Monday, April 24, 2017

Nutley and Iron Bog, with Video!

Fight practice is a commitment, and training for Crown more so. For instance, the good practices around here are in Jersey. Being one of those New Yorkers who don't own a car, getting to practice is a real hassle. (when I first moved here, and for several years, there was an excellent practice in Union Square, but the City closed us down by renovating the park, turning where we fought and parked into an event space/market, and now the only good practices are on the other side of the Hudson).  For instance: to get to Iron Bog practice yesterday, I left the apartment at 9:00 AM. After a set back (I got to the subway and realized I'd left my wallet at home) I had to take a cab from Brooklyn to Penn Station ($40) in order to catch my train. There being no traffic on Sunday Morning, I got there with enough time to grab coffee and breakfast at Pret a Mangier. Catching the 10:07 to Rahway ($10) I started to Jersey. However, there was both a busted switch and some single-tracking due to maintenance between Secaucus and Newark, so we were 45 minutes late. Practice? Great! Dinner with my camp-mates afterword? Fun (and $22)! I caught the 8:42 back to Penn Station ($10) and made it home at 10:30 PM. So (and this was counting dinner) practice yesterday cost me 13.5 hours of my time and (counting dinner) and $82 (counting dinner). While I was there I picked up a set of Cet's leg splints, but that's $80 I was going to spend at some point anyway. Take out the dinner (yes, I would have eaten anyway, but I would have cooked for myself), and it's only $60. So, it's a commitment.

Oh: I had a great time, and a great practice.

I finished the century drill on the last day of Spring Break. I've kept up the same workout, save that on Thursday I did not run. But I *did* run after I got him from Nutley on Wednesday night, of which I'm kind of proud. Just now, I went down to the gym at school, did my workout, with 20 minutes of yoga, then ran (in my 5 fingers) a mile and a half.

I have transitioned now into a modified A Frame/High Guard like Gregor uses. I can take that into a standard high-guard if need be (like against Arne, because it defends my off-side better). I have mostly but not completely abandoned the Bellatrix High-open form that I'm most comfortable with. I am using Gemeni's technique of being in high open form when I'm out of range or right at the edge of it, and closing up when I move into range.



At Nutley on Wednesday I could not get in enough fighting. It was a great practice once again, with about 20 people in armor. I only fought five people, and only three of those were with sword and shield.

For the most part, I stank.

I started out fighting Jan Janovich. My first fight against him was great. I worked him till I took his leg, then killed him. Then we more or less traded fights till he nailed me in the cup. And not one of those annoying little tip shots either. This was a full on cleave you in two shot. Thankfully, the cup worked.

Next I fought an unbelted fighter from ICOD named Michael. He nailed me. Then he nailed me again. I killed him three times, all with a hook/thrust. I was bad!

Then I fought Gregor. He said my defense was really good. Ha! I got him once with a hook thrust.

Wanting to get some training for Crown I fought Eric Hundeman with his preferred style, sword and "broken lance" with a thrusting tip on one end. Here's the thing. If I fight it like I'm fighting sword and short sword, or case, like my usual two weapon gig, I do well. If I fight it like he and Radnor do I'm doomed.

Then I fought James, a Tribal fighter from the West. We fought Sword and Buckler. That was fun.

I fought Sir Harold. Sir Mord, Sir William, Arne, and a polearm fight with Dan. However, before getting into armor, I did my whole workout-- pushups, squats, yoga, and a run around that big fighting field (I did my pell work at home). I was beat! I wanted to be tired out. It worked. My targeting was awful! My power was weak!

Harold was SUPER Tough yesterday (he was knocking Arne around). We only made it through two fights, and we split them. He was bringing a lot of heat and I couldn't get near to hitting him.

Mord killed me once. I killed him more than once. My targetting sucked and it felt my blows were really slow.

Against Bill I had a great set of fights, but that light sword was starting to broom, so a couple of times my technique worked to get an opening but didn't kill him.

Against Arne I fought really really well.

I went against Dan with the pole arm because big choppy things is one of the forms for finals. I fought it like Diablu, with downward chops from a vertical guard and did ok. Then I fought my normal pole style and did much better.

So check it out, Video!

Here's me and Gregor. Note how the "tight defense" he mentioned. Especialy at about 1:12. It reminds me of the great Michael Pope's comment about my fight with Michael San in the Cynaguan Novice Tourney, AS 13 (the coronet where it snowed--you know....). "So Valgard here says to Michael San "here Mike! Use my shield as a coffee table?" Michael said "Thank you very much sucker, eat flaming rattan death!"

More of me and Gregor:

So here's me and Bill at Iron Bog. Check out how terrible my targetting is. I'm way way off! Note how I gracefully slip and nearly faceplant right in front of him!

And finally my first fight with Arne. This was a good one, but not my best fight of the day.

It's 12 days until Crown. My next time in armor will be Wednesday at Nutley.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Iron Bog, 4/9/17

Best laid plans and all that.

I had planned to step up my training over Spring Break. I've unfortunately been frustrated by Ostgardr, and by God.

