The recent HEMA drama seems to be a debate on definitions, but in truth, it is simply an age-old fight – of competence against mediocrity.
This strikes the heart of HEMA, because all of us have once been that – mediocre. We know that feeling, and many of us feel like we might be mediocre still, in one way or another. And we probably are.
HEMA is a community of communities, the oldest of which sprouted in isolation – and many pop up in isolation still, although modern technology quickly breaks it.
But the mediocrity that ruled HEMA in the early days is a growth pain – and we still feel it, but there are clear signs we are outgrowing it. A nerd hobby is turning into a martial art, a combat sport, a calling for some and a favourite pastime for much more.
And that is an accomplishment, and many of us feel proud. First for our group, club, school, and second for the wider community.
Some people outside of HEMA want to bask in that feeling of accomplishment – but without the effort. So what is the solution? To praise mediocrity.
Create the lowest achievable standard by anyone with almost no effort and call it an accomplishment. Make it the definition.
The reason we feel so strongly about this is that this is not only true for some random YouTuber. It’s true for people within HEMA too.
Not the people who are just starting, but people who have been at it for years. We know of their mediocrity, but we don’t talk of it. Maybe it is a nice thing to do. Maybe it is not needed – unless they get a couple of million followers.
Whether we call them out or not, we should recognize them, their mediocrity, our own, and aim to conquer it. That way we don’t have to care about some dude and his nonsense.