Monday, March 30, 2009

BAT Practice

Here is proof that BAT is turning into a really good practice. Neither me nor Gui nor Oscad nor Sir Richard were in armor yesterday, and it was still a really good practice. Regulars Dougal, Timur, and Vasilli were in armor, and Sir Diablu, Louis, Kasimier and Ervald showed up and fought. Good practice.

More on shield sizes

Ok, I'm getting a bit tired of banging on this drum. I find the angst in the West on this issue embarrassing, but that's mostly because I had to work through my own angst over this issue--and my own prejudices--when I moved to the East. But a foreigner at Mudthaw, knowing I was from the West, asked me quite seriously "Is there any stigma attached to large shields in the East?" My answer was, of course, "hell no." He said he'd be embarrassed to be seen with some of the shields being used at Mudthaw. I told him I had felt that way once upon a time, but I got over it (mostly). Since I used a 40" kite for three of my Mudthaw fights (and had a blast doing so, I might add), I really can't say anything, but it was interesting to see that other people besides me notice these things.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mud Thaw

Mud Thaw was alot of fun. I didn't doo too great, but I did go five rounds and I killed a knight. I got knowcked out by Sterling and by Horace. I fought the whole day with a hurt hand. I got it hit in my warmup with Conrad and I couldn't grip my sword all day.

My first round fight I honestly can't remember. Ummmm. It was only this morning.... Umm.... Oh, right: Joseph von Ulm. I didn't like that fight, not because of anything he did but because I wasn't fighting well. I got him with a saber cut as he took my leg, but I didn't think I was fighting well.

Second round was Sterling. I should have beaten Sterling. I threw a real nice leg shot on him--faked the thrust and then cut the leg--but then I got sloppy and he took my arm. No excuse for it. We had a long fight after that, with me standing with just my left hand and him on his knees sword and shield. I almost got him, and we almost double killed, but he won in the end.

Third round I had Mitchel McBain, my nephew. I through a wavy rising snap and hit him a bit high on the helm. Then I did it again and killed him.

Fourth round I borrowed a 40 inch strapped kite shield. I fought a big tall VDK guy named Sigerfurther. It was a good long fight, and the kite was fun to use. I fought it pretty good. I took his arm and then his leg and then cut his belly.

Fitfth round I had Horace. THat was the most fun I had all day. It was a good long fight. Timur will put a video up on YouTube of it. Ron said I was too impatient.

Piuckups were good too.

Lucan won Kings and Queens. Kelson won the Mudthaw list.

Friday, March 27, 2009


So I didn't write about BAT last Sunday. Mea Culpa. It was a bit odd. We all got into armor late but I had a 6:30 curtain to make, so I just quickly fought each of the guys three or four fights and then split. As is often the case I was the only knight. I fought Avran, Timur, Wolfy and Everet. I was not really in teaching mode. I was mostly just getting helmet time.

Really there is one thing to discuss, my fights with Avran. He is finally getting better with his primary weapon, the greatsword. He's got a long way to go but he is finally showing improvement. I have been teaching him the Belatrix greatsword style, and it's not easy. Paul has basically two wards. A high right side ward with his left foot forward, that looks very samurai, and a right foot forward ward with the sword on his hip and the tip pointed toward his opponent's face. Avran insists that the tip forward style works best agaisnt most people but the high form ward works best against me. He killed me once in five or six fights, and it was from that ward, so I guess that's right. But it might be that I have a good attack for people who present the tip. It's simple but it does work much of the time:

With a left foot lead, shield (I was using the centergrip) high to ward the thrust and the sword low, pass forward on the left and bring the broadsword up to knock the thrusting tip out of the way, maintaining contact between your sword and his as you step under the greatsword. Pass forward on the left and transfer control of the greatsword from our broadsword to the shield. I always try to control a greatsword by putting my shield into the strong of his blade, right above the quillions. Move laterally to the right or mass forward off line on the right and cut with the sword, either a false edge cut to the head or shoulder or a true edge cut to the head or body.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Western Crown

