Women's Only HEMA Tournaments

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Women's Only HEMA Tournaments

Postby MEversbergII » 24 Aug 2015 15:50

When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

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Re: Women's Only HEMA Tournaments

Postby Herbert » 25 Aug 2015 06:55

Unfortunately one cannot comment on the blog (or did I just not find the button?).

Anyway, I strongly disagree with him. First of all, he is guilty of what he criticizes: he thinks he can speak for women and what they want.

His argumentation is however based on two assumptions which are, in my opinion, both wrong.

1. We live in a world where men have the advantage.
This is no longer true in the western world, especially in Europe. It is clear that most women are at an advantageous position in the society. They are better protected, favored by law in many instances (violence, divorce, work, sexual harassment, etc.) and there are no legal barriers to hold them back. If some people perceive them as less able then this is on the same level as people thinking that foreigners are less qualified or atheists are without moral. This is stupidity and I refuse to accept this as a definition of the status quo of our society. If this should be the case, I want proof. Otherwise it is just an opinion without any facts to back it up.

2. The stronger fighter has an advantage.
The whole argument circles around the assumed fact that the stronger men have the advantage. This is just BS in this context. Let's see what the HS 3227 a says:
HS 3227a / 22v wrote:Because when it is strong against strong, the stronger one will always win. That is why Liechtenauer’s swordsmanship is a true art that the weaker wins more easily by use of his art than the stronger by using his strength. Otherwise what use would the art be?


Then there is the viewpoint that women feel uneasy in a tournament with mostly male participants. I don't see this and I have never experienced or heard of anything like this. Where does this sentiment come from? I guess it is just his assumption again.

Basically it is just a question as to how they are trained. In our training the gender is simply never even looked at. Women fight, wrestle and train as men do. If someone has a problem, we try to overcome it. Regardless of being a woman or man, the problem may come from height, low body mass (in wrestling) or other problems. All of these are gender neutral. So, if there is a problem at all, it is in the training halls.
But I have yet to visit a club where women are NOT treated equally.

In my opinion it is articles like this one who create issues where originally there were none.
There are a lot of sports where it is senseless to make women only tournaments. Yet they still do. Let's not jump on the same wagon and commit the same stupidity purely out of a misunderstood political correctness.

Women are equal to men in most respects and come to historical swordsmanship, they certainly are. No need for a segregation.

I may be totally wrong. If I am, I am looking forward to an informed discussion based on facts.
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Re: Women's Only HEMA Tournaments

Postby Cosmoline » 25 Aug 2015 18:44

I find the whole idea of making a sport out of this to be a little troublesome. I will say that if it *is* going to be a sport, then not only do we need to have divisions based on sex, but more importantly on weight. Strength can be a disadvantage in the bind, as I've found many times when I've tried to muscle through and "come a cropper" as they say. But in ringen size still matters quite a bit.

I just find it a lot more enjoyable if there are no matches and no points. There's still so much to explore in the techniques, and frankly when you start wearing tons of padding you're no longer simulating blossfetchen but some kind of new plastic armor fighting that will require new techniques. By avoiding the sporty aspects and reducing gear as much as possible while focusing on techniques from the treatise, women, men and even fat old cripples like me can participate fully.
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Re: Women's Only HEMA Tournaments

Postby Herbert » 25 Aug 2015 19:40

Cosmoline wrote:I find the whole idea of making a sport out of this to be a little troublesome. I will say that if it *is* going to be a sport, then not only do we need to have divisions based on sex, but more importantly on weight. Strength can be a disadvantage in the bind, as I've found many times when I've tried to muscle through and "come a cropper" as they say. But in ringen size still matters quite a bit.

I just find it a lot more enjoyable if there are no matches and no points. There's still so much to explore in the techniques, and frankly when you start wearing tons of padding you're no longer simulating blossfetchen but some kind of new plastic armor fighting that will require new techniques. By avoiding the sporty aspects and reducing gear as much as possible while focusing on techniques from the treatise, women, men and even fat old cripples like me can participate fully.

