Thursday, August 27, 2015

BBQ Practice with 100% more pool

BBQ Fighter practice (with 100% more pool) 

So I took a couple weeks off to rest my wrist. In fact, I was not even going to fight this weekend. But then Horic got into armor, and Cullyn showed up, and my wrist wasn't hurting at all. 

But it is now. 

It's one of my favorite non events. Horic's has a big house with a pool and a hot tub and a gas grill. There's a school with a big athletic field a block away. It's become our version of Labor Day- the end of the summer barbecue. It's awesome. 

Oh yeah, but first I should probably write about Pennsic. 

PENNSIC

Pennsic was practically an afterthought for me. I was only there for two nights. I fought in two battles. I did a few pickups on Wednesday and a couple on a Sunday. I was there for William McCrimmon's knighting, to give him my Spurs and to fight him as a knight. I did those things. I was also there to fulfill my duty to my good friend Thorvaldr, and meet his 50 knight challenge. I did that too. There is some video, but I couldn't find it.  

Some few thoughts: 

Hauoc's next goal seems to be to win crown with a bastard sword. He's using Duke Mark's cross guard, which I'm not sure even Mark knows he uses, and he is as good with that as he is with everything else. 

The king of Lochac Ducks, and has a wicked off side, but fight him with a pure Bellatrix style and he is lost. 

When you've got a spear, and you trap the Tuchux in the Jaws of the Vosk, it makes the eleven hour bus trip to the war completely worth while. No, really.

The woods battle will henceforth be known as the EMT fest. 

I can counterpunch pretty well right now.

WORKOUTS
I've gained 7 pounds since Arsenic and old lace ended, working in a call center between five and 10 hours a day. I've also gotten repetitive stress from mousing. Bad thing. Still doing 50 push-ups a day but my steps are down. I've had a couple of long bike rides it only one day at the gym. Depending on my wrist, my last day at MTC (September 9 or 11), marks the start of my new regimen. That's when I will free up enough time to workout the way I want to prep for Crown. 

TECHNIQUE
I am still varying my defense a bit and concentrating on the rule of three. I was using A frame for two or three fights, a more standard high closed form for two or three, and then a high open Western style. I fought Mord, Baldwin, Horic, and Cullyn sword and shield. I also fought Antonio Giancarlo with two sword and got my ass kicked by Zack / Auzer with great sword. 

My wrist felt fine on Saturday but ached horribly Sunday and still hurts. I  wore the gamboised cuisses so walking is a bit hard today. Somebody, I think Zack, popped me in the elbow. 

From this vantage (post hot tub), I'm not sure I have a clear recollection of all my fights. I know I fought Mord and Balfwin pretty well. I did best against both of them using a high form. 

I only fought three fights against Horic. The first one he won quickly with a counter punch. The third he won when I threw a much too slow spinning back fist. The second fight I'm proud of. I threw a stutter wrap and he blocked it. I threw it again and he blocked it again, but that was to set up my third blow--I threw the stutter but struck his leg as he, naturally, blocked the wrap that wasn't there. Rule of three. Then I closed with him and blinded him with my shield, opened it just wide enough, and thrust him in the face. 

Cullyn has knocked me out of two recent crowns with the same shot--an off side that comes at a down ward angle and triggers of the shoulder. At the crown Darius won he did it as I stupidly threw a molinee to his off side leg.  He fights the Lucan style, goofy foot with a long sword and a long kite  shield. In our first fight I threw a blow at his head and then threw Kelson's rebound leg shot while side stepping to the left off line. This blow is one where you strike the face of your shield and, as it rebounds, drive the stick into his leg. A totally bogus only in SCA fighting shot, but it worked. I killed him once I'd taken his leg. I noticed that Horic had been killing him, naturally, by counter punching with a straight snap from a high guard. A couple of times he nearly got him with what was essentially the shot Hauoc throws from the high closed goofy foot guard--as he strikes your leg, block with the shield and the sword in a hanging guard, then in contact shoot straight down. I tried to do that to him in crown but my shield is too big to big to make that work. It's a small shield technique. It worked once I think for Horic. As a result after our first bout I concentrated on a regular high closed form, looking over the top of my shield instead of past the front edge. It worked well. I hit him I the arm, head, or shoulder in several quick fights.


