Monday, September 23, 2013
Queen's Farm Demo
It is good to have standards, right? Unfortunately, you have to meet those standards at some point or they don’t’ do any good. It is ok to fail at meeting your standards, because that is how we eventually succeed. Right now, however, I don’t feel I meet the standards I set for myself, which is frustrating.
I have been keeping in shape but I have not kept to the workout schedule I planned out for this fall. A few things—mostly a mild shoulder strain and a back injury—have gotten in my way. The only thing to do about that is re-hab and be careful. Since Iron Bog on the 15th I have had one good weight workout on the 16th; I was sick with the start of a cold (that is still hanging on) on the 17th and 18th, so just some walking around Manhattan; I did yoga plus pushups on the 18th; a 12 mile bike ride on the 19th, and a 3.5 mile walk on the 20th, plus Indian clubs to help my shoulder.
There was no technique. I was trying to win a tournament.
Well, that’s not entirely true. I was actively trying to be more aggressive, to press the fight and take control of the tempo rather than reacting, which is what I’ve been doing. It got me killed. I also tried to hold my sword in a position parallel to the ground instead of guarding my off side head, a-la Ronald, which almost got my arm taken in my first fight. I wanted to work on the off-side leg shot and the slot shot Ron was having me work on, and mix in his On-side head/Off-side leg combo, but never really got the opportunity. On occasion my big heater shield is still getting in my way. I find that my feet are in the wrong place (to close together, to square) if I’m attacked during a shot or if I don’t move with more determination. I was mostly avoiding using the hook/thrust, (I think I threw it once all day and did not land it). Some or all of this probably got me killed in my two losses.
There were two competitions, the Beau Geste and my squire Agrippa’s challenge.
There were seven fighters in Beau Geste, so we each got six fights in the round-robin. I won my fights against Tycho, Mathias, Ansel and Samale and lost to Gui and Agrippa, which I found very frustrating.
In my fight against Samale I almost lost my arm, but that woke me up a bit. I waited while he attacked, throwing one or two blows to his on side head or leg just to get him moving and to test his guard. Mostly I was fighting defensively. Then as he paused after an attack I changed gears and went old-school on him (which works against him). I threw three or four Bellatrix style blows with tear drop returns, very powerful. My last blow was straight Bellatrix snap as I stepped left that may (I really can’t recall) have involved a shield hook. A number of people said that was the most impressive sequence all day (I beg to differ).
In my fight against Tycho, I noticed that Agrippa had taken his leg off a thrust fake to the face, something I never do against lefties because it leaves my arm too exposed. I tried it, failed, but caught him off guard so he didn’t get my arm. I did take his leg eventually by attacking the forward (on side to me) corner of this shield, side stepping to my left, then hitting his leg as he over-blocked. I worked him on his knees for awhile, side stepped to my left again, and thrust him behind his shield do his belly (he was exposing that the whole fight, and I had tried it once before).
Third round I had the bye.
Fourth round I fought Ansel, whom I beat with a high wrap.
Fifth round was my fight with Gui. He thought better of my performance in it than I did. Here’s the thing: I’m not sure exactly what happened in that fight, and that worries me. It was fun, hard hitting and action all the way. Gui says I was not exposing myself or coming out from behind my shield. My recollection is that I took his leg, he took mine, and then he killed me, but I could be totally off on that. I don’t remember. What I do remember is that I could not get enough juice on my thrust behind his shield (like Tycho this is one of his biggest holes) or on the one cut I landed to his off side head.
My fight with Agrippa is similar, except that I don’t feel I was close to beating him at all. I was super aggressive, trying to press him hard. He took my leg and killed me.
My fight with Mathias, my last of the tourney, was a bit frustrating. I got his leg with Martin the Temperate’s leg shot, but then had trouble putting him away. I was trying too hard.
In Agrippa’s challenge, we each fought him three fights with weapons of our choosing. We had the round shields there from Barleycorn, so I chose to fight him Bellatrix style with 24” round shield and no thrusting tip. I killed him the first fight by taking his leg than his arm then killing him. He won the second fight by hitting me where I was moving to—it lasted two blows. He took my leg in the third fight, but I used an old Houghton trick that I figured had a good chance: I stood up on my knees, as high as I could in a high guard, then when he attacked (to my shield side going for a back wrap-his favorite technique in that situation, I sat down, changing the angle of my shot, blocking his at the same time, and I nearly took his crest off. I was proud of that.
It was a good day fighting and a lot of fun. We had good crowds for the demo. Nevertheless, I feel I am on a plateau right now and I’m struggling to get off of it.
It is 41 days until Crown. My next time in armor will be this Wednesday at Nutley.