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Michael P.

My name is Michael Provenzano and I came to this group in 2014 after hearing about it from my brothers. My original desires and goals for my experience in the Western Circle have changed greatly since then, but even back then I had a very strong desire to learn the art of sword fighting. In the days since then my desire has only grown, and I can honestly say my time in the circle as a student and as a fighter has been the most personally fulfilling experience I've ever had. Not just with the people I've met and the bonds I've made, but with the personal time of self realization and growth.

When I'm in the circle, fighting, I feel alive. I don't really worry about victory or defeat or if my wins are more than my losses. I fight with the intent of winning to be sure, but the struggle of fighting is what I love the most. My favorite time is when I face an opponent I don't have a high chance of beating. I would rather lose to many strong opponents then receive easy victories. Nothing is better than a challenging fight. I feel very fortunate to have so many strong fellow students at the Redding Dojo to fight who are challenging along with my Kaiden.

I love the personal discipline and strength it takes to move forward in the Western Circle. For a person like me who has always felt chaotic inside it's an excellent means of balancing my inner feelings. I'm not sure if I would say I am confrontational, but I have never been one to feel afraid of the idea of fighting. I've always felt a certain intensity inside that I once mistook for rage, but the more I train the more clear to me that feeling becomes and the more control I have over myself. It's more like an intense excitement and I feel I have much more control of it the more I practice. The practice of sword fighting feeds me physically, mentally, and to a degree spiritually. The times I have to go without fighting or training I can feel a certain hunger in my soul for it. Nights when I've been injured I could do nothing but pace restlessly around thinking about the time I miss.

I enjoy watching people fight and trying to find patterns and habits. I find I learn so much more about a person when I fight them. Most people wear a mask in their day to day lives without even noticing it. But in the intimacy of sparring you can see so much about a person you can't by just talking with them. I enjoy that about the Western Circle greatly. It has helped me form a closer bond with my brothers as well as with other members of the group.

To those I have faced, I can only give my gratitude for joining me in the struggle of combat. Know that you give me something that words cannot describe when I cross my weapon with yours, and I hope I have provided you with something as well. To those I have yet to face, I hope I will get the opportunity while I am still drawing breath.

"Only a warrior chooses pacifism; others are condemned to it."

"Invincibility lies in the defense; the possibility of victory in the attack."

"We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training"