Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March Crown AS 46

Crown #84

Things I discovered or was reminded of this weekend:

• When you are in a fight, fight! Don’t teach!
• I still know how to do this fighting thing
• As tricky as you might be, the Duke is trickier
• My best stuff puts a lot of strain on my elbow
• Brand McClellan is a God. So is Hauoc

So last weekend was March Crown in the West Kingdom. March Crown is a big deal to me. My first event was a March Crown, in AS 12. The crown I won was a March Crown in AS 28. I haven’t been to a lot of them lately. I try to make June Crown every year, not March (though with a teacher’s schedule, March is a better one for me to win). But this year there were four things going on that I want to be there for. First of all, there was a party for Duke James Greyhelm, one of my best SCA friends, one of my heroes growing up, and the king who knighted me. A lot of the knights in James’ line (there are 50 as of this weekend) were flying in from all over the world to toast him. Some of them he had never met. Duke Jade of Starfall, James’ squire, was celebrating the 25th anniversary of his knighting (which I had been there for), and Duke Henrik of Havn, the second SCA knight, was celebrating the 45th anniversary of his knighting. Duke Lucan was planning to go and fight in Western Crown, which I really wanted to see. As it turned out Lucan couldn’t make it, but the other stuff happened.

The lists were epic! The West has an open crown, and with so many out of kingdom fighters in for Jame’s testimonial, there were a lot of non-Western fighters in the lists. There were fighters from the West, the East, Artemesia, Lochac, Drachenvald, and An Tir that I know of for sure. I think there were also fighters from CAID and Atenveldt in the list as well. There were a number of them present. The foreign fighters included a Duke Reinmar from Artemisia and Count Theodrich from Lochac, myself, and several other knights and squires.

The fighting was awesome! The victor of the lists was Duke Hauoc. The Comenndabilis was Viscount Brand. Both of them advanced to the finals without a loss. Brand had done so fighting with his short glaive while Hauoc had done so fighting with his little 12” long heater shield. They were feats of incredible prowess, on both sides. Hauoc, one of the best fighters in the SCA, was fighting better than I had ever seen him fight before. He’s 6’8”, which is a lot of space to cover with a 12” shied. His sword work, which is always precise, was perfect. Brand was stunning as well. His fight against Alden in the semi-finals looked like something out of the movie Troy. When they got to the finals Brand, who is one of the kindest and most humble men I know, went up to Hauoc and said that fighting against that tiny shield with his glaive probably wouldn’t be fair, so he’d like to switch to sword and shield. He is a great sword and shield fighter, but he was unstoppable with his glaive on Saturday. Hauoc told him that he had won the day with glaive and he should stick to it, but Brand insisted. Hauoc beat him in two straight fights. It was practically a sword clinic. Brand was obviously in the fight, obviously trying to win it—and with the glaive we all know he would have (even Hauoc said he couldn’t have beaten Brand with his glaive). It was an amazing gesture.

I have lifted on Monday, doing circuit training at school, but I had done nothing but stretch the rest of the week so I wouldn’t be over-taxed for the tourney.

My elbow had actually been bothering me on Friday and Saturday. I was worried about it. Turns out I was right to be. I did not fight roses because my elbow was really starting to bother me. However, unlike in the fall when it hurt for weeks, after the lists I took some ibuprofen, iced it down, and it has felt fine ever since. I was doing my physical therapy with a rubber band because I can’t take the Indian clubs in a carryon.

I debated for a long time whether to do what I usually do in Western Crown and use my bunny round or bring my regular 2x3 heater shield out. I settled on using my regular shield because I am trying to get back into shape after a layoff, and I’m training for Eastern Crown (assuming I didn’t win Western Crown, which I made a good hard effort to do). Since I was packing the hockey bag and bringing my shield, I also brought out my gambeson my kidney belt, and both my swords: the short fast one without a thrusting tip and my longer one with a thrusting tip. My plan was to use the shorter one, which I felt would be easier on my elbow, unless I faced a great-weapon fighter, a two sword fighter, or a lefty, in which case I would want the thrusting tip. Best laid plans…

I warmed up first against one of Uther’s fighters whom I did not know. He was using a heater and a short sword, my old game. He got me once with a thrust but other than that I felt very good. My movement was good left to right, and it won me a couple of the passes.

Next I fought Brian of Belatrix and he clobbered me! It was wicked. He was aggressive, he was fast, he was all over me. I don’t think I killed him once. Then I fought a girl from Oertha whom I don’t know. I killed her multiple times with high snaps. I also fought in the warm-up mêlée, but I couldn’t tell you who I fought.

