Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fall Crown 2011

Ok: no more fighting till January. Got to heal.

I had a great crown in many respects. No, I didn’t fight as well as I wanted to. I got taken out by two guys whom I normally beat. I’ve been training with Oscad, and doing slightly better than him in most weapons forms. He went to the final four--not an indication that I’d have gone that far, just frustrating. But I am happy with this crown for a lot of reasons. First off, I made it out of my pool, which was my main goal going in. I had some great fights, and even though I fought like crap I persevered.

I had not fought for a month, hoping to heal my elbow. I took some ibuprofen and warmed up. Even though it always slows me down and makes fighting harder, I put on my neoprene elbow brace.

My first fight it was terrible. I fought Willum, the new OTC. My blows were slow, my targeting off. I was striking like crap. Don’t know how I beat him. By the end of the pool my arm was hamburger, then it got worse. In the break I cooled down and stiffened up. That sucked. I couldn’t actually lift my arm directly to my shoulder. I couldn’t’ do a bicep curl while holding anything. Instead I had to lift with my shoulder and then swing the sword around my head, like an over head return. After my first fight I was able to use some of my sword-forward techniques, but by the end (and probably, effectively, all day) I only had about three shots. I was limited to classic bellatrix style which uses next to no arm strength to generate power. Head shot, off-side head, leg. That was about it. I tried some hammer blows and the classic 1-2, but not to any effect.
I was sitting with Artos and Gwyn. Gwyn is a great coach and Artos is my swing doctor. They are even more Western-centric than I am, being prejudiced against big shields and in favor of tip-heavy swords and the bellatrix snap. But they were right about what I was doing: I needed to sit into my shots, relax and fire. More on this later.

The worst thing about the injury was not being able to grip the sword properly. I hit three people in the side of the head with full on Bellatrix snaps, from behind my head, and it was shrugged off. I hit three people with my hook-thrust, my best shot, and that got shrugged off two. Given the number of blows getting shrugged off, and by different fighters, the obvious answer is that I couldn’t deliver a sholid blow because I couldn’t grip the sword properly.

I was in a very tough pool. They seeded the list kind of weird. They said they were going to do it by order of precedence, but they didn’t. They also didn’t do what they had done last time we had pools like this, with three dukes and two counts. That time they put a duke on the first three fields and Thorsen and I on the fourth. This time they gave Edward his own field and put me on the field with Brion—this is fine, because I wasn’t fighting well enough to warrant my own field. I’m told that what they did was seed the dukes in alphabetical order and then the counts the same way.

Anyway, my pool had Brion in it. There were four lefties, including John the Breeder. It also had Eric Hundeman (sp) who gives me fits. The third knight on our field was Sir Collin. Tough pool.

I had three losses and seven wins, which was enough to advance. I placed fourth in the pool, and all three of my losses were to the other three fighters who advanced: Kenewulf, John, and Brion.

The fights I lost were the ones that stood out. (isn’t it always the way that your favorite fights are the ones you loose?). Against Brion I fought really really well. I was warmed up but my elbow hadn’t tightened up too much. IU hyad gotten the first fight out of the way and I was more relaxed. And it was Brion, so I was totally focused. My defense was good, my offense pressed him, and I even tried a spin move on him—my plan had actually been that he would catch the spin on his shield and then I’d throw a back hand to his leg. It almost worked, but almost isn’t worth much. But that was a really fun fight. John and Kenewulf both beat me by being super-aggressive and forcing me out of my game. (not unlike what Oscad was doing all day).

Collin said my fight with him put him off his game because, using the heater, I had many more angles covered and he couldn’t knock my shield around. I got him by taking his leg and the hitting him in the body. Eric I got with a great low-line body thrust. The upward thrust was having no power problems. Artos and Gwyn, watching these fights, kept encouraging me to throw classic snaps, to relax and fire from my butt. Not only had I painted my shield but I re-strapped it as well. I lowered my hand, changing the angle my arm was at, so that I had better off side protection. It worked well, but I did get my sword caught up a few times on the top edge. Just take some getting used to. Artos was razzing me about it all day. “you fight so much better with a bunny round”, “what are you doing using sword blocks when you got that big shield to hide behind?” etc.

The elimination portion was a double elimination with sixteen fighters, the top four from each pool. Each round was 2 out of three, matched weapons, higher ranked fighter chose first. I did not do so well. My first fight was against Jan Janovitch. I chose great-sword, then made the same mistake against him that I’d made against Ron, faked high and shot for his leg and he just hit me on the top of the head. Our second fight was with sword and shield. I hit him with both a snap and a hook thrust, neither of which he took (the thrust probably just caught his camail). He got me with a straight up snap after a long fight.

My second set of fights was with a fighter from Quintavia named—I thin—either Valdur or Evaldur. I’d seen him fight earlier in the day. I took sword and shield first and, after a really long fight, I hit him in the head. Then we fought polearm and he killed me, but I had a blast. I was really into that fight. I was using my new poleax and chased him all around the field. Our third fight was two-weapon. He took two arming swords while I fought sword and short-sword. I took his arm and then killed him with a body shot.

My next fight was against Jabril. He showed a lot of patience. I chose sword and shield first and could not break his defense down. Then we had a great great-sword fight, which he won when I missed a shot at his head and didn’t recover properly, so my sword was out of position. Great fight.

At no point did I chose the sword in one hand, which I’d considered. I wish I’d done it against Jabril.

The tourney itself was awesome. I picked the final-four, the finalists, and the winner two weeks ago when the list came out, so I felt the great prognosticator. The final four were Omega vs Kenrick and Edward vs. Oscad. Kenrick beat Omega in two fights. Oscad beat Edward with greatsword and then lost a two weapon fight because he talked Edward out of taking a shot. That was his game, but after Edward was almost slain he found another gear and just turned it on. He was swinging hard with both swords and Oscad said he was hitting harder than Douglas. It was fantastic. In the finals, Kenrick won the great sword and the two weapon fights, Edward won the polearm and the first sword and shield fight. In the last fight Kenrick took his leg, then his arm, then killed him. Everyone was happy. Kenrick had been in finals something like eight times before.

My tourney was awesome too. All told I fought seventeen fights and I won nine of them. I fought like crap, at no more than 50% of my normal level. Not what it takes to contend but a good day considering.


Anonymous said...

Nice review, I could see the injury hampering you.
This was Kenrick's fifth final.

BdeB said...

I've had a lot of similar issues with tendonitis over the years so I get you on the 'can't feel my hand = can't throw a hard blow'. When I am having a flare up I have to tell fighters all the time not to worry about it. Rest is key with this injury as is constant PT to build up the supporting muscles around the joint to take pressure off the nerve. I was forunate that I had a PT that watched film, handled my weapon and shield and helped me design katas based off sword blows to help me get through it. Good luck to you and if you need advice about it let me know!