Thursday, February 21, 2013

Into the deep end of the pool

Nutley was deep this week--so deep that I did not get to fight Gregor or Douglas and still feel it was the best practice I've had in six months.

My left elbow continues to bother me and I am still trying to find exercises that work for it. It is on the inside, not the outside of the elbow, and my usual tennis elbow PT doesn't seem to help. The only exercise that works is the "wiper blade" exercise with the Indian clubs. Maybe the mixer works also. Still trying to get a handle on it. Everything else is fine.

Are great. I am not getting my pell work in but everything else is good. Last week I took Lizette's kick boxing class, I did lots of walking, pell work, kettle bells, and indian clubs. I did not, however, fight at Iron Bog as I had planned.

After Sunday's Beau Geste, I decided to settle into a few basic techniques for Nutley:

Closed Form Heater with sword blocks.
Walking around the thrust.
Off side head shots from the forward guard.

That was pretty much it. I wasn't interested in thrusting attacks, footwork, or counter punching. I did all those things, but off of thees things I was setting up.

I fought seven fighters at Nutley.

My first bouts were against Vasilli. The last few times I've fought him he has tried to muscle me around. This time it really didn't work. I won all but one of our fights by attacking his off side. I took his leg twice and then just worked him. When he took my leg I covered up. He came in with a really wide stance making it impossible for him to guard his legs. After I took his leg I hit him with an off side head.

Next I fought Gunvar, Omega's squire. That was mostly a training session. I let her swing and worked on defense, then threw some wavy-rising snaps and the quick over the shield face shot, both of which were effective. She was using a sword back style, which I have been training in for thirty-two years, so I was able to give her some lessons.

Next I fought Breeder and did better than I have against him since he was brand new. Much of that was because he was working on standing his ground--an advantage for me since his foot work is so excellent. Our first bout I closed behind the thrust while he was going for a downward cut, apparently expecting me to move left instead of right. We ended up with his back to me and I hit him in the kidneys. I also killed him with a body thrust as he was moving forward.

Then I fought Omega. I killed him twice, took his arm once, and we double killed once, which is probably the best I've done against him in years. This was also because he was working on new footwork. He was mixing up sword leg lead and shield leg lead, and it was causing him to put his shield a bit out of position. I was killing him exactly the way I was killing Vasilli--with off side head shots setting up the cross shot. When I stepped it up and started attacking he just killed me. When I had patience and just worked him steadily I was threatening him and I was hard to kill. He said my defense was especially tight. I also through Edric's foots stomp thrust. My targeting was a bit off, hitting him on the brow ridge, but he bit on the fake beautifully.  Patterning the molinee just got me killed.

I fought Tiberius next. He has Omega's off side cut-thrust down, and he killed me with a high snap because he's taller than I. I won the rest of our fights. My best move was probably taking his leg and killing him with Ed's version of the butterfly.

Then my sins caught up with me and I fought Stephan. He hit me so hard at one point I bit my tongue,, a short stick right above the basket hilt (he has killed me with this a lot recently, including in the sword and buckler tournament at 4 tourneys and an investiture. This time, however, I actually killed him. It is the first time I have killed stephen in several years. I am not sure how it happend. He stepped to his right and through a high wrap that did not reach. I stepped to my right, slipping his blow, and just sent out a flat snap that hit him in the neck. We had some great exchanges, and my defense was very tight. When I adopted his A-frame defense he could not hit me. Unfortunately, I have almost no offense out of that (what offense I do have, the off side face shot, was what I was working on that night, but I have trouble getting power into it from that guard.

After that I had some great sword fights with Avran. I think I won all of our bouts. I took his arm twice by putting my hands together to extend the range. Once he got a thrust tied up in my sleeve and, instead of withdrawing the blade kept pushing on it and coming forward, so I let go with that hand and took his leg with a one handed nodachi shot. The best thing he did was foil my best attack for an opponent on their knees. I tried it three times and just could not get it. I used four techniques in these sets: Gui's horse stance, which I need to stay away from, especially with a sword that has a tsuba instead of quillions; Paul's trusting guard; my standard long point/kendo guard, which was pretty effective; and Gregor's high-form chopping guard, which was once again most effective.  I got him several times just cutting over the top of his blade with that technique.

