Thursday, July 28, 2011


Decided not to ride the bike today. Can't really lift either. Ribs feel better but still hurt from crash the other day. Supposed to be training for Pennsic (though since I can ride 32 miles in a day right now, I don't think my wind is a problem for Pennsic). But no training today.

It gives me a bit of time to talk philosophy. I never try to hide the fact that my main goal in fighting is to win my second crown. I've done some stupid things in that pursuit, like going to a bunny round for three years, but I still think I've got a shot. While spring crown wasn't too good, with sword and shield since I went to the 24x36 heater I am fighting great. Pennsic will be a real test. I've also given notice at Paragon which will free up a lot more Saturdays. So here is the philosophy part.

We fight for ourselves. We fight for our consorts. We fight for our kings. A lot of people try to say that you shouldn't want to win, or that you should fight for the pure joy off fighting or to make you consort happy or to support your king, but that fighting to win is bad. I fight to win. I have enjoyed fights I've lost, but I usually enjoy winning more. People also say you shouldn't want the crown. That's bull. Why would you fight for something if you didn't want it? I realize there are a lot of reasons to fight in crown that have nothing to do with reigning, and people who have little chance of winning still fight. And they should--I've got that old school Western attitude that Crown is what this game is all about and so everybody should fight in crown. But for me, if I didn't want to win I would feel bad about fighting. I've struggled with this the last few times I've fought in Western crown. Do I really want to try to be king of the West while living in the East. I can afford the travel, that's not the issue. I've got the savings and would spend it happily. So far, every year, the answer has been yes. I still love the West, I'm still active there, and I'd enjoy being king. If ever I felt that I couldn't do it, or that I didn't want it, I'd stop fighting in June Crown. But the alrger point is that I want to be king.

Shouldn't people want to be king if they are fighting in crown? And, in a larger sense, shouldn't people want to be king or queen period, since that is the foundation of our game?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


So I succumbed to the advertising on the Tour de France and downloaded the mapmyride app. I am using it to keep track of my workout progress and, while I don't like the website, and there are some kins in the nutrition section, I do like the mapping feature, the calorie calculator, and the workout log. I wasn't able to find kettle bells on the drop down menu though. That needs a fix. It uploads my workouts automatically to Facebook and, in theory, to, though I haven't figured out how that part works yet. But my workouts can be seen on facebook now, which will show everybody how much I'm slacking off.

My first experiment with it yesterday included some road rash. I rode my bike to work at City College (16 miles) and on the way hit a pothole on the West Side Highway and went over my handle bars, Well, actually, one of them hit me in the ribs, which still hurts. After class I rode down to Soho for late lunch with my sister and her family (about nine miles) and then home, though I didn't start the gps right away, so it only showed that as a bit over six miles. It was, for all intents and purposes, a 32 mile day. The app records my distance, elevation changes, average speed and total time. Pretty cool.

The day before that I did my kettle bell workout, but didn't upload that one. That log is pretty general though.

Today, though I had planned to ride to school again, I took the subway. My ribs needed the recovery time. Hopefully I won't have to wear the body armor at Pennsic.

And speaking of Pennsic, it starts on Saturday. I won't be there till second Saturday, but am already antsy.

Monday, July 25, 2011

More on spring crown

I finally got some mroe videos uploaded to youtube of my fights at Spring Crown. There are at least three more, but they are all of the same fight.

This first fight I don't have much to say about. It was one of my two best kills. I'm very pleased with my execution of the leg shot, becaue I move right while throwing it and I get my hands high to block his shot at the same time. Range would have been more even if I'd used the bastard sword, but a maul is a polearm, and so it stuck in my mind that that was what I should be using. Regardles, from a practical poitn of view, it was the right choice.

The next one is my first fight with Oscad, in which we double kill. It demonstrates an axiom of polearm fighting: if you go to the opposite hand of your opponent, so that your polearms are in line instead of being crossed, you open up more attcks for both of you. That's why we double killed.

