The sword holds a mythical place in human history, and rightfully so. Sure, they are just a sharpened piece of pointy metal, but they have helped shape empires for thousands of years. The first proto-sword dates back to 1600 B.C.E. and had been continually used in warfare until as recently as WWII by the Japanese.

In the middle ages the sword becomes a symbol righteousness, chivalry, and honor. A weapon directed with strategy and intent, not a weapon wielded by whim. It was the extension of a greater authority working for the greater good, whether it was in the name of country, royalty, or religion.

As the sword became more and more used in non-lethal settings, such as a duel to the first blood among nobility, the sport of fencing started to make its mark. Fencing has been an olympic sport since the first modern Olympics was introduced. Personally, fencing has had a huge impact on my life. I completed nationally and internationally for over half a decade and won several national championships in the sport. I make this a point to demonstrate my knowledge of sword fighting and not to brag… well maybe a little bit to brag.

However, one unforeseen downside of learning the sport is that it has ruined almost every fight scene involving a sword in movies for me. Having performed at a high-level on the sport, every motion, movement, action, and position instantaneously conveys the intention, strategy, skill, and tactics being used.

Obviously, the point of fencing is to hit your opponent before they hit you. And clearly, the purpose of fight scene in movies are for flash, show, and entertainment and not to accurately portray realistic fencing; but to the trained eye, onscreen sword fights mostly appear as grown badass warriors playing paddy-cake with swords.

They’re strategy consists of clashing swords, fancy spin moves, and missed vulnerabilities in their opponents. While being a huge fan, Star Wars is one of the worst perpetrators of this ineffective fencing strategy in movies.

While all of you see this in Jedi Lightsaber battles:

I see an attack aimed above the head of the opponent. That’s a great strategy to hit you opponent, let me just aim where I know it won’t land. Remember kids, swords are dangerous. Keep them a safe distance from your enemy.

A good fencer knows exactly how and when to hit their target, knows and trusts that their strategy will accomplish their goal, and constantly reanalyzes how their strategy is performing.

Much like the flashy showmanship of fencing scene in the movies, there are many marketing campaigns and initiatives out there that focus solely on appearance, how pretty it is, and exists for flair rather than to accomplish specific business goals and objectives with a solid marketing strategy. Those campaigns fail to outline success metrics, and what isn’t measured cannot be managed.

  • Do you know how well your marketing is performing?
  • Do you know the ROI of your marketing?
  • How are you measuring the success of your marketing strategy?
  • Are you aiming your sword to hit your target or just swinging it through the air?