I agree and there are more arguments to support your viewpoint.
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Re: Women's Only HEMA Tournaments

Postby Glyn » 26 Aug 2015 01:50

One of the difficulties I have with the issue of single sex competitions is that the situation is usually presented as "women don't like fighting men", which effectively permits only one of two responses: hold single sex competitions, or to deny the significance of the problem. If we ask why women don't want to fight men, the answers are typically based on stereotypical interpretations about what a man is - strong, fast, tall, heavy and aggressive. This is a problematic response as suggesting that women are the reverse - weak, slow, petite, slender and demure - would not be wise (particularly if they have a sword in hand).

This is not to say that we do not have a problem that is linked to sex, but to assume that sex is the entirety of the problem is unhelpful. Sex needs to be considered, but not in isolation.

Sex is a useful way of predicting the average physical qualities of groups of people, but averages do not define what an individual person is, and a competition is about two individuals not Men vs. Women. We should also understand that while the people with top rated physical statistics are usually dominated by a single sex, when we move towards the average the spread is much greater. The strongest people will almost always be men, but there are many women stronger than the average man. This is important as many of the participants in HEMA are very much average - this isn't the Olympics - yet we do see a small number of extremely fit people of both sexes taking part in competitions. It is important to appreciate that both sets of people - normal and athletic - are potential entrants to HEMA competitions, which is somewhat unusual.

Returning to our original problem, the more useful question to ask is: why do many people decide that they don't want to enter a competition? A quick brainstorm gave the the following, all of which I have heard expressed as a reason why someone has not entered at some point in the past:

  • lack of desire to compete generally
  • risk of injury
  • risk of embarrassment due to inexperience
  • risk of embarrassment due to experience not paying off
  • perceived unfairness of rules
  • perceived unfairness of judging
  • opponent has advantage of equipment
  • opponent has trained physical advantage (e.g. speed, strength)
  • opponent has innate physical advantage (e.g. reach, strength)
  • opponent has trained to a greater level of skill
  • opponent has not trained harder but is innately more talented
  • opponent has trained specifically to the competition ruleset
Turning this list around to search for an answer to the original question - why women don't compete - prompts the following thoughts:

  • Is there a tendency for women to be less interested in competitions?
  • Are women more concerned about injuries?
  • Are women more concerned about looking bad?
  • Are women more concerned being shown up by other people - or showing other people up?
  • Do the rules favour men?
  • Do women feel they will be judged (by referees or spectators) differently to men?
  • Is the equipment we use equally suitable for women?
  • Do women benefit less from physical training (strength/speed etc.)?
  • Do women benefit less from innate physical advantages (weaker/shorter)?
  • Do women train less, or improve more slowly, then men?
  • Do women suffer from a lack of innate talent?
  • Are women less likely to train tactically - to "game" a ruleset?
Looking through these I can see a number of areas where, statistically speaking, women may be discouraged from competing compared to men. Most of the concerns on the list, however, originally came from men, which suggests that if we can address them more universally then HEMA as a whole would benefit.

One important issue, which is not included above, is not how women feel about fighting a man, but how a woman feels being present in the attendant social situation before and after the competition. This is, perhaps, one clear area where women are frequently subject to remarkably different behaviour, and which often goes unreported. I have not noticed this in the events I have attended, but I am aware of it in similar gatherings outside of HEMA and the effect it can have on the gender balance of people attending is significant.

I do not feel that it is exclusively down to the people running the competitions to address these matters. I have noticed that first time participants are often poorly prepared, sometimes due to their own naivety, but also due to a lack of interest or appropriate support from their instructors. This is a significant issue as first impressions can have an enormous impact on an individual. Other participants, spectators, judges, stewards, etc. can all also make a difference to whether someone competes twice.

