Monday, August 19, 2013

Long Island Practice and BBQ 8/18/13

Awesome Long Island Practice!!

Ok, I am officially fighting like ass. Having skipped Pennsic, gained a little weight, and only been in armor three times since Crown, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. But it still sucks.

This was proven at my first intense practice since Crown Tourney. We held a practice and BBQ out on Long Island hosted by Count Horic, who is getting involved in training fighters after a long lay off (and who still has incredibly fast hands). It involved about three hours of fighting, pork chops, hamburgers, home brew, a hot tub, you get the idea. Gui said there were 36 fighters in armor, but I only counted 24 or 25. None the less, that was a great turnout. But I fought like ass.

 Since last post I have done one really intense WOD (45 Turkish get ups) and a 15 mile bike ride, plus some yoga. Not much really, but that’s only one week.

I was planning to continue concentrating on defense and employing three kill shots—the hook thrust, the slot shot counter, and a stutter wrap. However, I allowed myself to get distracted in two ways. Once again, if a fighter was using a sword-back style so would I. Also, I got into a discussion with Horic on his style, which is an in-fighting style using a lot of back edge and some odd angles relying on Gendy sword technique. He also has an approach to fighting a person on their knees where he jumps in and puts his toes about two inches in front of his opponent’s knees. I tried to employ both of these.

After some free sparing we broke practice up into three groups. Horic taught an un-armored clinic for newer fighters and those who weren’t in armor. Cullyn taught a pole arm clinic. Gui and I ran one of Paul’s rotation exercises. This is where two lines face each other, you fight the person in front of you, and then you rotate one, so that at the end everybody ahs fought everybody. With an odd number the person at the end is supposed to sit out. Unfortunately, we had an injury, someone left, someone came late, and we messed up the rotation. There were thirteen fighters, but not everyone fought everyone by the time it broke up into free sparring. But we got almost all the way through. I know I did not fight Landon/Agrippa.

First the bad stuff: I fought like ass. In the rotation exercise I lost to Brennan, Tiberius, Omega, Breeder, and maybe twice more (possibly once to Stick?). I sucked. More to the point, in spite of working out and doing cardio, I hit a wall in my fight with Tiberius. That fight was interesting for a lot of reasons. I expected to win that fight and I did not. I had trouble with his large center-grip scuta, and my focus was not sharp enough to make an adjustment till late in the fight. I had been retreating too much all day, and decided to stop against Tiberius. I closed up and did a defensive advance, with Radnor’s technique of just taking a walk (that is, walking normally, as though strolling through the park and not in a fight—kind of like Musashi’s “attitude without attitude”). That was working and I was pushing him back. I realized then that I should be thrusting at and pressing against his corners, since that with a center-grip scuta that will get him way out of position. I did so, but over extended and that’s when he hit me. At least I had a plan. My best fight of the day was my fight against Darius/Omega. He did some training with Ranvaldr at Pennsic ans was fighting that crouching right/left defense style of his. I was picking up and blocking his shots well, and had a vigorous offense. He beat me, but it was a great fight. Breeder just overpowered me.    I had a couple other interesting fights, which I won. Against Brick (from VDK, not Sir Alberecht), I used a Bellatriz technique of flat snap, lateral movement to the right with a tear-drop return, flat snap. In one fight I just went all old-school on the guy and overwhelmed him with about ten blows. I also killed someone with a stutter wrap.

I fought a total of ten sets throughout the day. My opponents were: (sword and shield) Tormundr, an Unbelted VDK fighter whose name I forget, Breeder, Gui, Mord, Lord Conrad, Carl (a transplant from Montana); (great sword) Dugal and Everett; (sword and Buckler) Brad.

I can’t remember details from most of those fights. I know that against Brad I used Havoc’s upright closed stance to great effect, and at one point after taking his leg I jumped in and imitated Horic, toes in font of knees, and it worked well.

I lost three fights straight to Dugal trying to employ some Fiore technique and then some Bellatrix technique. None of that worked.

I did much better against Everett, especially after I lost my thrusting tip. That forced me to go into Gregor’s high form and I killed him three times using short cuts never going outside the shoulders (well, I did take his arm once, so I must have done so at that point). He killed me four times, mostly with cuts to my hips.

Against Tormundr and Carl I mixed in some old-school Bellatrix technique, which was effective.

I was trying a lot of the techniques that Horic was talking about, but—as usual—when I do tight inside work with that shield I foul my sword a lot due to how I currently have it strapped. Will change that at next armoring workshop.

Obviously, the three sets which were the most telling were those against Breeder, Gui, and Mord. Mord I killed with a stutter wrap and my counter slot, just like I drew them up.

Gui I killed three times to his five. I got him once with a high thrust and twice with cuts. He was beating me with basic stuff—one/two combos using a back edge shot instead of a flat snap.

Breeder beat me every time. The interesting thing was, after we talked about it, he said I hit him at least three times with off-side head shots with no power at all. Since I did not realize I had even touched him, I found that interesting. I think the reason is against Breeder I am so intent on my defense, on movement, I trying to pick up his shot, that I am not doing anything else right. I know, for instance, that he takes the leg really well on the step, yet he took mine twice during pickups plus in our fight in the circle (hardest hit I took all day). I knew to defend against it and I watched him eating Agrippa’s leg up in their set, but I still stepped (literally) right into it three times. I was not paying any attention to my footwork, usually my strength.

Against the lefties (Gui, Breeder, Stick) I was doing something I never do, trying to use more thrusts, it worked against Gui. 

All day long my mind was not right. I was not committing  Against Breeder, I was a bit panicky. I was not moving my feet with purpose most of the time. When I did have a break through in those areas, like against Darius, I fought well.

Good take aways have to do with my defense. I was picking up a lot of shots visually and reacting well. My defense was tight most of the time. Nobody (except maybe Brennan, who got me with an off-side body shot when I over extended) had an easy time with me. Omega gave me a compliment, that he’s heard people say that since I’ve gone back to a heater I’m a pain in the ass (because they were so used to taking my leg right off the bat).

I was one of the first fighters on the field and (along with Everett) the last fighter off. 

The barbecue was excellent.

During the day I took Landon into my service for a year and a day, a trial period to see if he wants to become my squire permanently.

Sunday basically started my training period for Crown. More on that tomorrow.

It is essentially ten weeks until Crown (I must have miscounted last week). That is 70 days. My next time in armor will likely be at the Beau Geste on Sunday.


1 comment:

Sam McBroom said...

I cannot tell you how much I envy you having a practice with this many skilled fighters.