Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Southern Region Mellee Practice

So, I'm really done with the big greathelm. I will use it this Pennsic in one or two battles, just for fun, wearing a nice long crusader surcoat, so I'll have something of a Morgan Bible look to me. 

But I've got my new helmet!

Mine! Mine! Mine!!!

Ha!! Did not make it to the gym all week. 70,000 steps this week and last. I completed the "walk to Pennsic" challenge (cover the distance between Eastern CT and Pennsic by Pennsic) a month early. Still making my push-ups 50 every day. 

I ended up using a lot of weak high closed form (goofy foot) to great effect. 

I did not go for the Mellee. I went to pick up my helmet. I wasn't very thrilled about fighting. My back still hurt. But, when Bill said he was only doing pickups that de used it for me. 

Only fought four guys. I fought two Knights--William McCrimmon and Mord, and two good unbelted fighters--Luther and Tallon. 

My fights with Mord are on video below. As you can see, I was freezing his shield through pumps and body dips. More of note, I fight the first fight in an AFrame, but switch thereafter to goofy foot. I'm particularly fond of that off-side leg shot. 

Bill: fought me much better than at SRWC. He landed that body slot shot that Mord couldn't stick, and almost took my hip with a juke right/left/cut move, which I use on Brenan sometimes. Bill just had the angle wrong. My best shot with him was a stutter wrap. 

I fought Luther much better than I had at McCarren Park last week. Goofy foot worked well against him, and his off-side leg was gettable. I did the Horic thing to him (toes to knees and keep throwing) and got a body shot under his shield as I stepped back out. When I took his leg and closed like that, however, unless I bent over to look down, offering him my head, he completely disappeared. 

Which why I'm done with this helmet. 

For some reason, I had his number with a simple Snap/back handed slot shot (reverso fendente for those who like proper terminology). I killed him with it three times, once after taking his leg. This, by the way, is technique straight out of Fiore. 

So I've got this other technique I don't often use so I don't often talk about. It's similar to a technique used by Duke Stephen of Beckenham and count Glenn ap Rhodri, but it actually comes from Steven Hand's interpretations of George Silver. One of Silver's two wards is a high open form, with the feet close together at a 90 degree angle, left toe pointed forward, the arm extended straight up over head, and the sword pointed straight up in the air. He uses it mostly with broadsword by itself, but also buckler and dagger (nice, regular system, Silver). I use it single sword, but also with shield.  I change my too--I place the tip of my thumb at the back of the handle, to push the sword forward, like with modern saber. The cut is almost always a fendente, though you can strike a flat snap as well. There are lots of tricks from that position--elaborate molinees, disappearing behind the shield, etc., -- but silver mostly uses it by passing back on the left and dropping a fendente, usually onto the arm. 

So I used this as an offensive technique against William. Dropped it behind my shield for a hidden snap. It cost me my leg, and I lost that fight. But I used it defensively against Tallon and it was beautiful. He threw a leg shot and I moved off line to my left, blocking the leg and cutting fendente to his head. It was very satisfying. 

Not surprisingly, my back felt much better after fighting. 

It is 29 days until Pennsic. My next time in armor may not be till then, depending on the packing. And padding my helmet. I'm done with the greathelm. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

War camp + practice.

Yikes! ! I am A week behind on this blog!

On the other hand, not a lot is happening.

I was in armor twice last week, at the southern region war camp, and at McCarren Park practice on Monday night. And I am still using that huge crusader pot helmet. When I realized on Monday is that it makes me extremely top-heavy. I'm having trouble moving, and I am losing my balance. Plus there's the whole vision thing: it's almost impossible for me to see an offside shot in that helmet, let alone leg shots. So I think any victory I have is a pretty good one.

At war camp, fought two of the battle scenarios, the boat Landing Beach battle and the bridge. I was actually having a lot of fun, and while my wind was slightly affected by the helmet, I did pretty well. I also hit a lot of people. It was all shield wall work, and I ended up standing up the charge a few times. 

I did pick ups with Gunther, master Karl, sir William McCrimmin, sir Eric Hundeman -- the brand-new night -- and Duke Edward. Except for Edward, with whom I went one and two, I won more fights that I lost. 

At McCarren Park it was jus me, Ervald, and Seamus. I had my slot shot working, but felt really slow and weak. A new helmet might not help, but it couldn't hurt. 

There are 40 days until Pennsic. My next time in armor will be Minday at McCarren Park. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Riverfest (plus a practice)

It's important to be able to put on a show. When a well known band from the 1970s--lets say, Orleans--is playing on a stage 40 feet away, you need to up your game. But if you only have a few fighters and no set schedule, what do you do? Oh: it's raining, and a monsoon is coming in. We just did a few passages of arms, one pair at a time, then talked.

Made the gym yesterday with a good workout: 20 minutes on the treadmill, 20 minutes weight lifting (dumbbells and kettlebells) and 20 minutes yoga. I've made my steps and pushup goals. I've been doing the "Walk To Pennsic" challenge, which consists of logging 537 miles between March 8 and July 28. I will complete it today, in about 600 more steps.

Ok. The demo was blled as a greatsword class and torunament, but that didn't really happen. Only one student showed up. My greatsword technique is an odd conglomeration of the teaching of Paul of Bellatrix, Elric Scapvarger, Gui Avec Cheval, Gregor von Heisler, Marc d'Arundel, a bit of German long sword and the bastard sword techniques of Rolf the Relentless. These are quite different, obviously. Mostly I either fight in long point, a la mark, or with the sword cocked in front of me a la Rolf and Greggor, or else with the quillions cross wise, often in a horse stance, edges out, a la Gui.

