Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Very Late Nutley Post, regarding 4/1

So it's been two weeks since I was in armor, at Nutley Practice on April Fools Day. I had foolishly thought that I would practice at least twice during spring break. Of course, I was wrong!

WORKOUTS
I have been working out regularly, though. I've don'e pushups every day and since March 29 I've logged 75 miles walking, running, and biking (that includes a 12.3 mile bike ride last Sunday). I've also been using my indian clubs to rehab my shoulder.

TECHNIQUE
So I decided that I was going to carry my epiphany from Mudthaw forward. Since I am using a tip heavy sword at the moment, that is what's drawing me into more of a stand-up Western style. That style gets me beat when I fight the upper echelon fighters here in the southern region, so I've tried to move out of it. I'm working on keeping my right hand up more in my a frame, instead of in a lower, boxer-style guard.

But the bigger thing is that I'm trying to be slightly more aggressive. That was what was winning me a lot of my pickup fights at Mudthaw. I may have carried the defensive boxer fight as far as I can.  I won a lot of fights last year by just waiting people out, but I'm trying to push the issue a bit more now. That caused me some big problems with the top fighters (see below), but won me fights agaisnt every body else.

FIGHTING
Honestly, and I'm sorry, but I only have a clear view of two of my fights that night, against Stephan and against Brennan, and those I remember primarily for my mistakes. The unbelted fighters I fought, I don't remember those fights as clearly. I's been two weeks, so cut me some slack.

I jumped in and fought Stephan right away. My usual take away from a fight with Stephan is that if I can hit him once I've had a major accomplishment.  I was aggressive, I pressed the issue, I got my ass kicked. I realized after the third time that I was making a rookie mistake and dropping my shield on rebounds. That is Stephan's meat--he is a counter-punching fighter who triggers off either hand or shield movement, and he was creaming me. After I adjusted for that I had some good fights, in one of which I took his leg. I thought Ah ha! Now I have a chance. I decided that I would close with him like Horic, Stephan's knight, who I ahd been working with a bit on my close game. I struck an off side, which he blocked, and jumped in. Horic will move in close and go either toes-to-knees with a legged fighter, or move off line to his left just a bit, and launch a series of hard fast attacks, several of them with the back edge but to the front of the helmet (a wrist breaker or torque shot). I didn't get that chance. As soon as my toes landed, Stephan pushed off on his un-struck leg, leaned deeply to his left, and hit me with a rib shot I am still feeling thirteen days later. I also noticed that Stephan, in his A Frame, fights with his sword edge up, not forward, so his wrist is cocked back slightly. I'm starting to try this to see what the advantages are. So far it appears to allow for a little more snap on the onside  head shots. I think it's because it gives it a slightly better angle when it lands.

My fights with Brennan were better, in that I actually won a few of them. But in trying to fight in close with him and be aggressive, I was losing my leg a lot. I was also not getting the kind of short, quick shots I needed to in close like that because of the balance on my sword.  

It is 18 days until Crown Tourney. My next time in armor will be tomorrow night at Nutley.

Monday, March 30, 2015

MUDTHAW AND NUTLEY, March 2015

Ever since I moved to the east kingdom, I've had a big Achilles' heel. Well it existed before, but it wasn't as big an issue. I never dealt well with really big shields. Here, I have to deal with shields that cover people from the bottom of their nose to the middle of their shins sometimes. I've come up with two good things to against them, a high wrap and a hook trust: but those really only work well on fighters who are shorter than me or about my height. Here in the East kingdom I occasionally run into Giants using really long kite shields. At Mud Thaw I got four of them in a row. Guess what? I got my ass kicked.

WORKOUTS
My workouts are picked up. It feels really good. This week I have some very intensive yoga classes, some good gym workouts, plus fighting at Nutley. And of course 50 push-ups every day, and an average of about 10,000 steps.

