Monday, September 22, 2008

BAT Practice training

Boy, it’s a good tired.

Yes, I have returned to my fighting blog. While I was out of commission I didn’t work out much. I was hurt a bit more than I though. I recuperated the first week. Got on the treadmill all of once the second week, but I did a lot of walking. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I rode my bicycle around and got good workouts.

Today, the theme from Rocky echoing in my head, I got up at seven am and went running in the park. It was the first time I’ve run since our rear-end auto accident exactly three years ago today (I know it was exactly three years because we were on our way home from the fall NASCAR race at Dover, and the Dover race is on right now (three of Jack Rouch’s drivers, Biffle, Edwards, and Kenseth, are all racing for the lead with 23 laps to go). Running hurt my back a lot after that, and I started concentrating on spin class, which is as good a workout with lower impact. But I wanted to run. I did my usual run, around the lake and then up to the top of Lookout Hill. I actually took the last set of stairs two at a time. When I get to the top of lookout hill I am always sure that that is it, I am about to die. But so far I haven’t.

Then I came home, worked a bit, and went to BAT practice.

There were only three other fighters there, Louis, Gil, and Bill. That meant two solid unbelted fighters and an OTC (Order of the Tiger’s Combatant). It also meant a right handed fighter, a left handed fighter, and a two weapon fighter.

Fighting Gil I had some kind of epiphany. I found that place in between too relaxed and too pumped up. Usually when I feel that feeling I am all tensed up and jumpy, just on the edge of pushing too hard. Today it was more like I was just very focused. I felt more relaxed than I normally do. I have felt that way before, and usually it is a good thing. I went through closed form, open form, high and low, and goofy foot, and in all of them I was relaxed but very focused.

I won nearly all my fights. I fought Gil, then Louis, then Bill, then we did a meat grinder where we each fought the other three then the next guy fought the other three, so we each got six fights. I was pacing myself and not fighting to fatigue. Gil beat me twice, Bill beat me twice, Louis beat me twice, maybe three times. In the meat grinder, which I approached like a tournament, I only lost my very last fight, to Bill when he was holding the field. That fight is instructive, because I threw a fake that I thought I was throwing small and Gil told me it was very broad. That was fatigue.

I was most proud of my fights against Louis. I always have trouble with him, but today I was winning pretty handily. I had two great fights. In the first I planned a leg shot (I’d been planning it for about a half an hour at that point). I threw a blow at his leg, which he blocked with the ax, I stepped in an threw a dropping wrap to the same leg. It worked really well. In our last fight I was getting a bit tired and trying to figure out what to do. I never kill Louis with off-side body shots (in fact I rarely kill him with the edge at all), but I decided, what the hell, I’ll throw a butterfly on him. I used to never be able to get anybody to count my butterfly. But I threw this one with my wrist locked, something I picked up watching Radnor last year. It worked like a charm.

BAT usually has a lot more fighters than that. I think it was light because of the Queens Farm demo. Next weekend is Fort Tryon, and if I’m in town that is where I’ll be.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Well, my training schedule is shot to hell.

First of all McCaren Park. Only three people showed up, Me, Gui, and Ervald, and Ervald wasn't fighting so Gui and I took off. Too bad. it was a nice night. BAT is simply a much better practice.

Secondly, my training schedule just got shot all to hell. I have a gaping hole in my back. I had surgery today to remove a sebaceous cyst from my shoulderblade. It had been there for years but recently started draining and I didn't want it to get infected. So, no fighting for two weeks. No pell work for two weeks. No weight lifting for two weeks. No bicycling for two weeks. No spin class for two weeks. No running for one week. No lifting anything heavier than a beer can till at least Monday. That's four practices out of my schedule shot. At this point there is little chance of reaching my goal of fifteen days of helmet time between labor day and crown. Grrrr.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

BAT Practice training

So I have this habit. When I'm working with a new fighter, I mean brand new, first time in armor new, I like to borrow somebody's big shield and use that. It's not because I want to beat the guy. I don't swing much in that situation. It's mostly becuase I dont trust brand new fighters not to hit me in the knee, and because brand new fighters might not have much control. I did that on Sunday, and I also learned that I have no offense when I'm using a 36" heater, at least not one strapped with the hand way up in the corner.

BAT practice was good this weekend. It was mostly a teaching day for me, which is good and bad. It's good because concentrating on somebody else's fundamentals forces me to concentrate on my own. It's bad because if I start out an evening in training mode, lots of slow work, letting my student dictate the temp much of the time, etc., I am always a hlaf a beat slow the rest of the night.

There were at east ten people in armor at BAT this week: myself, Gui, Jarrod, Avran, Gil, Alexandre, Timur, Bill, Rav, Oscad. I think I'm forgetting a couple.

I started by working with Rav, doing slow work with him, and concentrating on his en garde position and returnign to it. He's got real potential. He has good mechanics and hits with power. Teaching mode. Lots of slow work. Just a few full speed fights.

Then I did slow work with Timur. He's more advanced than Rav, but it was the same thing. Did more full speed fights with him, which were good. He was moving his arm too far forward in his rest position. I was totally unable to get my thrusts going.

Then I fought Gil sword and buckler. Exactly what I needed for a good fun fight. But I found that I was reacting too much to him, not forcing him to react to me. I won most of the fights (though he did cream my ribs in one fight), but not like I should have.

Then I fought Oscad. This was the fight I really needed. He is doing about 30% better from what he was doing before Pennsic. It was pretty awesome. I was not able to control the fight at all. When fighting goofy foot, trying to use the Hauoc technique, he not only refused to make the attacks I wanted him to make but he had developed a really good leg shot for creaming my sword side leg, and it worked two or three times. As usual his defense is deceptively tight. I need to work more on face thrusts against him, as they seem to be more open, and they used to work well. I killed him three times, he killed me three times. Very good fights. Twice I hit myself in the shield arm with the flat of my blade. It still hurts. Ouch.

The I worked with Bill. He was crowding me a bit too much for his own safety. I did a lot of leg, kill trades, which won fights but put me in a lot of pain. Between that and the arm I quit after those fights.

After that I worked with Gui's nephew Josh, his first time in armor. Good aggression, decent power. He's got potential.

I find two things. One, I need to get back to my bread and butter, the hook thrust. I have been doing better and better with edge work, especially fakes, but my thrusts may be suffering.