Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mudthaw again

Timur posted a video of my fight with Horace, who is my nephew and at that time was Queen's Champion, on Youtube:

I've watched it a couple of times and here's what I see:

I'm indecisive in how I want to start the fight. I will start with sword foot forward, then step back, then step forward again. Also, my hand drifts out too far to the side when I'm in a sword back position.

Except for the very first pass, I attacked first throughout the fight. I'm not patient and I never have been.

Why I would ever throw a legshot at Horace is beyond me.

The kill itself was in a way a product of the kite. I would not have died to that shot if I'd had the half round or the heater: they both have more shield in front of my hand and more head coverage. But I might have long before lost my leg as well.

He did post two fights that I *won* though! (that's a rarity--most videos of me on Youtube I'm losing in):


Yes, in that second one I kept my shield after I took his arm. Sue me. I'm consciously trying to be more Eastern in my outlook. :-)

In the third video I fought Mitchel. I threw a wavy-rising snap and didn't execute. His shield went where I needed to but my shot came in too low. So I did it again and corrected that and it worked.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

God's Wrap

I had a great tie last Saturday at war practice. Me, Timur, and Everett drove down and fought all day. I took my new shield and tried it out. As I suspected it would, the cheap belt arm strap broke quickly, but I just used the center grip when it did.

Yes, I put the boss way too high, but I knew that going in. I have it both strapped and bossed, and I wanted the boss right below my arm. I strapped it (mostly) like Rolf's, but I think my angle might be a little steeper because as long as it is, I'm having trouble guarding my leg.

However, I did have some great moments with it.

I fought with the alternates in one of the unbleted champions mellees and ended up winning the battle. It got down to me and four others. They were spread out. I quickly killed on then another, then ended up against Heinrich and someone else. They pressed me but I managed to keep isolating one of them by backing away and moving around to always keep one of them in between me and the other. I eventually killed them both.

I had a couple of good moments in the wall battles. At one point Horace, who was in command, said, "Uncle Val, if you want to take a couple of shield men and charge go ahead." I got two guys and waited as the sides were depleted. Then we killed one of the two pikemen on the left of their line (the other was Rusalan) and I yelled "go! go! go! go!" and we charged forward. Bloodguard charged the other breech at about the same time. We wiped out the guys on our side and then met in the middle.

The wall battle was also where I threw God's Wrap. I'd been doing really well bashing on people trying to make breakthroughs. At one point a shorter fighter in a kettal hat charge forward into our line. He was pressing against me like a Jack Russel Terrier, shield out, head down, trying to push me back. I stepped a bit to the right and through the best wrap I've thrown in years. It hit him about a third of the way up my sword right at the point of the helmet in the back above where the brim starts to flair. He collapsed so hard and fast it was like somebody had dropped a rag doll. Afterwards he found me and said "Was that you who hit me? That was the most awesome wrap ever!" Glad to oblige.

I also got isolated at one point with Max while I was using the kite as a centergrip, and manged to take his leg and leave him. Hitting Max anytime is an accomplishment. When I did pickups with Stephan later I didn't hit him, but there were good. He one shotted me, then he got me on his second pass, but on our last fight I changed stances (to a sword foot forward, knuckled down, and we had a great fight. I almost got him with a fact thrust and a body but he was just too slippery. It was a great fight though.

The drive was a lot of fun too. We listened to the Blue Collar Comedy Channel most of the way. It was fitting. We also stopped at Cabela's.

I'm doing ok with the kite so far. I haven't practiced with it enough, and the next time I fight with it is likely to be crown, so I'm not expecting much.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Class structure

SCA classes are notoriously un-structured. I sutddied for a time under Paul but I was not close at hand so did not take regualr classes with him. His (and possibly the Asgard and Grendelus systems) is the most structured learning program in the SCA. Everybody I know who was a product of Paul's program--doing unarmored slow work and pell work for six months to a year, then practice based on drills not combat for another year, has turned out to be a truly good fighter and, at the end of those two years, was fighting at either a Knightly level or very close to it. I've tried at various times to institute such a program, but it never sticks. People want to do what I admittedly did: lace it up and go!

