Thursday, October 3, 2013


A knight is his reputation.

There have been times when I have been called an “ass.” There are times when I have been praised as a gentleman. There are times when I have been accused of ignoring blows. There have been times I have been complimented on my calibration and the choices I made. I have been called both a “dumb stick jock” and “an exemplary knight.” I have even been called both a sexist and a feminist. Here is the thing: I know that every negative thing that has ever been said about me is true. It’s true of all of us. I’ve not called blows I should have, I’ve been an ass (a pompous pedantic one to be precise). I’ve been sexist and a stick jock. It’s true. I can only hope that the positive things that have been said about me are true as well.  I only want one thing in life: for people to say “he’s not a dick.” That’s what I struggle with every day. That’s what we do: we endeavor to persevere.

I also worry about my prowess—but all knights should. What I cannot do is worry (as I seemed to in my last post) that my prowess is “slipping.” You have to believe in yourself. You have to believe that you can win every fight. If you think you’ve lost going in then you already have. You can’t worry about anything in the past nor in the future. All you can worry about is now. Synthesized down to its purest essence,  a knight’s job—a knights entire being—is to cut his opponent. There is truly nothing else. And once you have in your mind that you can no longer cut then you no longer can.

Since last Nutley I have gone on a hike in the hills near Lake George (cut short at 4.2 miles), done some city walking, 50 pushups and a 15 mile bike ride on Monday. I’ve not been working out as much as I had planned.

I am concentrating on the A-Frame defense to good effect and not trying to develop any more offense.

It was a light practice but it was the practice I needed. There were three other knights besides me and they were a different group than last week. Not only that they were all three extremely tough.

First off I fought a VDK fighter. I think he might be Cullyn’s squire—I did not ask. I had found a comfortable place for a high closed form (shield held normally, corner in front of my right eye, sword guard forward) but two things were wrong with it. First my back injury, which I barely notice otherwise, was prompting me to lay back. It was difficult to move quickly from that position, both because of weight distribution and because when I did my back tightened up. Also it was exposing my arm too much. Instead I fought out of an A-Frame, both regular and goofy foot, and that worked. I tried two other things as well. The first was closing behind my shield. I would move my shield to a place and then step in behind it. Sometimes I did this off a block but at other times I did not. The other was standing my ground. Because of this, I seemed to be killing with wraps a lot (that was consistent all night), much more than I am used to..

My next fight was with Roger. (Count Roger Stockton). He’s in from the West for work. We’ve been friends for years and fought a lot. Immediately I had to adjust for his speed, which was much faster than I remembered (and faster than me). I mostly used the A-Frame. He took my arm once and killed me once. I killed him once with a thrust and once with a wrap to the back. Second one of the night. I also patterned myself on his last kill. I kept trying to hit Roger with a butterfly (off-side rib shot) and eventually he keyed to the fact that I was over focusing on it, and when I threw it again he rotated to his left and killed me with an off-side head shot.

Next I fought Stephan. I did not kill him. I got a thrust that just missed and a head blow that was not hard enough. But it was really good. I used the A-Frame throughout and it was very effective.

Last I fought Duke Conrad. Good hard fights. I killed him three times, with a thrust to the eyes, a hook-thrust, and a high wrap. This last was the best, as I reacted to what he was doing, changed what I was doing, and killed him all in the space of a second. I set him up for it by throwing the dropping leg wrap twice. Then I started a stutter wrap, but I was unable to close with him. I threw the blow out there like I was going to throw another dropping leg wrap but kept it high and hit him low on the back of the helmet as he was blocking his leg. That was pretty awesome.  All night I had been saying (for ten years, actually) that I d not have that short off-side that Stephan uses as 80% of his offense. I threw it, landed it clean, but not hard enough. He killed me about a dozen times. More. 

 It was good to have Roger around because he was critiquing my fights and I could see that his analysis was right.  According to Roger, against Stephan I was letting his movement open me up. He would slip to his right, my shield would track him, and he’d come inside of it and hit me in the head.  Against Conrad I was so concerned with range control—I was trying to work at extreme range so I could pick up his fakes sooner—I was starting my blows too far away. I was throwing mid range blows from long range. This jibes very well with the wrap I killed him with.  I should have been at close range but I was at long range when I threw it.

My endurance was great.

It is 30 days until Crown. I have filed my letter of intent. The next time I will be in armor will be this Sunday at Grant’s Tomb.

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