Monday, October 28, 2013

Day of Champions and the run-up to Crown.

It is the week before Crown. I fought yesterday at Settemore Swamp Day of Champions. I worked out lightly last week. This week I will train down (Yoga today, cardio on Wednesday, that’s it). Time to take stock. On August 21 there were ten weeks to go until crown, and I laid out my training goals for that time:  

  • ·         15 times in armor. That is a tough haul (I am counting last Sunday).
  • ·         200 miles on my bicycle. That's only 20 miles a week, but by November that might be tough. 
  • ·         Run eight times
  • ·         Total of 50 logged workouts (that should be easy).
  • ·         My general plan is warmups every morning. Yoga on Monday, cardio Tuesday and Thursday, fight or weights on Wednesday, rest Friday if I'm fighting Saturday, weights on Friday and rest Saturday if I'm fighting Sunday. We will see how that works out. 
  • ·         New twist: try to fight Ron, Omega, Ice, Gregor, Stephan, and Lucan in that time frame. 
  • ·         Other twist, diet: I think I am sticking with eating meat only at night. Maybe dairy at night, maybe none at all.

 Here is how I did:

  • ·         Counting yesterday at Settemore Swamp Champions Tourney, I was in armor twelve times.  
  • ·         I logged 126.34 miles, but that includes walking and running as well as riding my bike. I think I ran twice.
  • ·         I logged 106 workouts according to A better way to look at it might be to say that I worked out 55 days. That’s great! I also burned about 50,000 calories working out by their total.
  • ·         I did not stick to my plan at all. I did not warmup every day. I made one actual yoga class (today).
  • ·         I also did not stick to any kind of diet. Quite the contrary: I have been cheating. I weigh just under 220, which is about six or seven pounds less than I weight when I got back from California, but it’s 5 pounds over my goal and 10 pounds over my ideal weight. I know how to eat, but lately I just have not been doing it (I’ve been eating more carbs lately than usual). 
  • ·         I did do a lot of cardio.
  • ·         I fought Omega, Ron, Stephan, Kelson, Roger, Gregor, and Conrad. I also fought Breeder and Douglas a few times, who, like Stephan, are Ducal without yet being Dukes.

A realistic evaluation of my fighting is that I’m doing pretty well. Injury and my work schedule presented obstacles that had to be overcome in y training and, for the most part, I did so. While I did not meet all my goals I met two of them handily (Replace Ice with Conrad and Lucan with Kelson, and that’s still five dukes plus Stephan).

This is a tough looking crown. There are five dukes in the list, a lot of kngiths and a couple of unbelted fighters who give me trouble. Very top-heavy. The whole list is here.

However, my fighting (see below, re: Day of Champions) is not where I need it to be. I will have to have more than a little luck in order to be a real contender for this crown.

Day of champions was billed as a nice little tune up for Crown, and a few of us took it as such. There were 11 fighters in the list, including myself, Sir Mord, Sterling, Ionis (Breeder), Rory McClellan, and Erick von Hundeman (Larry). It was a standard double elimination tourney.

TECHNIQUE: fight an A frame defense and just try to win.

I had a great tourney until the end. Then it all fell apart.

I made a new sword on Saturday. I planed the first to thirds of the blade and left the last third round, the way Ice taught me, in order to concentrate more weight at the tip. It worked really really well.

I warmed up with Mord, in which I got him with a nice parry/cut counter.

The first round both Breeder and I had byes, so we fought each other. He tried to throw me off my game by mirroring everything I did, and it worked. I had planned to use the hanging guard, but when he did the same I started thinking too much. I faked high and shifted left to draw his point over and expose the leg. That part worked, but as I struck he threw a high wrap that hit me in the shoulder and killed me.

Next I fought Rory. That was fun. He fights in an a-frame and has a great defense. It gave me a chance to do the thing I wanted most, which was fight out of my own a-frame. That was great, and I felt I was in control of the fight, except that I was eager. I was throwing five blows to his one. I tried a hook thrust and a stutter wrap a few times but he had those blocked. He said I was telegraphing my hook thrust, which is bad news. After a very long fight I got him with a body cut off the parry five when he threw a leg shot (Hauoc’s main blow).