I would also note that I can only recall the issue of single sex competitions being raised in respect of longsword and not rapier or smallsword. While I may have simply paid too little attention to the matter, this may suggest a focus to the concerns, in particular the impression of injuries and usefulness of physical strength. Alternatively, it may simply be that rapier and smallsword remain less popular than longsword.

Ultimately, I think that as sport-HEMA participant numbers increase we need to diversify our competitions. It may be that the most pragmatic way is to divide by sex (with the option of having "women only" and "open" as opposed to "women only" and "men only"). Other options, such as weight or ranking based systems should also be considered (and anyone who thinks height should be included as well may wish to look at the volumetric-weight system used by couriers!), as well as lighter contact versions which may help draw in the more cautious. Reducing the apparent significance of a competition - for example holding a local match for neighbouring clubs - can help make things less intimidating for the novice while giving them useful experience and encouraging them to compete at more major events.

Separating people by sex does bring in its own difficulties. Athletics has, on a number of occasions, had to deal with the question of "what is a women" (which is not the simple question many would like it to be), particularly in response to women with a higher level of testosterone than an average man. Historically this has been dealt with very badly. The issue of trans people participating is also a complex one - particularly male to female where, again, hormone levels may come into question. I would recommend that any organisation planning a single sex event should consider these matters in advance to avoid repeating the mistakes of history. I would suggest that any event that does not have a doping policy and testing programme should probably accept a competitor's own declaration as to their sex. An organisation that has a doping policy that does not consider the therapeutic use of hormones and hormone suppressant methods is incomplete. Forward thinking organisations should also be prepared to deal with competitors who do not identify exclusively or permanently with a single gender.

Finally, it is always difficult to view things through someone else's eyes, much less to express that in written form. This is a justifiably sensitive area and it is inevitable that I will have offended someone through clumsy phrasing or equally clumsy thought. I do not profess to have a complete understanding of the problem, much less so the solution, but I would be disappointed if I have given the impression that I do not want HEMA to be an environment where everybody can participate freely, safely, comfortably and equally regardless of sex, sexuality or gender. If I have given this impression I would assure you that the fault is in my expression rather than my belief.

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Re: Women's Only HEMA Tournaments

Postby Bethan J » 26 Aug 2015 10:30

he is guilty of what he criticizes: he thinks he can speak for women and what they want.


As too, I note, are the majority of the people commenting on this thread...

I do have an opinion on women's tournaments, but - surprise - the last time I expressed them on a HEMA board I got shouted at and shouted down by various men on the thread for having them at all, so perhaps it would be safer for me not to voice them at all. And perhaps that is one of the issues that means this subject keeps coming around.
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Re: Women's Only HEMA Tournaments

Postby Herbert » 26 Aug 2015 10:49

Bethan J wrote:
he is guilty of what he criticizes: he thinks he can speak for women and what they want.


As too, I note, are the majority of the people commenting on this thread...

Well I never spoke for women. I just stated facts, demanded facts and mentioned things I observed. Big difference.

Bethan J wrote:[
I do have an opinion on women's tournaments, but - surprise - the last time I expressed them on a HEMA board I got shouted at and shouted down by various men on the thread for having them at all, so perhaps it would be safer for me not to voice them at all. And perhaps that is one of the issues that means this subject keeps coming around.

Having an opinion and not voicing it because it might raise resistance is just giving in to the opinion of the masses. That is not what helps society. There are a few words for this behavior. Helpful is not among them. If you have an opinion, why not voice it. If it is based on facts, critical thinking and your own thinking process then it is worth hearing.
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Re: Women's Only HEMA Tournaments

Postby Bethan J » 26 Aug 2015 11:05

Yes, "Demanding Facts" from women rather than listening to their opinions on their own things is truly the way forward. Thank you for confirming that I am right to keep my opinion to myself if that's the way it's going to go.
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Re: Women's Only HEMA Tournaments

Postby Herbert » 26 Aug 2015 11:30

Bethan J wrote:Yes, "Demanding Facts" from women rather than listening to their opinions on their own things is truly the way forward. Thank you for confirming that I am right to keep my opinion to myself if that's the way it's going to go.