My next time in armor will be Sunday at the St. Adrian Mellee practice. It is 65 days until crown tourney.

Cold Cold Cold!

(this was accidentally posted onto the Beau Geste Blog on Monday) 

It was 29 degrees with a windchill of 15 today at the Besu Geste Tournament. I'm pretty sure my right buttocks hit a bit if frost bite. I dis not fight in the tournament itself, as i was the current Beau Geste, but I did get some fighting in, which was good. I had missed my planned practice in Iron Bog on Sunday.

My left elbow still feel inflamed, and while it doesn't seem to matter when I am fighting, it is annoying. I am doing Indian clubs and we will see how that helps.

my transition to a more fitness based workout feels weird. I work myself to a different feeling of fatigue. I don't feel the same burn any more. If course, that was the idea. Last week I hiked in deep snow, did a push up workout, yoga class, pell work, kickboxing class, and worked out with kettle bells. I am also on a liquid only crash diet coinciding with the start of lent and am back down to 216.

As I was Beau Geste I could not fight in the tournament, so I just got pickups before and after. I fought sets with the four fighters who were there: Tycho, Gui, Dougal, and Garrett. That was three lefties and a Florentine fighter. Joy.

I fought Tycho first with mace and shield. I was using the new rubber mace that Ice Falcon sells. A couple of times I found that it did not stick, that it bounced or rolled without a good impact. It is hard to say if it was due to my grip or the weird construction of the head or what. It was certainly not as bad as the rubber ax heads, which I find impossible to use. But it was not as effective as a softball mace or a rattan and foam based mace that is weighted. My best shot against Tycho was an off side head shot preceded by a stutter fake.

I also took the mace against Gui, a recipe for pain. Again, I hit him a few times, all near the top of the helm, to no effect. At that point I was trying so hard to target his face plate that I was loosing focus on my defense. I won two fights against him, one by taking his leg and then hitting him in the head, and one to his shoulder.y worse moment was when I was concentrating so much on footwork to get behind his shield and throw a weird angled face shot that, when he ducked my shot and moved, my momentum carried me beyond him and I ended up with my back to him.

After I fought Garrett, who placed second in the tournament. He is fast and hits hard. He killed me once or twice and I killed him three or four times. I tried Lucky's passing shot again but to no avail this time. I worked a lot on sword blocks in a high 3 and 4 (add up as opposed to a hanging guard, but guarding the face. Twice I beat him by taking his leg and once with an off side head strike. A few things worth noting are that when I killed him the first time i took his leg and then thrust him on the inside of his right thigh, where i was not aiming. I was aiming for his low belly. He assures me i did not hit him in the cup. The second time it was just a trigger shot to his off side head. He closed and the target opened and I took it. The final time I had taken his leg. I through a hard thrust at his face that he blocked but that pushed his shield back. Next I cheated my right foot out and fringed a thrust to the same place. He blocked it, blinding himself, and I passed through on my left foot than stepped out, squaring up, with my right. And wrapped him. This was good execution of a plane that just came to me in the moment.

Dougal is a very good unbelted fighter who is a bit of a thug. He was fighting with two short thrusting swords, which plays to his skills as a boxer. The one right cross he hit me with was the hardest shot I took all day. Our first fight I had a plan and executed it perfectly. I used Martin's hidden leg shot to take his leg, then hid my tip behind my boot and then thrust him in the belly. After that I went away from those shots.

It was a good day, but I need to fight more dukes.

It is 69 days until Crown Tourney. The next time I will be in armor will be Wednesday at Nutley.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Get off your butt and train


The off season officially ended the day after my birthday, which happened to be the day after Birka. Now it is the training season. My season, as is most Easterners, is divided into Spring (May Crown Prep), Summer/Pennsic season, Fall (November Crown Prep), and Winter/Off/Birka season. It is now exactly eleven weeks till crown, 77 days, and I am pretty happy with where my off season prep went. My shield arm is a bit tired and my targeting is a bit off, and I am concerned about my endurance at this weight (222 yesterday  about nine pounds heavier than last crown, twelve over my ideal weight, though more of that is muscle than before), but my strength is pretty good.

