In Pursuit of a Worthy Goal

3 Feb 2014 by gebhard, 1 Comment »

483203_160381264121531_1018564351_nI remember when I started, Sir Diglach was working me through how to throw a shot. “Have you played any sports?” he asked. “I did track for a year” “Humm….Throw a shot like a punch” he said, and I tried. He laughed and said “You really never have done anything like this!”

I had no natural ability what-so-ever. I sucked.

People have been knighted in less time than it took me to stop hitting myself in the back of the head when using the pell.

It took me about five months of regular practice to be able to authorize. I’ve seen people do the same in three weeks.

I remember always being so extremely frustrated because everyone I sparred with would see me flailing around like a wounded seal on a mound of greasy ball bearings. In that voice of pity you would normally use to speak to injured animals, they would attempt to give me advice or really anything to make the ugly stop.

I would get literally hundred of tips per night, many contradicting each other.  Move in close, keep your distance, thrust more, thrust less and so it went….

Sometimes I wondered why I was even going through all the hassle of coming to practice when it was clear I just didn’t have what it would take to be good at this. I would be lying if I said there weren’t times it took all the Courage I had to rub my aching sides, ignore the bright red stripes, and put my bucket helm back on and go back out again.

The part of it that kept me coming back was the people and the comradery. It was being part of a group, and all those wonderful shared experiences on the list that made sucking endurable.

The most important thing you can do in a melee is keep with your unit. No matter how bad I was with a sword, I could at least do that.  Maybe I had no idea what was going on, or where to go in a melee. I made a pretty good speed bump. From the ground, I had a clear view of the action, so that night I could share in the stories.

This is the very thing that makes our sport so unique. I can be the newest fighter on the field, go to a melee and stand next to the greatest legends of our game. When it’s done, I can share a story around the campfire like: “My unit followed Duke Edmund around the corner, then we saw them. I’m not kidding there was 200 of them…..”

No matter your skill level, you add value to our game. You are worthy.

Many years ago, His Majesty Cellach found the way of the sword did not naturally come to Him either. While I can not repeat any of the tales, I assure you it took a great dedication and endurance for him to develop the skills that would later make Him the King of the Mighty Dragon Kingdom.

His theory has been that those who come to us with no natural ability are far more blessed, for every increase in skill was hard fought. Things earned through difficulty are not easily relinquished.

Those who earned their place through hard work will be more likely to stay on the list. In the long run, their abilities will exceed many who had come initially with a vast amount of natural skill. Those with natural skill often fall away when the challenge becomes great. Natural talent will only take you so far, at some point we must all dig in and dedicate ourselves to improvement.

The greatest fighters among us at one point have tripped over their own feet in the list, have gone home covered in bruises, and have been eliminated from the first round of a tournament…. more than once.

It’s not an easy path by any means, but what you earn is yours forever.

No matter your starting point, no matter how badly knights cringe when they see you throw a shot or how many in the audience slink away when you enter the list in fear you might strike them by accident, through Fortitude, Courage, Hope and a little Faith you too may one day come to sit on the Dragon Throne.


The picture was taken few weeks after I joined the SCA,  Anno helped me make my first suit of armor (I went to his house every night for a week).  The metal bits, where old PC security cases we forged into armor.  I’m not sure I’ve ever been more proud of anything I’ve made.

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One Comment

  1. Duncan says:

    Thank Gebhard…this is important.

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