It's often good to look at somebody from behind to analyze their footwork and stance. Here I am fighting Cullyn. Im using an A-frame. My shield may be cocked a touch too high, exposing my leg, and my sword should be out a bit more to intercept his off side head shot, but I managed to cover when he sturck at me.

I borrowed a short sword to fight Antonio with. My two sword style is inspired by George Silver. I use two wards-- high open ward with the short sword held like a buckler, and a center ward where I stand left foot forward, both points presented and even. Pointing at the face. It's kind of like this famous picture of Sliver--only not:



As befits a system inspired by silver, it is painfully simple--lazy even. I just ward any cuts with blocks to the outside and then take the inside line with my thrust. The dagger exists mostly to bind and to parry, and I only attack with it when I'm pressed or if I've taken my opponent's leg. If I'm in the high open form, I'm probably planing to cut to the leg--which I did to Antonio once. Then I did a completely un-sliver thing. I turned the shortsword to a dagger grip to protect my leg. blocked his blow, cut with my sword to bind his and then stepped in and thrust to the body with the short sword.




Here's the one good pic of our fights. I was fighting out of the high open guardI've blocked hone of his shots and stepped forward (VERY un-Silver thing to do). Note that I've got him back peddling while I am going forward, my short sword (a bit longer than I like, actually) is positioned to parry/bind any cut he makes, and I'm about to pulverize his leg.

Against Zack, as I said, I just got my ass kicked. I was trying techniques that I was not making work. I had a heavy sword with a thrusting pommel. I tried to go core to core then hit him in the face--no dice. He just murdered me with shot chops to the head that I should have been able to block. The cut to the blade and thrust, which usually works well, didn't at all. I finally did a little better when I switched to a high guard with my right foot forward--keeping myself at distance. I managed to cut to his leg then, feeling a bit desperate, I used a technique I've never used before, turning my lead/right hand thumb down on the grip and using an oarsman shot but with both hands. I hit him in the belly. Only fight I won from him. 

I was the hit of the bbq with the back-strap I prepared. Rub with salt then grill to 135 degrees interior temp, turning it once or twice. 

Every fight practice should have a hot tub. No, really. 

It is as far as I know 66 days until crown--unless it is 73 days. I am nursing this wrist injury and don't plan to be in armor -- until at least Barleycorn. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

RiverFest demo 2015

RiverFest was hot. The car I was driving got backed into. My calf injury flared up as soon as I started fighting. Putting no my boot I noticed the top of my foot was swollen and  thought I might have a stress fracture. A band called "Blood Sweat and Tears" was headlining, but it included none of the original members. Bo Bice from American Idol was the vocalist.

Still, all in all, it was a great day, and that horn section truly rocked!

WORKOUTS
I'm still doing the #fighterchallenge. One more day to go. Today was a cable core workout. Saturday I'd had a 10 mile bike ride. Friday was Pell work, mirror work. Every day my usual 50 push ups.

TECHNIQUE
The only technique I was specifically working on was the great sword technique I've been working on all year, cutting into a thrust: where you make a short chop with the blade at your opponent's blade then break your wrists, straighten your arms, and the followthrough becomes a thrust to the face. I killed Gui with it once, but nobody else. I mostly fought sword and whiled and, since the people I was fighting were fighting either bastard sword or two weapon, I had an advantage. This was in the first session of the demo.

In the second session we held the Beau Geste tournament (back after a long hiatus). There were three unbelted fighters plus myself and Gui. Gui and I were not competing. Each of the unbelts had to fight each other in a round robin, and they had to fight myself and Gui once each. Weapons were matched and the unbelted fighter got to choose. That ended up with me having one great sword fight and two sword and shield fights.

In the great sword fight against Auzer I managed to take his leg. I tried a couple of techniques, including Gendy's Oarsman style (fail), and I killed him with a simple chop to the neck/shoulder in an exchange.

My fight with Samale was sword and shield. He is fighting a classic Bellatrix style, so this was a fun fight for me. I took his leg and killed him with Radnor's butterfly technique, though it was poorly done because I hit him in the head when I was supposed to hit him in the ribs (I was out of position).

