Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Nutley Practice 12/14/16, and a word about a squire

Prince Kido

My squire Kido was one of the best fighters I've ever had the privilege to know or cross swords with. He came into the SCA an accomplished martial artist, a judoka who also practiced a Chinese spear technique, which made him instantly one of the best polearm fighters in the kingdom. The thing that stood out about him was that he was good--amazingly good--at anything he decided he wanted to be good at. You should have seen him dance. He surfed, which was amazing for a guy his size. He didn't really understand the SCA or the middle ages. He was always amazed by things that most of us take for granted. He was also arrogant, and left a trail of anger and destruction in his wake. He told stories about himself that seemed to be total bullshit, but at least in the fighting arena and the singing arena he could back them up. He had a habit of winning martial arts tournaments and then breaking the trophies he'd won because they were meaningless to him (though he didn't do this in the SCA). All that mattered was beating his opponents. He was a true samurai: the only things he respected were beauty and the sword. Combined with the arrogance of a samurai was the arrogance of a Sicilian. He lived large (we was large) and loved fiercely and apologized to no one. He embarrassed a lot of knights by being instantly as good as many of them, quickly better than most of them, and never apologizing for the effrontery of kicking their asses.

He was also a classically trained operatic tenor.

One of my favorite memories of Kido was not an SCA memory. It was at Northern Ren Faire. We were part of the combat show. Our bit was two shows a day fighting with SCA weapons but, essentially, BOTN rules. Grappling and throws were ok, you lost when you went to ground. Often we'd fall down after three or five stiff head shots, but otherwise it was like steel fighting with rattan weapons. We started our first little melee and somebody tried to grapple with Kido and he shoved him aside. Then he turned to me and said "wait a minute! I can throw people, can't I?" I said yes, and from that moment on he became a whirlwind. He was like a man among boys, wading through the scrum and tossing people aside, using his spear as a lever and sweeping their legs. He won every fight that day. It wasn't even close. And he grinned that huge kami grin of his the whole time.

Kido was also among the kindest and funniest men that I knew. He had no fear about anything. He would laugh hard and always made me laugh with him. He had an odd mix of fat jolly Sicilian and fat jolly Japanese. If there was a literary character whom Kido resembled, a lot of people would say it was Falstaff, but it wasn't (Anghoise was Fallstaff--it's a long story).  Kido was Porthos. He was not the brightest bulb, but was fiercely loyal. He was not as tall as Porthos, but he was incredibly strong ("Porthos, please kill this fellow with a single blow.") He was funny and charming and just good. He was also a peacock. That's Porthos.

Kido died yesterday. His health had been failing him for a long time and he had both diabetes and congestive heart failure. As one of our friends put it that big heart of his was bad. I am sad, of course for the loss of a cherished member of my family, and for one of my best friends: but, as a knight, I'm full of regret. Kido was my biggest failure. He came in fighting with a polearm, and he was great. I taught him sword and shield, and he was great with that too. I should have been able to get him knighted. He had the skill--hell, he had more than enough skill. He won Mists coronet three times (reigned twice--long story). In the mid-nineties, he was better than probably two thirds of the knights in the West.  If I'd ever been able to teach him that humility virtue, and get him to keep his mouth shut for six months. he'd have been knighted long long ago. But I couldn't. If I'd stayed in kingdom I'm sure he would have stayed the path, because at that moment in time he was just, right, almost, right there: but I didn't and he didn't. I will bear that failure forever now.

I'd give almost anything right now to be able to cross swords with him again, or point at somebody and say "Kido, kill that guy," or to watch him do an aerial somersault over a legged opponent and hit him with a back hand (an amazing feat for a guy that big), or to see him do his Buddha imitation, or (damn!) to hear him sing Pagliaci. But I won't see any of those things ever again. And I'll never pass on my belt to him either. He once pointed to me and said "that belt is a legacy. I expect to wear it some day." He never did, and god-dammit he should have.

