Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Beau Geste -- October 20, 2013

I decided to compete in the Beau Geste this weekend because I still need to knock the rust off. I hadn't fought in a week and a half, taking time off for injury. Unfortunately my back was still bothering me. I was the only knight in the list and I considered fighting something like sword and buckler, but I was eager to work on the new stance I had developed for my A-Frame. The big problem with that was that two of the four other fighters in the lists were left handed (and they were the best of the four as well). It ended up being a frustrating day even though I won.

Since I wasn't fighting last week I upped my workouts to make them a bit more intense. I worked out six times in between fighter practices (after two days off to recover from back pain after Nutley). On Saturday the twelfth I did yoga for 25 minutes, a very intense 20 minute spin session using the Tabata timer, and a cable workout. Monday 10/14 all I did was bicycle five miles and walk a lot. On the 15th I  did a leg workout: leg curls, extensions, calf raises, and squats. I took a four mile walk on Wednesday, then on Thursday did 20 minutes of yoga and a chest workout. Friday the 18th was great. I did the workout where I rdie my bike down to Coney Island (about 14 miles round trip) and while there I work out on the par course for half an hour. I also walked 2.5 miles. Then Saturday was a rest day.

I was concentrating on my A-Frame technique using the boxer's stance. I found that I was not seeing the fight very well again. Some of this was me blinding myself with my shield being out of position, but a lot was just focus. It got better as I went along. I tried a bit of the ox stance against the two lefties, Zacha nd Tycho, but that was not really working.

The format for the list was a round-robin bear pit. Each fighter held the field and fought the other four in succession. It mean that everybody got eight fights, which isn't too bad a warmup. When I held the field the only person I lost to was Zach, then I beat him when he held the field. We both advanced to finals with one loss each (to each other). In the finals he won the first fight, I won the second, and then I won the third.

I felt I should have done a bit better both because I'm in practice and Zach is out of practice. He took six months off for a shoulder injury. But he is a natural--strong, fast and left handed, a deadly combination. Our first fight he took my arm with a wrap when I was throwing a snap at his head, and then wrapped my helmet with his followup shot. In our second fight I managed to take his leg and then move toward his shield side, getting him to lift it too high, then wrapped to his body. In our third fight he finally got me with a quick off-side head shot, my Achilles heel. In our fourth fight I took his leg and then wrapped him in the head, and if our fifth fight I finally got the shot I had been looking for. Two things which were good about these fights were that I adjusted to what he was doing well enough to neutralize it, and I saw an opening several fights earlier that I was able to take advantage of. In the first case, he was throwing a lot of deep on side shots, mostly to the leg and hip but also to the body and head. I noticed in our second fight that he was telegraphing the shot with a windup. I was able to key on his shield-side shoulder and know that, when he shrugged it, it meant he was going to a deep off-side shot. After that I had those defended and he never really threatened that side again (except once when he used it as a counter to my on-side head shot, but I pulled my sword down into a hip-block with my baskethilt). In the second instance, I noticed that, when he went for nearly any on-side shot against Sam, he was dropping his shield and was vulnerable to an off-side head shot. This was pretty consistent in those fights. In our last two fights that was what I was looking for. When hever he went for an on-side shot I would defend and fire at his head with an off-side. Eventually it worked and I won the tournament.

Almost immediately thereafter, in a pickup with Samale, my back started hurting. It still hasn't completely healed from when I was in California lifting Jerry. I woke up in a lot of pain on Monday, but the heating pad plus some yoga fixed it and I've felt fine since.

Duke William of Houghton died last week, one of the heroes of my youth. He was primarily a tactician, an old, slow guy who could fake you out of your socks. Within the last month I've used one of the two most useful shots he taught me to win a fight--the one where, when on my knees, I lift up to my full height and then, as my opponent steps in, I sit down onto my heels and throw a shot, changing the angle the blow as I throw it without changing the arc of the sword. It's one of my most useful shot. Like his friend, the late Steven Macenruig, he was a master of the one-shot kill mostly because he was so out of shape that he didn't want the fight to go on very long. He was never the swordsman that MacEnruig was, never as fast as Radnor or as strong as Paul, but he was sneaky. He was also a really really nice guy, and I spent a lot of time at his house learning about tactics, melee, and--by example--how a peer should act.

It is eleven days until Crown Tourney. My next time in armor will be Sunday at Settemore Swamp championships.

No comments: