Monday, March 24, 2014
I was sick for Mudthaw. I kind of realized the night before that I had a cold coming on. I kind of realized it all day when I couldn’t manage to wake up (I actually dozed off between first and second rounds—and I’m not *that* old!). I kind of realized it when I had so much trouble doing my push-ups that morning. But it didn’t really click until about half-way through court when, not only couldn’t I stay awake but I couldn’t breathe. After the lists (in which I fought pretty well but only went to fifth round) I was asking “what the hell happened?” It wasn’t’ until I was sitting at the Chinese buffet, scarfing down General Tso’s tofu and suddenly feeling a bit better that I realized how bad I’d felt all day. Oscad, who fought pickups with me afterward, said I wasn’t’ myself, that I didn’t have the normal flow to my offense that he’s used to. Breeder, who is one of the best around at breaking down people’s fighting, said I looked in my last fight like it was the end of Birka and I had been fighting for two hours straight. I was really down on myself after the tourney, because it was a pretty wide open Mudthaw (Omega and I were the only royal peers). When you are easily as good as the two guys in finals, you have to wonder why you aren’t one of them. However all my fights were good ones, all my fights were tough ones, and all my fights were fun. The two guys I lost to were guys who on my best day would be trouble, and the whole day was excellent, capped off by Luis de Castillo getting knighted—which is something I’ve wanted to see for years.
With Mudthaw coming up, I treated it like I would Crown. I fought on Sunday but not during the week. I did my pushups every day and two classes—Yoga on Monday and a wicked-hard step/core class on Wednesday (that included a really intense WOD with dumbbell squat-presses and row-pushups on the Tabata timer). I didn’t want to be injured or over-tired come Saturday.
Here is the other problem: I said to myself I would not very from the A-frame defense and, for the most part, I didn’t—until my last fight, and that’s part of what got me killed.
I warmed up with a couple of guys and felt really good but a bit slow. I was seeing openings and not getting to them, my second shot seemed to fall a bit behind in tempo.
My first fight I drew William Death, who is a really good pole-arm fighter. He is one of the East Kingdom fencing champions, and won the fencing tourney at Birka this year, so his point work is very good. I didn’t realize what he was doing to me till after the fight—he was thrusting at the back corner of my shield, disengaging, and then thrusting at my face. He almost got me twice with that. When I fight pole-arm fighters I don’t try to wrap and I rarely try to thrust—I wait till they commit, place my shield flat against their forward hand to control their pole, and then go for their legs. The second time I did this I missed and hit him in the body, winning the fight.
My second fight was against a righty who was taller than me and had very fast hands. I don’t recall how I won it.
My third fight was against one of those tall VDK guys. I fight them a lot and they are really trouble. This was my best fight of the day. I fought a very patient fight, kept to my A-frame defense, waited it out, and won. It is hard, because in that style of fight I don’t throw a lot of offense—which is what I’ve always been best at and enjoy the most. I have to wait things out. Eventually, after a very long time, I took his leg by changing my guard to the plow, faking a face thrust, and striking the leg. After that it didn’t take long. I noticed that he squared up on his knees, which with his kite opened his torso up. I switched to the plow again, waited for him to throw a shot, and stabbed him in the belly.
Then I fought Willem de Brock. He is a fast leftie with a Lucan-style kite and great feet. Since I’d been training with Zurr and Gui a lot, I felt pretty confident against fast lefties, but I could not crack his defense. Eventually he took my leg and then killed me.
My final fight was against Jan Janovitch. It was the second year in a row he’s taken me out of Mudthaw. I had realized recently that, although I am fighting my A-frame a lot, I do better against Jan when I’m using a more standard high-closed form. I started out in an A-frame, switched, and then switched back, which is probably how he got me. It was a straight shot down the middle to my faceplate during a flurry. I was clearly out of position in one way or another, which is likely due to my switching from one defense to another.
Afterward I fought pickups. A couple of people just toasted me! Oscad, in addition to thrusting me right in the cup and making me double over in agony, kicked the snot out of me. One of Tim Mayer’s sons (I don’t know which), whom I beat at Birka, just lit me up. He was so fast I couldn’t follow his attacks. He hit me in the off-side body three times (once right on the nipple—Ow!). I managed to kill him twice, once with a hook-thrust, but otherwise I had nothing for him. In the rest of them I dominated.
I swear— even though I only fought about 20 or 25 fights, including warm ups and pickups, I felt more beaten up and abused at the end of Mudthaw than I did at the end of Birka.
It is 54 days until Crown. My next time in armor will be Thursday at the Beau Gest tournament out in Wantaugh, Long Island (unless I push myself out to Nutley on Wednesday).