NUTLEY on 12/14
I hadn't fought since Crown because of injury and the play. Plus my new glasses had been giving me headaches, which is not something you want before you fight. I was going to wait till after I got back from California to get back into armor, but Tim had brought some people out from AEthelmarc, and I had to go out and play.

I had been wanting to work on my vertical technique, my distance game, precision shots, and my attitude without attitude, the Radnor stuff. This was mostly to build off some good work I'd done at Crown. I used the A-Frame a bit as well, but fell into it as a secondary thing. I'm trying to find a happy medium between the high closed guard and the A-Frame, which is somewhere around where Greggor sets up. Technically it's an A-Frame because he's looking past the front edge of his shield and not over it, so the corner of his shield is guarding his on-side head, but his sword is held higher than in a traditional A-Frame, cocked to make it easier to throw an on-side head shot. Working on this exposed both my arm and my leg, and both got taken a couple of times as a result.

However, I started out each set with a classical Bellatrix fight, and I won all but one of those.

I had a plan and I stuck to it, which was to fight only five sets, and to make one of those sets with Tim. I love fighting Tim. Tim also wanted a piece of me because, he said, I totally kicked his ass at AEdult Swim. I looked back over my notes from that set, and it doesn't seem like I did, but he wanted to beat on me badly.

I did really well against ArnNe. I started out with a Bellatrix technique and it flustered him. I got him, once again, mostly with high wraps. He did manage to take my arm three times because of how I was trying to adjust my guard. Well, once I went for a stupid leg shot and he got me with that deep off side he loves so much, which I knew would be the result.

These fights went 50/50. I won t he first one by taking his leg with a triple strike and then working him for awhile, eventually landing a butterfly with a hook. He got me with two rising snaps, one when I was in an A-Frame, which isn't supposed to happen. This was probably due to the fact that in our second fight he tattooed my leg so hard I got a slight limp, and I didn't want to experience that pain level again.(He'd also beaten on my leg at AEdult Swim).

AQUILLA (Argent, a Chief Embattled Sable between Three Eagles Displayed Gules)
He's a member of ICOD and fights like it, but he's a bit sloppy. He's taller than me and didn't really take advantage of his height. I got him with hook wraps and with timing shots, and once with my follow through back hand, a la Rolf or Ron.

FRECERICK (Quarterly Gules and Argent, in 1 and 3 a Bull Statat Guardant Counter-changed: jupon checky Gules and Argent)
He's a squire from AEthelmarc, short, right handed heater, fast and aggressive. Great fight. His window is his off-side face. I killed him there a few times and also with a butterfly. Afterward we spent about 15 minutes working on Brion's off-side leg fake/off-side head shot, which had really faked him out. With his style it should work well for him.

DUKE MALCOLM (busy purple, black, white-don't ask cause I'm not sure)
He and I were doing exactly the same thing, playing a range game and laying back. we did go corps-to-corps a couple of times, but neither of us managed to turn it into a blow. I mostly got him by moving to my left and changing my angle. He said my off-side head is opening up when I commit. He killed me there once, but he said the opening is constant. He freezes my shield with a shoulder dip (probably thanks to the pain from Tim) and as I throw the head is open. I need some film to study that.

In all it was a great night!

It's 41 days until Birka. My next time in armor is probably West Kingdom 12th Night.


Life is good.

Brion and Anna ran a marvelous crown tourney. I made it to the round of 8. I had a good day. No: I had a GREAT day!

The reason I had a great day is because I did much better than I expected to. I fought much better than I did in Canada last spring. I beat two knights. The two guys who beat me had to fight each other in the semi-finals. I nearly beat the first one and double killed with the other. I was in the mix. And I had not trained for this list--the minute I decided to do Harvey I gave up any serious training for Crown. Plus I'd been injured. I was also really relaxed once we got moving. I wasn't as tense. I wasn't trying not to lose.

Brion decided to have a straight double elimination list--no pools--with byes not being fought. There were 43 fighters in the list, which meant (I think) 21 byes (to get down to a list with powers of 2 in both winners and losers' brackets). That format moves very quickly, and the losers bracket will be two rounds longer than the winners. For me, it meant only six fights in total.

