Monday, October 3, 2011


My favorite Ostgardr event is the Fort Tryon Medieval Fair demo. The fair is put on annually by the NYC parks department in the park where the Cloisters museum is located. It is a great New York type event. Incredibly crowded and full of energy, and just a little bit weird. I love it. We usually get a good audience for our shows and this time was no exception. We also have a very well organized demo team in Ostgardr. Under a big Marquis tent and a few pop ups we had pictures and fliers, arms and armor, and demonstrations of spinning, weaving, sewing, leather work, armoring, and stone carving. There was dancing, rapier, and chivalric combat. They put on a good show. On top of that, Gui and Johanna are turning out to be a GREAT Viceroy and Vicereign. They were a strong presence this weekend. Gui made new weapons, organized the fighting, oversaw the tourney, and played the crowd.

The tourney, by the way, was for the Champion of Ostgardr. It was limited to unbelted fighters living in the province. There were four combatants and the victor was Tormundr.

In progress weapons

The weapons rack at Cloisters

Of course, I was mostly there to fight.

The bad news is that I've decided to abandon my training schedule to let my elbow heal. I took a week off to let it heal, went to the orthopedist (who confirmed that it is tendinitis and not something more serious) and even had two spa treatments (I was on vacation after all). I had had an opportunity to fight on Saturday at coronation, which I'd been looking forward to, but decided that I wanted to rest it a full week. It didn't' help. In fact, my elbow hurt worse on Sunday than it ever has.

As I've said in the past, a demo is not someplace you work on technique. There is too much show going on for that. Even if you are fighting the way you always fight, the people you are fighting are often doing something crazy. However, it is a great place to get in helmet time and fight with odd weapons.

I was not fighting well at all. My elbow was effecting both my speed and power. But I was having fun none the less. All of the fights except in the tourney were to counted blows, usually three. Gui had made new maces using the awesome rubber mace heads Icefalcon is selling. Those got a lot of use! I fought one handed at the barrier against Tormundr with them. Then I fought with great sword and great ax. Later I did some fights with sword and shield. My last set of fights I was fighting sword and shield against Timur and my elbow just would no longer function. I won the first fight and then just gave up on my right arm. I switched to fighting left handed with no shield. I struck him twice more as he struck me, so I won that fight, but that was when I decided that I'm not fighting again for at least two weeks, possibly three.

Once again, I cannot stress how how useful a barrier is at a demo. It provides for some really dramatic fighting, it's showy, and it keeps the fights rooted into one place so they don't get too close to the audience. For the finale of the day I ran a single-sword melee at the barrier the way they do it in the West, where you have two guys on each side and as they are struck they cycle out and are replaced by new fighters, so the action is fast paced and non-stop. We disallowed arm shots to make it more dramatic. They destroyed the barrier in the process. It was a lot of fun!

This was my eleventh time in armor since Pennsic. Unfortunately, I will not be in armor again for at least two weeks, probably not until Nutley on Wednesday the 26th.

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