This week starts a new interview series courtesy of Master Quinn Kerr:
“The past year has left many of us with a lot of time on our hands. Time to finish those projects we have meaning to get to, finally try some of those drills or pell work we have been avoiding etc. It is also a great time to reflect on why we do what we do. And why do we love it so much. Recently some questions were posed to the members of the Order of Defense (the rapier peerage). Their answers are both fun and enlightening. So, we begin a series called “5 Questions for a Member of the Order of Defense” Enjoy!”
This week’s answers are from Baron Master Eric Grenier de Labarre, nicknamed Grendel.
1. Of all the things you could have done in the Society, why did you choose fencing?
When I first got involved in the SCA, back in the middle 90s, I tried out a bunch of different activities, but fencing was what really clicked for me.
Partly, I just really enjoyed the activity of fencing right from the start; but also, I really felt comfortable in the fencing community. I found the standard “peerage track” SCA activities unwelcoming of a casual new person, but the fencing community really opened up and welcomed me, and I quickly made a small army of really good friends, many of whom I am still close to today. Fencing wasn’t a peerage track activity in those days, so there was kind of a “band of misfits and ne’er-do-wells” atmosphere when a bunch of SCA fencers got together to eat and drink and talk.
2. Why do you still fence?
I still enjoy the activity of fencing itself, although I’m reaching the age where I think my best fights may be behind me. But I’m still determined to holding up the “fencing banner” here in the Barony of Thescorre where I live, until someone comes along to take over from me.
As a White Scarf and member of the Order of Defense, I feel a responsibility to stay active and aware of what is going on in fencing, to provide whatever teaching and service I can offer, and to try to preserve the ultra-inclusive culture that drew me into the fencing community in the first place. Now that we are a peerage activity, there is the danger that we could start to become exclusive, in ways that I have observed a lot of peerage communities in many kingdoms do. I think that anyone who wants to participate in fencing should be welcomed and supported, regardless of their skill level, gender, age, body type, physical capability, persona, SCA affiliations, awards, etc.
3. If you could go back in time and give the “new” you advice what would it be?
Hmmm. I guess I would just tell Past Me that he’s on the right track. There is not too many things from that time I regret greatly. Maybe just tell him not to sell that Apple stock.
4. What is your most memorable moment as a fencer?
It’s probably a three-way tie: the first time I won Queen’s Rapier Championship, my elevation to the White Scarf, and my elevation to the MOD. Each one was a surprise at that moment. I also cherish my memory of seeing the Order of the White Scarf of AEthelmearc opened by King Yngvar and Queen Caryl at Harvest Raids; it inspired everything that came after for me.
5. If you were to start all over again would you do anything different?
Not anything important.