In our refight I am doing great. Watch how I fake him out of his socks and then miss the thrust with my first shot. I probaly would have had him if I'd followed up faster when he let go of his polearm, but I was too slow.

The next three are of me fighting a squire of Duke Gryfith. The long conversation in the first one is me trying to talk him out of taking a real wambly shot that he had clearly blocked. The embarasing part is how long it took me to kill him after I'd taken his arm. Note how the rules save me when he accidentally punches me in the face with his gauntlet.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Training and Links

I've added a bunch of links to my blog over there on the right ---->

They are three of my favorite fighting styles, the three armorers I work most with, and a cool SCA demo site. Check them out.

Training. Yesterday I rode my bike to work again, 30 miles round trip. Today should be kettle bells. But hopefully tomorrow will be Nutley.

Monday, July 11, 2011

BAT practice

Got into armor at BAT on Sunday. First time since a slight medical issue that occurred in California (at 47 I am now old enough for slight medical issues).

Started out by renewing my rapier authorization after a 25 year lapse. I fight it at practice all the time, but haven't been authorized since before there were society wide rules and all we had to use were epees. So I have more stuff to buy at Pennsic.

Donned my armor. Only fought 4 sets of fights, but there were only four of us geared up. Fought Dugal with Bastards swords. He is good but he comes straight forward and relies on the thrust. I was going back to basics, using my Elrik influenced long-point style and did well. Several times I got my sword on top of his and killed him, and once or twice killed him with the thrust. I could not kill him with a molinee however, and that usually works for me.

Next I fought Andrew with glaives. He is getting better. A straight up attack worked fine but opposing my thumbs didn't.

Fought Dugal sword and shield. Felt good.

Next I fought Nick with sword and shield. By then my arms were tired so it was an exercise in beating fatigue. His defense is always tight and he hits like a stone mason, so its a fun fight. He reminded me why I fight sword forward, even though I don't like that style.
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Saturday, July 9, 2011

work has begun

A good start this week to my training program. In addition to kettle bells on Monday I went on a 30 mile bike ride on Tuesday. Wed was a recovery day (except that I works my entail job). Thursday I did Yoga and Friday, in spite of some back pain, I did my Indian clubs. Tomorrow I fight.
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Monday, July 4, 2011

Training for crown

Last post for today, then I have to get cracking on some real work.

Act two of crown training was spposed to start tomorrow. My first act has been limited to yoga and indian clubs and working reatail (great workout, retail, especially when stairs and ladders are involved) and fighting in Western crown. But I've been injured recently with a back that is bothering me (although it seems better when I've been fighting) and I've been working three jobs. Plus I had a slight health issue when I was in Cali that still needs to be resolved (read: I fainted, woke up alone on the floor of my room at a Motel 6 in Rhonert Park, which is not how I would like to go out--it seems to have been dehydration and stress plus way too much coffee). Tomorrow I start teaching summer sessiion, which means long long bike rides up to City College every day and Wednesday nights off (excpet for this Wednesday, natch).

In fact, act two started today, July 4. On employee apreciation day at Paragon I bought a sleeping bag, a brace, atheletic tape, socks, and a 12 kilo kettle bell. That's about 26 pounds. Today I used it for the first time and did my whole kettle bell workout:

Standingg rows
curl & press
two-handed front straight-arm raises/tricep extensions
two handed swings
Swinging stop-motion curls
one handed switch-swings
one handed snatch
turkish lift

I feel great! Tomorrow is the long bike ride and maybe indian clubs.

Now back to writing for pay.....

Some Crown Videos

I posted two of Hanna's videos to YouTube.

It's odd reading my descriptions of these fights and then watching the videos. I got things so wrong. I totally forgot we double killed in this fight.


I thought we went core-to-sore three times, not twice. But, like I said, that round was a bit of a blur.

More videos to follow.