We only got one person to show up for the great-sword clinic, Dirk Krasner, and I did some passes with him, mostly fighting out of long point and working on the techniques of Duke Marc--thrust, hanging guard, pass and cut. I won many of those fights.

Later, for the show, he and I did a passage of arms to three blows with sword and shield, great sword, and arming sword. I won each round 3-1. I tried to do a little half-swording with the arming sword, but that got me killed. I also tried the Fiore sword in one hand technique (which comes off the left hip, point tailing). If I'd committed to the strike, it would have worked. but I followed that up with a classic--strike an on side blow, parry 6 (the window parry) pass on the left and cut to the head.

After the passage I tore all the padding out of my helmet. In doing so I discovered two cracked (but not broken through) welds. Not usable. Whatever was going on, although i didn't develop a concussion, I felt the helmet was not protective enough. Padding wasn't bottoming out, but it had always been a lighter helm than necessary. So I decided not to use it any more, and to make sure I wouldn't use it anymore, I took the padding out. Otherwise I'm like an adict. I what to fight! (!!) Cet is making me a new helm, and I will fight in that when it is done. I do have a backup, unattractive as it may be...

At McCarren Park the next night there were eight  fighters in armor--myself, Gui Auzer, Luthor, Ervald, Sable, and Seamus d'Arundel. That's a good practice. Unfortunately, I was using the great helm I got from Gui a few years ago. I haven't used a closed-face helmet in over a decade, and it wasn't pretty. I was losing sight of everything coming to the off-side.

None shall pass.

I warmed up against Seamus, but we didn't actually fight. I hit him in the shin and we stopped. That was a product of visibility.

I did some teaching with Sable. I was fighting with just a few blows and concentrating on seeing what she was doing. We mostly need to work on her power.

I fought Gui with greatswords, since we hadn't been able to fight on Sunday. I did shockingly well. I killed him with a shoulder cut the first fight, and got him once or twice later, plus several double kills.

Luthor reminded me why I started using the A-Frame. He is so fast he completely beats my closed high guard. I simply couldn't keep up with him. Once I switced to the A frame I think I won all of our fights. Getting past his first attack was all I needed. I took his leg  couple of times and killed him with deep wraps and butterflies.

Auzer also beat me up our first two fights, but, again, once I got a handle on what he was doing I started winning. He was throwing his usual punching off side then jumping in and throwing a deep wrap. I just guarded for the wrap and timed my blow to hit half a beat behind his. Killed him with a deep wrap and with an off-side head shot that way. Then, anticipating his move forward, I killed him with a hidden trust--hiding my thrusting tip behind my shield and then sliding it past his.

Against Ervald I mostly took his leg. He killed me once with a good, aggressive off side attack. I caught him moving his defense up and hit his leg two or three times. I helped it along with an upsilon once. Then I killed him with thrusts and body shots.

Ending where I began, with Seamus, was important. He was also able to beat my high-guard, but I had his leg pretty good. I killed him with butterflies and stutter wraps, with a hook wrap and a hook thrust. He beat me with speed and a really wicked off-side, much like Arne at Mudthaw. Only this time I was not seeing the off-side due to the helmet. Ouch. Bruises. Ow.

All in all I felt odd because of the helmet, but good because of the helmet time. My wrist was bothering me at first, but that got better, not worse, as the evening wore on, as it often does. Thing is, the next day it still felt better. I'd worn the brace on it on Monday and I think that hurt more than it helped. Luthor, Zack, Seamus, and Gui all pasted me at some point, but I felt much safer in this helmet than in my old one. It's much heavier and more protective. I did get a bit of a scratch on the nose, but that's just adjusting the chin strap. Those four are really really good, and they each overwhelmed me at some point.

It's 47 days until Pennsic. My next time in armor will be tomorrow at Southern Region War Camp.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

War of the Roses


I love War of the Roses. It's a nice, pleasant event. The first good camping event of the year, good fighting, fun tourneys.

This year, Hot.

I had planned to play around, work with my man at arms Patrick, and maybe fight in the Tournament of Roses on Sunday. Plans didn't work out due to a shot I took to the back of the head.

I was using my light sword without a thrusting tip. The big draw on Saturday was the great-weapon's tournament. I really only have two primary techniques with a  great weapon--thumbs aligned and thumbs opposed. I can play the oarsman style, but I don't think it works that often.

I've been getting between 70,000 and 85,000 steps every week, and 50 push ups a day. Nothing has changed.

I only fought in two of the battles because, in one of them, I took a pole arm to the back of the head. That was fun. I was engaged with Mathias and then BAM! I didn't even see who threw the shot. It hurt my neck and might have given me a concussion. I say "might have" because I didn't feel any of the symptoms I felt when I had what my doctor called a "mild concussion" three years ago--no nausea, no dizziness, I had had a slight headache before I fought, but that was probably a combination of the heat and the bus trip up to Albany. I was slightly stunned for a moment, and felt odd. Just odd enough to say "in 95 degree muggy heat I don't want to fight anymore."  I marshaled and hung out the rest of the day. I stayed off site and did not return on Sunday because it was even hotter.

My few sword and shield fights were fun, but nothing to really write about. They were warm up / pick up fights, and I was just getting my joints moving.

I did have lots of good pole arm fun. I fought three authorization bouts, then in the tournament. The auth bouts convinced me that I should fight thumbs aligned, which is what I usually do against other pole arms. My reactions were at least good, which is all you can test in against new fighters. I won my first bout against a great sword fighter. He took my leg with a thrust, then I took his arm and killed him. My second fight was against a shorter fighter who just nailed me with a thrust from below after a brief exchange. It was a great shot.

Nothing else to report, really.

There are 57 days until Pennsic. My next time in armor will be Sunday at Sir Gui's Greatsword Dance Party.