My third fight was against Erick/Larry. He was fighting his regular style, sword and dagger with the dagger held point down. I’ve had good success with him in the past against that. His defense was tighter than in the past, and I was unable to kill him with a thrust. I stayed mostly at range so I could avoid his dagger. At one point I slid to the left while his sword foot was forward and I hit him on the inside of the thigh. Once I had his leg taken it was easily my fight. I  did a nice wavy fake and hit him on the offside of his helmet.

That left me and Breeder in the winners bracket. They did the standard East Kingdom method of finishing the loser’s bracket till there were only two fighters left and pairing them against the two fighters from the winners bracket, so that the fighter from the losers bracket has to beat the fighter from the winners bracket twice. Since the two fighters coming out of the losers bracket turned out to be Rory and Erick I felt pretty good about my chances. I ended up fighting Erick again. 

I am not quite sure what happened. I mean, I know what happened--I lost--but I don’t know why. I don’t think I should have lost; or rather, I suspect I killed myself. I don’t think I was looking past Erick to the finals, but I could have been. I had thought until they worked it out that I had Breeder next, and that’s who I’d been gearing up for in my mind. Then I thought we’d be fighting second, and they called us first. I was probably overconfident. I remember saying to myself, "ok, you beat him already: you've got this," but also saying right before the lay on “don’t get ahead of yourself. Take care of the business at hand.” The fact that I was thinking that means I’d probably already lost the fight. We came on guard, at which point I said to myself “no—don’t use the a-frame against a Florentine fighter.” I took a step forward, and he buried his thrusting tip (the broadsword) right into my chin. It went past the inside of my shield, which means my shield was WAY out of position. It was as hard as a pike shot (Erick is two inches taller than me, and strong).  Now we were even up and he had to kill me again. I came on guard a little stronger this time. This is how I remember it (though it was our third fight in a row, so I could be wrong about the first combo, but not the last part: that is indelibly stuck in my mind). He charged me and I fought him off. He backed out. I tried a right to left fake trying to open him up for a thrust. No dice. I threw a blow at his head which he cross blocked, then an off side which he jam blocked. We reset. I threw another head shot, he blocked that with his dagger. He threw a head shot that I blocked with my shield as I passed forward. As I passed forward he took my head off with a dagger thrust. I stepped right into it, and I never saw it at all. I only assumed it hit my face because that’s how it felt, but it could have hit the side of my helm. I truly don’t know. Regardless, it was another thrust as hard as a pike shot. I laughed and screamed “excellent!” and fell down. It was excellent, and I was clearly bested.

I’m still not sure why I lost those last two fights, though. I certainly should have won one of them. Yes, I’d just beaten him so he was pumped up and ready for me. Yes, I probably didn’t care at that point, since I’d already beaten him and Rory, fought Breeder, and made it through the winners bracket. I may have been looking forward to fighting Breeder. I may have been trying to figure out my defense too much. Maybe I had suddenly switched into practice mode—normally at practice after I beat somebody I usually switch right away to a different technique, so that I am always working on different stuff, and by the third or fourth set I am losing regularly because I’m trying stuff that is unusual and low percentage. Maybe I’m just too predictable if you’ve fought me once already that day.  There are a few things that are certain: (1) I died both times moving forward against I fighter whom I know I should never close with (that’s what he wants, to munch you with that dagger in his left hand). (2) I died in the second fight to a straight up 1-2 Florentine combo, and I should certainly know better than that. (3) This ended exactly the way the last time I came out of the winners list did, when I fought Brion at Four Tourneys last year. I was clean. The first fight I lost to a one shot kill. The second fight was longer but I still lost. That is probably the most troubling part of all.

After that I went and fought some pickups, and had fun. I managed to kill Sterling with my hand ax—no small feat. Then somebody hit me on the shoulder where my shoulder pauldrons weren’t. I figured at that point that if I didn’t want to get hurt right before crown it was time to stop. All in all it was a great day. I had a lot of fun and I think I learned a thing or two. 

I'm feeling really good for Crown. 

It is five days until Crown Tourney, which will be my next time in armor. 

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