Re: [SCA-Archery] Re: Guild/Fellowship
- Speaking from one who is a peer (Laurel) for archery and archery related arts and sciences
(as the scroll says - 'the research, construction, and use of archery equipment')
and being from a Kingdom where we actually have a Laurel solely for skill at the 'performance of archery'
I can say that it is tough. Tough because the standards for the SCA archery game and the standards for the Laurel Society-wide are quite different. The Laurel promotes extremely period activities, deep knowledge of each period aspect of a particular art or science. The archery community snarls at this claiming snobbery if any type of contest or recognition requires more than the minimum.
Competitions ranking archers on the Society level are based on scores by proxy, not on observation of the archer. Scores are higher when shot with equipment that has had the benefit of evolution (an archer shooting modern equipment almost always scores better than the same archer shooting with period equipment). Modern equipment allows modern shooting techniques that are not directly applicable to period archery (holding for aim, for example - a technique that robs most self and natural composite bows of performance and causes inconsistent shooting). Modern shooting techniques with modern equipment do not meet the basic criteria for a Laurel (at least no other Laurel activity rewards such extensive reliance on modern techniques and equipment where safety is not concerned).
It has been said to me that the Chivalry is just a special type of Laurel granted for the 'performance art of tourney fighting' with allowances made for safety. I actually see the truth in this. But if this is true, then the reason that the Chivalry does not exist as an encompassed subset of the Laurel is that the criteria are too different from the basic criteria for all other Laurel activities. Archery is stuck in the same boat. Although a level of skill might be comparable, the Laurel really has no way of equating that level of skill to something inherant to the laurel order. A brewer, a costumer, a metalworker, a calligrapher, a musician, all these have common frames of reference. You can look at documentation and understand the validity of research even if it is not in your own chosen subject. You can look at seams, wood finishes, metal polishes, clarity of brew, and understand a little bit about the product through the attention paid to finish and fit. As a craftsman or artist, you have a basic global understand of art and craft that can help you to determine the validity of a cantidate for the order, as well as to be able to understand the points being promoted and discussed. There is no fit, no finish, no research that can be correlated to other Laurel pursuits in the shooting skills as practiced in the SCA.
I was an exception, my shooting is done with period gear in period style, I taught and researched into the ways of a period archer, I built the equipment (weapons, armor, clothing, accessories) and learned their use. I am not the hottest shot in the Kingdom, far from it. But I took archery as a performance art and did what all other Laurels have done with their particular activities - presented all the parts of it in a way that could be correlated by the Laurels to their own standards. In this I fell short of the perfect archery peerage - one based only on shooting skill. But I did succeed in getting as close to a perfect match with the Laurel as I can imagine.
That is why the Laurel track is so upsetting to so many archers - they do not want to have to go to the lengths I went to get there - they don't feel the need to do the extensive ancillary work that I did. They want recognition for a specific aspect of the art of archery - the ability to hit the target with the highest precision without carrying too much extra 'philosophical baggage'. So the answer for this will never be the Laurel, it must be somewhere else.
The Chivalry is the perfect example of a peerage order based more on SCA standards than on medieval recreation. Our Chivlary order ideals could not exist outside the SCA, though mastery recognition for many of our Laurels could. The Chivalry is based on recognizing people who play with our very un-period weapons and styles, with all the restrictions and limitations of our game that were not present in period. And the SCA could no more exist without the order of the Chivalry than the Chivalry could exist without the SCA. It is the most pervasive part of the SCA that is unique to the SCA - it is the largest universally recognized identifier of what the SCA is as a group. This is exactly what the archers want - an SCA peerage (not a spin-off of a medieval peerage), developed from and being an integral part of, the SCA game, not relying so heavily on anything outside the world of the SCA as a game. But the Chivalry are not currently of a mind to expand their scope to grant this recognition, and I do not see this happening anytime soon.
So we once again approach a new peerage out of necessity. A 'white scarf' -like quasi peerage would never grant what is desired, and only hinder the development of an actual peerage, most possibly terminally. An actual extra peerage has been declared "out of the question" by several Society Stewards and BoD decisions. So if the treaty idea doesn't work, the available peerages don't work, and there is no hope of a new peerage, what then? Despair, hopelessness, gloom. Not really.
The Society is not impervious to change. But in many aspects of its governance, it is quite slow to be convinced. So it must start on a local level - with local groups recognizing and rewarding excellence in archery. Not just skill, but excellence. People must begin to set some type of general criteria that apply to SCA archery, so that the rest of the world can recognize what is a good SCA archer, and these criteria must be taught so people (most especially outside the archery fellowship) understand them. This will gain the attention of Kingdoms, and with motivated people and large enough numbers, the Kingdoms will begin to recognize archers (as Calontir has already done in a very outstanding way). This recognition will come in ways very unique to each Kingdom, but still based on good criteria and understanding of great archery. When the Kingdom support and recognition is high enough (I dare say almost universal will be required), and the numbers are great enough, the Society out of necessity will respond. They will have no choice. A large number of people with universally recognized accomplishments is a force to be reconed with. Keep in mind, though, that it will take more than a couple of presenters or a handful of expert archers. It will take a concerted effort on the part of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of individuals. Not a petition, but active work. No previous decision can stand in the way of all that.
