Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sunday 9/25 at Conrad's

For practice on Sunday we skipped out on BAT and went to Conrad’s house in Jersey. The knights resent were me, Oscad, Conrad and Roger. Unbelts included Shandar, Deklin, Wulfgar, Gunther and Johnathan. It was an excellent practice.

My elbow needs to be xrayed and it needs rest. I am still convinced that this is tendinitis, but it flares up regularly and it is really painful. It is effecting my technique, my speed, my power, and I ended up getting out of armor much too early because of it. As a result this practice started out great and ended up being frustrating.

Very oddly, I fell into a technique I can’t recall ever using before. I think it was to rest my elbow. I wasn’t doing it constantly, but that I was going it at all surprised me because it was unplanned. I am not sure it was at all effective, but it was interesting. I was essentially fighting like Kelson but goofy footed, which I suppose made it more like Omega. I went into a slight crouch, raised the front corner of my shield, looked past the front edge instead of over the top, and kept my sword low, in a true saber parry 3 position. Like Kelson, I was guarding left side with the shield, right side with the sword. It was an interesting defense, so long as I moved my feet a lot.

I fought Wulfgar, (not Master Wulfgar) first. He usually hits very hard but he was being tentative and not committing to his shots. He was also over swinging. I began experimenting, which is how I fell into the odd guard I was playing with.

Next I fought Conrad which was awesome. I killed him a number of times, the best one being a simple old-school trick of throwing a flat snap, slide-stepping to the right, and throwing the same snap. It is a trick employed by both Bellatrix and Von Dresden. I also got him a few times with the hook, particularly the top-edge hook, but he says I am using it too much and I hooked too deep and caught his bicep at one point. E also said he expected me to hook and then throw a leg as he recovered, which is odd because that is something that I do and I don’t know why I didn’t attempt it against him. We took each others legs several times and once he got me with a shot that never should have worked, what looked like a wavy-rising snap that turned into a straight down body shot to my right pec. Nice bruise too.

I fought Roger next and that was interesting. He is pumped up with that “I just got knighted!!!” extra 20%. He’s more aggressive and more precise and he is not over thinking or worrying about his fights. I killed him with a few thrusts, but it was mostly an exercise in defense for me. He was tight and on. He got me with an interesting stop thrust right in the face.

My fights with Oscad were awesome as usual. In the past we have fought a lot alike, mostly to my advantage. He would work mostly at long range, use sword blocks and foot work, use kind of a saber attack off his blocks with a good straight line thrust. He doesn’t’ realize it (we talked later) but around Birka his fighting took a big change, and he now is more aggressive, he closes right away, he mobs me with offense and he presses his attacks. It is the main reason why he got knighted, but he doesn’t realize he’s doing it. Our fights were a blast. He won more than I did and my best kill on him was when I was on my knees and he was crowding me, I got him with a sit-down dropping shot, like I killed Doug with two weeks ago. Conrad said that it looked like I owned his leg early on but then went away from it to work on other things (true) but by the time I went back to it I was too gassed to take it (also true).

After that I stopped fighting. I wanted to fight everybody there, but I took my legs off to use the bathroom, cooled down, and when I next moved my elbow it didn’t want to move any more.

Two interesting things from this practice: I am definitely game planning around my elbow. I don’t ave much of a wrap. I’m not using some shots because of the strain they’d put on me, I am using more Bellatrix technique to rest that tendon, I’m slower and have a very weak off side, so I may be thrusting a bit more. Second, roger says he fights and does better against me if I am using the heater, while Conrad (and earlier Ice) say I am much more effective with the heater and am a much more serious threat. In both cases it is for the same reason: I am intentionally trying to fight like an Easterner, not only in shield shape but also in technique, style, and shot selection. I use fewer molinees, fewer fakes, fewer tear-drop returns, I keep my hand forward in a sword-side guard and, most importantly, I am trying to be a defensive fighter and counter punch rather than an offensive fighter and create openings. To Roger this makes me less of a threat because I’m not doing anything that freaks him out. He is comfortable in that fight. To Duke Conrad, who was never freaked out by me (even when he was an unbelted fighter) it makes me much more effective, because now I am fighting a smart fight. Both of them see the same thing—that I am fighting more like them—but it means different things to each of them. I find that to be pretty cool.

I asked Conrad what one thing he would have me work on. He said I should add an offside shot of a rising snap—not quite the one he hit me with, as he demonstrated. He wants me to cock like it’s a wavy rising snap but pull my elbow in as I throw the rising part then drive it up into a straight off-side head or off-side body. It should be distinct from a butterfly because it doesn’t take that sweeping upward arc. It is kind of like the blow Radnor gave to Leon when he fixed his elbow cop during coronet finals, when Leon beat Uther.

This was my tenth time in armor since Pennsic (!!). Commitments in October will make it hard to get ten more practices in. My nest time in armor will likely be at the pas d'armes at Gregor's coronation. This will give me five days of rest on my elbow. If not then it will be at Cloisters on Sunday. However, I'm planning on seeing the doctor today, and I might end up taking more time off as a result. Such is life.

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