Every fighter I fought except Hrafn was using a kite shield, which meant tight defense. In fact, I didn't take anybody's leg except Hrafn, who was fighting two sword.

I'd also beaten all but one of the fighters I saw in a crown before, and that one I was fighting for the first time.

Radnor has an axiom: we let our opponent tell us how he wants to die. This was my day. Fighters told me how to kill them, and I obliged.

I warmed up against Collin, a fighter I really like to fight. I went through a progression of stuff. I fought him bellatrix style in a high open form, in a high closed form, and in an A-Frame. I lost one fight to him. I used a butterfly and a hook-thrust. I felt good. 

I did not get one of those 21 byes. Not only that, bur there were enough knights in the list that I drew one, Sir Kettil, in the first round. That is a very tough fight to start out with. But he literally told me how he wanted to die. Right before the fight I heard him say he was still fighting in a Zoom-Bang, but he was going to go to something else, because it still hurt to get hit in the body. Then we started fighting. I tried a few things, mostly an A-frame but also a bit of the high open form. Then I noticed he was setting up in a high open form--not an A-Frame, with his elbow held high. THen he set up in range. Then I threw a butterfly on him (which is a double fak followed by on off side body, thrown with a locked wrist), and I hit him on that zoom-bang shirt and he went down.

Next round I fought Eduard de Bosco, a fighter in Serpentius whom I did not know. He had a long, wide, peaked kite. I tried a few things on him, then noticed that his A-frame was set up to look over the front corner of his shield. I switched into a high-closed form and tried mostly to time his shot to hit him with a slot shot--something I've been working on a lot lately. After a few tries I got both the timing and the targetting correct. If you are a member of the SCA East Kingdom FaceBook group, you can see that fight at the 10:50 mark of this video: https://www.facebook.com/groups/17551346704/

Next I fought Sir Mathias Grunwald. He and I seem to meet in Crown a lot, and our fights are always long and hard. I noticed that if I pressured him with some old-school attacks designed to move his shield around, gaps would start to open up. I did, and eventually I got him with a slot shot as he moved out of position.


My next fight was against Avaldr. He and I have had some real knock-down drag-out fights in past crowns, and this was no exception. When I had been building this sword for Crown, I'd gone out searching for some webbing to use to strengthen my thrusting tips, because I end up tearing a lot of tips off. I couldn't find any. However, I had made my last sword with athletic tape and that tip had not torn off, so I went with that. And, of course, my tip tore off. We noticed it right at the beginning of the fight. Damn! I really wanted to use the hook thrust against Avaldr. It's the best technique to beat that tight defense of his. Oh well--edge work only, which I've been practicing a lot. He was fighting EXTREMELY well, attacking the angles tangentially, like Old Castle used to teach. He was staying at range, picking his spots, and moving in fast. I was doing the same. We both had some near misses until he moved to his right and killed me. It was a long fight.

Moving to the losers bracket, I next fought Rory, whom I fight a lot. He has a tight defense but a predictable offense. He likes to move to his left and throw an off side at me. He opened with a rising snap that I blocked. Then we had a couple more short exchanges. He kept creeping closer to me. When he was close enough I threw a hook/thrust and killed him with it.

My final fight was against Hrafn. I had beaten him the fall before, when he had gone to final round, by crowding him. At one point he ran onto my thrusting tip but it didn't bite. Or maybe it did, and tore off on his mail, which is why it was no good, because later in the fight it was off  again. Well, I'd beaten him without using a thrust in the past. We double killed. I took his leg and he took mine. He thrust me in the belly with his left hand. I died. Another long hard good fight.

Afterward both Visivald and Brion approached me with advice. Vis said that I have better technique when I am moving--which I know, and I'd been trying to move more this tourney. I used to move constantly, but going to the A-frame had made me static. Brion said he thinks I can win a crown if I find a way to shorten my fights. I had too many fights that were too long. I didn't feel tired, but he was probably right. He's Brion, after all.

