Swearing in the Training Studio

Second rant. Topic, swearing, for no reason other than it appeared in my mind while in the shower.

I read an article that said brilliant people swear more often than … less brilliant people. Well, in that case, my student Ben must be a genius. We had no idea, but the signs were there way back when he was a teenager learning with us. We instituted a swear jar, in order to cut down swearing since we had a small class, and it had a few ladies in it, and I wanted to keep some semblance of manners around the school.

Benny used to come in after payday, and just put a few notes in it, because he knew he was going to swear a lot.

The money used to go to BBQs and social events, and Ben would be seriously annoyed if he couldn’t go, since he felt he’d paid up front for most of them. He had a point.

Swearing is a remarkably silly concept. It came out of the idea that what the nobles spoke (or probably spaketh or something) was in some way superior to the language used by the common people, the vulgate – where we get the word vulgar from. So, the normal word for any particular thing or act for the commoners wasn’t good enough for the gentle folk. That’s basically it, other than blasphemy, which apparently God didn’t like for reasons that seem odd to me. I’d have thought that if he did indeed exist, he would be above all that petty stuff like name calling, diet issues and what women wear; but then, I didn’t create a universe. Maybe “Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me” hadn’t been invented yet.

Things involving bodily functions or anything to do with reproduction are right out, unless you use the clinical terms (which, in a bout of complete and utter idiocy mean exactly the same thing but are somehow perfectly alright to use, even in front of kids).

It was especially important not to use words like that in front of women (children being, in this case, unseen and unheard although underfoot), in case they became inflamed, reaching a peak in Victorian England where any topic other than the weather was risky and risqué, in case the poor dears couldn’t cope with all the manliness and faint or possibly rip everyone’s clothes off and have an orgy. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

So, in my opinion, it’s silly.

However, there is another side to the discussion.

One function of traditional martial arts is to enhance the person training in more ways than physical, and one of these ways is to be more gentlemanly, and not going around robbing, stealing, raping, and generally butchering the populace, but instead teach a kind of restraint from such excessive behaviours.

Moreover, it is entrenched within our society that gentlemen do not behave vulgarly around ladies, and so it behooves us martial folk to behave in a gentlemanly manner. Or ladylike, as it applies. Gender being what it is these days, make of that what you wish.

Vulgar = swearing, gentlemanly = not swearing.

Not my stupid rule, but society’s. Society’s to blame. But we live in society.

Therefore we should attempt to not swear unnecessarily in class, and attempt to create an environment more civilized in general. And I should know, since I’m guilty of it too. But we should try.

Unless, of course, the repeated punches to the face get a bit too difficult to deal with.