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. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Crown Tourney #90

I hate myself.

I was planning to start this blog by saying "I hate myself," because in the fight that knocked me out of Crown yesterday's did something stupid and paid the price by losing. But that was yesterday. Today I hate myself because I just left my bag on the train. It was my best Eagle Creek bag, and it had my regalia in it, along with my only pair of 501s. It gets worse. I put it on an overhead rack in Seacaucus to go one stop to NYC. I was on the phone when I got off the train. I walked a block to the subway. I was about to get on the F train when I realized that I didn't have my suitcase. I hurried back to Penn Station but I wasn't sure what track it was on. The track I though it was turned out to have an Amtrak train on it, but the track next toy hat one had a train going to Trenton that look right. I rushed over to that track. The train was crowded no it was about to pull out. I pushed my way on and looked around. The door started to close. I didn't see my bag. I wasn't even sure if this was the right train, so I got off. The doors closed. As the train pulled out I saw my bag through the window. It was like a scene from some pathetic comedy, like a sad-sack (literally) Woody Allen or Harold Lloyd movie, and there I was, running down the track, watching my bag roll out of my life forever. I wanted to scream and hit things. I am angry and depressed and angry. If I'd just stayed on it and gone back to Seacaucus I would have gotten my bag back. The station agent said there was no way to contact the train. I filled out a report, but I don't hold out hope. My coronet was in that bag. 

So I guess I will have to win another. 

Crown #90 was, as I have indicated, frustrating. We fought in a mud puddle, in the freezing rain, with some wicked injuries and some serious screw ups (William McCrimmon suffered a detached biceps, Duke Randal was dropped from the list by mistake after only one loss and by the time it was discovered the response was "its to late to do anything about it now" which really infuriates me)--all to see the four guys most people expected get into semi finals, the two dukes most people expected get into finals, and the duke most people expected to win win. My day was ok but, as I said, I made some mental errors and they cost me.  This photo kind of sums up my day, even though it was taken at the beginning (I fixed that shoulder on Thursday--Ha!) .



WORKOUTS
My plan had been to take it easy the week before crown, but in fact I had a great week. I rode my bike to Coney Island and back, I went to yoga, and I ran a 5k fun run at school (several students complained that they couldn't keep pace with me). I rehabbed my shoulder and did push ups every day. 

FIGHTING
The important fights were in the rounds I lost.

The format was double elimination, best two out if three each round. It's not as format I do well in, but my endurance and defense are both good right now. I beat Duke Randal for the first time (a long time quest) and went to sixth round. I suffered my first loss to Breeder and got knocked out (again) by Culann Mac Cianain--two great fighters and contenders. That's a pretty good line and, for the most part, I'm happy with my fights, except for how I suffered my two defeats. 

Against both Breeder and Culann, I lost two zip. The first fight in both those rounds I fought well (against Breeder extremely well), but in both I had my leg taken and was then killed. They were good long fights in which I simply got beaten. The second fight is each of these rounds, that is where I was frustrated. Perhaps it's because I was mentally tired. I think it's just because I screwed up. 

Against Bredder in both our fights I had been fighting him with a boxer style. It worked well, and I almost got him with a thrust that I threw like a right hook. In boxing, a right hook (upper hook?) is a good attack against a south paw. Witness this video that's been floating around the interwebs:



Breeder said that he finds the boxing style confusing, and it seems to work pretty well against him, even if I did lose. In our second fight I ducked behind my shield to do the circling leg attack I've been learning from Gui. I noticed that he opened up his right leg when I did that, but to the inside of his shield--I could see the target past the bottom of my shield: only I focused on it. I got target lock and instead of moving out and looking for it later I just targeted the spot as though I was waiting for the opening to be perfect. It was just a fraction of a second, but it was all Breeder needed, and he threw a big dropping wrap that killed me. 

In my second fight against CulannI decided to change things up. My A frame defense had been really good up to that point, but Culann'sis better, and with that big kite shield covering his left side there are zero openings. In our first fight I almost got him with an inside dropping shot, but that shot works even better from a high open form, so in our second fight I fought my old fight, a Western heater style. It was working too, but I was fighting on automatic--that is my style, and the offense was just flowing. I stopped using molinees a few years ago becuase they don't work well against big shield fighters and they expose me too much. I've pulled a couple out recently, but they don't set up well from an A frame, so I use them sometimes as second or third shots ina  combination. I often use a set up where I throw two off side molinee leg shots then change the third into an on side head shot. I used it in the second round, although it did not work. I did not plan to use it against Culann, who is a trigger fighter, but in the flow of things, on auto pilot, I did. I through that low molinee leg shot and he threw a snap to my face. It was light and tippy, but right in the grill at about cheek level. I said "I hate myself," and bowed. (It was way too muddy to fall dead). Lucan saw it from clear across the field, rushed over and said "you know better than that!" I just hung my head in shame. "it's not like you were fighting Beck!"he said. We both laughed--he recognized that Duke Stephen of Beckenham was who I learned a lot of that technique from--or rather with, since we came up together and authorized on the same day. Of course, Beck is a Wulfsagan Von Ostensee student, so he's an even better trigger fighter than Culann. He'd have fired right through that weak ass shit as well. 

Argh! 

The fights I won were less informative if more fun. I beat Randal both times with a hook-thrust. In between that we legged each other and he killed me with a wicked backhand.

I fought Griffyn and I controlled the fight well. I don't know how I won those fights, but they were energetic and a lot of fun.