TECHNIQUE
At Nutley, I was into using a very basic training technique. For my first two sets of fights, I limited myself to only one shot. This was to improve my recognition/reaction and my timing. I've never been a  trigger fighter, and I don't have Wulf Sagan or Fabian here to train me, so I decided to just go for this one thing and see how it went.

FIGHTS
My first set of fights was against Arn, he's a really good fighter, as I've mentioned in the past. We thought seven or eight bouts, and all I threw was a straight headshot. Sometimes it was off the shoulder, sometimes it was from a closed high guard, but all I was throwing was basically a simple snap. With this, I managed to kill him three or four times. The last time was great because it included a top edge hook, a classic Bellatrix move. The whole point of the exercise was to work on timing and taking advantage of openings created when he moved or threw a shot. It's a good training exercise.

Next I Fought Avran, who was using sword and shield right-handed. The first bout I only threw the leg shot, and then when I took his leg I threw the straight on-side headshot until I landed it. The rest of our bouts I only through the headshot. He killed me once. For the last fight I went back to the leg shot, and he killed me again.

Then I fought a set against Aquillla, a really tall guy with a heater. Everything was working well, and I even got him with both a hook thrust and a butterfly. (that's an off-side body shot that starts as a rising snap then changes direction, based on Radnor's axiom that the third fake or direction change usually fakes them out).

I tried to get in fights with Stefan, I tried to get in fights with Gregor, I tried to get fights with Jibril, but their dance cards were full. The night was actually very bad for me, and I knew it at the time, because it was really good for my ego. Not a good thing going into a big tournament on Saturday. I needed to get hit a bit.


MUDTHAW
I never wake up until I've been hit a couple of times. That's why I love the pool format. Mudthaw is a traditional double elim tourney, and that was bad for me. I didn't get any warm up at all. Because we took Ivan off to Vigil, I had just finished getting into armor when they were calling the pairings. I was the first fight on my field. I walked out against an older two-sword fighter named Aethelhawk or Aethelred (something) and he came on guard in a fairly wide, square stance. I took my sword to my hip and, at the lay on, I thrust into his neck. Game over. I was still not even awake yet.

My second fight I drew Touri, a tall, strong fighter from VDK with one of those long peaked Lucan style kites. I seem to fight him every Mudthaw. This time we exchanged a couple of blows, then I used almost the same blow I used in the first round, a thrust from my hip, but it came in an arc instead of a straight line. It is essentially the lazy "flaoting punch" shot that Jade uses, and which I've had success with against Brennan. That ended the fight. Again I hadn't broken a sweat.

If you've been following my blog lately, you will have noted that I've been falling back into what I like to describe as my style, the modified high open form that dominated the SCA before lighter swords with low-profile thrusting tips came along. I've been enjoying that fight, and I've won a few times with it. Nonetheless it's been taking me out of my A-Frame defense, which is what I'd been working on last year and which had given me some success. In my third fight I drew Dimitry from Serpentius. He is a huge fighter with a huge peaked kite and a super-long sword with a thrusting tip. I could feel in that fight that my mind was totally gone. I was indecisive. I was trying too hard to stay alive. I was lazy and he almost took my arm as a result.  I was mostly using the A-Frame, but I wasn't committed to it. In the A Fram I adopt a slight crouch, where as normally I stand up tall. I don't like crouching against a taller fighter because I'm giving up more height to him. He fights shield leg forward, like Lucan or Darius, so I tried a couple of times to get his leg (which had gotten me killed against Cullyn last Crown). I tried a stutter wrap, but it landed wrong. I was mostly just trying to stay alive. My indecisiveness may have cost me that bout. I think there were at least two times when I could have struck him, but I was too tentative. In the end he threw a truly beautiful shot--a high wavy fake with a nice deep on-side body wrap that hit me right on my kidney belt and I fell over. No loss to cry over, as he went very deep in the tournament and killed a couple more chiv. But I felt very frustrated.

