Monday, July 2, 2012

Western Crown

No, I did NOT fight in Western Crown. It is the first June Crown I have missed since 1999, but I fought in March, when the air fares were lower. It is too bad, because I think I would have done pretty well. This post is to talk about a few issues that came out of crown--not with the fighting, which was from what I've heard great, but with the format. And it talks about some other stuff.

I continue to rehab my elbow with strong results. It still twinges from time to time, but is pretty strong. It gets better every day. I can't say enough about how useful the flexbar is in my rehab, nor about the value of Indian clubs. On Thursday I saw a specialist about my Achilles tendon. He said that my running days are probably numbered. I have torn it slightly multiple times and scar tissue has weakened. it. He told me to do what I have been doing--calf raises to strengthen it and tape it before I do anything with it. 

Last week I was heading into my race, so I didn't work out much. I stretched, went on one long bike ride,a and that was it. The race, however, was AWESOME! i certainly wasn't fast--I ran it in 51:25.3. However, I was pretty strong. I ran between the obstacles. I didn't skip any of them. I pushed myself hard. I even ran in the part where they made us carry a tire up over a hill twice. My knees are all scraped to hell and I was pretty winded. The long stretch on the tarmac was truly a killer: but I finished and felt great. It was good to have a goal, good to train for something, and really good to accomplish it. It wasn't a monumental task by any stretch (a 10K or 12K would have been a real challenge), but it was hard and I did it! Yay me :) 

And with my ankle taped up I recovered very quickly.

I didn't fight this week, so I'm going to talk about Western Crown instead. Western Crown was fought in an odd format called "The Crucible". Essentially, it was a variation on the format used for La Prova Dura. There were 60 fighters in the lists. Like recent Eastern crowns it started out with four pools that were fought as round robins. The first twist was that fighters could enter who were not fighting for the crown itself. Their fights counted as non-destructive byes. Fourteen fighters entered the lists without fighting for the crown. This created a situation where top-level fighers, who always want to fight, could enter the lists without intending to win, and this is what happened. Among those fighting but not competing were the only dukes in the list, Brand, and Prince Loy of the Mists. The second twist was that the second part of the list was not an elimination list. Eight people (not sixteen) were advanced to the second round and they ALSO fought a round robin. The idea was that the top two from this would go to finals. 

But it didn't work out that way. First there was a three-way tie for the last spot in the round of eight, which had to be fought as a round robin. Then there was a four-way tie at the end of the round of eight, so they had to fight a four man round robin to get down to two fighters. The fighters liked it drove the lists people crazy! Not only did they not have enough support staff but they almost didn't finish by dark, and this was June! It would probably be better in the future if they were to not do full honors after the first bout (but keep the challenge round), and do a double elimination list with sixteen fighters after the round robin. 

The result of the whole things was very interesting. The presence of dukes in the list but not fighting for the crown made it appear to be a very light list. The only count in the tourney advanced, as did some of the usual suspects, but other fighters in the final eight were real surprises (pleasant surprises: we were following the lists via twitter on our way home from war camp, and when I heard Robert of Woodsende had advanced I was elated). 

The end result was unusual too. Frankly, this looked like a coronet final, not a crown final. It included two knights, neither of them royal peers, both of whom had recently moved to the West. This indicates, among other things, that the mid-level Western fighters are lagging behind the rest of the known world, or it could be that Yost and Roger just had great days. They both fight a big shield defensive counter punching style, not popular in the West. But it is also really odd for a Western king not to have reigned as Prince first--the last one was Stephen of Belatrix twenty years ago. A few Western knights were complaining that the finals looked boring and ugly because both fighters used large heater shields and a sword forward style, which once upon a time would have earned universal scorn in the West. That defensive style is effective, particularly among mid level fighters, but people like King Hauoc with his tiny tiny heater (to cover his extremely long legs) represent how the old West sees itself. There is rending of garments and gnashing of teeth over how low the quality of Western fighting has sunk.  (since I fight this way now, like an Easterner, I don't subscribe to that Western prejudice anymore)

Below is the finals between Yost and Roger. It is from Viscountess Aeschine's YouTube channel, which has lots of videos from the tourney posted (and other good fighting videos as well). It looks fun and honorable, and I would have been happy with either of them winning--I always like to see new blood on the thrones. (In fact, I would have been happy with any of the final eight) Congratulations Roger and Zanobia!

1 comment:

M.A. Cramer/Valgard said...

Marc pointed out that he was in the list but not fighting for the crown. Count Alfar was in the list and was fighting for the crown.