Thursday, December 6, 2012
Back in armor!
Ah! The soft sting of rattan!
Last night was my first time in armor since crown. It was painful, fun, and even a bit exciting and new. Every once in awhile you have to make it new. I decided after crown that I was breaking up the time between now and next Spring crown (which I may not even be able to fight in, which would suck!) into clear blocks with clear moments and goals. I tell my students that the life of an athlete, from the time they start playing pop-warner or little league till they finally retire, even if they retire as a professional, never really changes. It revolves around the seasons: off-season, pre-season, season, post-season, and the end of the year banquet (this is all my lead in for discussing professional speakers on tour). This is one way to look at fighting. Right now we are in the off season. Birka (Or Estrella) begins the pre-season. Mudthaw or White Shield begins the regular season. We don’t really have a post season in the SCA. Meanwhile I have great things to report.
Rehab is going great. As detailed below, my Achilles has improved greatly. It is better than I had thought it would be by now. I need to concentrate more on shoulders at this point.
First order of business is my workouts. In the off season, also known as the fat season, I decided to radically change up my workout regimen and do something I have avoided for a long time in fighting, go on an actual body building spree. I don’t expect to gain a lot of muscle, and I actually don’t want to gain any weight, but I do want to get stronger. It is a big change in philosophy for me.
The cornerstone of the Bellatrix style is that it should require no upper body strength. Paul is one of the strongest human beings I have ever met, but he intentionally de-emphasized his strength. Every one of his techniques I designed to be just as effective when used by someone who weighs 120 pounds as by someone who weighs 250 pounds. William the Lucky, another of my Avatars, used to say people who are extremely strong will have poor technique because they never had to learn it. I am still not someone who believes in being super-big and strong like Omega or Wolfhier of Stonemarch, but the simple fact of the matter is that all of the dukes around here are stronger than I am, and if I want to join their ranks I probably need to beef up a bit. Plus I had people blowing off some shots at crown, so there is obviously something wrong with how I am throwing them, and maybe it’s that I just need to be stronger. There has been some variation: at thanks giving I didn’t have a gym, so I ran, did Yoga, and improvised a WOD with a cinder block.
As a result, for the off-season, I have gone to a good old-fashioned weight workout and pushed myself in several areas. I break it down to three days in the gym: one for arms and shoulders, one for chest and back, one for legs and abs. I break each of those down into groups of exercises: warm-ups, tone, and strength. Usually (I play around with the first two) I will warm up with dumbbells, tone with machines, and then build strength with barbells. For instance, Monday’s workout included hammer curls, triceps extensions, and dumbbell presses, graduated weight on the spider curl machine, the triceps machine and the shoulder press machine. Then I went for bulk, and built up weight on the straight bar with curls and military press, and a straight-bar cable push. I ended with the fighter dumbbell combos, but sometimes I will do a feat of strength, like dead lifts or a Turkish lift or a clean and jerk.
The results have been pretty good. My max weight on presses and curls is up to 80 pounds. My deadlift weight is now 235. I still haven’t made 135 on the clean and jerk, but that is coming.
Last night was Nutley Practice. It was the first time since Crown in October that I have put on armor. For the off season I have decided not to worry about my primary form, sword and shield, and, when I get into armor, fight with other stuff. I may pick up the heater between now and Birka, and I will very likely fight with the bunny round at 12th Night, but mostly I ma just having fun right now. Last night I fought sword and buckler. I used the Hauc style, pure Bellatrix, Squared up a la Connor or Gemeni, and a little I:33. I had a good time. I don’t know if I was hitting any harder, but I felt stronger. I fought four opponents—Alail (visiting from An Tir), Douglas, Vasilli, and John the Breeder. I killed each of them a couple of times, each of them killed me more. Alail I killed with old-school Westie stuff like a wavy-rising snap. Against Doulas, a two stick fighter, I just tried to stay alive. I did keep him at bay using the iron gate, but it didn’t rally set me up to kill him. My best shot on him was a simple off-side body shot. On Vasili I got a good cut when we were both on our knees and he squared up too much. I did a falling shot to his ribs, which kind of shocked him. Against B reeder I slipped in a face thrust, a body thrust, and I got him with a really old-school technique, what used to be my bread-and-butter shot, Radnor’s wavy-low molinee-slot shot. He over blocked and I hit him in the face. That will never happen again!
I have a great bruise Breeder gave me on the shoulder from a shot he swore was not good
I feel awesome!
It is 50 days until Birka. I don’t know when my next day in armor will be.