Next I fought Bric James. He is another big fighter with a big VDK kite, but he's not quite as tall as the first two. In the video of this fight you can see that I am still indecisive. I threw a helicopter fake head shot that got into his face but without enough power. I tried it again, which is odd because that's two molinee shots in a row, which I have tried to move away from. The second time he was ready for it. Finally, I manged to kill him with a stutter wrap. That was a fight I felt in control of.



(for some reason, videos imbedded into my blog never frame properly, but if you click the link at the top of the fram it will take you to YouTube and you can get a much better view).

Then I fought a fighter named Wee Collin. You can imagine how he is built. It was more or less the same thing, except he was using a huge center-grip kite. In that bout, once again, I am clearly indecisive. I felt I was fighting better, controlling range and tempo, but I was wrong. As you can see in the video, I was not committing to a stance. In the video you can see that I go from the high guard to the a frame and back, but when I go back into the High I DON'T PUT MY SHIELD BACK INTO THE HIGH-GUARD POSITION. I didn't realize that till the third time I watched the video. I thought I'd thrown that last blow from the a-frame, but I didn't. My left side was fighting A Frame but my right side was in a high open form. When I threw that snap (a pretty weak one, actually) I also blocked for an anticipated snap from him, but Collin had a good counter to it--more or less the same one Cullyn used against me at Crown in Canada. Taking advantage of the fact that I set up with my shield covering the left side of my head, he brought his sword straight down the slot and nailed me. This was TERRIBLE technique on my part. If I'd thrown a flatter snap and stayed in the high guard he'd have no blow. I'f I'd thrown the shot from the A frame I'd have likely been covered with my basket hilt. AWFUL!! Go to tape:




My poor performance can be attributed to a lot of things--me still getting used to the A Frame defense, the winter lay-off, meeting a type of guy that always gives me trouble, but mostly it was a head thing. I was trying too much to stay alive. I was indecisive. I was switching defenses. I was throwing pretty weak blows. Afterward, when I went and fought pick ups, I was fighting much better because I wasn't trying to stay alive. I killed somebody with that back-edge torque shot for the first time in my life. I fought Master Carl (long peaked kite but shorter than me) and I killed him with timing shots, a hook thrust, a butterfly, and a stutter wrap--pretty much my whole arsenal.  Really, I had a great time, it was as always a huge, fun list. I did not fight up to my usual standards, and there is no way I will contend in Crown if I fight like this in a month, but I had a bit of an epiphany regarding my fighting. I felt I'd found a good combination of offense and defense, and an aggression I was certainly lacking earlier in the day. I need to work it out at practice this week.

All told, I did not live up to my personal standards.

As a sage once said, half of this game is 50% mental.

And buy duct tape!

It is 34 days until Crown Tourney. My next time in armor will be this Wednesday at Nutley.




Thursday, March 12, 2015

Nutley Practice 3/11/15

CLICK THE LINK TO THE RIGHT, BUY DUCT TAPE!

It's good to get out and to hit and be hit. It's what we do. In the SCA we literally earn our stripes. Last night I earned three good ones on my thighs, one across my forearm, and--the worst/best one--a deep stripe across my left calf that, through my Demi-cuise, gave me a wicked Charlie horse, one that will make walking up that hill to CCNY more annoying than ever.

WORKOUTS
Have been the same. Push ups and walking. This was my third time in armor over the last three weeks and, already, I can feel my wind improving and my sword and shield endurance returning. What is needed is to start lifting the kettle bell and swinging the Indian clubs regularly, since pell work in a New York apartment is difficult. 

TECHNIQUE
I came into practice with a plan: to work on watching the fight--improve my vision. This is something Wulf Sagan Von Ostense talks about, how you have to see a fight clearly before you react to it. The point of it is to observe the openings created when an attach is made, so you can exploit them. The problem with this is that you get hit a lot. That plan went out the window right away. I did, however, concentrate on edge work, and used my thrusts sparingly. 

FIGHTING
I only fought four opponents: Arn, Breeder, Vasilly, and Sir Jan Janovitch. 

