This year’s pas d’armes was an unmitigated success. I’d like to thank everybody involved, particularly Jean-François Gagné who organised the whole spiel and to Rachel Beauchamp for letting us into her home for the after-party.
The fighting was spirited, being fought before a decent crowd at Lac Leamy Park as part of the Family Festival (Fête de la Famille) organised by the city of Gatineau. There were a couple of minor injuries that marred the bouts, and the heat was probably the big winner of the day, but for the third year running, the team comprising “France” beat “England” by one point. Considered best among equals for the second year running was Maxim Zakurdaev, and our thanks and congratulations go to him. Thanks also to Jean-Marc Comeau for supplying the tabards that were used, as they helped clarify things for the assembled crowd and gave a sense of “team” to the effort.
Also on the schedule were some martial demonstrations that were largely appreciated by the crowd, showcasing drills and techniques done at speed. More than one person realised that what we practice is a serious martial art, and if nothing else that day, we accomplished this. Of course, much more was accomplished, since a great time was had by all, we managed to balance entertaining the crowd, enjoying ourselves, and showcasing the school and the Art. What more could be asked for?
Plans are already in the works for next year’s event, with some minor tweaks for flow and continuity. Personally, I’d like to see some tweaks to the combat rules, and frankly, objections notwithstanding fighting to a number of “points” instead of passes kinda sucks. The former encourages folks to game the rules and win, while the latter encourages people to participate knowing they won’t get knocked off after however many points are awarded, and still continue to fight to the end of their allotted passes – enjoying the experience regardless. There is some debate on this, and I’m trying to keep an open mind, but points (just as signals by judges…) smacks of combat sports. Not sure that sits well with me, but since I generally take a hands-off approach to the tourney (for which I give copious thanks…) I’m willing to let go for the sake of peace despite my misgivings. In the end, it’s about the enjoyment of the Art and about forming bonds and enjoying camaraderie, and that’s more important than some ruleset.
Pics will be forthcoming as soon as I manage to collate them all and prune the best ones from the bunch.