More on West Kingdom June Crown

Finally, after two weeks I'm able to sit down and write more about Western crown.

1.) This is Rolf's ninth royal reign, five as King and four as Prince of Cynagua. His first reign was as Cynagua's second prince in AS XV (1980). Thirty-one years ago. His first reign as king was AS XVIII (1983). Twenty-seven years ago. His accomplishments rank with those of any duke at this point. Plus, I've been fighting Rolf since the day I first put on armor, right up to fighting him in the warm up melee this last crown, and I've still never beaten him. That was kind of amusing. I had just killed Sir Collin MacLear and Rolf had killed someone else. There were two guys fighting on their knees. Rolf and I looked at each other, then at the guys on their knees. One guy (it was probably Count Alfar) killed the other and Rolf said “You wanna do this now, Val?” He is, after all, the head of my household and we were fighting out of the same pavilion and we seem to fight each other in every crown. I think we both wanted to wait until later. But finally I said “nah, lets let the the guy on his knees watch. We fought and he killed me with a short punching shot from his mace.

2.) Finally, finally, finally I was a one seed in an Western list. In the West they break the lists into four fields and place the highest ranked fighter (by precedence) in the one slot on that field, then spread the other knights and the unbelteds who are crossed over out in the bracket. There were two dukes and three counts, one of whom was unbelted, so I ended up being the one seed on my field. It has no effect on who your first round fight will be wince that’s a challenge round and ended up with one of the best unbelted fighters in the kingdom first round. Now, it was a really tough tough field, with Sig and Loy and Bjarni and Eigil and I think Geoffrey Scott in it too. But that’s the way crown should be—tough. It is an honor I have always coveted—my personal sin being vanity. I guess you could say I was a one seed last fall in the East, since in the pool play there were three Dukes and two counts, and they put me and Thorsen on the same field.

3.) Rolf fought Duke Alden in the finals. Only two dukes in the list and guess who winds up in finals. Alden is Rolf's grand-squire, and they had trained together with Sagan for years. They know each other like brothers. Alden was using a little tiny square shield while Rolf was using his usual long kite. Alden was using a neat crouching sword forward style, not unlike Torgul’s round-shield style, while Rolf still doesn't even sword block. He fights the same way he did in AS 13. In both the fights Rolf won he took Alden's leg and then worked him till he was dead. They were among the neatest finals I've seen--clean, fun, honorable, and with two great contrasting styles fought by two truly great fighters.

4.) Sig placed third, which deserves a mention.

5.) The last unbelted fighter in the list was Roger Stockton. He killed two knights and lost to Viscout Rorik (who has finaled three times in crown) and to Rolf. It was a great day for him. The top level guys can beat Roger but the rest of the Westerners haven't figured him out yet (try moving laterally guys). He has been doing well in both the East and the West, which is also worth mentioning.

6.) As I said, I fought three of Uther's guys, small bunny round versus center-grip round, big center grip kite, and center grip heater. Like Alden, when I lost my leg I lost the fight.

7.) I love using the bunny round against lefties almost as much as I love using a center-grip kite against lefties. My fights against Alfar in roses were fantastic.

8.) On Sunday we held the long delayed discussion on terminology, which naturally turned into a discussion on technique. I learned a few things.
a.) Marc (most of this is up on his website) fights primarily in long-point and creates an A-frame defense. His only other guard is a hanging guard. He fights on his toes, strikes on the side of his forward foot except when crossing laterally, and times his blows to land when his foot stops moving.
b.) Hauoc generates all his power out of movement, or so he claims: I always thought that downward counter-strike of his was with feet planted. He says he steps with every blow he throws. He discussed the philosophy of the first-fastest (guarding where your oponent's fastest shot is available), which I’ve written about.
c.) Fabian and Hauoc did offense defense drills a la Sagan, wherein they struck in time with their opponent as their strike opened up a window. I’ve been trying to be able to do that for thirty-one years now.

There was more but that is most of what I absorbed.