Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Nutley Practice 12/14/16, and a word about a squire

Prince Kido

My squire Kido was one of the best fighters I've ever had the privilege to know or cross swords with. He came into the SCA an accomplished martial artist, a judoka who also practiced a Chinese spear technique, which made him instantly one of the best polearm fighters in the kingdom. The thing that stood out about him was that he was good--amazingly good--at anything he decided he wanted to be good at. You should have seen him dance. He surfed, which was amazing for a guy his size. He didn't really understand the SCA or the middle ages. He was always amazed by things that most of us take for granted. He was also arrogant, and left a trail of anger and destruction in his wake. He told stories about himself that seemed to be total bullshit, but at least in the fighting arena and the singing arena he could back them up. He had a habit of winning martial arts tournaments and then breaking the trophies he'd won because they were meaningless to him (though he didn't do this in the SCA). All that mattered was beating his opponents. He was a true samurai: the only things he respected were beauty and the sword. Combined with the arrogance of a samurai was the arrogance of a Sicilian. He lived large (we was large) and loved fiercely and apologized to no one. He embarrassed a lot of knights by being instantly as good as many of them, quickly better than most of them, and never apologizing for the effrontery of kicking their asses.

He was also a classically trained operatic tenor.

One of my favorite memories of Kido was not an SCA memory. It was at Northern Ren Faire. We were part of the combat show. Our bit was two shows a day fighting with SCA weapons but, essentially, BOTN rules. Grappling and throws were ok, you lost when you went to ground. Often we'd fall down after three or five stiff head shots, but otherwise it was like steel fighting with rattan weapons. We started our first little melee and somebody tried to grapple with Kido and he shoved him aside. Then he turned to me and said "wait a minute! I can throw people, can't I?" I said yes, and from that moment on he became a whirlwind. He was like a man among boys, wading through the scrum and tossing people aside, using his spear as a lever and sweeping their legs. He won every fight that day. It wasn't even close. And he grinned that huge kami grin of his the whole time.

Kido was also among the kindest and funniest men that I knew. He had no fear about anything. He would laugh hard and always made me laugh with him. He had an odd mix of fat jolly Sicilian and fat jolly Japanese. If there was a literary character whom Kido resembled, a lot of people would say it was Falstaff, but it wasn't (Anghoise was Fallstaff--it's a long story).  Kido was Porthos. He was not the brightest bulb, but was fiercely loyal. He was not as tall as Porthos, but he was incredibly strong ("Porthos, please kill this fellow with a single blow.") He was funny and charming and just good. He was also a peacock. That's Porthos.

Kido died yesterday. His health had been failing him for a long time and he had both diabetes and congestive heart failure. As one of our friends put it that big heart of his was bad. I am sad, of course for the loss of a cherished member of my family, and for one of my best friends: but, as a knight, I'm full of regret. Kido was my biggest failure. He came in fighting with a polearm, and he was great. I taught him sword and shield, and he was great with that too. I should have been able to get him knighted. He had the skill--hell, he had more than enough skill. He won Mists coronet three times (reigned twice--long story). In the mid-nineties, he was better than probably two thirds of the knights in the West.  If I'd ever been able to teach him that humility virtue, and get him to keep his mouth shut for six months. he'd have been knighted long long ago. But I couldn't. If I'd stayed in kingdom I'm sure he would have stayed the path, because at that moment in time he was just, right, almost, right there: but I didn't and he didn't. I will bear that failure forever now.

I'd give almost anything right now to be able to cross swords with him again, or point at somebody and say "Kido, kill that guy," or to watch him do an aerial somersault over a legged opponent and hit him with a back hand (an amazing feat for a guy that big), or to see him do his Buddha imitation, or (damn!) to hear him sing Pagliaci. But I won't see any of those things ever again. And I'll never pass on my belt to him either. He once pointed to me and said "that belt is a legacy. I expect to wear it some day." He never did, and god-dammit he should have.

NUTLEY on 12/14
I hadn't fought since Crown because of injury and the play. Plus my new glasses had been giving me headaches, which is not something you want before you fight. I was going to wait till after I got back from California to get back into armor, but Tim had brought some people out from AEthelmarc, and I had to go out and play.

I had been wanting to work on my vertical technique, my distance game, precision shots, and my attitude without attitude, the Radnor stuff. This was mostly to build off some good work I'd done at Crown. I used the A-Frame a bit as well, but fell into it as a secondary thing. I'm trying to find a happy medium between the high closed guard and the A-Frame, which is somewhere around where Greggor sets up. Technically it's an A-Frame because he's looking past the front edge of his shield and not over it, so the corner of his shield is guarding his on-side head, but his sword is held higher than in a traditional A-Frame, cocked to make it easier to throw an on-side head shot. Working on this exposed both my arm and my leg, and both got taken a couple of times as a result.

However, I started out each set with a classical Bellatrix fight, and I won all but one of those.

I had a plan and I stuck to it, which was to fight only five sets, and to make one of those sets with Tim. I love fighting Tim. Tim also wanted a piece of me because, he said, I totally kicked his ass at AEdult Swim. I looked back over my notes from that set, and it doesn't seem like I did, but he wanted to beat on me badly.

I did really well against ArnNe. I started out with a Bellatrix technique and it flustered him. I got him, once again, mostly with high wraps. He did manage to take my arm three times because of how I was trying to adjust my guard. Well, once I went for a stupid leg shot and he got me with that deep off side he loves so much, which I knew would be the result.

These fights went 50/50. I won t he first one by taking his leg with a triple strike and then working him for awhile, eventually landing a butterfly with a hook. He got me with two rising snaps, one when I was in an A-Frame, which isn't supposed to happen. This was probably due to the fact that in our second fight he tattooed my leg so hard I got a slight limp, and I didn't want to experience that pain level again.(He'd also beaten on my leg at AEdult Swim).

AQUILLA (Argent, a Chief Embattled Sable between Three Eagles Displayed Gules)
He's a member of ICOD and fights like it, but he's a bit sloppy. He's taller than me and didn't really take advantage of his height. I got him with hook wraps and with timing shots, and once with my follow through back hand, a la Rolf or Ron.

FRECERICK (Quarterly Gules and Argent, in 1 and 3 a Bull Statat Guardant Counter-changed: jupon checky Gules and Argent)
He's a squire from AEthelmarc, short, right handed heater, fast and aggressive. Great fight. His window is his off-side face. I killed him there a few times and also with a butterfly. Afterward we spent about 15 minutes working on Brion's off-side leg fake/off-side head shot, which had really faked him out. With his style it should work well for him.

DUKE MALCOLM (busy purple, black, white-don't ask cause I'm not sure)
He and I were doing exactly the same thing, playing a range game and laying back. we did go corps-to-corps a couple of times, but neither of us managed to turn it into a blow. I mostly got him by moving to my left and changing my angle. He said my off-side head is opening up when I commit. He killed me there once, but he said the opening is constant. He freezes my shield with a shoulder dip (probably thanks to the pain from Tim) and as I throw the head is open. I need some film to study that.

In all it was a great night!

It's 41 days until Birka. My next time in armor is probably West Kingdom 12th Night.

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