And a very unique thing will happen when it is all over. Your new order will be accepted, because all the hoops you had to jump through will have taught you much about your society as well, and by the time you are about to succeed, you will not permit your ideas to jeopardize the SCA. People will see that and respond to you with open arms and open minds. You will have by design and necessity built a positive part of the SCA.
Shortcuts will not provide these benefits. Shortcuts will be looked at with distrust at best. And the thing that grows from shortcuts will always be a crippled stepchild of the parent group, never realizing anywhere near the full potential that it could. And that would be a shame to have happen to SCA archery - a thing I have devoted more than a decade of my life to, sacrificed for, wept over, screamed about, felt joyous rapture for, nearly quit over. Just like so many of you.
In the end, you have to work to get anything. The amount of work you have to do is not always decided by you - often your obstacles have been determined, built, and reinforced by others well beyond what you find reasonable. That is not always fair, but it is the way it is. And you won't change it merely by trying to point out how unfair it is - you must accomplish in spite of the inequities. But if you really want something, you just get down to work and do it. Because you can't get to the end of the quest without starting on it and working through it.
- Dear Kaz,
WOW! I like your thinking, and I agree with what you've said and
think that this will be a noble venture. Please contact me privately if
you would because I would like to discuss some efforts that could be
made in this way.
I still don't see how the "Grand Fellowship" could work against this. We
just want to "tag" people who have archery awards and orders,
- This post struck a very well known chord with me. I come from a
geographically diverse Barony with a well known reputation for
contentiousness. My geographic area formed an incipient Canton in order
to give our local people a way to play on an administrative level.
Needless to say, our motives were suspect by those in power. After a
particularly unsettled period and a charismatic leader, I was asked to
become seneschal. I agreed and began sheparding our group toward full
recognition. It took me 2 years of constant work to finally convince the
powers that be that we could do the job repeatedly and were not planning
a break away group, that our intent was to work within the existing
structure. I wanted very much to be the seneschal to lead us to full
recognition but such was not to be, that fell to my successor. We are
now a full Canton in our Barony and helping to lead our Barony to greater
acheivements. This may be a long winded introduction to a basic point
but I think it has relevance.
Today, the archery community is in a position of supporting the SCA
heavily. However, because of many things which have been said over the
years, a distrust of the motives of the archers exists in many minds.
Just as I had to watch a frustrated populus deal with what seemed to many
a conspiracy to deny us our rightful recognition, we will, as a
collective, have to deal with similar frustrations. We must avoid, at
all costs, ANY appearance of creating a "shadow peerage" or an ettempt at
an end run around the existing power structure. We must work with and
within this structure to attain our ends. We must demonstrate a
willingness to work within the structure that currently exists. The
first step is to accept the BOD's 4th peerage ruling. Whether there is
eventually a 4th peerage to recognize aspects of the SCA experience not
currently recognized or whether those aspects are recognized within the
existing structure is yet to be seen.
One of the first things we can do is to cultivate relationships with
Laurels and Pelicans in our own kingdoms. Find out exactly how they
judge candidates. For instance, here in Caid, a Laurel candidate must
demonstrate mastery of one art and high competance in at least one other.
A Pelican cnadidate must show a broad base of service is several areas
(i.e. running archery events and programs only won't make it). The
Chivalry was built on, and maintains, a tradition of being based on use
of "tournament" weapons and conduct. Here, that means that the war only
fighter is excluded. Cultivate your contacts and show them where the
archery activities fit in their own scheme of things. Show them that
participation in archery is a multi-faceted and complex activity. Help
them play our game a little so that they understand the challenges
presented. With time and understanding they will decide among themselves
whether we should be included in their ranks or whether we need a
recognition path of our own.
Do not expect this to be easy or quick. Expect to get flak from both
sides as there will be resistance from without and distrust from within
the archery community. Expect this to take five to ten years to begin to
make an inroad and start out on this road with that knowledge. If it
takes less, rejoice. The SCA power structure is conservative and
self-perpetuating -- accept it and work with it, don't fight it. It
changes because it wants to. Plant the seed, nurture it, watch it grow.
Let the powers that be take the credit for making the change. They will
be quicker to act if they think it is their own idea. I have seen how
many things have been accomplished by applying a constant but subtle
pressure and letting someone else take the credit.
But above all, we must decide what our goal is and unfailingly work
toward it even when the path seems to go in the opposite direction. In
the course of advancing my Canton I had to swallow a great many things I
disliked but I knew that doing so would get me closer to my utimate goal
and the pleasure in that success more than outweighed what I had to go
through. As many in the mundane world say "Think Globally and Work
Locally". This will get us what we want SCA wide.