So it's time to start training for crown. It would be hubris to say I plan to win crown, but that is certainly my goal. It's been 19 years since I was king of the West, and I need to step up my game again to what it once was (though I am no longer 30, so that's not entirely possible).

So here are my training goals for Crown:

Armor up and fight sixteen times.
Include in that 15 fighter practices, with four of those at Nutley and two in Iron Bog, plus one tournament.
log 55 workouts (that is only 5 per week and includes fighting, so that should not be hard).
Include 10 resistance workouts, 10 classes, 10 crossfit style WODs.
Hit the pell 5,000 times.

Some of those goals are lighter than I set for last crown, some are heavier. Last time I accomplished about half my training goals. This time I am shooting for all of them. Pell work is once again the hardest one to get through.

It is 77 days until crown. The next time I will be in armor will be at Iron Bog practice tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A cold muddy day at Grants Tomb.

It was a cold muddy day at Grants Tomb on Saturday. We moved practice to Saturday because of the Super Bowl. As a 49ers fan I now consider that an empty gesture, but what the Hell. It was still good because Duchess Eilis, my SCA mom, was visiting from the West Kingdom and she came along to hang out with us. Afterward we went to Hill Country, possibly the best Barbecue north of the Mason Dixon.

Yesterday I started doing rehab exercises again for my shoulders and elbows. Partially it was because of how tired my shoudlers were after single-sword work on Saturday, but mostly because I've now developed tendonitis in my shield elbow. It does not affect my fighting, it pops up other times.

I am having a bit of trouble (read slugishness) getting into a workout pattern now that the semester has started. I am a lot busier right now and more tired, plus I was planning to change my workouts to more of a fitness based rather than strength based workout at the same time. However, counting practice I managed to work out every day last week. I got in my regular arm workout on Sunday, yoga class on Monday, WODs and yoga on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then walking around the Lower East Side with Eilis on Thursday and Friday--a total of 6.75 miles in two days. Then I fought, and while I have skipped the last three days (other than some physical therapy) today I did a monster workout, with 20 minutes yoga and tabata sets of dumbbell exercises. Intense! (I ache!) I do need to go back to logging my food.

Fight practice at Grant's Tomb was pretty small. There were two knights--me and Gui, and two newer fighters, Damien and Tycho. Gui and Tycho are both left handed. I started out doing sets with Gui and I won two and lost two. They were, as usual, long fights. He is using a center-grip heater, which for a lefty like him is almost cheating because it is such a good match, but he hadn't figured out his leg defense with it yet and I took advantage of that. There was nothing special in any of the fights I won. I simply caught him slightly out of position in between attacks. Against Tycho the best thing I was doing was the closing attack I started working on at Beau Geste. I flashed my thrusting tip at him and he focused on that, then I stepped around it and was suddenly in position. I also killed him with Lucky's move off line to the left combo: throw a snap, pass off line to the left with your right foot, stepping between your right foot and your opponent  exposing your head but guarding it with your sword recovery, then passing with your left foot, squaring up and striking at the head. It's like Lucan's passing shot but it starts closer and with the shield foot forward. It's effective against both right and left handed fighters. Damien has an unfortunate habit of using a downward chop, which we need to train him out of. A couple of times I took advantage of it by moving offline and deflecting it, so that his momentum exposed his offside to me, which I hit, but mostly I was defending and giving him targets to strike.

Next we did a bear pit exercise, where each of us fought the others in turn. Wounds were not retained. This was good endurance as we were rotating through quickly. Then we broke up for some single-sword training. To make it interesting, I took Tycho and Gui took Damien, so were were working with opposite handed opponents.

Most of the work involved footing. It had snowed the day before and the ground was muddy and slippery. Balance and footwork under those conditions was the hardest thing. Each of use slipped around a bit. i mostly worked on lifting my feet up and putting them down instead of letting my momentum carry me forward. This is good practice when it is dry.

It was an excellent practice for what it was, but I need to do some work at Nutley.

It is 80 days until Crown Tourney. My next time in armor will be at the Iron Bog practice this Sunday.