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Why Safety is a Core Value

The Sword Conservatory’s Mission Statement is: Teaching the history, sport, and art of swordsmanship to all, with safety and fun.

Safety is of primary importance at The Sword Conservatory (TSC). Without safety, we literally cannot fulfil our mission, which explicitly states that we do what we do “with safety“ . Less explicitly, but also of utmost importance is that, without safety, we cannot fulfill the "teaching ... to all" aspect of our mission.

In some organizations, injuries are badges of honor and are talked about as if they are good things; the worse the injury, the more pride is derived from it. That mindset necessarily excludes a vast population of people who would like to try out swordfighting, but who do not want to get hurt.

If there is one thing that sets TSC apart from other organizations which do what we do, it is our focus on safety. This allows us to be place for those who are turned off by the "injury is good" culture.

Those people who are excluded from other groups because of safety concerns are exactly the ones that TSC was created to serve. But in order to deliver on this, TSC must distinguish itself in how safety is approached. Safety must be more than just a collection of rules; it must be part of the organizational culture and a focus for each individual. TSC must constantly model to students and volunteers that we attempt to make what we do as safe as possible. We continuously strive to minimize injuries and seriously evaluate changes when injuries do happen.

On a practical level, the more of us who get hurt, the fewer people we have to practice with, spar with, and make us better. The greater the variety of opponents we face, the better it makes us, and the more fun and interesting it is. But most importantly, if you're the one who gets hurt, you are not able participate for a time, which may also impact your career or education.

So, safety is a good thing at TSC!

Next time, we will look at TSC’s safety mindset.

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