The third fight was against Tycho. After a couple of exchanges he cupped me--the common problem fighting a lefty.

Tycho and Auzer ended up in the finals. They fought greatsword, two weapon, and sword and shield. Auzer won all three fights.

It is 38 days until Pennsic. I will not be in armor until then due to the play my lady and I are producing.

IF YOU ARE IN THE NYC AREA tickets for our play are now available!! http://www.arsenicandoldlacenyc.com/

IF YOU ARE NOT IN THE NYC AREA our Hatchfund campaign still needs you! http://www.hatchfund.org/project/arsenic_and_old_lace

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Southern Army Sunday

Last Sunday was the Southern Army practice in Iron Bog, and Gui, Tycho and I went down. A good time was had by all. This post will mostly be about how to run a war practice. Due to injury, the end of the semester, starting the play, and just plain fatigue, I hadn't been in armor since crown. I came out of crown with elbow pain in both elbows and shoulder pain at the back of my shoulders that was worse on my shield shoulder. I rested that, but the pain really didn't go away until I fought again. Fighting made everything better.

WORKOUTS
As I write this (Saturday 6/13/15) I am on day 27 of the #fighterchallenge, wherein you have to train every day for 30 days in a row, post your training to FB and challenge other fighters to do the same. If you miss a day you start over. This is kind of a cheat for me, since I already do at least one thing--50 push ups, every day and haven't missed a day in almost 18 months. But I have to do at least one other thing. You can see what I've been doing by following me at mapmyfitness.com or on FaceBook under the #. Wednesday for instance, I did 50 push ups, a dumbbell workout (hammer curls, shoulder presses, triceps presses, and bench rows), 20 minutes on an elliptical trainer and then that thing with the two ropes using a tabata timer.

TECHNIQUE
None to speak of.

PRACTICE
Manfred, who has been Warlord more times than Charleton Heston, and Harold Haakonson, who is the unbelt captain, ran the practice. There were three knights in armor for most of the day--me, Mord, and Cullyn. Manfred was in and out. Gui did not fight.  For the first few fights, Manfred put most of the experienced fighters on one side and gave numbers to the other side. Teams started out 8 vs 12 or 15 (not sure which). Since there were five shields and three pole arms on our side, I made two triads of two shields and a pole each, with me and Sir Cullyn in reserve for the orange team. We beat the green team for the first few fights, but after each time we discussed it, and soon they were beating us every time. That was rewarding.

We ran four or five fields, then some bridges, then some gate battles. after each set we stopped and de-briefed. We also ran two ressurection battles, where we worked on pulse charges. 

There was some dispute among the Chiv as to how best to charge and what constitutes a pulse charge. One way, which I learned as a new fighter, is to get low, hip/shoulder check your opposite aside, and penetrate as far into the back field as you can, not bothering to swing your weapon but just trying to push into the backfield. This is great in a gate scenario, but hard to execute due to the massed troops. It's also useful at the end of a bridge or to break up a unit in the open field. The other method is to go in hard and higher, push people back while attacking with your weapon, then retreat. A big difference is that in this is that shield men who are charging are trying to kill, and to push back but not to penetrate. This is what is commonly called a pulse charge because who do it, fall back, and do it again. It is the prefered method nowadays, mostly due to the tactic of having spears fight in the front ranks on a bridge, and because of how the Pennsic bridges are normally fought and scored. 

I did not fight in every scenario due to a helmet malfunction. I got that fixed and did s few one-on-ones. I fought Mord and Hassan, but I was not working on anything specific.  

It is 42 days until Pennsic. My next time in armor will be tomorrow at Riverfest in Ostgardr. Due to the play, this will be my last time in armor before Pennsic. 

And speaking of the play, it runs July 9-12. We are still fundraising via Hatchfund, and have a few more characters to be sponsored. Help us out! 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Crown Tourney #91, East Kingdom, Spring, AS 50

Crown tourney #91

I’ve fought in 91 of these, and this was one of the best. It was certainly one of the toughest. It was also very symmetrical: counting a first round bye, I fought six fights, against three unbelted fighters and three knights, I won three and I lost three. The three unbelted fighters I fought were three of our top unbelted fighters. The three knights I fought were all contenders. I killed two of the knights—Sir Sicehlgaita von Halstern and Thomas of Ravenhill, the two fighters who had knocked me out of the last crown in the Southern Region. I also lost to one of the fighters I beat in that crown.