Arn is a fast rising unbelted fighter with great speed, and he has developed a strong offense. He is currently using a center grip pavise that is about 12" x 27" (that's a guess). He moves it really well and fills in the gaps created when he moves it with sword blocks, as you do. Because I was working on edge work I made this fight harder than it needed to be. As is usual with long thin shields, it opens a lot of windows for thrusts, especially when he uses a really deep leg block. I only threw four thrusts, but three of them killed him.

Next I fought Breeder, whom I must stop obsessing over. He is one of the five or six guys that, while I can occasionally beat them, I am unable to crack in a tourney where it really counts. The only time I've beaten Breeder is in Birka. However, I started out intending not to try to beat him. I set up and rotated through all of my standard leftie set-ups to see what he would do. I wanted to see his opening technique--his first-fastest shot. I began in the A Frame for two fights, and he killed me with two-shot combinations right away. I was surprised at that, because I was set up in a strong defensive position. He uses a rainbow offside for his second shot, (I need to figure out if it is a back-edge hit, probably, in which case I think it would be the blow Duke Anton from Atlantia used to throw), and that dropped well over the top of my shield, and it was lightning fast. I had similar results setting up in a classic Bellatrix (though I made a mistake with that--the same one I was making against Zack on Sunday), a high guard a-la Phillip Harlech of Exeter, Gui's cross guard style--wherein my shield is pushed all the way over to the left and my off-side head is guarded by a sword placed way over to the right, my boxer stance, and a classic "ox" guard, with the sword held high at a downward angle and the tip threatening his face. I've had the best success against Breeder with the boxer and the ox (at least since I switched to this heater shield: my best success against him in total was using Gui's ward with a center-grip kite shield). This is my old bad habit of not fighting my own style and trying to copy others, but in this case it was more for information sake than trying to win fights. Some of our fights went longer, some were fast. In all of them I was trying to see what he would do. Where he used the same one-two combo he had dusted me with when I was in the A-frame, but he wasn't married to it. The thing he seemed to keep coming back to was a very good on-side head followed by a thrust, relying on the fact that his opponents are usually staying out on him. I closed once and had some success. I did take his leg by stepping wide to throw a short wrap, but he killed me. The only time I killed him was on my knees. He was over blocking a lot, and I hit him with an off-side head has he stepped in for a deep wrap, which I managed to block as I threw my blow. My boxer was not very effective at all the one or two bouts I used it in. He said that, like Rangaldr (who is the main source for that technique) I was squatting to much, and it was causing me to square up. A couple of times, I stepped wide to go for short wraps and he nailed my left leg. It just doesn't work very well with him. I end up to square and he nails me.

Vasilly fights like a bull. He's stocky and incredibly strong, and he uses a short heavy sword. He wants to rush in and cream you, and he hits very hard. I got him with a couple of shots as he was coming in, once a stutter wrap. Backing out, I was able to get him to expose his legs a lot. His defense is tight when he's on his knees, so I ended up getting frustrated with edge work and just using a thrust to either kill him or set him up. Big problem with these fights was he hit me low four times, including once in the calf that, through my demi-cuise, gave me a charlie horse that is killing me right now.

The last person I fought was Jan Janovitc. At some point in my fight with Vasilly, my nice mandrake thrusting tip tore off the end of my sword, so I was forced to fight without one. Jan fights a very western-influenced style, so I kind of fell into old patterns, and I did very well. My sword was too short for a lot of my techniques and I ended up just missing or hitting just with the tip on blows that in the old days would have worked. As always, I was bailing out of my off-side leg shot and pulling it, and I landed a beautiful slot-body shot that he did not feel much of at all: but I was having a lot of fun fighting my own style, high semi-open form with a light sword and only edge work. Jan doesn't have the one shot that really destroys me in that style, because he starts with his sword too far back to throw it (it has to start from in front and preferably from an A frame--which, since so many people around here do use an A-frame, I've had to abandon the way I grew up fighting). I enjoyed fighting a style that I could vary open/closed, long/short, high/low, throw complex combinations, big fakes, and vary my timing with. It was fun with both of us fighting so that most of our blows followed Radnor's axiom of starting from behind the head and decide what to target as your hand gets in front of your head. Probably my best fight of this pass was our last, when I managed to come in close, tie him up, step out and take his leg along the way and, then, after lots of different attempts to break him down (and lots of catching myself thinking about a thrust, stepping out, and having to remember what I used to do without a thrusting tip), kill him the way I killed Radnor in practice back in 94 or so (the time I realized that I could actually beat him with intention and not just luck), by throwing a flurry of blows that finished with a top-edge hook and an on-side head shot.