My second round opponent was really really tough. He jumped into my shorts and killed me with a face thrust our first fight. Then I bore down and tightened my defense up. I killed him with  awrap to the back in our second fight, then took his leg, stepped off line, and hit him in the head in our third. I was trying to use the technique below, but I blew it. However, he dropped his shield after the pass and I hit him. I could tell he was frustrated, and after the conversation I'd had with Tycho a couple of weeks ago, I was worried that I had stepped too deep on him. He and the marshals insisted that that was not so. I offered to keep fighting and he declined. Afterward he came up to me and explained that he had dropped his guard because I had been throwing on technique, stepping out, resetting,a nd coming in again, and that that time he had expected me to do the same thing so he ahd started to re-set while I was still in range. He was frustrated at himself. He gave me a very nice arm ring as a gift for having taught him a lesson--protect yourself at all times.

My first round fight was against Haakon Ragnarson. I controlled that fight well. I forget how I won the first bout, but thankfully Tally got out second fight on video. This is nice because I used two clear techniques that I talk about a lot. First, I use a leg shot off a faked face thrust. Then I use the mis-direction trick, where I flash the thrusting tip and get him to look at that while I pass forward and wrap to the back of his head. Check it out.



The video was yet another from Tally. He's got a lot of them up on his YouTube channel. Check them out.

It is 82 days until Birka. I don't know when I will next be in armor. I may take some time off for hunting season. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

MSR Practice 10/16/14

I totally hogged out at 7-11 after practice last night. This is a bad thing. Must maintain weight, 

It's important to have good equipment. I'm a generally sloppy, lazy person (just ask my lady). Like a lot of people who live in their heads (to borrow a phrase from my dissertation advisor), I'm always thinking about something: my next writing project, tomorrow's lecture, something stupid that I said on the internet --usually with such concentration that I will forget the thing I thought I should do this morning, or not notice the thing right in front of me (like that pile of laundry in the corner). Compounding this is the fact that my knight, though he taught me the value of looking good, it was only through covering up. Underneath a nice tunic, leather jerkin, and harem pants, his armor was a rat bag of gear put together from whatever bits of scrap metal, foam pads, and used sports gear he could lay his hands on. And to him, a sword was just a stick of rattan. It was not planed, it had no thrusting tip, and no basket hilt: just a bit of whittling to form a handle and a short rattan cross hilt. 

I am a bit more thoughtful about my gear, but I'm only handy when I think about it. I know what I like in a sword but I rarely put the effort into building it (the fact that I live in a Brooklyn apartment without a shop is also a factor). Usually, I don't put the effort into building my swords that they deserve, and I use my swords much past their useful life. I've also never found a basket hilt I really like that I can afford (I fought for ten years with a cross hilted sword, and I don't like them very much). Right now I'm using a Baldar cup hilt which, when combined with a fairly light stick, provides good results. The best baskets I've found for weight and balance are Iron Monger hilts, but I own half a dozen basket hilts right now, and whenever I'm at Pennsic I have better things to do with the $75 they would cost me. I just don't feel like buying one. So I stick with what I've got, and I can still kill with it. I'm kind of like Kevin Mitchel, the one-time Giants slugger, who could never find a bat he liked but he could hit home runs with anything. 

The stick I'm using right now is a broom held together with too much tape. It is way too tip heavy for the techniques I'm using these days, and it only lands a good blow one out of three times it lands. This is ok for practice, but probably explains why my arm is so tired this morning. 

WORKOUTS
This has been a good week: Push ups every day, two long hikes, and two good workouts: Wednesday was a good kettle bell workout, and yesterday I went to the gym for 20 minutes of yoga and 20 minutes on the treadmill. I did not have time to lift, but it was still effective.  

FIGHTING
I am so beat up from practice on Thursday. I went there mostly to work on my great sword techniques, tough I planned one or two sword no shield fights as well. The two people I knew I'd be fighting great sword against were Gui and Zack, both of whom are left handed, marking them odd fights. Since I was fighting without a shield I wore my kendo breastplate. Unfortunately, both my shoulder pauldrons are blown out, and so I was without them. I've mostly fought without pauldrons for the last 35 years, but you do pay a price. My main project was to go back to my roots and use Rolf's bastard sword style, the one where I hold it in front of me, diagonally up and back guarding my head, body, and both arms. Problem with that is that against left handers that opens half those targets up, of which my right shoulder was eventually reminded. As a result I also used a bit of Gui's horse stance technique. 

Gui likes to fight in close and I like to fight at range. Usually I try to beat Gui at his own game and I get crushed. I do, however, get to practice all those cool backedge techniques he uses, and I used them to take his leg and double kill with him. My one good kill was in our first bout, where I used that straight cut/thrust, which is becoming my go to shot. 

Against Zack that shot worked very well. I got him with it from both wards (mine and Gui's). I also got him with it from my knees, as he was stepping in after taking my leg, which was particularly satisfying. As long as I controlled the range I was doing well, but when we closed distance we were more or less even. 

I fought sword and shield against Tycho. I was told I circled too far behind him after taking his leg. I was using the "One step" convention, so that surprised me. I have a technique that I use with a legged opponent (no comments about how the answer is to get rid of fighting from our knees because I have no problems with that convention). I show him my thrusting tip, slide to one side and then take a step forward. Normally, I go to my right, but against Tycho, who is left handed, I've been experimenting by going to the left. I think he thought i was "behind him" because I had gone to his shield side, so his shoulders were turned away from me. As far as I can figure out the technique is legal, but both he and Gui thought it wasn't. 

I also fought Brad and then went through the field in a bear pit. 

It is two weeks to crown. My next time in armor will be this Wednesday at Nutley.