Like I said, great day. 

There are 80 days until Birka. I'm taking some time off to finish healing. I'm certainly not fighting till after Harvey.

Sunday, October 16, 2016


So, I have to apologize. I've been in armor three times since my last post. 

I fought at the Cloisters demo in September. As you may be aware, demos are the most dangerous thing that we do. Fighting at demos is different. We get over dramatic. Sometimes, we get hit multiple times. I'm not sure how, but I think I kind of ended up with a concussion. I think it was getting hit multiple times by Gui's heavy great sword. Regardless, I had a headache later that night, and then another the next day, and headaches for about three days following, and then intermittently for days after. I also had a bad headache the day the hurricane rolled through, but I get headaches when the weather changes a lot. I've had concussions twice, once from fighting, once from hitting myself in the head doing pell work (don't say you've never done it). Neither was like this. Both those concussions felt worse. This is just eh. I've got an appointment to see a specialist on Wednesday. I'm sure that like all specialists, she will say "nobody should ever do what you are doing."  My new helmet is still awesome, and MUCH more protective than my old one. 

After two weeks off, I fought again at Middle Town. I started feeling a headache on the way up, but that was as soon as we drove into the country, and the fauna changed, and my nose stuffed up (decidedly un-fall like foliage we've got right now). I felt great while fighting but the next day I felt like I had a virus.  

In other words, I'm sure right now that every little thing I'm feeling, up to and including the toe I stubbed the other night heading for the bathroom, is a concussion.  

So today wanted to get in five sets. I got six, including two with Ron, fighting him being the main reason I went down to practice. I felt great. No headache, and I got hit hard twice. I also fought Bill and Harold. Bill beat me once out of six fights. Harold beat me three out of five, which is odd. I usually do better against him. He and Ron said I was tentative, which was probably me being overly cautious. 

My first set with Ron was terrible. I won only one fight (though that was with a Houghton trick, which against Ron is a real coup. My second set against him was great. I won half our fights, and we were really going at it. I was crisper, moving better, everything. Of course, I always take a while to get warmed up. 

I also discovered that my wrist, which has been a bit achy lately, is truly sore. I know what to do about that--brace, exercises, etc--because this is a flareup of the repetitive stress injury I got last year. It made my second shot very difficult, and I did better with tear drop returns as a result. One classic three blow Bellatrix combination won me Ron's leg.  It also worked on Bill. 

The biggest problem early n was that I was not protecting my leg. I was probably expecting to be covered in my stance, and I clearly wasn't. My defense got much ore active after a few bouts. 

All I can say about Middle Town is that I had some great fights against breeder but he had my leg every time he wanted it. I did well against Arne too. 

There are 20 days until Crown. I hope to be in armor twice more between now and then.  

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Feast of John Barleycorn

Ok, two things: first off, Barleycorn has long been my favorite Eastern event. The very first one I went to was a blast. No, the fighting isn't as good as at other events, but it is a good party and usually a decent feast.

But let me say a few words about Sir Edward's tournament...

And these words could lose me a few friends...

A lot of people HATE sir Edward's tournament. He's been running ti for 22 years now. In Ostgardr, ti's very popular. In the rest of the kingdom it is generally reviled. Hatred for this tournament, which is the centerpiece of the fighting at Barleycorn, has significantly depressed attendance. I've hared complaints from all sides on this: complaints stating "there should be no testing in fighting," and "when I'm gearing up for a tourney I shouldn't have to remember that Vert is green." I've heard people complain "I don't wnat to have to drive three hours to take a test," and "I don't want to drive six hours to be told I can't fight in the tourney." I've had knights tell me "we decided a long time ago that all that stuff was bullshit."

To which I say "bullshit."