My first round bye was against Sterling De La Rosa. One of my big problems going in was that I had been moving my sword guard up in my A-Frame defense (instead of more of a boxer stance) to give me more offensive options, but that was hanging it out a bit. I’d lost it to Sterling at practice last Sunday.  He hit it again in our bye fight and I called that a loss for me. This was a good thing, as it served to remind me that my arm was vulnerable, and while a couple of my opponents targeted it later, nobody took it. Sterling went to quarter-finals, and knocked Gui out of the round of eight. This was a good warm up fight.

My second fight was against Sichel, who had knocked me out of two of the last four crown lists. We had a good long fight. Both she and Tommy have a great inside thrust, which was tough to guard against, so I was keeping my distance—if you see that thrust coming you can usually back out of it, which is what I did. I took her leg with the Martin the Temperate leg shot. I’ve got about eight or nine techniques specifically to use against people on their knees. The fifth one I tried worked—a top-edge hook.

My next fight was against the new knight Sir Ivan Ivanov (one of two left handed Sir Ivans in the kingdom).  Ivan was having an amazing day. He was running on that “new knight bump” and it was really paying off. He took my leg and then hit me in the ribs after a great fight. He went to semi-finals out of the winner’s bracket before losing to Brennan in two fights. (in the East, normally, a fighter out of the losers bracket must beat a fighter out of the winners bracket twice to advance to finals—in other words, the fighter out of the winner’s bracket come in clean while the fighter out of the losers bracket comes in with a loss).


(one of the most amusing things about fighting in both the East and the West is how lists are normally organized: one kingdom uses a single-bracket double elimination system taken from Judo competitions, the other uses a two bracket double elimination system common in sports like Volleyball. Both kingdoms sometimes combine this with round-robin pool play taken from soccer. Fighters, marshals, and especially lists-ministers in each kingdom HATE the system used by the other kingdom, and describe it in terms that range from “silly” to “dishonorable.” The best wine is from home…..)

My next fight was against Sir Thomas. Thomas has finaled in two of the previous four crowns. He is a tough, tough fight. After a hard long fight I killed him with an on-side but I can’t remember if it was wrap or a snap. I had hit him with one earlier that I had called flat, to it was probably a wrap. This was one of the most intense fights I’ve been in in a long time. It was as tough as any fight in a final round.

My next fight was against Ketil. I had beaten him in a crown not long ago. He’s a good unbelted fighter. I tried to take his leg and he was fighting sword-foot forward. I cupped him, which I was sorry for. But I felt lucky to get out of the fight. This was his second loss.

My last fight was against Dimitri, who had beaten me in Mudthaw. Once again—big, tall, with a long sword and a HUGE  kite shield. This is a really interesting fight. I thought that, until he took my leg, I was fighting really well, basically controlling the fight, my defense was strong, and my combinations were moving him around. Thomas said I looked tired and slow, certainly slower than in my fight with him.  My lady said I looked anxious and desperate, that I was not in control at all, that I was trying to use tricks to finish it. She has a point—I did use a back spin. It didn’t work. But the technique where I lost my leg was the foot-stomp. Thirty years of using that technique I think this is the first time I’ve lost my leg doing it. I might have done it a bit slowly, but he looked at that and just plowed my leg. Once that happened the fight was basically over. He stood at range and sniped at me till he could kill me.

Tally was good enough to post videos of the two fights that I lost. They are great. In both these videos I see things that I am doing well, things I am doing wrong. I see things that make me want to question my calibration, and things that make me think "damn! I should have seen that during the fight! I might have won!! 

The first one starts after Ivan has already taken my leg, so there’s not a lot to see. At 56 seconds and at 1:09 he throws the same combination, both of which I get a basket/sword block on. The second time it is so fast I can’t see it. I had to look at it frame-by-frame and at one point the sword just disappears. I don’t know how I got that sword block back there, because on video I can’t see the sword coming at all. He kills me using Radnor’s rule of three. He throws that same combination again, and I get the sword block up there again, but the third time he hits me in my ribs. Break that pattern the third time. Note how he steps a bit to the left each time before closing—he’s not circling, but he’s moving so he can get a better angle past my shield. I did not move with him and I probably should have.



