10 Questions with Huang Chun-Yi

How did you come across fencing and in particular, fall in love with historical weapons?

I liked to read literature and watch movies since I was in my childhood. After I came across a YouTube video on longsword fencing, I started to search for historical manuals and checked if what I found really existed. I found that sabre also interests me a lot. Around 2014-2015, I found my teacher through my friend in Czech Republic. Then my teacher come to Taiwan to teach.


What do people of Taiwan think about European swordsmanship and has it caught on in popularity? Why or why not?

European swordsmanship is very new in Taiwan, and is developing quite slowly. The main reasons are the native culture and the culture distance. The society in Taiwan is dominated by Japanese  and Chinese martial arts because of the history background. The image on European swordsmanship largely comes from movie or fantasy. It is difficult to change in a short time.


What’s one thing that you feel all beginners should know?

Friendship. Sharing the knowledge and interests in a friendly way can shorten the road of learning. Making friends can help the growth of the community and broaden your thoughts. Test and work on the needs not only in fencing but also life together. Maybe you can find your lifetime partner or even mentor.


Is there anything else that you do in your life that helps you to be a better fencer, teacher, or both?

Both.  I was working as a teacher, which helps me understand more on the method of education, and psychology of learning. I am also a medical laboratory technologist; I know body mechanisms and some sport science through my university education. The most important thing is gaining lots of info and experience from other fencers and teachers.


What do your parents think of what you do and have you gotten any of them to fence?

They understand what fencing is and can differentiate the difference between modern fencing and historical fencing. They are supportive, and my father is the first one to show me fencing, but they don’t have time to fence themselves.


Your descriptions says you teach from the teachings of Luigi Barbasetti. Is there a big difference between this or other styles of fencing? What would that be in your words?

If you compare the Barbasetti style with other sabre style, the biggest difference is the moulinet which is from the elbow. And the style also emphasizes on a more direct cut.


Do you compete? Or is sparring enough? Why or why not?

No, I don’t compete for now, but I do teach how to deal with competition. I also do sparring with friends inside and outside of the club. The reason why I don’t compete and prefer sparring is that the mindset is different. Of course it depends on the rules of the competition. From my experience, the competitor’s main goal is to win the medal, so they will go whatever way is the best and easier to get the most points. You can learn how to fence in high pressure and face different opponents, and it is a way to test yourself. But for sparring, we can set the goal and work on what we need. Both are good to progress yourself, just a different way to train.


It is really hard (in the U.SA.) to make a living as a teacher, especially to teach the martial arts as a main source of income. Do you teach professionally only, or do you have other jobs?

I have another job as a teacher, and doing some business. In Taiwan, it is hard to teach martial art as a job. The society generally aims at the competition over the “real life” fencing.  It is seen as  entrainment, or a sport, not a serious thing.

The market is very small and we can’t ignore the people who do the sport fencing and other martial arts. People don’t tend to change when they get used to one thing.

 

Besides your love for swordsmanship, what else does Huang Chun-Yi like to do in her spare time?

I like music, culture and historical study. I also like to travel and visit historical sites with my partner. Hiking is also one of my favorite things – especially with my family, and friends.


Where does Huang Chun-Yi think she’ll be in 10 years? Are there any big goals in mind? If so, what might that be?

That is a good question, but it is hard to say what and where I will be after 10 years. Maybe I won’t be doing fencing and get married – Or even move to another country! I am sure that I will travel to more countries and keep learning things though.

Bonus Question:

If you could learn from any martial art teacher of the past or present (NOT Barbasetti), who would it be and why?

Giuseppe Radaelli. He is the one who largely introduced the elbow moulinet, the use of the thumb grip on the sabre, and using of light sabre (compared to other sabres in the same period). He taught in the military and cavalry and was a good teacher. I would like to discuss his book, the differences from mounted sabre to his light sabre with him.

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