Apparently it was a great crown. The victor was Duke Alden of Wolverton, who beat Duke Connor Weizen in the finals. It has been suggested that Connor's defeat may be the "death blow" to the Bunny Round. I don't think so. I hope not, since I still think it is the most beautiful and, int he hands of Jade or Radnor, the most deadly style. But anything in the hands of Jade or Radnor would be the most deadly style. Yes, Connor's leg was toast, but that's always been the case with bunny round. Radnor won a lot of fights from his knees. Here's the video:

Note how Alden takes a slide step to his left and takes Connor's leg with a forehand blow. It's the same way Sigirfirth takes Rolf's leg in this video:

What I love is that Alden is using what is fast becoming my favorite shield to play around with, the center grip kite. That size, about 24 x 36, is smaller than the big kite he won with last time, and seems to be the new Western standard. Back in the day people used to hassle Rolf for fighting with a kite. Now the kingdom is catching up to him. :)

My next rig is going to be a kite of some kind.

Vlasta (who shot both these videos) has a LOT of March Crown footage up at his YouTube site. Check it out.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

round cut or pear shaped

Last night was Nutley! The stars aligned. Ron called and said he was going and wanted me to show up. James called and said he was going and wanted to give me a ride. We called Oscad (since he had my armor at the warehouse) and he said he's go too. Great trip!

Ok, a bit Keystone Cops. James has a GPS and he still made four wrong turns (by my count), and took us in circles around the entrances to the Lincoln tunnel before we finally go out of New York. It took us more than an hour to do so. The Hudson River is so in the way most of the time. The East River too.

But we got there. I had brought Timur's center grip round with me, since I haven't amde my kite yet. I warmed up with Oscad, then I fought Ron (the main reason I was there) then I fought Bill, who was right handed last night, and then Stephan. After that Ron suggested I use his heater, and I fought Heinrich, the big Landsknecht (is his name Larry?) and Max.

They were all great fights. Ron wanted me to work on deceptive sword work, of which he is a master. I had been trying to be more and more basic in my fights, and I wasn't using the thrusting tip at all much last night.

My fights that stand out were the ones against Stephan and Max. Usually I almost kill Stephan once in a night. Last night I almost killed him twice. In one I threw a snap at his head and his shield was a little slow getting up, but I was at extreme range and just hit him ont eh bottom of the face grill, not very hard and pretty low. In the second one I got him out of position after he threw a leg shot and I moved to my right. I thre a high wrap as he threw his shield up and he barely caught it. That was actually the better of the two moments.

Predictably, when I went from the center grip to the heater my offense suffered but I became really hard to kill. Ron's heater is strapped nicely (better than mine was, I like the angle his hangs at). I had a great defense when using it, and when I locked down and just defended even Max couldn't hit me. But my visibility was down, I wasn't moving as well or as quickly, and I was much more limited in my shot selection, both because I had a different shield in my way and because I wasn't thinking about the same shots. Maybe I wasn't seeing the same openings. My fights with Heinrich and Max were great. I killed max a couple of times, he did the same for me, but he is about twice as fast as I am with really great form, and I was really happy just to get him when I did. Heinrich, because he fights Kelson's style with his sword low guarding his left side, presents some interesting problems but I did ok against him. I think he's the only person I really did a lot of thrusting on.

My wind was great. I've been in the gym two or three times most weeks, and my weight is pretty good (I've gained a few pounds since Lent started). But I found that against the sword and dagger guy my wind went completely away. I am not sure what it is. I didn't feel like I was expending more energy, but all of a sudden I couldn't breath. Then when I went out against Max I eventually got winded but it was nowhere near the same. (I left off fighting Max after he hit me in the body and knocked the wind out of me).

Ron has mostly three shots, a hammer snap, a leg shot, and an off side leg/body depending on how he turns his hand when he throws it. That's all he was using last night, with a few stutters and fakes thrown in. He mostly wins on timing and deception. He has an offside that starts out like a snap and then turns into an offside leg that is really hard for me to pick up. He is wanting me to concentrate on that. This is interesting, because one of the things I did to get better and start winning more fights was to stop relying on fakes and molinees so much. Now I guess I'm going to have to selectively start bring some back in.