This podcast is a tactic in the service of a larger goal, namely to encourage diversity in historical martial arts. The first rule of the podcast is there must be at least 50% female guests. Fortunately there are no shortage of women practising swordswomanship! But representation doesn’t end there. I have also found guests from a range of martial backgrounds (Airrion Scott started out swinging light-sabres, Siobhan Richardson started out in stage combat), cultural backgrounds (there are guests from Asia, South America, Europe, and North America), and ethnicities.
My goal is that eventually anyone, from any culture, of any race, sexual identity, height, weight, health status, and any other demographic data point you can think of, can find a historical martial arts role model on this podcast. That may encourage them to take up the Art, and so historical martial arts will become more diverse, and therefore deeper and stronger. This might not make much difference to many people, but I know for sure that it will make some difference to some people, and that is a whole lot more than nothing.
This is of course an ethical standpoint, but it’s also a practical one. Getting opinions from a diverse range of people makes for better outcomes. Matthew Syed makes the case for this phenomenon in his book Rebel Ideas, which I highly recommend. A rising tide lifts all boats, so if your overall goal is improving the practice of historical martial arts as a whole, it makes sense to get as many different minds on the problem as possible.
I know that some people will feel that I ought to just interview the “best” hma practitioners. The famous ones, the ones with big followings, the ones with the most books out. (I know it because they’ve written and told me so!) I will, and I do, as you can see from the guest list. But if we only hear from them, we will tend to hear mostly from middle aged white men (like me), because this field was founded mostly by people like me. But it has grown beyond that rather narrow beginning (thank goddess!) and there are very many people out there worth listening to. Some of them don’t even do swords! Such as historian Eleanor Janega, in episode 16.