Who forbade women to state their opinions? I am not always sure as to the gender of the people writing here. Is there a female among them? The nicks and short names are not always a clear indicator for me.

Apart from that, facts are universal and (should be) unbiased. Opinions are important but statements of an individual. As such, I am in doubt wether they should be the basis to a decision regarding many.

I, for example, may have the opinion that tournaments as such are unnecessary and even detrimental to HEMA. But this is just an opinion. Unless I can come up with facts and really good arguments, I expect my opinion to be heard, but it should not be the basis for a decision wether or not to hold tournaments. Decisions for many should be based on good arguments and solid facts. If these are missing, then a thorough discussion of the people involved should replace it.
In that case it would be a bad thing to hold back opinions just because it may be uncomfortable to voicing them.

Anyway, we should get back on topic. What do you think about women only tournaments?
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Re: Women's Only HEMA Tournaments

Postby Glyn » 26 Aug 2015 15:09

What I would like to understand is if women face a unique problem within HEMA due to their sex (e.g. equipment size/shape or being a victim of harassment) or if the problems are a result of statistical bias (a tendency for women to be shorter, for example).

My personal feeling is that there are many different problems faced by women, some of which are unique but many are being felt by people in HEMA as a whole. If the problem is size - as a random example - I do not feel that we should be fixing the problem for small women, but for small people. If the problem is unique to women, then naturally a single-sex fix is the way to go.

If a partial fix is easier than the general solution then that's acceptable, but not ideal. If the issue is size, then separating contestants by sex may be easier than weighing people in but this will mean a minority of people of both sexes will be remain advantaged or disadvantaged - and the effect may even be exaggerated by removing other small/large people from their group leaving them isolated. To openly accept that is the case is far better than pretending that the new situation is fair for all.

If a single sex event allows us to wrap multiple problems up into one, perhaps imperfect, fix then that might be great as well, but being able to separate the problems out may allow us to fix some of the problems in open events as well, even if we can't fix them all. Taking the approach that open events are too broken to bother with means we end up drifting further apart.

Another concern is that we may end up achieving the opposite result if we fail to correctly identify the underlying problems. If single-sex competitions are introduced as part of established events, will women come? If the event has a reputation for being a hostile social environment for women then a single sex tournament will not help. It may even be held up as an example of how it is pointless to hold single sex tournaments as women aren't interested in competing. In this case, the correct approach is to work on making people feel safe and comfortable in attending as well as in competing.

I would agree with the other comments that tournaments are inherently counter to the nature of HEMA. If we are to have them - awarding points and medals and announcing winners - then they should be as fair as possible, which means matching equal contestants with each other. Unnatural, and certainly not representative of historical combat, but fair.

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Re: Women's Only HEMA Tournaments

Postby Herbert » 26 Aug 2015 15:24

Good thoughts overall.

Glyn wrote:I would agree with the other comments that tournaments are inherently counter to the nature of HEMA. If we are to have them - awarding points and medals and announcing winners - then they should be as fair as possible, which means matching equal contestants with each other. Unnatural, and certainly not representative of historical combat, but fair.

What is fair? I think we agree that body size, strength (I wonder how to measure that) and age are not necessarily categories which decide a fair fight. Neither is training time. Personally I don't think that a "fair" fight is even possible because the sword is an equalizer and changes the whole game. Perhaps it would be fair to have no limitations whatsoever…

So before striving for a fair tournament (if we have to have them), we should first establish what a "fair" tournament even means. I would not dare to say what is fair in this respect.
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Re: Women's Only HEMA Tournaments

Postby Glyn » 26 Aug 2015 16:53

Herbert wrote:What is fair? I think we agree that body size, strength (I wonder how to measure that) and age are not necessarily categories which decide a fair fight. Neither is training time. Personally I don't think that a "fair" fight is even possible because the sword is an equalizer and changes the whole game. Perhaps it would be fair to have no limitations whatsoever…

Ahhh. Why didn't you ask me an easy question, like what beauty is, or where my lost childhood went?