Let me explain. Sir Edward Zifran hosts a tourney called the "unbelted challenge," which ahs two parts, a tournament and  a written test. The test has 50 questions, 9 of which have never changed. They include questions on heraldry, chivalry, arts, sciences, EK law, corpora, and medieval history. They are things like "give the heraldic names for the following colors" and "name three Ladies of the Rose." You need more than 60% to pass, and you need to pass to get tournament. You get ten points for every fight you win in the tournament, and ten for winning the tournament itself. The prizes are always the same: coffee crisp chocolate bars, which make a nice light snack. It's not a hard test. Anybody who has been reasonably active in the SCA for more than three years, who reads a book once in awhile, should get at least 61%. The whole thing is Sir Edward's playful way of promoting the idea that knights should be well rounded individuals.  As is well known, by corpora, all peers are supposed to know how to dance, play chess, emblazon arms, compose a poem, etc. And as is also well known, the chivalry often ignores these requirements, only looking at how well each candidate can fight, and whether or not they are a jerk.

And the order suffers for it.

I was talking to Duke Ronald about it recently. We were squire brothers, and the people who trained us--Alfrik our knight, William the Lucky, Andrew of Riga, James Greyhelm, William of Houghton, Meythen Gervaise--were real hard asses about this stuff. Edward, who was knighted int he West, comes from that tradition as well. While I want to see Barleycorn flourish, and I get that lots of people hate the test and don't come for it, my gut reaction to that is "stop your whining."

If you are a serious fighter in this game you should know that stuff by rote. You shouldn't have to remember that Vert is Green. You should know that as well as you know that Duct Tape is usually gray. You should know the difference between a pavanne and a bransle. You should know that you have to be a member of the SCA to fight in crown. Some of the questions are harder, sure: but you should still pass. And if you can't you shouldn't complain about it. You should study: because if you can't pass Edward's test you should not be considered for knighthood.  

This year was a bit different. Attendance was up because of the investiture. More people entered. Everyone who took the test seemed to enjoy it--even the three who didn't pass. There was lots more fighting for them anyway (the second tourney went on till nobody could keep going). The queen took it and approved. It was good to see. 

I've been hitting the gym on Thursdays, using my Indian Clubs, dumbells and kettle bell at least one other day, 50 pushups, 50 squats, and 10,000 steps a day. I've also been taking the German Longsword classes at Swordclass NYC. So I'm feeling good. But I need to up my aerobic activity. I still haven't gotten my bike on the road, and I've only run twice (once on the treadmill) since school started.

I was being intentionally lazy. First of all it was hot and I was tired. I had to run the rapier tourney, as I was the outgoing champion. I fenced six bouts then stood around for an hour in the REALLY hot humid weather in my doublet and sweatpants. Second of all, I wanted to work on energy conservation. So it was goofy foot, high form, counter punches with snaps, off sides, straight leg shots and maybe a wrap.

That was a recipe for pain. So I switched to an A Frame.

I didn't get to do much. By the time I got into gear I wasn't the only one who was overheated and tired. It was a universal affliction. I did get some great bouts against Balfar's foster-squire Victor. He is awesome! He was fighting Florentine and I was feeling his blows. I got him with some thrusts but little else. I fought in the mellees and had a very good time. I fought a few pickups with Conrad from Acre as well.

Mostly I tried not to collapse.

I've passed marker six in the "Let's Walk to Birka Challenge."

It's 54 days until Crown Tourney. Assuming anybody else shows up (not looking good) I'll be in armor tonight at McCarren Park. Otherwise my next time in armor will be at Nutley on Wednesday.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

McCarren Park

OMG my calves hurt! 

Great workout today.

It's the post-Pennsic doldrums. I didn't get my armor back until Sunday. It's beat up, and I need to replace every strap and bake the Courboli bits. 

So Agrippa, my graduated squire, saw that I was wearing the crusader helmet at Pennsic but didn't see that I had a new helmet from Cet. So I get home lay week and find a box and in the box a lovely helmet that can pass for sort of a burgeonet or kind of a Roman cavalry helmet. It's mild steel, but I really like it. 

And now I've got three helmets--four if you count the Norham I got for Gracia. 

