I have to say, my thoughts are much the same as Peter's. As I travel the globe teaching Chinese Swordsmanship I am often struck by the absurdity of students' attitudes today. On the one hand they consider themselves martial artists & even "swordsman," on the other they don't want to get even a single bruise. One I met recently wrote me before taking a class that he considered himself "a man of honor & a man of the sword," but after coming to our class, & wearing far more protective gear than the typical GRTC student, decided not to continue because it wasn't safe. Safe martial arts? Isn't that more than a little bit of an oxymoron? Where is the spirit of the "Falcon about to seize the rabbit?" The martial spirit is almost completely lost... Yes, test cutting, practice with sharp blades, free swordplay, sanshou, are all quite dangerous, no one should begin them without proper training from a qualified teacher, but if one is going to be a martial artist, then one has to accept that the training includes certain very real dangers. Serious, real training isn't for everyone, but we have to be honest with ourselves & acknowledge that without this training something will always be missing.Peter Dekker wrote:As a purist I take a different view. The danger of one's own edge was a real and daily thing for a Qing -or any other sword wielding- warrior. And so it will be for me if I want to understand, best as I can, the arts practised by the Qing officers, soldiers, rebels and militia I attempt to study. Other fellow cutters have their own reasons for test-cutting, but apart from plain fun this is my main reason for taking this risk: proper understanding of as much facets of the art as possible. The more authentic, the better.
For comparison, please see how the Zulu people are practicing their art-
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