Sunday, September 30, 2012

Why Should They Pick Up a Sword?

A few months ago I was in a demo team meeting and trying to develop a presentation for the archery program, and Devon asked me to say a piece on the program:  what it is, what we teach, what the focuses are, and why people should join.  The first four points were simple.  They're the meat and potatoes content of the program.  They're a part of my life, and how I'm developing as an athlete, and a teacher.

That last bit though... Well, I was kind of stuck (except for the "kind of" part).  I asked Devon for a bit of help, and not wanting to give me a canned line, he asked me why I did it.
My response was indicative of why I do it, just in a poorly articulated and flippant manner.
"I want people to look at my resumé and think I'm Link from The Legend of Zelda."
Devon smirked and told me to think about it more.

I wrote the original off as silly nonsense and set myself to trying to sell people on the idea of learning archery, without using buzz words, or sounding like a tool.  I eventually gave up because I was failing at my task, and set myself to learning some rapier choreography.

But lately I've been thinking about it.  Link was always my favorite video game character when I was much younger and more keen on gaming.  He was brave, agile, capable, a thinker, an adventurer, and always keen to help (if needlessly cruel to chickens on ocassion).  But above all of that, he was a hero.  An old school sword swinging, princess saving, monster slaying hero.  Hero.  The word carries power, and has a lot of different images and symbols associated with it.  My favorite of those images?  The sword, and to a lesser extent, the bow.

I want people to think I'm Link.  I want to be that brave, clever, agile adventurer. 

I want to be a hero.

Heroism is a curious thing though.  The sword doesn't make anyone a hero.  So why take the sword up?  Or the bow, for that matter?  Because the equipment doesn't make me a hero, but it has made me stronger, better, more confident, wiser, more attentive, patient, tactical, agile, and capable.  Through my learnings with the sword and the bow, I am coming closer with every lunge, cut, and shot, to being the hero I idolized through my youth.

Why should anyone take up archery or swordplay?  There are probably as many reasons as there are students of the arts.  Why did I take up archery and swordplay?  Because it connects me to my heroes, and to my own vision of heroism.  Everything else that has happened since pursuing my training is just the result of connecting with that heroism.

Am I a hero though?

No.  Not right now.  But heroism is a topic for another day.

No comments:

Post a Comment