As an added bonus, here is video shot by Tina Degenhart, not from Nutley but from Sunday in Iron Bog. No sound. My fights with Sir Mord start at 6:07. My fights with Zack start at about 9:06. You can see clearly where he hits me in the cup. I think in that last fight, where I was just trying to be super aggressive, he kills me three times before I can say "good." In these videos I look slow, my targeting is way off, and I wonder why I keep doing this stuff.



It is 51 days until Crown Tourney. My next time in armor will be most likely be at Wantagh practice a week from today. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Iron bog fighter practice March 8, 2015

Okay, so two hours each way is a long time to drive just to fight four people. But I had a great time and Iron Bog today, and I got a lot done.  There was a great deal of teaching involved for me today. I taught a couple of guys how to properly throw a snap wrap, I gave a 20 minute lesson on footwork that really primed my own for the rest of the day, and we did a lot of work with Zack on how to throw a J-hook and a tight wrap. Plus, it was just a really nice day!

WORKOUTS
workouts amounted to the same thing for the last two weeks that they have amounted to for most of the last three months. There were a couple of yoga classes, an average of 11,000 steps today walking, and 50 push-ups every day. I do need to start doing more intense workouts.

TECHNIQUE
Doing a 20 minute footwork drill with one of the unbelted fighters prompted me to start thinking about footwork and some combined techniques and that I haven't used in a while. One of these was an off-line passing step to the right. This is accompanied by a brief shield press. The purpose of the press is not just to freeze the shield but also to provide resistance to the other fighter so that he keeps his momentum moving forward. This is a really strong technique.I decided to work on all of my passing shots and my off-line attacks and retreats this practice. It was pretty effective.

I conceive of footwork as an eight pointed star, not where the center of the star is at the center of mass of the fighter, but where the center of the star is under the toe of the fighters lead foot. Every point of the star is a place to step two and a different technique. Are you also use The Oldcastle technique of advancing using increasing steps, and then passing so that you intersect your opponents are going to tack on a tangent. And Bellatrix is circle in the box.look it up. The star conception allows me to move in every direction that I need to move with the set distance for each of my steps. I can pass or shuffle back-and-forth in a straight line right and left on a horizontal line I can increase and decrease on a diagonal line and I can pass forward or back on to the other points of the star. The goal as with all footwork, is threefold: first defense by waiting shots or moving to where you were shield or sword will intercept them; the second opening up angles of attack by moving off line; the third is, as Fiore do Liberia puts it, to gain the place so that you are squared to your opponent and can piss down his leg. Once you're there you have won the fight. I managed to gain the place several times today.

FIGHTING
I only fought four opponents, Gunar, Mord, Zack, and Stirling. Although I lost at least one fight to each of them, I pretty much dominated, controlled all of the fights, and was doing really good work. The toughest of my opponents was easily Zack but I had some advantages that I used.

Gunar normally uses a long center grip tight, but he had switched for his fight with me to a 32 inch heater shield. This is not too short for his body, as he's several inches shorter than myself. However, I was able to use misdirection to hit him. I used to the shield press and passing technique that I described above against him and it worked perfectly, I also usedLucky's passing step, where you throw a snap to the head and, assuming it is blocked, pass with your right foot off-line to the left so you're actually turning your shoulder towards your opponent but your sword is cocked up by your head to defend yourself then you stop around squaring up and throwing an offside headshot it works great against lefties good against righties. I took his leg with Martin the Temprate's Hidden leg shot, and with an upsilon, and with the double strike. I also got him with both Radnor's and Gendy's butterfly techniques.

