Friday, April 15, 2011

Thought on Crown and report on BAT

Crown is throwing lots of people for a loop. For those who don’t know, Lucan has declared that there will be a round-robin elimination round. There are sixty-four fighters in the list, and so there will either be four pools of 16 or eight pools of 8, and the top four (or two, in the case of the smaller pools) fighters will advance to the round of sixteen, which will be a double elimination list. It is just like last time EXCEPT that it will be fought with great-weapons only. Some people are complaining that this is messing with the lists, and others that it is unfair to announce it this late because if people don’t have their authorizations they won’t be able to fight, and others don’t have gauntlets.

Me, I don’t much care. Although I am against messing with the lists in general, I can’t complain since as Prince I did something similar in Coronet. I required that the first round be fought without shields. I did this because I think it’s more ok to experiment with Coronet list than with crown, but mostly because there had been a lot of complaints at the time about people getting their arms taken and not having off hand and arm protection readily available, so I set it up that they had to have it on hand in order to fight (clever me). What Lucan is doing is strictly for fun and I intend to have fun with it.

I don’t think it messes with the list at all, because, especially with a list this top heavy, the same six guys are going to be around at the end regardless. Most of the dukes will advance into the round of sixteen and with seven of them in the list, plus three more counts, it is pretty likely that the final four will be royal peers. All this does is add a challenge to people like me, who are significantly better with sword and shield than with pole arm or great sword, but then that is the point. I am pretty sure I would have made it out of the challenge round fighting sword and shield. I might make it out with great weapon, but my odds are slightly lower. But that is no big deal. I get to have seven, maybe 15, fights with great weapons that actually matter. What’s not to love about that! The biggest deal will be the endurance factor. Great weapon fights are a LOT more exhausting than sword and shield fights, and if we have to fight 15 of them to advance many of us will be in terrible shape moving on.

But to that end people are scrambling to get into great weapon shape. I have always considered myself to be competent with a polearm but I don’t fight it all that often. Over 30 years I have picked it up a bit. But I studied bastard sword for a long time, and have had some success with it. But you wouldn’t know it by my performance last night.

Our special Thursday BAT practice last night was awesome. Three of the Von Drachenklau fighters came over from Jersey. It was supposed to be a melee practice and we worked on triads for a bit, but then we broke up into singles. I did some warm-ups with Oscad. We fought three fights. I had broken my shield in the melee, so was using a 24x32 heater, by old style. It was classic. I won two out of three, and I did it with well executed techniques. The first and third fights I won by taking his leg, both times with an upsilon leg shot. The first time I killed him with Gemini’s technique (which he and I had discussed after Estrella), where I throw an offside head and pull through, punch the lower inside corner of his shield with the leading corner of mine, and thrust to the neck or face. The second time I hit him with Fast Eddy’s shot, which I’d leanred from Radnor, where I miss an offside headshot, curl my pinky in to change direction quickly, and turn it into an onside head. As I said to Oscad, that was a shot that was old when I joined the SCA 30 years ago. (glee!)

But of course what was really happening was we were getting ready for crown. We had good great weapon fighters visiting us so we took advantage. I fought bastard sword versus polearm with Brenan. Uusally I like that matchup, because the bastard sword can get inside the poleman’s defense. Not this time. It was lots of pain. Then we fought polearm and I did much better. I used a number of techniques that worked well. I did the David Civet swim move on him and won. I even got him with a belly thrust, and with Mordreth’s lead switch (!!!).

But I was humbled by Cullyn. Now Cullyn is one of the best great weapon fighters in the kingdom, and he’s been training on great sword with Lucan for years. But we fought with bastard swords and I didn’t win a single fight. Not one. Yes, he had range on me, and I didn’t have much in the way of quillians, but that shouldn’t have mattered as much as it did. He also had more patience than I. Twice we did the same technique, but he did it better than I (once we did and it was just a stalemate). Our first fight was telling. We both went into long point and waited. I was waiting for him to move so I could cut his head, like in Kendo. He was waiting for the same thing. I moved first, launching a shoulder strike, and he disengaged and cut my head the way he was supposed to. Point to him. For our next several fights I tried to get control of his blade using some WMA techniques. He always disengaged in the same way, over his right shoulder, and struck at me, usually on my right side head. After that I started getting serious and trying some regular SCA technique. This worked a bit better, but he still won all those fights. I was totally schooled in a weapon I am pretty good at. I may want to fight polearm in Crown.

After that I fought Lou. When I went berserk he killed me by getting inside my attack, but then I settled down and beat him handily.

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