And something else: Crown is going to be a lot tougher. I was offered the role of Elwood in Harvey this fall. It goes up a couple of weeks after Crown. I will be able to practice, but not enough to train like I need to. 


The new semester gives me some great opportunities. I'm working out Thursday's at BMCC and, if it works into my schedule (and it should) Tiedays at CCNY (which will usually involve kettle bells and the heavy bag). I've also now added 50 squats to my 50 push-ups a day, and I'm making my minimum of 70,000 steps per week. 

Today was a rough Tripple workout: yoga/treadmill/weights. 

My goal at practice was to keep in my A-Frame. 

There were only three other fighters at practice on Monday, and I didn't get to fight Auzer. I got two sets with Ervald and one with Luthor. I fought both of them sword and shield, and I fought a pass with polearm against Ervald. I was way too tentative against Luthor because his speed is incredible. I won most of my fights, even with the polearm, but I'm still frustrated with my offense out of the A-Frame. 

It's 64 days until Crown. My next time in armor will be Nutley next week. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Pennsic 45

Random Thoughts:

This blog will not be in the usual format, because Pennsic is long and there's so much to write about. I will of course leave a lot out. I've already forgotten a lot of important stuff, and I left mu paper journal at home.

Pennsic was too hot to enjoy most of it.

A person who would know told me there were nine heart attacks on the field this year, leading them to close down all martial activities (even target archery and thrown weapons) on Thursday, after cancelling the woods and shortening the alternate resurrection battle from 90 minutes to 30.

I was in armor for five days.

I fought in the Known World Baronial Rapier Champions tourney and killed lots of people but totally wiffed my showcase fight. However, I was the best talker, and extemporized a poem for my introduction. By the time I was ready to get into heavy armor, the pickup field was empty. Too damn hot.

The Pennsic Open field battle is still the greatest spectacle, and most fun battle, in the SCA.

I fought most of the battles with spear, except the open fields, which I fought with a short polearm.

Over the eight days I was there I walked over 140,000 steps/70 miles.

SATURDAY of war week I did not get into armor. I attended opening ceremonies, marching as Ostgardr rapier champion, and basically tried to stay alive.

SUNDAY was the day of champions. I always armor up for the champions battle even when I'm not chosen (I've only been chosen once as an Easterner). It's not so much that I'm the guy hoping to be asked to dance (though I am) as what Duke Lucan once told me: we are all alternates to the Bellted champions team, and we should always be ready to fight in it. I was not needed, however.

What seemed to me to be the Midrealm's cunning plan worked, and we lost the battle for the first time in 17 years. I've always said that the reason we always win that battle is the guys at the top of our team--Lucan, Brion, Andre, Omega, Gregor, Stephan, Balfar, Russlan, Ron, Douglas Henry, Randal, etc, are just too tough a core. We've always got at least five of those guys out there, and two of them are always the last ones left at the end and win the battle for us.

This year they split the belted champions into three teams of seven: fighters who had been knighted more than 12 years, 7-12 years, and 0-6 years. The first team consisted of Brion, Greggor, Balfar, Lucan, Thorsen, Russlan, and Jan Janovitch. That team cleaned up. Our other two teams had one duke a piece on them, and they both lost. I don't know the number of dukes and counts on each of the Midrealm teams, but concentrating our top guys on one team took away our advantage and they won.

We won the unbelted fight.

We also won heroics 6 bouts to 4, in large part because of our allies.

The best fight of the war was Hanse vs. Branos: https://youtu.be/1zaN0OLjYSc

Was billed as the MOAB (Mother of all battles). This involved an portion of the field that was open, a portion that was broken up, and the castle. It was fought in two segments, in the field and then, after a break to reset, in the castle. One side had unlimited resurrections, while the other could resurrect in the break between segments only. There was a siege weapons element as well, as they had to hit a target on the castle three times to breech the walls. The battle was scored on time.  This battle sucked. It would have been better if it had been fought in more segments, like the open part of the field, the broken part, then the castle. Instead, both sides just fell back to defend the outside of the castle, then the inside. The East won with a truly heroic stand by the King's retinue and the unbelted champions in the gate house of the castle, but it did not come off at all like planned. They set up most of that terrain for nothing.

