Tuesday, November 8, 2016
CROWN TOURNEY #95
Life is good.
Brion and Anna ran a marvelous crown tourney. I made it to the round of 8. I had a good day. No: I had a GREAT day!
The reason I had a great day is because I did much better than I expected to. I fought much better than I did in Canada last spring. I beat two knights. The two guys who beat me had to fight each other in the semi-finals. I nearly beat the first one and double killed with the other. I was in the mix. And I had not trained for this list--the minute I decided to do Harvey I gave up any serious training for Crown. Plus I'd been injured. I was also really relaxed once we got moving. I wasn't as tense. I wasn't trying not to lose.
Brion decided to have a straight double elimination list--no pools--with byes not being fought. There were 43 fighters in the list, which meant (I think) 21 byes (to get down to a list with powers of 2 in both winners and losers' brackets). That format moves very quickly, and the losers bracket will be two rounds longer than the winners. For me, it meant only six fights in total.
Every fighter I fought except Hrafn was using a kite shield, which meant tight defense. In fact, I didn't take anybody's leg except Hrafn, who was fighting two sword.
I'd also beaten all but one of the fighters I saw in a crown before, and that one I was fighting for the first time.
Radnor has an axiom: we let our opponent tell us how he wants to die. This was my day. Fighters told me how to kill them, and I obliged.
I warmed up against Collin, a fighter I really like to fight. I went through a progression of stuff. I fought him bellatrix style in a high open form, in a high closed form, and in an A-Frame. I lost one fight to him. I used a butterfly and a hook-thrust. I felt good.
I did not get one of those 21 byes. Not only that, bur there were enough knights in the list that I drew one, Sir Kettil, in the first round. That is a very tough fight to start out with. But he literally told me how he wanted to die. Right before the fight I heard him say he was still fighting in a Zoom-Bang, but he was going to go to something else, because it still hurt to get hit in the body. Then we started fighting. I tried a few things, mostly an A-frame but also a bit of the high open form. Then I noticed he was setting up in a high open form--not an A-Frame, with his elbow held high. THen he set up in range. Then I threw a butterfly on him (which is a double fak followed by on off side body, thrown with a locked wrist), and I hit him on that zoom-bang shirt and he went down.
Next round I fought Eduard de Bosco, a fighter in Serpentius whom I did not know. He had a long, wide, peaked kite. I tried a few things on him, then noticed that his A-frame was set up to look over the front corner of his shield. I switched into a high-closed form and tried mostly to time his shot to hit him with a slot shot--something I've been working on a lot lately. After a few tries I got both the timing and the targetting correct. If you are a member of the SCA East Kingdom FaceBook group, you can see that fight at the 10:50 mark of this video: https://www.facebook.com/groups/17551346704/
Next I fought Sir Mathias Grunwald. He and I seem to meet in Crown a lot, and our fights are always long and hard. I noticed that if I pressured him with some old-school attacks designed to move his shield around, gaps would start to open up. I did, and eventually I got him with a slot shot as he moved out of position.
My next fight was against Avaldr. He and I have had some real knock-down drag-out fights in past crowns, and this was no exception. When I had been building this sword for Crown, I'd gone out searching for some webbing to use to strengthen my thrusting tips, because I end up tearing a lot of tips off. I couldn't find any. However, I had made my last sword with athletic tape and that tip had not torn off, so I went with that. And, of course, my tip tore off. We noticed it right at the beginning of the fight. Damn! I really wanted to use the hook thrust against Avaldr. It's the best technique to beat that tight defense of his. Oh well--edge work only, which I've been practicing a lot. He was fighting EXTREMELY well, attacking the angles tangentially, like Old Castle used to teach. He was staying at range, picking his spots, and moving in fast. I was doing the same. We both had some near misses until he moved to his right and killed me. It was a long fight.
Moving to the losers bracket, I next fought Rory, whom I fight a lot. He has a tight defense but a predictable offense. He likes to move to his left and throw an off side at me. He opened with a rising snap that I blocked. Then we had a couple more short exchanges. He kept creeping closer to me. When he was close enough I threw a hook/thrust and killed him with it.
My final fight was against Hrafn. I had beaten him the fall before, when he had gone to final round, by crowding him. At one point he ran onto my thrusting tip but it didn't bite. Or maybe it did, and tore off on his mail, which is why it was no good, because later in the fight it was off again. Well, I'd beaten him without using a thrust in the past. We double killed. I took his leg and he took mine. He thrust me in the belly with his left hand. I died. Another long hard good fight.
Afterward both Visivald and Brion approached me with advice. Vis said that I have better technique when I am moving--which I know, and I'd been trying to move more this tourney. I used to move constantly, but going to the A-frame had made me static. Brion said he thinks I can win a crown if I find a way to shorten my fights. I had too many fights that were too long. I didn't feel tired, but he was probably right. He's Brion, after all.
Like I said, great day.
There are 80 days until Birka. I'm taking some time off to finish healing. I'm certainly not fighting till after Harvey.