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.

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