My feelings are that - for a competition - we should be testing skill and ability that can be developed rather than physical characteristics that are innate from birth. As such, a difference in height is "unfair" but strength is "fair" as it is possible to develop strength but not height (though this brings us back on topic, as it is usually easier for a man to build strength than a woman). Age is a collective term for any number of things, but if health and experience are identical then it is neither fair nor unfair. Someone with a better made sword may have an "unfair" advantage as we are testing the people and not the swords.

It is, of course, far more complex than that. I said a difference in height is unfair - but for who? In my experience we tend to train at a single measure, allowing the tall to dominate, but if a short person dictates the measure they can reduce this advantage significantly. This is especially true if the short person is lighter and faster over very short distances (that is, a single pace or two). But this all becomes messy as shortness (innate) is linked to speed (trained), and we also find height (innate) is linked to strength (trained). So yes, I cannot quantify it and it will never be truly fair.

For fairness I would substitute approximately equal. If we are able to match two people in rough shape and size we have removed at least some of the extraneous elements from the contest. We are still not fair - there are a multitude of other physical influences - but we are, perhaps, a bit closer.

Removing all limitations is interesting at the top level, but it is not a good way to increase the number of lower level participants in competitions. If we look at top flight runners, the absolute time over the distance is what they are interested in. For amateur runners, the age-graded time is what matters as this allows them to get an impression of how good they are on a relative measure. What we need to do is provide a method for people to say "I am as good as they are", or "I am better than I was last year".

This is a bad answer, and I am unhappy with it. Perhaps we need more philosophers and fewer fencers for this one.

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Re: Women's Only HEMA Tournaments

Postby ChrisBear » 03 Sep 2015 08:15

I found this forum a while ago, signed up and after getting my notification that my account has been verified I come back to find this. I had to check I was still in the same forum. What a massive pile of ignorant, sexist, misogynistic rubbish.

Virtually everyone I have met through HEMA and related activities have been truly lovely, I really hope the attitudes here are the exception and not the rule.

I really didn't want to be that guy that turns up and has a go about something on his first post but I was so saddened by this whole conversation that I couldn't leave it.

What is so pathetic about the whole conversation is that this is really simple.

Step One: Ask the women involved in HEMA what they think
Step Two: (And this is the tricky one for some people) Listen to what they say, understand that even if what they say is vastly different to your world view accept it as they are telling you about something you don't understand.
Step Three: If some women want to be able to access women only competition then include it. Run it as an option in all competitions (as long as at least 2 people sign up for it).

That really wasn't that hard was it. You will notice that at no point did I include either of the following steps.
-Complain about how it's not fair that women would get two chances to compete
-Make bold, childish statements online about how men no longer have privilege (despite all the evidence that clearly shows that we do)

If after going through this process you are still struggling then it's clear that you need some more education, I'm sure there are many online resources that you can access on how not to be sexist.

Love and Hugs
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Re: Women's Only HEMA Tournaments

Postby Herbert » 03 Sep 2015 08:32

ChrisBear wrote:I found this forum a while ago, signed up and after getting my notification that my account has been verified I come back to find this. I had to check I was still in the same forum. What a massive pile of ignorant, sexist, misogynistic rubbish.

Virtually everyone I have met through HEMA and related activities have been truly lovely, I really hope the attitudes here are the exception and not the rule.

I really didn't want to be that guy that turns up and has a go about something on his first post but I was so saddened by this whole conversation that I couldn't leave it.

What is so pathetic about the whole conversation is that this is really simple.

