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(Fwd) RN- The fight for Chivalry

Poster: blackbow@sprynet.com

No lessons to be learned from me, just thought this would be appreciated...
J. Blackbow
Clan O'Shannon

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From: "Earl and Janet" <ersloan@gnv.fdt.net>
To: trimaris@trimaris.com
Date: Mon, 7 Jul 1997 10:09:44 -0500
Subject: (Fwd) RN- The fight for Chivalry
Reply-To: trimaris@trimaris.com

Greetings All,

I thought this had a place on our list also.


+ -- RapierNet - From Bert Sanford <faulke@earthlink.net> --

Greetings to All,

I got this off the Artemisian list and thought it might make good food
for thought.

>>Greetings, Cosyns,
>>Lyonel ici, with sad news from the 20th century.  It seems chivalry
>>has suffered another potentially fatal blow.  Last night, in a
>>boxing ring, one and perhaps both of a pair of large, powerful,
>>skilled combatants behaved like ill-mannered children before an
>>audience of millions.  In his rematch bout with Evander Holyfield,
>>Mike Tyson, after apparently losing the first two rounds to
>>Holyfield's reach, first head-butted (in the chest) and then bit his
>>opponent--twice.  A piece is missing from Holyfield's ear.  Tyson
>>has a cut over his left eye which he says occured (before the
>>biting) when Holyfield head-butted Tyson's face in a clinch.  After
>>being disqualified, Tyson attempted an all-out attack on Holyfield
>>and ended up socking a police officer.
>>Well, you might be thinking, that's what we love about the SCA.
>>(Helmets! No, I need to keep this serious.)  We love honor and honor
>>chivalry, and Tyson and Holyfield could learn a good deal from us. 
>>I wish this were true. I fervently _want_ this to be true.
>>A few years back, I watched a friend--let's call him Sir X, cheat
>>his way to the crown.  I was a young knight, and along with a
>>half-dozen other knights, I watched as he and his opponent battled
>>on their knees in their last bout. Sir Y struck Sir X a resounding
>>blow to the breastplate, leaving a crease four inches long and an
>>inch deep.  A moment later, Sir Y struck a second cross-body shot at
>>a different angle, leaving a second dent across the first.  Sir X
>>shook his head.  We (the rpesent chivalry) all heard the blows
>>strike home.  We all saw, in the eyes of both combatants, that the
>>blows were sound.  Sir X persisted, and Sir Y accepted a blow to the
>>spine.  After the fight, another knight attempted to broach the
>>subject with Sir Y, who waved a forbidding hand and said, "It's just
>>six months."  As they left the field, two knights rushed to wrap a
>>cloak around the sweating Sir X so that no one would see the new
>>cross hammered into the right side of his breastplate.
>>This was but a single instance of the sort of foul play I've seen
>>over the years in SCA tournaments.  One knight I knew well dropped
>>out of the SCA for six years after watching an unchivalrous attempt
>>at King's Champion by a young knight he admired.  Afterwards, "It's
>>just not worth it," was all he'd say.  The last coronet list I
>>watched in Artemisia ended in a bout between two unchivalrous louts
>>who pounded one another repeatedly for twenty minutes and through
>>repeated warnings.  At an Estrella War, in a Champions battle (30
>>champions from each side), I watched as one of the best known old
>>dukes in the SCA (from the West) refused to accept blow after blow. 
>>In two of the last three crowns in Atenveldt, the final round was
>>nullified for poor sportsmanship.
>>I saw similar behavior in the East Kingdom, where a king who had won
>>his crown with a pole-arm was being described by local fighters as
>>"incapable of feeling a blow."  In a practice melee, he demonstrated
>>the truth of those rumors.  A well-known duke from Atlantia used to
>>wear (perhaps still wears) an over-sized barbute, padded and
>>balanced so that only a straight-line blow perpendicular to his ear
>>would register; a blow anywhere else on his helm rocks the helm and
>>he calls it light.
>>Now, if any of you Ansteorran natives are thinkin' about mountin'
>>that high horse--well, just pull yore boot outa that stirrup.  You
>>have your share of weebles.  Like every other kingdom, the old
>>timers here are quick to identify the counts and dukes who weebled
>>their way to a crown, the fighters who just won't take a blow.  
>>Often the problem might seem to be the prize.  Not that any
>>individual tournament offers a prize so enticing that a fighter
