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It has been a busy week in the aftermath of the conference. We have had to write up reports for our funders, draw up accounts and reconcile them with our budgets, we had to collate and study all the feedback and then hold a debriefing session. The majority of the work has been complete with just a little left to go, and now I am happy to present my review of the event from the point of view of being one of the organisers.
‘It is necessary to…point up the inadequacies of established views, and to avoid being drawn back into the Celtic quagmire of confused meanings.’ (Simon James, 1999) Consider the above quotation in relation to the following questions. What are the established views on how to define ‘Celticity’? Are they confused? What role does language play in these definitions? How would you define ‘Celt/Celtic’? Why? Is Simon James correct in his assertion that our understanding of the Iron Age peoples of Western Europe would be improved if we set aside the label ‘Celtic’ and adopted a ‘post-Celticist’ view? Why?
I would like to address the concept of “professionalism” in the historical fencing community. It is a word that is used regularly in some areas of discussion, but what precisely does it mean? When talking about the calibre of instructors or relative levels of different groups, what does the term mean and how can it be applied in a comparative manner?
This week I am going to be discussing a point mainly for weapon instructors in the European Martial Arts: the use of a safe position. Before we begin I would like to define the term “safe position”.
A “safe position” is one that students should adopt automatically when holding a weapon, without having been given further instructions during a class.
Today I shall discuss why I am strict with the AHA instructors regarding this point and why I feel it is important that the “safety position” sees more use within the HEMA community.