In this day and age it is often quoted that Chivalry is dead, but for one group practicing the art of Medieval swordsmanship in Salt Lake City it is far from it. Though a nebulas term to define and tie down with great precision Chivalry can most nearly be defined as bravery in the face of aversion, honor in the midst of treachery, and courtesy in the midst of caddish word and deed. The United Clans Swordsman Association teaches the martial practice of medieval swordsmanship, however in that; there is always a constant striving to teach more than that alone. As a member for the past 10 years I have seen many things change, many things grow, and some things fade with the passing of time, but one thing has remained a constant. Honor is at the core of what we say and do, but it goes further than that. We teach respect, both to ourselves and of others because at the core of it we know that though the person we are fighting at the moment may be are foe, at any moment they may also be a powerful ally. We teach truth, knowing that as we tell the truth we become better people in and out of class. But among it all we teach courtesy not only to women in the traditional chivalric way but to all people. For though the golden rule is often thought antiquated, we have all been treated with disrespect for reasons having nothing to do with our real value, we have felt its brutal sting, and so we strive to never allow that to happen to others.
Though we teach the art of sword play sword fighting is not about learning to hurt others, not using the knowledge of it to bring harm to others, sword fighting is about learning to live justly in what seems at times like an unjust world. It’s not about the sword; it’s about living our lives in a noble and knightly way. It’s about doing good deeds not for recognition of a job well done, but for the simple fact that doing good deeds makes us better people. Drills do not make us better people, but the appreciation of our own skills does. Studying texts does not make us smarter, but the application of that knowledge makes us wiser. And while leading a group into defeat is hard, sometimes we can all use that humility to in order to become better people than we already are.
Sword fighting is about so much more than swinging a wooden stick ad someone, it is about understanding, respecting, and caring for those who strive to be better but have no system that they know of to do so. It is about seeing our own weaknesses and doing all we can to make them better day by day. Sword fighting is all about honor.