While it is a reality that the useful necessity of practising swordsmanship is no longer an essential part of our daily lives, it remains remarkable that the “noble science” still, after a half a millennium, can possess the ability to not only train the body but the mind and the spirit as well in it’s modern context. Employing it’s enigmatic power it works to sharpen and improve us in subtle ways that are as easy to benefit from as they are to overlook.
For thousands of years we, as a species, have studied the violent ways and means of the sword. The vast majority of us today remain continually fascinated (though uninvolved) with the subject. We follow, almost religiously, such television shows as Game of Thrones, Vikings and many other steel wielding adventures. This enthusiastic interest however is generally only utilized as a superficial source of entertainment and never realized into any physical knowledge of the weapons themselves or any of the the peripheral benefits that their usage and practice might offer. In the old world, necessity was much more demanding.
In those times past, knowing how to handle a sword or weapon of some sort, was an essential part of everyday life for many. The brutish strength and savagery that was necessary for a rudimentary understanding of the of weapons would, ultimately through courage and discipline (motivated by a will to survive direct encounters) evolve into aesthetic art forms. The martial concepts in the western cultures were no exception to this evolution. These efforts would eventually progress into the higher minded attributes such as chivalry, fidelity, principals, honour and a single minded ability to focus in times of great stress. It was the realization of such noble aspects like these that would ultimately be responsible for producing martial art. Thus ushering the study of effective violence and what was once profane, into the higher realm of that which could be deemed as sacred.
The noble science, the art of swordsmanship, still has all of these positive aspects to offer us if we will earnestly choose to engage with it once again and to appreciate the fierce efficiency and remarkable grace of western swordsmanship.