The second video, my fight with Dimitri, shows more of the fight. I like it because I can see my thought process in all of it, and make out what I think is his. I still feel I was in good command of the fight until he takes me leg.  My back spin looks slow but it is well timed. He hits my shield as I do it, so I should be able to get him, but he recovers too quickly.  There’s a good angle on my throwing the foot-stomp, and you can see that he just triggers on it, disappears behind his shield (I had no chance of hitting him) and plows me. He is totally hunting my arm, especially after he takes my leg. The fist shot he throws looks pretty good, and I don’t know why I don’t take it (I hope it was light). The rest I pick up. He also triggers on me when I peek past the leading edge of my shield. He is precise and really on with his targeting. You can see what both of us are doing. He is staying back, sniping, controlling range and not letting me have any opportunity to hit him. I am trying to draw the arm shot again. At least once I almost get him with the snap when he sets up a bit too close, and once I draw the arm shot and I block it, but my counter is too slow and he gets out of the way. It is beat – beat – beat, when it should be beat-beat/BEAT—using Radnor’s dictum that all fights are won in between beats (or on the up-beat). If I time that better and throw the shot as I block instead of after the block, I probably win the fight. Thomas was right—I was tired. All the time he is giving me one and only one possible target—his off side leg. It’s the only thing that’s really in range. This is the Lucan style of fighting goofy foot with a long sword so you are always out of your opponent’s range while still being able to attack. I avoid going for the leg, knowing it’s a fool’s errand, but finally I give in and take the bait, and he thrusts me in the face quite beautifully.  He had very good reactions in this fight, and totally worked for this win.


This was an good list for me. It was great to have my lady there to watch me fight. I had lots of fun. I fought really really well. All of my opponents seemed to have fun fighting me. EVERYONE I fought was a really good fighter—there were no walk-overs. I had a blast.

I was SO tired afterward. I hit that “I just fought in Crown” wall later that night at the cheesecake factory. My shoulders are stiff and my legs are rubber. I slept all day yesterday. All of this means I had a great list!

It is 81 days until the Pennsic war. I will not be in armor this week.


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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bonus Post! October Crown, 1992!

BONUS POST

With Crown coming up in two days, and me winding down my training, I decided to post on some other things.

TRAINING:
I have done 15,000 steps a day for the last three days. That includes a run I took part in at school. It was supposed to be the BMCC 5K, but there was construction in Hudson Park where the run takes place, so it became the BMCC 3.8 K. I ran it in 22:20, which is a pace of 9:22, better than my usual. I also have done 50 push ups every day, and some yoga and indian clubs.

OLD TIMEY VIDEOS!

So I wanted to put these on YouTube so I cold embed them, but I couldn't' get them to convert properly. Michael Doyle, AKA Eirik Ulfson, has lately been posting some photos and even a couple of videos of the West Kingdom in the late 1980s and early 90s to FaceBook. Among them are these two gems.

This first:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/sne1qdlclxa9p9n/1991-10%20October%20Crown%20Kylson%20vs.%20Valgard.mpg?dl=0

Is one of the most memorable fights I've ever had. This is me versus Vsc, Sir Kylson Skyefire at October Crown in 1991.

One of the things I remember most about this crown was in the line up before the lists. I was standing in the knight's line with Kylson, Radnor, and (I think it was) Michael Hugh Stuarts. At 6'3" I was the shortest one of us four. An unbelted fighter walked up to us, looked at the line, and said "man! You guys are huge! I wouldn't want to fight any of you!" I said to him "Oh, you don't need to worry about us. If I were you I'd worry about him," and I stepped aside to reveal Viscount Sir Edward of South Haven. Edward was fairly short--a full head shorter than any of us. He was also a knight before any of us. He had great big Popeye arms and one of the fastest off-side head shots I'd ever seen.  He sort of looked up at us, his hands folded in front of him, and smiled as if to say "who, me?" Radnor, who hadn't noticed that he was there, looked down to his right and said "What? Oh wow! Yeah!" then he leaned forward and said quietly with a little smile "he'll do stuff to you none of us even remember how to do." The poor unbelted fighter went away very confused.

