I was and I am someone always fond of an exchange of written words since childhood. Being a virtual active person is nothing new for me. If you would put my real name in quotation marks in google you will find more than 200.000 entries that will mostly link to me. It has a history. On the bulletin boards on mailbox systems in the 1980s I tried to whistle the characters into the microphone of my acoustic coupler. With the upcoming of the internet I organized webrings, forums, community webpages. Most of them had to do with fantasy novels and games, and role-playing games. I learned very early that google is no friend of you if it comes to a job interview. If they ask what your hobbies are, they know it already. A representative of a consulting company with an active internet life regarding role-playing games was not in the wishlist of the boss of that company. He found more in google about me that he wanted to. As an conclusion I changed my virtual appearance. Because you cannot remove what is in the internet, you have to flood it with the information you want others to find. I started to post articles related to my job. Visited forums and boards, commented blogs with anything that has to do with my job. I was even awarded for being so active in the community.
The conclusion for me today is: if you do something on the internet, see that the job related postings will exceed the more private ones. If you do anything private, let it never be entirely personal. Never give away to much of your person. Never mix or connect private matters in one board. Spread them using different names. Always stay with the subject of the board. E.g. never tell in a forum for financial consultants that you have nine children with eight different women before you found out that you are gay, have a faible for latex swim suites in bed, and do skydiving with extra small parachutes for sport. This is out of the question. If you do or like one of the above, keep it for yourself.
If you do swordplay as a sport, than you always feel that just saying: “I am a sword-fighter doing Historical European Martial Arts.” is not enough. But how do you explain that. You first try to draw a line between you and the people in costumes running across grasslands and shouting “Valhalla”. But why? Some of the folks are your companions you fought and drank with on the last martial arts event.
Historical Martial Arts is nonpolitical like any martial art. But there are several nationalistic groups (you may want to call them Nazis) in several countries which would love to add this kind of historic swordplay to their portfolio. In fact this is the case with some Viking reenactment groups and sword-fighting groups in some countries. I do not want any link with them or any other political group. I just want to have fun and an open mind practicing my martial art.
So I keep myself as private in the internet as this is possible. And I use the Pseudonym “Hans Talhoffer” and “(Johannes) Paulus Kal” on some occasions. But this always raises the question of “reputation” and “martial arts background” in discussions. So here is my personal martial arts background.
My martial arts experience started 1974 learning sport fencing for seven years switching from Judo. In 1986 I became a enthusiastic Karateka and stayed with it for 12 years until sport injuries stopped him. In the following years I trained hard to overcome the injuries and tried several martial arts like Aikido, Ninjutsu, Taekwondo. Most of them did not made me happy for several reasons. In 2004 I started sword fighting, and in 2005 I joined a Historical Martial Arts club. There I learned the interpretations of the sword fighting and wrestling from experienced teachers. With my martial arts background and by studying the old manuals I adopted the art very fast and became a teacher mymself in 2009. In 2008 I started to take private lessons in Ving Tsun, because I think that a martial art can only be learned at higher levels in private lessons. In summary I do martial arts since more than 30 years and more than 20 years in training.