I once heard that every John Wooden practice was exactly the same. They did the same drills in the same order every single day. I don't need quite that much structure, but a little bit is good.

With that in, I copied this from Korwyn's LJ. It is his proposal for a class structure for his Monday night gatherings in Vegas (I used to do 1000 blows at the pell, but not all of them were always full speed, and in the end it gave me bursitis and I had to stop fighting for two months). What do you all think?


In general the way I think I need to conduct this is as follows:
0. Warm up 6 point drill on one of the pells
1. Ask if anyone has a specific thing on their mind, sometimes this turns out to springboard a lecture.
2. Do an unarmored drill, specific to what we are trying to focus on (last night was stepping into blows to suck the power out).
3. Do at least one show me a shot session with the whole group.
4. Split up and do some blows to the heavy pell, or the targeting pell just to get the arms loose.
5. Specific discussion of whatever topic is (Mental fight, range, killing on the ground, blocking with specific shields).
6. Some discussions and creating new drills.

I know that this can be less organic, and more formalized, but I am not sure I need/ want it so.

Next week's unarmored drill is throwing 2 liter bottles (empty ones).

Oh, the variation on the 6 point drill (72 shots) we seem to be trending to is as follows:
Throw the drill from each guard (High Right, High Left, Low Right, Low Left)
When that gets dull, do the same, but in each of the foot positions (Right lead, Left lead, center or horse).
When that gets dull, do the same but you must step between each blow.

So at it's most extreme it is serious cardio, and you throw 864 blows. Then of course there is the left hand...

Monday, April 20, 2009


I just found a coll site with pics of 100 Minutes War, Mudthaw, and Balfar's Challenge. There are a bunch of good ones of me fighting with a kite at Mudthaw. A couple good ones are here and here In some of them, particularly this one, you can see how far out I'm sticking the point of my shield. It's a strapped kite (obviously). I borrowed it from one of my friends in the Priory of St. Collin (Dudess Volt). I am holding it more or less like Rolf taught me back in the day, but at a much more extreme angle. If I use a strapped kite like this I have to pull it in more. This one is strapped more or less like Rolf's. The guys I am fighting are using kits strapped like Lucan (the other Byzantine duke in Gold scales). The arm is at a flatter angle and a bit lower on the shield. The guy in white is one of Lucan's squires, but I don't remember his name. The guy in purple and gold is my nephew Horace, the (then) Queen's Champion. He kicked my ass.

These are some of the more instructive photos I've seen.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

BAT Practice 4/19/09

I got there late and, with my hip hurting, I almost didn't fight. I took it pretty easy. Fought Oscad, Timur, and Everet and called it a day. But it was a really good day nonetheless.

I fought Oscad with Daniel's heater, mostly to get a god idea of what was wrong with it. I decided that we angled the handle too much. But I also thrashed Oscad in the process, ended up killing him with a great downward body thrust when we were both on our knees.

The other thing I did was Paul's offense/defense drill with Timur. This is the one where one guy gets three blows and defends, and the other guy just attacks hard. When it was my turn to defend I felt really good. I was using the center grip, but I was still working on that patience that I so lack. I was doing the same thing with the heater against Oscad, at least at first.

We have a new girl at practice and I got to give one of my favorite Bellatrix-like lines today: I told her that the sport that is most like SCA fighting is golf.

Monday, April 6, 2009


I fought yesterday, but whenever I put my helmet on my weak headache turned into a migraine, so I only fought Gui and Oscad before I got out of armor. I really don't know how I was fighting, because the pain was making me dizzy and nauseas. I think I won a few fights.

I've decided to turn my 37 inch kite into an experiment, I'm fitting it with both a center grip and straps, and I'll play with both to decide what I want to do. I will end up with a 40" aluminum kite, but I don't know if it will be strapped or center grip (I'm leaning toward the latter).

Beau Geste was yesterday too. Info on that can be found here.