>>should want to forego chivalry and honor to attain it. Just the fact
>>that there is a prize, a title, a first place, and attendant
>>word-fame:  these all seem to aggravate the problem. Don't
>>misunderstand, I'm not saying we should do away with tournaments or
>>stop giving prizes.  The problem isn't actually the prize or even
>>the competition.  The real problem is the attitude.
>>A few years back, when Charles Barkley was dubbed a member of the
>>"Dream Team," I saw where our problem originates.  We may think of
>>ourselves as a society, but in fact we--the SCA--are just a club, a
>>recreational more than a re-creational organization, a weekend
>>outlet for the frustrations of workaday life.  As such, we bring
>>aspects of that wrokaday life with us when we go off to play at our
>>tournaments and feasts and courts and wars.  We're a postmodern
>>variety of medievalist, and as such we can't avoid slipping
>>inadvertent, often humorous references to the outside world into the
>>game. Who hasn't heard jokes about Air Kein sandals or how WE would
>>have handled the seige at Waco?  What warrior has never taken the
>>field to tunes such as, "Here she comes just a-walkin' down the
>>street"?  We're wrapped in armor and silks and our banners wave
>>grandly over the field, but half those pewter mugs are filled with
>>Coke or Coors.
>>But back to Charles Barkley and his full-contact basketball games. 
>>Back, in fact, to Tyson and a mouthful of Evander Holyfield's ear. 
>>Back, even, to that royal salary ol' Troy's getting to throw balls
>>for the Cowboys.  Back to Air Jordan and his Ballpark Franks and
>>Hanes underwear.  These men--and their managers, no doubt--are
>>setting the standards for what today's youngsters consider
>>sportsmanship.  New fighters coming in to the SCA will have
>>incorporated those so-called sportsmen into their archetype of the
>>hero, and it'll be a messy job scrubbing them out.  
>>I have always believed it the task of a knight to teach chivalry and
>>honor by example.  To that end, it is sometimes more important to
>>lose the bout than to win.  HRH Kein's last bout with HRM Mahdi
>>makes for a splendid example. From all reports, His Majesty's final
>>blow was cobra-like in its speed, delivery, and subtlety, all-in-all
>>a brilliant example of martial prowess. Still, the image of Earl
>>Kein--despite his desires to the contrary, despite his hard work and
>>his desire to honor his lady with a victory--accepting the blow with
>>grace and dramatic flair:  this stays with me.  It takes a lot of
>>strength to allow a split second's action to erase six months' work.
>> This is the sort of image we must impose over the mental photo of
>>Evander Holyfield's ripped ear.
>>We all know we're supposed to accept blows fairly and not fight when
>>we're angry.  Hey, that's the rules, right?  Still, quite a few of
>>us have, at times, broken those rules.  We know better.  I, for one,
>>am ashamed when that side of me has won out over my concerns for
>>honor and chivalry.  But I'm not writing to exorcise those demons. 
>>You don't need me me to tell you to accept blows.  You don't need me
>>to tell you to leave the field when you're angry.  The rules have
>>already done that, and I hate being redundant.
>>My point, Cosyns, is that we have to remember to take a moment to
>>honor the defeated along with the victors.  Point out to your
>>squires and students not only the speed, accuracy, and power of the
>>telling blow but also the grace and strength with which it is
>>accepted.  A gracious victor will often attempt to honor his fallen
>>opponent with a salute, but too often I see the crowds on the
>>sidelines ignore this gesture.  We should not allow this gesture to
>>appear hollow.  We should, rather, applaud and repeat this gesture. 
>>We, as an organization, are fighting a battle against a pervasive
>>worldwide attitude, an attitude that honors only victory, an
>>attitude that says, "Second place is just another term for 'loser.'"
>>We have to deny, forfend, and expunge this attitude. The next
>>generation is watching.  We _can_ have an effect.
>>Yours in Virtual Service
>>Sir Lyonel Oliver Grace
>>Dennis Grace
>>University of Texas at Austin
>>English Department
>>Recovering Medievalist
>>Things are more like they are today than they have ever been before.
>>                                                  --Dwight D.
>>                                                  Eisenhower
>>(Don't Republicans say just the cutest things?)

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