Sir Mord was fighting really aggressively, but he was too focused on my leg. He did knowledged that and said it was what he was trying to do, but it made hitting him in the head too easy. I did use the slide to the left foot work technique to get over the top of his kite shield once. That was very useful.

Zack thinks I totally had his number, but that's just not true. He hits so hard and is so fast and has such interesting awkward moves, that it's really a chore to fight him. My biggest problem was that I am focusing too much I'm getting ready to fight John the breeder the next time I see him, and Zack and John are two very different fighters. They may both be strong fast lefties, but they fight totally different styles. I did concentrate on using my boxer/A-frame style, but I also went away from it. My worst problem was getting power into my offside head shots after he had taken my leg I think I landed at least three of those and they were clearly not good. His problem was that he was throwing long deep wrap shots, that were very easy to pick up just from his shoulder movements. I also made a total rookie mistake in our last fight I decided to jump in and press him really hard to begin with, then I backed out and was fighting a sore back kind of Western/Belatrix style. Problem was, my feet were in the wrong position to do that against a left-handed fighter and my shield was way off to my left side he took good advantage of this. 

Then I thought Sterling, who has a very frustrating habit of leaning out of the way when I throw my hook thrust shot. We only fought three fights. I killed him with that outside thrust that comes from the hip over the top of his shield -- the very sneaky one that Duke Jade is so good at. He killed me by taking my leg and then hitting me in the head, and then we had a nice long fighting which we both lost our legs and eventually I killed him with an off side head shot. That was my best kill of the day, because I used to really advanced Radnor of Guildemar technique to get it. I changed my interior timing, by changing the pattern of my breathing by holding my breath for a split second and then firing on the exhalation. I hit him in a transition window, just the way it's supposed to work. 

Hopefully there will be some video up soon.

There are 55 days until crown tournament. My next time in armor will hopefully be at Nutley this Wednesday.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ironbog, February 22

This lay off was too long. It really affected me. The lay off has been for a number of reasons: concussion, shoulder injury, mostly there was a malaise about the SCA. I was just bummed out over the reaction to crown. The result was, I managed to get in armor three times since crown before today. Basically once a month. I've been pretty active, but it hasn't helped. My shield arm tired out right away. I was more winded than I ever remember being. I'm on the fourth day of a vegan liquid diet (first week of lent) which I think also had a lot to do with it. Regardless, endurance has been my strongest trait, I need to get it back. 

WORKOUTS
I'm averaging about 10,000 steps and doing 50 push ups daily, plus yoga a couple times a week. Also shoulder rehab with the Indian clubs. I did a killer WOD two weeks ago: 5x3 of power cleans, front squat, and squat cleans. But I hurt my shoulder. Then I got sick for two weeks and didn't get back to the gym. 

I need to start a workout program. 

TECHNIQUE
None. This was just about helmet time. 3/4 of the time I was fighting an a frame, but that's all. 

FIGHTING
I fought like ass. I fought Ron three different sets. I also fought Harold and three other unbelted fighters. 

Against Ron, especially our first set, I hit him three or four times with no power. That was a lack of practice plus a light sword. My second set of fights I did better. I killed him with a stutter wrap and--no kidding--a wavy rising snap. I faked him out so good his shield was around his knees and his head was wide open. Our third set he just calmly and surgically kicked my ass. Like completely embarrassed. 

My other fights were good. They were all hard hitting energetic unbelted fighters who would make you pay if you made a mistake. Two of them I was able to surgically dissect myself. All of them hit me hard at least once. Three things stand out. 

First, was my endurance. It was terrible. I was gasping for air after the first couple bouts of every set. This was also my shield arm, which is weak, and my power, which is low. 

Secondly, I was not in the early fights mentally. I did not have any focus, and my mind was wandering. 