Step One: Ask the women involved in HEMA what they think
Step Two: (And this is the tricky one for some people) Listen to what they say, understand that even if what they say is vastly different to your world view accept it as they are telling you about something you don't understand.
Step Three: If some women want to be able to access women only competition then include it. Run it as an option in all competitions (as long as at least 2 people sign up for it).

That really wasn't that hard was it. You will notice that at no point did I include either of the following steps.
-Complain about how it's not fair that women would get two chances to compete
-Make bold, childish statements online about how men no longer have privilege (despite all the evidence that clearly shows that we do)

If after going through this process you are still struggling then it's clear that you need some more education, I'm sure there are many online resources that you can access on how not to be sexist.

Love and Hugs
Chris

And that is supposed to be solid argumentation and good discussion skills? Mmh…
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Re: Women's Only HEMA Tournaments

Postby ChrisBear » 03 Sep 2015 08:41

Herbert wrote:
ChrisBear wrote:I found this forum a while ago, signed up and after getting my notification that my account has been verified I come back to find this. I had to check I was still in the same forum. What a massive pile of ignorant, sexist, misogynistic rubbish.

Virtually everyone I have met through HEMA and related activities have been truly lovely, I really hope the attitudes here are the exception and not the rule.

I really didn't want to be that guy that turns up and has a go about something on his first post but I was so saddened by this whole conversation that I couldn't leave it.

What is so pathetic about the whole conversation is that this is really simple.

Step One: Ask the women involved in HEMA what they think
Step Two: (And this is the tricky one for some people) Listen to what they say, understand that even if what they say is vastly different to your world view accept it as they are telling you about something you don't understand.
Step Three: If some women want to be able to access women only competition then include it. Run it as an option in all competitions (as long as at least 2 people sign up for it).

That really wasn't that hard was it. You will notice that at no point did I include either of the following steps.
-Complain about how it's not fair that women would get two chances to compete
-Make bold, childish statements online about how men no longer have privilege (despite all the evidence that clearly shows that we do)

If after going through this process you are still struggling then it's clear that you need some more education, I'm sure there are many online resources that you can access on how not to be sexist.

Love and Hugs
Chris

And that is supposed to be solid argumentation and good discussion skills? Mmh…


No it was supposed to be a flippant response to a ridiculous set of posts on a forum whilst expressing dismay that it took very little time to discover this type of backwards and negative thinking in my new hobby.
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Re: Women's Only HEMA Tournaments

Postby Herbert » 03 Sep 2015 09:46

ChrisBear wrote:No it was supposed to be a flippant response to a ridiculous set of posts on a forum whilst expressing dismay that it took very little time to discover this type of backwards and negative thinking in my new hobby.

That you consider such a discussion "backwards" and "negative thinking" is of course your own opinion which is as true or not as ours. As such I welcome the expression of your opinion, but I don't consider it to be reality or fact.
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Re: Women's Only HEMA Tournaments

Postby Glyn » 03 Sep 2015 14:07

Firstly, the idea that we can place a clear and simple division through the human race is, frankly, flawed, and anyone who still thinks it is obviously hasn't been keeping up.

I also believe, very strongly, that no-one can put themselves forward to speak for another without their approval. The idea that an unelected person may represent groups of others without their support is wrong regardless of their sex. There is no more truth in the idea that a man may speak for a woman than there is to say a man may speak for all men or a woman for all women.

A major problem is that we will not hear the opinion of many of the people involved either directly from themselves or indirectly from people who are genuinely representing them. It is a particular issue that some people feel that they are not safe to express their opinions whether on-line, in private or even through anonymous polling. Public discussion groups are particularly unrepresentative.

Within a group activity it is also common that new entrants to the group feel especially unable to speak up and if they feel unwelcome they leave without explanation. This leads to a situation where the group voice is unrepresentative of what the group might have become.

To attempt to consider what the unheard opinions might be is not a fault.