The heat was hardest on my on Monday, when I was fighting in my crusader great helm.

So we had five bridges, and we fought them five times in times ten minute battles, with ten minutes in between. We fought with the Southern Region and had a great assignment--front rank in every battle, meaning we went in, fought, and usually died quickly enough that the heat never became an issue. I got into some good spear duels and killed some guys, and died every time. Because of the beastly heat, I got my conical helm strapped and padded:

Much better.

As I was leaving the field Hanse asked me for some pickups and I borrowed Ron's sword (no thrusting) and shield. I took one of three and they were all great fights. I has down a move that always gets me killed, lifting the bottom of the shield with his own and thrusting.

This was the killer day. Due to storms the day before, they had canceled the woods battle. The alternate battle was a wall battle with three gaps, the center one with block houses set back 30 feet, and each gap with a flag. As I said, they shortened it from 90 minutes to 30 because of the heat. Spectators were collapsing, as well as fighters. I fought spear, but only got into the fray two or three times. I spent most of the battle on the sidelines during the two long medical holds, sitting in the shade and drinking water. I was on my way out with the short polearm when they called it. I did get in two sets of pickups with it--one against a sword and shiled, and I won a few of those, and one against a 7 foot polearm, and I won all of those. Then they closed the battle field.

Friday at Pennsic always seems to make it all worthwhile. THey shortened the field battles from five to three, but they were still awesome. I took the short polearm and wore my crusader helmet and surcotte and had a blast.

I killed lots of people--more than any other day. I also saved our bacon twice in the same battle. Amusingly, somebody posted a picture to Facebook of me wearing that same surcotte in 1992. I don't wear it very often.

Our plan was basically the same in all three battles: attack the center and left, while Black Tallon and the Tuchux held in reserve, and then when they tried to attack our right flank those to units would engage and, and one of them would get a flank. Then they would roll up that side. We were the exposed right flank in all three battles, which is the most dangerous place to be.

In one battle I got to use my ensign skills. As we attacked we were getting separated from the unit on our left and falling a bit behind, with Darkyard right in front of us. I took command and started shifting us left, using my sort polearm to guide/push (gently) our shieldmen into place, the way Alfrik taught me. By the time Darkyard charged we had closed that gap and were able to repell them. After that charge, however, we were in trouble. Our left had collapsed, and our center had pushed forward but was bogged down, and we were now in a classic double envelopment. I saw this and used my polearm to  grab some guys who weren't engaged on our line and pull them to our left flank as it collapsed. We engaged and refused for awhile and the battle fragmented, eventually getting turned around so that I was now facing West instead of East and we were surrounded on all sides. We were backing up and keeping out of range of the unit in front of us. I thought we were gonners, but I checked over my shoulder and saw the Tuchux coming up from behind. They had blown right through their left flank and just as our center was about to collapse, had hit their center from behind. The center disintegrated, they were left standing, and they just came straight through to us. SO I stopped walking backwards, started walking forwards with them, and got in three or foru mor kills as we hit that last unit and mopped up. Hence the short polearm in the open field: it's good in a press, good for breakthroughs, and great in command.

The training for Crown Tourney begins the minute the open field battle at Pennsic ends, so I changed helmet and fought pickups after that. I wanted at least five sets of three each. I got six, including two knights. I fought pretty well.

There are (assuming it is on the normal date) 81 Days until Crown Tourney. My next time in armor will be next Monday at McCarren Park.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Three HOT practices.


So it's been a while since I've written, and I've been to three practices. A lot of that was teaching, most of it was heat acclamation. The war is coming up, and I need to be in shape.


This was a light practice. I drove up with Arnne and Luthor, as they are both getting ready for herroic champions, and wants to get in as many singles as possible. I love it up there with the Middletown guys, and it was a very fun trip. Mostly it was a teaching practice for me, but that's good for me and for the fighters up there.

