Several years ago, in one of the Moscow television programs, its participants quite seriously discussed the issue of the revival of duels in Russia. I listened to them and thought - would it really be possible - to solve controversial moments not by fighting, but to cause the offender to a duel, publicly throwing a glove at his feet and giving him the choice of weapon - a pistol or a sword, and wash off the shame from his name in an honest duel .. .
Defend yourself, Sir!
Once men had to be able to own both firearms and the art of fencing - in lyceums these lessons were obligatory for all “teenagers”, as we would say today. Collecting material about education in Ireland and looking at the Trinity College website - Trinity College (the oldest college in Ireland), I was surprised to find that there was a fencing club in it and read a lot of interesting things, and tried to remember whether there are any in Moscow or St. Petersburg institutions of higher education. An opportunity for our students to engage in this beautiful and noble sport? And with bitterness I came to the conclusion that the traditions of owning a sword and a saber are buried in a number of other beautiful Russian traditions, and today we can talk about the existence of fencing in Russia only among professional athletes, since this sport is Olympic.
Moreover, I was happy for Trinity students, who still have the opportunity and the conditions for practicing fencing in the well-equipped new sports center, and after attending one of the trainings, I saw there not only men, but also women. Bravo!
In the history of the development of fencing in Ireland, I found a lot of interesting and interesting facts in my opinion, which date back to the English colonization of Ireland, and I wanted to share with you
In 1592, the English Queen Elizabeth 1 founded Trinity College in Dublin, Trinity College carrying a sword, as belonging to the clothes of a student at this institution of higher education, was obligatory. Fencing among students has been practiced since its inception - from the beginning of the 17th century, and duels at the college were a common occurrence, and reports of students who particularly distinguished themselves in the “showdown” constantly lay on the Rector's table.
Interestingly, the history of the development of fencing in Ireland reflects the history of complex and bloody political and social relations between the two countries - Ireland and England.
In 1603, English King James 1 enslaved Ireland and TS students fought against those who supported the English king and spoke on the side of the British. Then the angry King, without thinking twice, turned the student audiences at the College into cameras and kept in them disobedient students. The duels between the Irish and the British continued throughout the 17th century.
From 1700, fencing becomes not just and not only a means of getting even, but a special style of behavior in society and equates with the most noble and obligatory occupation for gentlemen - at Trinity College begins its existence “A Gentleman’s Club of Swords” - the Club of gentlemen of the sword.
In 1774, Rector Trinity decides to build a School for her students, in which fencing, dancing, foreign languages and horse riding will be the same mandatory disciplines as, say, mathematics. But the noble outbursts of the rector Haley-Hutchinson in raising good manners among the young Irish people were publicly condemned and widely ridiculed by the Dubliners. It is completely incomprehensible to me - why? Fencing in the vehicle remained the only means of protection in the event of an inevitable duel. It is interesting to cite here the opinion of the auditor of the Theobald Tone Historical Society of the TC, who wrote in April 1789 - “I was an unwitting witness to many quarrels among students of our society and who resolved themselves on the field; Fortunately, very few of them had any serious consequences, except for the fact that our institution’s reputation suffered. ”
1800 - wearing a sword is no longer a prerequisite for students of the CU and the great masters of the duel with swords determine fencing to the category of sport.
1835 - The auditor of the Historical Society of the CU condemns duels within the walls of a higher educational institution and effectively prohibits them.
1850 - duelists began to use masks.
1896 - men begin to fight for medals at the Olympic Games, thus fencing becomes and is officially recognized only as a sport in the whole world.
1924 - women fencers are allowed to participate in the Olympic Games.
For many centuries, fencing was an integral part of people's lives and could not but be reflected in literature. Many world-famous writers in their adventure novels "forced" their heroes to wield a sword and fight in a duel - Alexander Dumas's Three Musketeers, and the fascinating novels of Louis Stevenson, where love and a knight's sword always go hand in hand. And, of course, many films were shot - “The Adventures of Robin Hood”, “Captain Blood”, “The Prince and the Pauper”, “The Iron Mask” and many others, where not the last place in the plot is given to fencing and duels. And didn’t we read these beautiful books as children and didn’t watch movies, watching the hero fights on the screen with bated breath?
Today, both team and personal fencing competitions at the College Cup are held regularly at Trinity College. I asked Mary Collins, a college student, who was training equipment:
- Mary, does fencing mean to you?
Without thinking, she replied:
- It develops my will and it’s great, in training we constantly fencing in sparring with the guys, and the men, as we know, have a different logic. So you have to learn to defend yourself - she smiled.
- Did you manage to win at student competitions in Trinity? - was my next question.
- Yes, once I won. We have a very high level of preparation and it is not so easy to win. So I am proud of that victory - Mary smiled.
The fencing club at Trinity College is certainly not the only one in Dublin. Other higher education institutions have their own clubs for students and teachers, and in addition, in Dublin there are private clubs for fans of the art of fencing, and making a small amount in a year and becoming a member of the club, anyone can take lessons from recognized fencing masters.
Yes, today, fencing, as an image of a certain behavior of men in society, has lost its former meaning, and we can see fencers, sablists or rapirists, mainly on television, when the Olympiad is broadcast. It probably could not have been otherwise with the invention of laser weapons and the decline of morality in society. Today we are offered an infinitely stretching “chewing gum” from the “terminators” or “matrices”, where there is nothing truly heroic, noble and worthy. The computer replaced genuine passions and real, strong feelings that were never intended only for the entertainment of the masses, but the task of high art, which brought up feelings of honor, dignity and nobility in past generations.
And how it would be nice to hear today somewhere in the Irish pub - "Defend yourself, sir!", And the roar of overturned tables and the sound of a sword will be the only possible answer -
"I am at your service, Sir!"