Worst part, I was getting in my own way. I caught my forearm on my shield edge. I totally missed a couple of shots off of fakes. 
It's a lot of rust to be knocked off. 

It is 63 days until crown. My next time in armor will be Thursday at Wantagh. 


Monday, January 12, 2015

Acheron 1/11/14

Ow. 

That's really all you can say when Gui basket hilts you in the face. Actually, it was more like "Ow! F*ck!" And probably a bit more. I'm hazy About The details. Since he hit me in the forehead, and I felt it on the back of my head, and since I was definitely woozy standing up, I took off my armor and quit for the day. I've had what my doctor described as a "mild concussion" and the symptoms were a lot worse than this. But there's no reason to wait for a second hit to make it that bad. So I'm done early.

Which is ok, just as its ok that Gui punched me with is basket hilt. It was unintentional, and accidents happen. One of the most important lessons to be learned in fighting is that you are going to get hurt, and if you can't handle that you should take up another activity. 

The real great fighters, they enjoy the pain. 

WORKOUTS
It's been a long time since I posted. All I can say about workouts is that through running, walking, push-ups every day, and a couple of intense yoga classes, I actually lost two pounds over Xmas. 

TECHNIQUE
I actually have fought twice since 100 Minutes Wad, both times at Acheron. First time I was just trying to play around and get helmet time. It included some great two handed sword fights with Jibril. 

Today I only fought three people: Gui, Samale, and Zack. The only thing I was working on was Lettie technique. Against Zack, I had good success with three techniques: Gui's short punching technique (what he was doing when he basket-hilted  me), the slide steps to the right to take the leg, and a very active boxer style. 

The first technique is just what it sounds like. A punch to the forehead. Ideally it lands  with the first third of the sword. If they're farther away it lands farther out. The trick is simply to be aggressive and throw it multiple times while moving forward. It is one of the more bogus shots, as there is little chance of it being effective in an armored fight, but I'm not convinced a single blow could ever bring someone down in a real sword fight in mail. 

The slide or shuffle step is not unlike Lucky's leg shots where he hid behind his shield and crouched over. You bend down behind the shield, throw the leg, shuffle forward and to the right repeated throwing the shot. Sometimes you very it by throwing a leg wrap, but I rarely do  that. 

The boxer style just had me using a lot of lateral movement to open up angles and a boxer/a frame defense. This is exactly what I was trained not to do against lefties. But it worked against Zack. I think I it was prompting hi to over commit. 

My fights were great over all. Samale is fighting better but was falling for the rising snap. I managed to kill Gui from my knees with a face thrust. Zack has found that aggression that makes Gui so good, and he was tough. 

But I have  a concussion, and that sucks.

I will not be attending Birka this year and they have not announced a date for crown. i will not be fighting for at least ten days. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

100 Minutes War

I'm not going to write about politics. I'm not going to write about cheating, or calibration, or conduct on the field. If you have been paying attention, there is a crisis going on in the Kingdom of the East stemming from finals in crown. I am in the minority in my opinion of almost every aspect of this debate. I will address that in a later post, but only in the most general terms. Frankly, I'm tired of it.

I will instead talk about 100 Minutes War.

WORKOUTS
Workouts are hard to come by this time of year. I have lots of time but I'm exhausted. I've done push ups every day. I've done some good gym workouts, and I'm making at least one yoga class a week, but I am specifically not being organized in any way. It's the off season.