I was challenged by a fighter named Villi from Cloondara. He is left handed. He has only been fighting a few months but he has already won a tourney. He is a fencer, and it shows in his style. He does not have a lot of follow through and uses two much arm. He almost killed me twice. The second time was funny. I had been giving him advice all morning and I slipped into teaching mode. I dropped my shield and was talking to him and he slid his sword very lightly down my nasal. Luckily I was just out of range. He grinned at me and I laughed, but it was stupid! After that I got serious. I hit him with an off side head shot.

My second round fight was Sir Geofrey Mathias. He is a good two sword fighter. Again I took my slightly heavier thrusting sword. We had a rockin fun fight. I love fighting Geofrey. I managed to get him with a shoulder thrust after an off-side cut.

My third round fight was against Sir Jost, a recent transplant from Atenveldt. This was a fight tailor made for me. We were both using heaters and, I believer, short broadswords without thrusting tips. I won by hooking his shield downward and side stepping as I threw a snap.

My fourth round fight was against Sir Lawrence of the Marsh. I lost to him in a crown once back around AS 29 or so (the crown Veniamin won) but hadn’t fought him since. I felt the same way then that I did Saturday. What happened? He is an odd fight. I always feel I should beat him but it is really hard. In that fight I wished I was using the longer sword, because I missed him clean at least twice. He killed me with an off-side head shot that, watching him later, seemed to be his bread-and-butter. I was simple, high snap, kind of Gendy like in angle but not in technique, with a tip heavy sword to carry it forward. First loss. After that I stuck with the thrusting sword.

I fought in both the melees between 4th and 5th rounds. In one of them I beat Cyrus with a hook/thrust. I alos killed Darkin’s son. In both of them I lost to Alden but had awesome fights with him. I was winded but feeling really good.

My fifth round fight was against an un-belted fighter named Klaus (I think). He was either from Artemisia or from Atenveldt (I think the latter judging from his surcotte, a Russian coat like Duke Eduard wears). I tried to get his leg several times and ended up getting it with that Martin the Temperate hidden leg shot Radnor taught me (elbow high, sword resting on shoulder, palm down, fold your elbow into your side and drop the sword onto the leg. Works well). He was sitting too square to me so I killed him with a thrust to the body. It was clear that the longer, more tip-heavy sword was putting stress on my elbow, which was starting to hurt.

My sixth round fight was against Duke Alden. This fight was both glorious and frustrating: glorious because it was so much fun (we were doing much the same thing in this fight); frustrating because he got me out of my game and into his. I’m good at mind games but Alden is better. He’s tricksy. He has lately been trying to emulate cat-like movements. He stalked around me, but I cut him off. He moved in and out but I held my ground. He lowered his shield a bit, then raised it, the lowered it. He brought his sword down to threaten a thrust. I do a lot of that stuff too, and he got me doing it. We had a few good exchanges at first, very quick, then one of us would back out. His plan all along was to sucker me into moving forward in a line, then he would back out and time a cross shot for the moment when my right foot landed. Guess who finally moved in on a straight line! He clobbered me. At least my death was dramatic.

Sig said he knew about a minute and a half before that Alden had won the fight and how he would kill me. That means I let myself get played. I watched fights against Roger and (I believe) Lawrence, and he won those in the same way. Sig also said he could tell that with my thrusting sword and the heater that the heater got in the way of things I wanted to do. He is right about that. One thing about that short broadsword is that I only have four or five shots with it. I’m not at a far enough range to do anything fancy.

Because of how my elbow felt I didn’t go out and fight roses. I started to but stopped myself and peeled off my armor before I forgot and hurt myself.

So that was my list. My benchmark for crown is five rounds and hopefully kill one knight. I went six rounds and killed two knights. I fought very well, especially for all the rust. The gym is working because my wind was good. My arm felt strain but didn’t tire out (much). I killed with off-side head shots, shield hooks with snaps, and a thrust. Throw in warmups and mellees and I did a lot more stuff. The guys who took me out, Alden and Lawrence, were the two semi-finalists who didn’t advance, so they were having good days. I’m happy! It was fun!!

The list, as I said, was epic, and I am so proud to have been a part of it!

It is 39 days till East Kingdom Crown in Ruantallen.

1 comment:

Steve Muhlberger said...

Long ago in the Midrealm some of us used to say that the real prize in Crown was coming in second. Lots of respect, no work. :-)