El Maestro de Esgrima (The Fencing Master), and a sense of Honor vs. Empathy, as part of Adulting Education?

     So, yes, old habits can be applied to modern purposes, thoughtful Readers!  Every tool is useful for the task, as every adult must learn!  With both honor, and empathy!  And an absolutely gorgeous ending!!



I finished what I found to be a very thought-provoking read MaestroEsgrima, El Maestro de Esgrima, in my on-going, perhaps cooling now, love affair with the books of author Arturo Pérez-Reverte.  I think I most loved two points in the book: about living and dying, and about childhood games. I was impressed that he actually works a kids game into a major fight scene of the book!  His insistence on living his life by a set of rules that were nearly out of fashion already, even then, carries this book through some boring parts.  All of the boring parts are needed for the plot to make sense in the end, but the theme is the best part: why is it important for one to live by a code that makes one’s life more difficult?  Why take responsibility for upholding the truth, and for living by that truth, in a world where no one else will do so?  Or, in the words of part 6 of an earlier post:

     “6. accepting responsibility to think independently, taking responsibility for one’s actions and for preventing exploitation.”  

Here, honor, and defending the honor of others, involves taking responsibility for the mutual safety of all, even at the cost of self-sacrifice. But does that also mean that individuals have the responsibility to take care of themselves, and how?  And, more importantly, is that sense of honor similar to, related to, or the same as having empathy (both personal/individual empathy, and social empathy)??

  Then, there is the other question: about defending oneself legally, and financial self-defense.  Knowing one’s rights, such as the right not to be sued for an expired debt, also requires taking the responsibility to understand how to defend that right, and why such defense is needed, according to the local laws of the state or District in which one lives.  To me, such knowledge and application, for oneself and for or on behalf of others, is also part of upholding a sense of honor.

My notes from the book while reading, especially his points on living, and on dying:

“Me encanta ésa idea de cómo vivir, I tal vez mejor dicho, cómo morir:
“No de arrepentía de haber vivido: había amado y había matado…”

Wow. Fin Excelente.
An excellent ending.

Pero, si había mucha política que me aburrí.
But there was a lot of political stuff that was boring.
Me encantó el sentido del honor al lado del supuesto ingenuosidad.
I loved the sense of honor shown beside the supposed naivety.

Excellent thus far, even if in English. The library sent this copy, which I didn’t realize until I got it and started reading while awaiting the real copy, in Spanish, except that for some reason the system will not send any of his books in Spanish out for holds. Apparently we have to go get them from the central library? This makes no sense to me, but on the bus I shall go, when I have time…  😦   

Arranca un poco lento, con ‘bakshish’ para funccionarios y aristoratas mujeriegos, pero me gusta el maestro, con si dignidad y sus maneras.
Starts a bit slow, with bribes to officials and womanizing aristocrats, but I like the instructor’s dignity and way of being. 

…amaba la esgrima con la misma pasión…le resultaba…útil a la hora de solventar lances de honor.”. 😆😆.
Me encanta este narrador!
“…he loved fencing with the same passion… which was… helpful at the time of dealing with matters of Honor.”
I love this narrator!”

Me encanta la descripción del maestro. Pero estos tiempos no son agitados?


I love the description of the fencing master. But these times aren’t fast moving?”

October 2, 2020 –



3.0%”Por los cuernos de Lucifer?? Y creí que “por los clavos de Cristo” fue… ! Wow!!”

October 3, 2020 –



4.0%”Excelente! Justo cuando me empezé a aburrirme con el Marqués, me hace preguntar por tres páginas interesantes, cuál sería este Grial del maestro? Cool!!”

October 10, 2020 –



7.0% “80 frailes matados en 1834:…

Excelente final del capítulo!  /  Nice chapter ending!
Fin de primer capítulo.
No sabía cuán temprano habían empezado las luchas sobre la democracia.
I never knew how early those arguments about democracy began.
…una monarquía constitucional como Díos manda.”
October 14, 2020 –



17.0% “Por fin, la está tomando en serio!
/  He’s finally taking her seriously!”

October 17, 2020 –



21.0% “Me encanta ésa idea de cómo vivir, I tal vez mejor dicho, cómo morir:
“No de arrepentía de haber vivido: había amado y había matado…”
Cómo Alonso 

Alonso, por Omar R. La Rosa
Alonso, por Omar R. La Rosa

 en El Ministerio del Tiempo:

“No tengo quejas: he amado… he luchado por mi patria…”
I love this idea:
No regrets, after having loved, and fought with honor…”

October 17, 2020 –



28.0% “Ojalá que hubiera podido yo vivir en ese época (con derecho de llevar espada propia):
“Daría cualquier cosa por enviarle …mis padrinos al hombre…””

October 17, 2020 –



34.0%”author put in arguments at noon for comic thought diversion…”

October 17, 2020 –



36.0%”Tiene un sentido de Honor…”

October 17, 2020 –



38.0%”Me encanta: “Una buena muerte justifica cualquier cosa.”

October 17, 2020 –



40.0% “…tener una Troya ardiendo a sus espaldas”  /  “…to have a Troy burning behind you”
Hermosa! / Beautiful!

Cómo Alonso en El Ministerio del Tiempo :

“No tengo quejas: he amado… he luchado por mi patria…”

I love this idea:
No regrets, after having loved, and fought with honor…


So, it turns out that a modern sense of honor may have more to do with fighting via our modern civil and legal processes, for the honor of our Republic. What do you think?

More on my continuing striving with Castillian next week, friends:

   Nos vemos!  

Actions in support of literacy and hope that you can take right now:

1.) Share two different sources to translate the word “honor” into Spanish. 🙂

2.)   Share your thoughts on how you like each of the sources you found, 

3.) Write a blog post or tweet that uses a Spanish word, tells a good story, and makes a difference. I’m working on that through my historical fantasy #WiP, #WhoByFireIWill. Once published, donate one or more copies to your local public library, as I intend to do.

Dear Readers, any additional ideas toward learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning as part of on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport


11 thoughts on “El Maestro de Esgrima (The Fencing Master), and a sense of Honor vs. Empathy, as part of Adulting Education?

    1. It is? Hmm, I do agree that actions (vs. beliefs/dogma/faith) are certainly emphasized over ‘thoughts & prayers’ in Judaism, but even the ancient church fathers had an idea of restitution as part of repentance: that idea, along with St. Augustine’s “Just Price” arguments seem to have been forgotten by modern Christians, but the ideas were there in the ancient world (of course, Judaism did have far more influence over Christianity as you go farther back…).
      Hmm, I think you’re right, Dolly! 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      1. It is one of the tenets of Judaism, and that is where the early Christians got it from. Jews do not need an intermediary; each one of us has a direct line to the A-mighty, so to speak, and is personally responsible directly to Him. That’s what a prayer is – a direct communication.
        An example of personal responsibility for oneself, as well as for others: it is a mitzvah to enable another Jew to do a mitzvah, yet it is his/her responsibility and choice to undertake the action.
        Much love,

        Liked by 2 people

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