TECHNIQUE
I had not intended to work on any technique, but I ended up doing a lot. I did not even pack my shield (Had I realized that Duke Edmund from the Midrealm would be there I would have). It was spear, pole arm, and bastard sword for me. Mostly it was spear. Now, for the longest time, I didn't fight spear. I was a sword and shield guy in wars and that was what I liked. I could use a spear but I wasn't particularly good with one. I started fighting spear in bridge battles a few  years ago out of respect for my knees and a desire  not to get hit six times in rapid succession. I was having some neck problems at the time, and found that the occasional multiple shot, which happens in a fixed position battle fairly often, was causing me problems. Then I found that I liked spear. I have fun in the spear duels, and I've been getting good at it over the past two years. But this weekend I had a minor breakthrough with my spear technique. I fight with my left foot forward most time, feet not in line but close to it, almost in a slight lunge. Occasionally, for reach, I place my right foot forward. When I use a right hand lead I basically fight in a fencing stance and use the spear like a very long foil. I keep my forward toe pointed at my primary target. The problem with all of this is, this is not the way I fence rapier. I take a wide, slightly square stance with rapier. I move side to side as much as I do forward and back. This is what I started doing at 100 minutes--not a deep super wide stance, but fighting a bit more square-- and it worked really really well. My kills went up, my defense has always been good but my situational awareness was better. I had a lot of fun.

FIGHTING
100 Minutes war is always awesome, and this was no exception. Its' a 100 minute resurrection battle with about 130 on a side, not unlike the old all-day res wars we used to fight for Mists/Cynagua war, or the Acre crusade event. No flags or anything like that, just kill as many guys as you can all day long.

I was on Ionnis' side, and we fought most of the day uphill in a narrow wooded battle field. We were fighting between two roads that ran parallel through the woods. There was not much space between them (50 yards at most). There was a gully that ran through the center, also paralleling the roads, that was deeper at the bottom of the hill and about six to ten feet wide. Most of the fighting took plase on the roads. We were fighting up hill, and after awhile it evolved into a staring contest. We didn't want to charge up the hill, they wouldn't be baited down. After about an hour they rotated us and moved us uphill, so we were fighting across the gully, with the roads as our rear boundaries. This gave us a wider front and nobody had a terrain advantage anymore. In other words, they changed it up so we would have more fun. That is good autocrating.

I was doing my best work on the road before we rotated. The ground was smooth so I had good foot work. Between the roads it was all rocks and snags. I was also using the slope defensively by staying on my toes and, when dodging, just lifting them so I was doing a little hop. This would carry me backward down the hill about six inches. It made me seem much more agile and quick than I probably was being, and it helped my defense a lot. With the wider stance, I was getting a lot more kills to the side, following the rule don't try to kill the guy in front of you. I was having an awesome day. When we rotated the terrain proved my downfall. I got piked in the leg early on while fighting at the top of one side of the gully, and spent the next ten or twelve minutes on my knees and out of range of everything. I don't kill myself when in a res battle--it's a point of pride to me that I don't give up in that situation, but I considered it at that point. Eventually I crawled to my left to where the walls were less steep and there was more fighting going on, and then kind of slid down into the bottom of the gully and fought there from my knees until I was finally speared. I don't think I killed anyone, but the guys I was dueling got killed by people around me, so I was helping out.

The one hard hit I took was form King Edward when he launched a breakthrough. I stood him up with a cross check from my spear as he laid me out,  with a blow to my elbow then one to my shoulder/back, but he got killed while he was doing it.

At the end of the battle I switched downhill to where Ostgardr had migrated to. We had pushed that side back, so were were fighting in almost the same spot where we had started the day. We were back on that road but down hill a bit, so we weren't on the slope. I speared for awhile there until Balfar went up the line and killed a bunch of us from my right. Then, as there was five minutes left, I ran back to the res point, got my bastard sword, and waded in for some rock-em-sock-em. I killed three or four guys in the final press. I did accidentally hit Nico, who was on our side, from behind. He had pushed past me on my left and I was swinging at every helmt that was in front of me. Oops: but he didn't notice and, anyway, I didn't have engagement with him so it didn't count. It was kind of like that moment in Baldwin of Eriabor's "Talking Grand Mellee Blues,"

I soon saw that wouldn't work
That's when I started to berserk
Eleven or twelve of the enemy died
Plus two or three from my own side
Oh well: easy come, easy go.

It is 59 says until Birka (though there is a good chance I won't be going this year). My next time in armor will be after Thanksgiving, probably at Hawthorne.