Kylson was one of the fighters who truly intimidated me. He was huge--I'm 6'3" and he towered over me. He fought with two big heavy swords and I absolutely did NOT want to be hit by him.

Watching this video is mind bending for so many reasons. I remember a lot of things about this fight. I remember that I lost my leg. I remember him asking about the shot that hit me in the hip. I remember dying. I DON'T remember switching to a thrusting ax after we were both legged. I didn't even own a thrusting ax at that time. I hate thrusting axes. I know why I did it: impact weapons are often good against florentine fighters because they get indie their blocks. This is how I won crown a few years later. But against Kylson it was just plain stupid.  I was doing much better with the sword. The hip shot that I took, which he asked me about, looks from this angle like it hit me in the ribs, but in fact he was rolling it up and it hit my hip first. I do not at all remember that head shot that I don't take right at the end. In fact, I don't remember dying in this fight, though I remember that I lost. The head shot from Kylson's left hand hits me on the outside of the head. It looks like it could have been good. It was clean. If it was in the face I definitely should ahve taken it. It might be, I can't tell. We talk about it. It looks like it glanced. Regardless, 23 years later, I am looking at that and saying "should I have taken that?" The blow I die to doesn't look as good, but it definitely hits better, and it stops instead of glancing down.

This second video, however, it the prize.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/qlg0dnd91gg6bpo/1991-10%20October%20Crown%20Finals.mpg?dl=0

This is the final round from that tournament. It is probably the most memorable SCA finals and series of fights hat I have seen in 36 years. It shows two of my favorite fighters--two of the best ever--at the absolute hight of their abilities. Kylson died about ten or eleven years ago. He was one of the best fighters I've ever known who never won crown. He lived up in Alaska and did not make it down to Crown tourneys in California more than three or four times. The first time he came down he ran into Jade in the finals. The second time (this one) he ran into Radnor in the finals. To travel all that way to fight the two best fighters in the kingdom, and arguably the SCA at that time, was probably pretty frustrating. That crown against Jade was the first tourney Kylson had ever fought in that he had not won. That's how good he was.  This fight is one that I think about and describe all the time. I've written about it in this blog. Although the video doesn't show the end (Radnor won) it shows the two biggest moments.

The first is that first fight where Radnor one-shots Kylson. Kylson had this habit of posing with his blades wide going into a fight. You can see it in his fight against me. It was dramatic and intimidating and it gets him killed. We all thought we could take advantage of it, but nobody could until Radnor drew him. He did not count on Radnor's timing or his reach. My memory of this fight has always been that Radnor passed on his right, took a lunging step forward, and hit Kylson in the face, but that's not what the video shows. It shows Radnor closing range, first with a passing step (radnor believes in Musashi's dictum of "attitude without attitude"), and a gathering step, and then throwing a shot as Kylson's swords get wide, right at theier widest point and right at end of Radnor's range, but the kicker is that he leans forward a bit by coming off his back foot as he throws the blow. This is why it lands. Radnor used to talk about transition windows, striking at that moment when a fighter's mine had shuffled off of defense and onto either movement or offense, and this is an example. He catches Kylson at that moment where is mind is on his swords and not Radnor's. It's also an example how perfect Radnor's range perception is. I feel like kow-towing and saying "We're not worthy!"

The second moment is when Kylson beats Radnor in the second fight. Radnor has a great record--he won every tournament he entered for a period of 20 years. He rarely ever lost a fight, so to see him go down was shocking. Jade turned to me and said that was the first time he'd seen it.  I can recall Radnor in that 20 year period losing once to Paul, once to Philip Harlech, once to Thomas the Incomplete, and this time to Kylson.

Watching these two videos is an interesting look at what Western fighting used to be in the 80s and 90s before big shields, sword-forward guards, and low-profile thrusting tips. I liked this style of fighting a lot. It was prettier, more fluid, and more fun in some ways than how we tend to fight now.

BIG TIME ENTREATY! We are producing a production of Arsenic and Old Lace this summer in NYC, and we are crowd funding it on Hatchfund. Please visit our site, watch the video, and donate. It's tax exempt, and you'll be supporting independent theatre in New York City! http://www.hatchfund.org/project/arsenic_and_old_lace

It is two days until Crown Tourney. The next time I will be in armor will be at Crown.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Last practice before crown.