Back to the context of HEMA, I want to understand what the requirement for division is. I have no problem with the idea of division, but it would seem to me that sex may be being used as an overlay for something that is not always inherently sex related. If the overlay matches closely enough to the divisions we really need, then let's use sex. If we're looking at the problem from the wrong angle then let's look at it properly. Given that the issue is being presented as a sex related one, it natural to start from that line.

I'm genuinely interested in finding out what the fundamental sex related issues in HEMA are (protective equipment in the wrong size/shape for example), and if there are issues that aren't exclusively sex related but the impact is biased towards one sex or another (such as strength or inappropriate social behaviour). If there are non-sex related issues that are being parcelled up that way then lets break them out and deal with them as well.

I've yet to hear anyone suggest that women shouldn't compete against men ever. That means when men and women are competing against each other we need to understand if there is anything special going on and make appropriate adjustments if so. Note I'm not saying "men need to adjust for women", women may need to adjust when competing against men, and maybe we all need to adjust to each other. We need to know what those adjustments are, though. Whether that's individual or group behaviour, different equipment or environment, rule changes, culture, whatever. Yes, we may need different adjustments for women vs. women, men vs. men, or women vs. men. Or for novices and experts, or junior/senior/veteran, or lightweight/middleweight/heavyweight, or full-contact/semi-contact, and so on.

I do think we need to make changes (not necessarily stopping what we're doing, perhaps just doing new things as well) regardless of sex. The fact that some people are saying changes need to be made more vocally than others doesn't mean others aren't having similar problems.

The reason I'm still participating in an increasingly painful thread is that we have problems that we need to confront to make HEMA a comfortable place for everyone. Let's talk about whatever the taboo issues are, get them sorted out and make HEMA work for everyone. A particular concern of mine is that without understanding the true requirement for single sex tournaments we may be using them as a way of avoiding problems that should be resolved. Maybe I'm wrong and the problems aren't that serious. It'd be nice to know that as well.

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Re: Women's Only HEMA Tournaments

Postby Herbert » 03 Sep 2015 14:27

Glyn wrote:The reason I'm still participating in an increasingly painful thread is that we have problems that we need to confront to make HEMA a comfortable place for everyone.

And what are these problems? Maybe it would be a good thing to first agree on the problems we have.
Somehow I daresay that the foremost problems are not single-sex tournaments.
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Re: Women's Only HEMA Tournaments

Postby MEversbergII » 03 Sep 2015 17:16

Perhaps we should look to Olympic fencing, and read into why they do things as they do. It has a long history, so there's potentially a lot of useful stuff on this very subject.

M.
When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

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Re: Women's Only HEMA Tournaments

Postby Cosmoline » 03 Sep 2015 17:55

I really don't think Olympic fencing is a model to follow. I find the competitive side interesting, but it has the danger of swallowing the entire endeavor if Red Bull starts sponsoring events. And we're further and further away from actual sword fighting. I think the idea of official, comprehensive competitions (like the Olympics) also undermine the esprit de corps. Not just in battles of the sexes, but in all the other divisions and sub-divisions that emerge from that practice. Right now the practice seems to be at a crossroads. The existing competitions still seem to have some of the old "let's try this out at full speed" mentality that keeps them rooted in the concept of historical swordplay. But it's easy to see how they could morph into a rules-heavy and far more formal practice.

If women want their own group to feel more comfortable, that's fine by me. But the idea that they need to have one to keep things "fair" in competition is a byproduct of turning HEMA into a sport with pretend swords. If you don't go down that road, the problem never really emerges. What bugs me is the argument that we need to segregate what has been a fully integrated endeavor. Up to this point, women have been coequal with men and exploring the treatises alongside men. Do we really want to end that and create a Title IX sports ghetto like you see in so many official sports? I think it's worth remembering that the practice of swordplay appears to have been integrated by the time of the very first complete illustrated treatise. And our s&b group has had women actively participating all along.

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Last edited by Cosmoline on 03 Sep 2015 18:33, edited 2 times in total.
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