Monday, September 16, 2013

Iron Bog Practice, 9/15/2013

My training is not going as well as I would like. I’m not eating as well as I should (witness last night’s dinner after practice). I have been less motivated and more sore than usual. This is probably due to a lack of practice over all. I have probably fought less this year than at any time other than the year I broke my leg (and I still fought in two crowns with an air boot on that year).  But I’m a bit broken. I pulled something in my back when I was in California and it hasn’t completely healed. My shoulder hurt from some bruises obtained at Nutley (might need to switch from the curboli shoulders to the steel ones), and my knee is a bit wonky. I have not had the amount of time in the gym this summer that I wanted (I’ve been working out but not with weights, which is what is best for strengthening tendons and rehabbing injuries).  And I feel right now I am fighting like ass.

I was resting my shoulder, which had been injured at Nutley and then was stiff after Barleycorn. No weights, no pushups. Even Yoga was a bit of a stretch (no pun intended).  I did yoga on Monday and Wednesday.  Wednesday I did a 20 mile bike ride. I walked four miles on Friday and biked seven miles on Saturday. I also did shoulder PT with Indian clubs three days.

My reason for going down to Iron Bog was to work with Ronald, which I did a lot. Specific things I went down intending to work on was standing my ground or advancing. I feel that, in my effort to fight a defensive fight, I’ve been running away too much. I’m still having trouble generating offensive from a passive defensive/counter punching style, and trying to keep at long range wasn’t really helping.  Ron had me working on two specific techniques while I was down there: a slot shot that locks the elbow against the ribs to generate power (I had a lot of trouble with that one) and an old school leg shot that comes off of an on-side fake that cocks it. Both those shots have options that turn them into straight snaps. With my red and black sword, which I was using while Agrippa borrowed my regular sword, this was almost impossible. The basket hilt is too heavy and doesn’t balance right for that type of blow. With Ron’s or William’s slightly tip-heavy swords it’s much easier. I’m still not sure that the slot shot does not require more forearm strength than I possess.

I ended up doing two other things. I worked on Horic’s technique for fighting someone on their knees (placing your toes right in front of his knees and using back-edge strikes off of blocks, which limited my offense a lot but made the fight even easier to control) and changing up tempos from fast to slow to fast again.

I fought sets with Sterling, Mord, and William, two sets with Agrippa and three sets with Ronald. I felt like I was fighting very poorly, but some of that could have been an equipment issue: I did not have my shield. Gui still had it. He had brought it back from Barleycorn. I took my buckler an borrowed shields. I ended up fighting with a different shield in nearly all my sets.

Against Mord I used the buckler and he took my leg a couple of times and beat me a couple of times. I killed him a couple of times. Don’t ask me how.

I fought Ronald using William’s shield, which is pretty short or me. My leg was toast much of the time and Ron spanked me like a puppy.

I fought William sword and buckler. That’s a good fight because his technique is so precise and his targeting is so good. I had real trouble with him the first few fights. Then I started targeting his leg and did fine.  I did get him nicely with Jade’s lazy floating thrust.

I fought Agrippa using Ron’s shield. He won the first fight and then I did well against him. My main goal was to stand my ground and key off his big movements. He was practicing patience and not attacking, which worked well for him.

I fought Ron using Agrippa’s center grip oval and did great. That is a good form for me. I stayed a live had a better offense.  This is when I killed him a couple of times.

I fought Sterling using Ron’s shield. That was good. I switched to a more aggressive attack when I had him on his knees, but Ron stopped me and said I was flailing and hitting the center of his shield (which second part surprised me, since I felt I was targeting those blows well). That’s when he advised me to use that slot shot. I managed to get the angles on it a bit, but it was tough. After  a few tries that were unsuccessful I switched to Horic’s technique and fought a really good fight from there on in.

I Agrippa using Conery’s heater and had another great fight. It was hard and intense and a lot of fun. It lasted awhile but he got me.  In this set  I took more of an upright stance, a la Ron (“strive for height”). When he retreated I pressed him hard, following him all over the field but not throwing a lot of blows, just pushing him. It threw him off his game a bit. I limited myself to just a few simple blows and did not thrust much. It was effective.

I fought Ron one more time, using Sterling’s shield. These were good fights.

I think I’ve got the shields matched to the correct sets. It made fighting a bit more difficult. I lost my leg more than usual.

It is said that Ron and I fight a lot alike (squire brothers, BART trained, go figure). One thing I was noticing Ron doing that I was not was that he is using movement--jumping back, bending at the waist and throwing a shot--to guard his legs. The rest of the time he is simply picking his spots and firing.  He is standing up straight and conserving his energy a lot, which is my main goal right now.  Ron is good for forcing me back to the basics.

 I fought so hard I am not able to analyze what I was doing any more than this. This was a great practice.  

It is 47 days until Crown. My next time in armor will be Sunday at the Queen’s Farm Demo (which is also the Beau Geste). 

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