Saturday, April 12, 2014

Being sick sucks

For the second time this Lent I am sick. Stomach virus. Projectile vomit. This was Monday Night/Tuesday morning. I've been queasy all week. I've managed to do my push ups every day, but nothing else.

However, Sunday I got to fight in Iron Bog!

Obviously none. 

In one of my fights I employed a number of techniques to test my opponent, but otherwise I was just working on counter punching out of the A Frame, or so I thought. 

I fought Ron (twice),  a fighter I can't name, William McCrimmon, Omega, Harold Haakonson, Bardolf, and Bran. 

I warmed up against Ron and he basically slaughtered me. My feet were out of place, like I was not moving strongly enough. 

My next set of fights was against a heater shield fighter I cannot name. He was fast and precise, and I had trouble with his off side. My endurance was good enough that I outlasted him. 

Then things got serious. I fought Bill, who has taken a big leap in both speed and power, back close to where he was ten years ago. This to go along with his great targeting  and precision. He was a ll over me, and I was very happy to take his leg and then kill him with Ed's version of the butterfly (fake the off side, plant your right foot next to his hip, start a blow that looks like wrap but the step out with the left foot and turn the wrap into a blow going straight down into his face or body). After that I killed him again and he started running out of steam. He was forgetting to breathe. He lost his wind fast. 

At the end of my fights with Bill I broke the thrusting tip off my sword and so for my fights with Omega I took out one of Ragnar's swords. It was thin (possibly not legal), short by about three inches, and light. I managed to strike Omega with it three times but there was no power on any of them--so it turned into an exercise in defense, and my defense was pretty good. 

I rode down to practice with three of my nephews--Bill and his squire brothers Harold and Bardolph. They are three good unbelted fighters who are nearly as funny as the stooges when you get them together. I'd promised all three of them a fight. Since Harold is a pole arm fighter I picked up his spare Glaive and took him on with that. We were both using fairly short light glaives. I started with my thumbs opposed a la Visivald, which some people erroneously call quarter staff style. We are both fairly big guys, and we locked up in a pretty good core to core and wrestled a bit. It was pretty savage and we both loved it. He got me with a thrust in the throat and I hit him in the arm then the head. after that I changed my grip but he cut my head after a long exchange. Those were great fights. 

Next I fought Bardolph. He is a tricky left handed that Bill describes as "drunken Gumbie." I had never fought him before. I started out using Lucky's passing shot (snap/pass off line to the left, step around, strike), which worked. Then I took his leg with Martin the Temperate's hidden leg shot, which I'd never used against a lefttie. It worked, and I thrust him in the belly. Then I set up in Gui's old form, pushing the shield way across, so the point actually tails to cover the left leg and the shield is held at a diagonal in front of me and using a hanging guard to cover my off side. The best attack out of that is a punching off side, which I never manage to land with power, but this time it worked.

After that I fought Ron again. Hey look! Video!

This is some great video because it exposes a lot of my flaws. Ron and I are squire brothers, can you tell? We are both 50, we both started as teenagers, and we share William the Lucky, Radnor, Paul, and Houghton as early trainers. It's a really fun fight for me.

The first thing I see is that my A frame starts out fairly tight but kind of goes away. Ron, meanwhile, never loses his high closed form. The idea behind the A frame is that the front corner of the shield is held high enough to cover the on-side head shot. The shield guards the left side and the sword defends the right and the middle. As with my old eater style, wherein the shield is more central, it cocks forward and exposes my leg, which is how Ron got it in our first fight.

As I start moving around I start getting a little sloppy. It might be Radnor's old dictum that you should fight like you walk, but my feet start to come together. I loose that strong stance. He caught me with a really nice fake and that had a lot to do with it.

Our third fight I was moving more--right/left/in/out. He is actually taking that slot-shot to the shoulder, though it's hard to tell on the video. That's a shot I have been working on a lot.

I knew I was being more active than he was, but it really shows on video. I'm throwing four times the blows that he is. I thought I hit him with a stutter wrap, but I can't see the stutter, and I don't think I planned that shield press.

That fifth fight I was amazed at how wide my legs were when he hit me. I was SO out of position. I realized watching the video that I had moved to the left to change the angle on the slot shot I threw, and he triggered on that and killed me. Regardless, I need to be much more aware of my feet. I think the main reason I'm squaring up is because Ron squares up so much. It's something a lot of older fighters do, both to gain a bit of speed and power in that hammer blow, and also to help with balance.

The sixth fight I felt best about. I moved slightly left and adopted a weak side lead to take advantage of the fact that Ron had squared up and hit him with a nice hammer blow.

This was a good set of fights.

After that I fought Bran, a fighter using a medium size centergirp. This was a teaching moment for me, as he was holding it too close to his body.

Great practice!

It is 35 days until Crown. My next time in armor will be tomorrow at Grant's Tomb. 

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