Wednesday, November 28, 2007

McCaren Park

As the weather turns cold it becomes harder and harder to get people out to practice. Thankfully Global Warming has mediated this a bit. It's been warm a couple of Tuesday's recently. Not so much last night, but enough to have people still thinking of the joys of bruising their friends.

Last night was a typical McCaren Park practice. I was a little less tired because I'd taken a car service to get there (at my age, though not advanced, it's still important to invest in my health and well being from time to time). There were five of us: me, Timur, Ervald, Bill, and Gil. The tree we normally fight under had shed a few thousand acorns, which lay like marbles on a parade route all over our regular fighting surface. Fortunately, the cold had chased away the baseball players so we fought on the baseball diamond. It turned out to be a bit muddy from the rain but it's gritty and drains well, and we simply ended up with a bit of red mud caked on our boots.

At 100 minutes war I gave my bunny round to Timur, mostly as an incentive to make a new one. It needed some repair anyway. It turns out that might have been a mistake, for reasons discussed below. But the result was that I didn't have my shield. I'd brought my buckler and some extra weapons, but I was not there to train for anything.

I fought against Ervald (and his polearm) using Timur's 24" round shield. Then I fought the same way vs. Gil. This was particularly fun, because I just naturally fell into classic Bellatrix style and then decided that I would stay there. I kept reminding myself not to through any whippy one/two combinations or molinees and to stay in the Paul high guard form. It was a blast. It was especially fun against Gil, who was using his heater for some reason. I killed him with a straight up rising snap, a hook/thrust, and from my knees with a shield press followed by a slot shot as he over-recovered. Classic stuff. I fought a couple fights with bill but the strap broke on that shield, so I switched to sword and shortsword, which was fun. I borrowed Ervald's polearm so I could get some fights in with Timur. Then I fought a few fights with buckler against Gil and taught him about misdirection (after he took my leg I looked at his leg three times then hit him in the head).

Working the polearm stuff was pretty cool. Ervald is mostly using a bayonet technique, with the butt-spike forward and the head, like a rifle butt, in the rear, and taking huge painful swings with the head at people's armpits. It's not a style that I like very much. I don't think it's particularly effective. I taught the basic (my basic) techniques to Timur and, as always, he picked them up right away. He's a sponge. But he looked best when using the 24" round, once I got him to keep his elbow back. He's got a really good form for that style.

It was windy and a bit cold but fun. It might well be my last practice of the season--I think I'm busy the next two Tuesdays. Another result is that I decided not to go to the gym today since I fought last night. Probably not a great decision, but I'll live with it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The bayonet style is an experiment. I wanted to see what it would be like to fight with a bayonetted musket against medieval warriors. The most positive thing I found out about it is how it forced me to reconsider the "blade" as a weapon.

Holding the polearm with the hand close to the blade (like having the finger on the trigger of a musket) means you really have top use force to get a killing blow with it. This led to me reconsidering the blade as a heavy impact weapon rather than a touch-kill toy. This forced me to learn how to use my entire body to get force into the blow, how to manipulate the fight to give me the opportunity to use my body to get the blow it.

On the negative side, I learned that the traditional "charge bayonets" pose is not a good defensive stance against most SCA weapons forms. It leaves the entire left side wide open.