 I fought just four people, Derrek, Matt, Arne, and Hassan.  It's a long way to go to fight four guys, but it was fun.

The main reason I go up there is to do some training with my man at arms, Derek. That fight was pure teaching mode. He really needs to bring his sword back into position before he throws. He is starting his lies way too far forward--a real rookie habit that he needs to break. He's big and strong so he gets away with it up there, with no Knights to fight. 

Matt I thought mostly goofy foot, trying to build on what I had done Sunday.  He has improved markedly in the few months that I've been going up there. I got with Silver's technique, The one I mentioned in my last post. 

Arne I got three times. That felt great. He relies way too much on that offside body counter, and now I'm picking it up. He likes to zone block with that center grip kite, and when he does so he is susceptible to deep wraps. I even got him without thrust once. 

Hassan, as always, is fast and Squirrley and ducks a lot takes deep steps with a wide stance, and squares up a little too much. He blinds himself a lot, and I took advantage of his slot once with timing and once with a hidden shot. 

The funniest thing was, as we were leaving, seeing dozens of people wandering the streets with their nose buried in their phones searching for Pokémon.


This was the mellee practice that wasn't. The team has been announced, it was way too hot, and almost everybody who said they were showing up failed to do so. So it became a very good single combat fighting practice.

I Fought seven people, including Goldstein, VDK Gavin, Bloodguard Joe, Sterling, a poleman named Henry, a two sword fighter in white Japanese kit, and a lady with sword and shield. 

I wasn't working on anything but surviving the heat. 

A few things stand out. 

Goldstein fought me with sword and buckler. He killed me once. I think. Maybe. He has a great rotation leg block. 

Against the two sword fighter, I started out with the straight thrust out of the a frame. The first time he blocked it, but the second time he walked right into it. I played William the Lucky a bit--I hid underneath my shield and pounded his leg, then his body. I think he beat me when I took his arm and we fought single sword. 

The lady fighter (never got her name. Green shield with gold crescents), gave me a good fight. I was in training mode, and she jumped in my shorts. Very determined with great pop to her shots. She just needs to tighten her defense. 

Henry tried to stay out and I rushed him, then he bull rushed me and I wrapped him. 

Against Joe I decided to use the one-shot drill. I only threw straight snaps from a high guard. No fakes even. I won all three of our fights. First one I one-shorted him with a counter--as soon as his hand moved (it was a leg shot) I hit him. Then I double tapped him with a step to my right. Then from the en garde, I threw a very high, broken-wrist snap that went over his sword guard.  

Sterling was the only person who killed me more than once. He figured out all he had to do was aim for the highest part of that tall great helm. I could barely feel the shots, but they were clean so I took them. I did best against him from the a frame but also did well with Bellatrix style. We double killed once, and I won three to his two. I killed him with a butterfly at one point, which felt good. 

It was too hot. 


so, there are only two fighters in armor, me and Aleel. That's OK, it was a hot night there had been a huge rainstorm and it gave us a chance to work on stuff. He's a relatively new fighter, but he is strong and fast and he works with Stefan, which means he's deadly. When he learns what to block and where, he'll be really good.

All we did was fight several passes – he killed me in the first one. I fought most of them in a frame, and had his offside head and his leg pretty well pegged, while he landed a couple of high on side head shots. Our last fight I went all Bellatrix on him, which was kind of fun. One thing about that style is that it's so aggressive it gets people's defenses out of position, which is how I took his leg. Eventually, I took his arm, and then we paused and took a break.

After that, we did the Bellatrix offense/defense drill. He attacked while I defended, and the fight was over when I have thrown three blows – I got one each of an onside had, and offside had, and an onside leg. Then we repeated that with him defending. The main point is learning to defend, but the secondary point is using a one-shot counter if you see an opening. He took my leg at the end, which is excellent.  After a short breath, we did the same drill with me kneeling and him standing, and then vice versa. 

That was it, a very short night. 

It is 10 days until Pennsic. My next time in armor will probably be Thursday night at Hawthorne.