In service to the dream,
Carolus von Eulenhorst
On Thu, 01 Feb 2001 21:33:34 -0600 "Chris Nogy" <cnogy@...>
>Speaking from one who is a peer (Laurel) for archery and archery________________________________________________________________
>related arts and sciences
>(as the scroll says - 'the research, construction, and use of archery
>In the end, you have to work to get anything. The amount of work you
>have to do is not always decided by you - often your obstacles have
>been determined, built, and reinforced by others well beyond what you
>find reasonable. That is not always fair, but it is the way it is.
>And you won't change it merely by trying to point out how unfair it is
>- you must accomplish in spite of the inequities. But if you really
>want something, you just get down to work and do it. Because you
>can't get to the end of the quest without starting on it and working
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> > It's called the "Laurel." =)No, I'm deadly serious.
> (I'M ASSUMING YOU SAID LAUREL =) TONGUE IN CHEEK)
> No!!! There is no peerage for these fighting techniques. They areI disagree. Read the definition of the Laurel in Corpora. Arcehry
and Rapier fit into it with no trouble whatsoever.
> calling the these martial techniques an art and giving them a Laurel.Call them an art or not (they are, but that's not even necessary)
they are undoubtedly "skills" and that's what the Laurel is
supposed to recognize.
> Not the same thing. Archers were just as much of a part of the battleThat has nothing to do with it. Knighthood isn't awarded for
> as were the knights and the only difference is the social class.
"battle." It's awarded for rattan tourney fighting.
> I don't think that a peer level award for archery (or rapier) isNot a specialized one, no. Hopefully they will continue to gain
> coming in the near future. A kingdom might never reconize archery. I
acceptance among the Laurelate but I don't see any new specialty
peerages coming any time soon. (Personally, I'm one of those who
finds that to be a Good Thing(tm).)
> have also noticed that archery is probably the best organized of theI don't know about archers being any better "organized." Up until
> fighting arts within the SCA. SCA Archers for the most part are far
> more organized, friendlier, less political than any group I've seen in
> the SCA (coming from me that's a major compliment).
last year there was no such thing as a Society Archery Policy yet
the fighters have had a standard set of Society rules for at *least*
20 years that I know of...
> At this point in the game it would be WONDERFUL to have the awardsYou still haven't answered *why* it would be so wonderful? What's
> somewhat similar. A Grant level award would mean something similar to
> a Grant level award somewhere else. So would an AoA level award.
bad about variety? Why is bland better?
> Make the non-AoA awards either minor kingdom or baronial awards. If IWouldn't you get to know far more simply by "spend[ing] time with
> travel to another kingdom for an event and have the oppertunity to
> spend time with another archer I know what he did to earn his award.
another archer" then you would by just knowing that someone had
a "standard" award?
> In the karate community there are numerous styles and style varientsDo they? I've been in three different systems and about the only
> but everybody reconizes the term "Black Belt", "Brown Belt", "White
> Belt". To have a inherit mutal understanding of an award, regardless
> of name or how it was presented would sure be great.
thing that was consistent was the black belt. And even that varies
enormously by school. Below that every other color was just
something less than a black belt -- you wouldn't know how *much*
less unless you knew the system OR spent time with whoever was
> other than Latin. I'm sure glad these traditions were changed.Great. But you still haven't offered any substantial benefit inherent
in changing this particular set of traditions.
> The tradition of having a major class distinction between archers,Okay. So how does standardizing archery awards across
> rapier fighters and the heavies is one tradition I would like to see
> go away. I would rather see one big community than several small
kingdoms help meet that objective?
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- I want to thank both Ragnar and Kaz for their respective and thoughtful
posts. They each raised a number of concerns that we need to take into
consideration. I particularly found Kaz's analysis of the peerage issue of
interest. That was a perspective I will need to think on. I have often
thought of the Laurel in terms of period chivalry with the area of prowess
being one or another art rather than the chivalry as a Laurel with the
form being heavy weapons. Kaz has probably been aware that I have had,
for years, strong philosophical convictions that both the Laurel and the
Pelican circles need to recommend to the Crown the elevation of archers
when the work falls within their scope. Perhaps we need to better
articulate what sort of archery artistry and service is appropriate for
such recognition. This will make both members of the orders and the crowns
more comfortable when considering such peerages.
I think that the entire discussion on either the guild or fellowship (and
the distinction is not always clear) needs to not only establish solid and
agreed upon goals, but we need to be sure that the means towards those
goals are the best to achieve them. I fear that some of the things
proposed will have serious negative effects. While there are many ways in
place already to achieve some of the goals discussed. We should never
create bureaucracy for the sake of bureaucracy.
Finally, I am concerned that seldom in our discussions has the question
been asked: what did they do in period? I would be much more comfortable
with a discussion at this point of the royally chartered company of
archers under Henry VIII or the Schutzenguilds in the Holy Roman Empire.
But this would possibility lead us back to local solutions to local
situations. There were differences between realms (and over time) in
period that far exceeds even the considerable differences between kingdoms
in our Society.