This weekend is East Kingdom Crown Tourney. It is also the Pacquaio vs. Mayweather fight. Pacquio’s announced schedule includes one more sparing match, today (Monday) and then a drive to Las Vegas form LA. He won’t be training right up until Friday or Thursday night. He is going to wind his training down. Boxers do this to recover, to heal any small injuries, and to be rested by the time of the fight.

I haven’t been training for this crown. I took most of the winter off, suffered an injury in January, and have been pretty slow to get back in. I am as rusty as I can recall ever being. I’ve got my timing back, but I’m still making silly mistakes based on rust and lost muscle memory. But I’m still done training. I won’t fight at any of the practices this week. I did get down to Iron Bog yesterday, though. I didn’t think I would be there, but yesterday morning I got a text from Gui asking if I wanted to go down with him. I really needed it.

WORKOUTS
Have been limited to yoga, bike rides, and push ups. This week I will run a 5k on Wednesday and to Indian club work twice, plus pushups. I’m still averaging 10,000 steps a day walking.

TECHNIQUE
This practice was alla bout edge work. I did not throw a single thrust the entire day. Other than that I was working on everything.

FIGHTS
I fought four people. One guy with a Viking name, whom I spent a lot of time working with to warm up; Mord, Gui, and Sterling. That was plenty of fight. Ron was there to coach me against Gui and Sterling, which I needed. I need to repair my regular legs, so I was wearing my gamboised cuisses, which meant a lot of pain a couple of times. 

I approached this practice like a training session. I got together with an unbelted heater fighter who wanted to learn some stuff. I ran him through several warmups and drills. We did several minutes of  slow work, concentrating on form and vision. Then we did the two sabre parry drills (parry 5 and parry 6—the hanging parry and the window parry). After a short rest we did offense/defense drills. In the first one we did a drill where the agent could attack all he wanted, while the patient agent only had one blow—an on-side snap. We fought this for a bit over a minute on each side. After that we did Paul’s offense/defense drill, where the agent has all attacks and the patient agent has three blows, a snap, and off side and a leg shot, and the exercise is over when the patient agent has thrown each of those blows once. This is always a great way to start.

After that I fought Mord. We fought three fights, and I won two out of three. The one he won I threw a blow and stepped forward on the right into his counter. I don’t know if he planed that, reacted to me, or just got lucky. I’ve been dropping my shield on my recoveries, and this was the main thing I was trying to concentrate on. A couple of my wraps lacked power.

Then I fought GUi. I fought him really well. I took his leg twice. He won all three of our fights, but not easily. I hit him twice without power – once a cut to the belly, once on the leg – because I wasn’t powering through the shots. I was defending my leg really well against him, which is tough for me.

After that I fought Sterling. He took my arm because I was hanging it out. I took his leg twice and I killed him twice. The trouble I was having was taking advantage of his ducking and burying my wrap shot. I hit him once with the stutter warp with no effect.

In all of my fights, if I had used my thrusting tip, I would have done better than I did.

Ron confirmed that I was dropping my shield too much, and getting tunnel vision in my fights with Gui. He suggested a fake that forces Sterling to duck and then a hammer blow. He also said that I was ignoring Sterling’s off-side hip and body, which were open, and he was correct. I didn’t think once about throwing there.

This was a great tune-up practice for Crown.


It is five days until Crown Tourney. My next time in armor will be at Crown. 

SPECIAL OFF TOPIC ANNOUNCEMENT! Visit out hatchfund campaign: 

Arsenic and Old Lace: WELCOME TO ARSENIC AND OLD LACE (or "The Spirit of Brooklyn"). 
Last year I produced a successful production of Hamlet, and financed it through Hatchfund. Along the way, Hanna Edwards joined as co-producer, and Craig Hutchison came on board as director. Afterward, we were casting around for something else to do, and Hanna had the idea of doing something tangential to Hamlet (we even thought of founding something called "The Hamlet Tangential Theatre Company"). One thing we discussed was doing a 20th Century American comedy, since it was about as far away from Renaissa...

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.