, dark, past - as fighting became more
of a schooled and disciplined athletic pursuit -  some of the charm of the
lists faded away.  I have been highly impressed by the skill level and
physical conditioning of 'modern' fighters, yet I have observed that the
populace isn't very interested in watching the bouts play out unless
something major is the prize.  I have had the privilege of watching the
lists (and the surrounding populace) now in both the East and Atlantia, and
the observation holds true in both places.  Fewer people watch what goes on
in tourney.

I wondered why this was.  Were my perceptions skewed? We didn't have as
many activities that were scheduled concurrent with tourneys or open lists
in the Ancient Times, but even when we did finding a good spot to watch was
difficult.  Was fighting less interesting?  Not to my eye, the higher
levels of skill and training made the bouts more exciting to me.  Were
people just tired of watching fighting?  The proportion of people to whom
fighting is new and interesting has if anything, risen over the years as
the general population continued to grow.

I concluded that fighting wasn't being watched because fighting has become
increasingly serious and self-focused.  The people who are pursuing it are
doing so with an intensity that has rendered them and their art less
accessible to non-fighters.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with the
serious pursuit of an art or skill.  However without outreach to those of
lesser skill or (initial) interest, the pool of new practitioners and more
importantly those who might otherwise enjoy trying but might never reach
the 'A' ranks - becomes increasingly limited.

I would love to see more people in the lists evoke and then delight in the
adulation of the crowd.  Lighter attitudes, falling-down deaths, florid
challenges, even soulful glances to ones' source of inspiration (and
whenever possible the attendance of those sources of inspiration), all go a
long way to drawing interest back to the lists and making tourneys into
items of entertainment for all.  

To those who bridle at "theater," "tarting up the lists" or "demeaning
themselves by playing the fool", I would point out that arts can be enjoyed
on many levels.  Embroidery, cooking, metal work, calligraphy, bardic arts,
and the rest can all be worked by those of any proficiency and can bring
visual or vicarious enjoyment to all.  Why not fighting?  Inserting more
"fun" into fighting might bring more gentles back to the lists - both as
spectators and as participants.  

As someone who has been on both sides of the list rope as spectator,
fighter, and marshal, and as someone who has seriously pursued martial arts
in the mundane world, I feel strongly that fighting for the glory of he
whose favor I wear, for the honor of the Laurel Kingdoms, and to the
delight of the populace brings reward above and beyond that achieved by a
Musashi-esque striving for personal perfection.

Trying to strike a blow for fun,
Ianthe d'Averoigne
Former Teenage Bimbo Countess (Reformed)

home - salazar@sprynet.com
work - ksalazar@baynetworks.com
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