I've added Yoga and running to my daily routine of pushups (50) squats (50) and pell work (100 strikes). I'm currently on day 95 of the Century Drill. The yoga is just a warmup. I've got set yoga combinations of 5, 10, and 20 minutes. I've mostly been doing the 10 minute one. That will increase soon, and I'll start taking full classes eventually. My runs have been either a mile, or a mile and a half, or the one day I did wind-sprints, though the day of Iron Bog my run consisted of getting off the train in Newark to change trains and realizing that I'd accidentally left the station, and had 5 minutes to run around the block, across a busy street, back into the station and then up to the platform, all while dragging my armor. I made it. It was a workout.

The problem was with helmet time. I planned three days in armor--Iron Bog on Sunday, Midland Vale on Tuesday, and Rusted Woodlands on Thursday. I made it to Iron Bog. On Tuesday my trainee up in Midland Vale was hurt. Midland Vale is a 4 hour trip by four different trains--meaning I'd have to stay the night--so I decided to go to my local practice instead. Trouble was, I was the only heavy who showed up. Then on Thursday (today) somebody posted that, due to Holy Week, there'd be no practice at Rusted Woodlands (it takes place in a church).  Frustrated. One goal not met, and lots of good helmet time missed.

I am trying to guard my right side more, fighting more in a high guard than in an A Frame this week, and practicing more overhead returns. I had not replaced the bolt on my shield, and I didn't have a spare. It's the bottom bolt on the palm strap, so I can still use the shield, but it doesn't hang correctly and leaves my leg open. I borrowed a shield from Thomas for most of my fights. This was kind of awesome, because it was well balanced and guarded my leg well most of the time (I did over block once), and really forced me into a high guard the way it was strapped. It also just wasn't my shield, so it got me killed more than once.

First up I fought Mord. He killed me twice, mostly because I was using Jonathan's shield. I found my attack from the high guard felt a bit slow.

RON: I used my own shield against Ron. He was being very careful and very precise, so he basically carved me to ribbons. He took my leg twice out of three fights. I felt my defense improving against him. I could not quite get my sword moving. I didn't lay stick on him.

MATT: Against Matt I did very well. He had gone back to his heater shield, which I don't think is his best form--he fights me better with his center-grip kite. I took his leg a couple of times, I killed him with slot shots and with a rising snap.

RORY: Fights with Rory were great. One of the forms for Crown semis will be sword with broken lance, which will have a thrusting tip on one end. We both went out with sword and bastard sword held upside down to simulate this. These were vicious fights, because it's not the best form for either of us. My best kill was when I struck at his leg, stomped my foot, then hit him with the thrusting tip in the chest. He tagged me with a good face thrust and with a slot shot. I accidentally punched him in the face reaching for a top-edge hook.

JONATHAN: Great way to end the day. Jonathan is a great fighter with hand speed and good judge of measure. We had some awesome fights. I took his leg a couple of times and killed him with a hook/wrap and a butterfly. He pounded me at least once with a haymaker. Really good fights.

The list for crown is out. It's thin at the top, with only four royal peers, but very heavy in the middle. There's 39 fighters in the list, and at least 16 of them have a legitimate shot at winning. Thankfully, I'm one of them.

Duke Ronald Wilmot fighting for Duchess Bronwyn Dawntreader
Duke Randal of the Dark fighting for Duchess Katherine Stanhope
Duke Achilles son Asia fighting for Shaunna
Jarl Valgard Stonecleaver fighting for Lady Gracia Vasquez de Trillo
Sir Wilhelm von Ostenbrucke fighting for Mistress Vienna de la Mer
Sir Zhigmun Czypsser fighting for Bannthegn(Baroness) Aleyd Czypsser
Sir Sichelgaita von Halsstern fighting for Sir Harold Hakonson
Master Ryan Mac Whyte fighting for Mistress Kay Leigh Mac Whyte
Sir Culann mac Cianain fighting for Mistress Aneleda Falconbridge
Sir Cedric of Armorica fighting for Mistress Brid ni Sherlais
Master Ãvaldr Valbjarnarson fighting for Mistress Eva Woderose
Sir Pellandres, dit le frere fighting for Baroness Mari Clock van Hoorne
Sir Ivan Ivanov syn Dmitriev fighting for Baroness Matilde DeCaden
Master Dmitri Stephanovich aka Deacon de Chatillion fighting for Mistress Nadezhda Voronov
Sir William MacCrimmon fighting for Lady Susanna of Dragonship Haven
Master Sigurthr Vigurhafn fighting for Baroness Medhbh inghean Ui Cheallaigh
Baron Jonathan Miles fighting for Baroness Teresa Perez
Lord Donnan Fitzgerald fighting for Lady Aurelia Alfaiata d’Alcáçova
Baron Duncan Kerr fighting for Mistress Eleanor fitzPatrick
The Honorable Lord Richard Crowe fighting for Lady Ameria Browne
The Honorable Lord William RavenHair fighting for The Honorable Lady Albreda Aylese
The Honorable Lord Turi Mac Kinnon fighting for Baroness Marguerite de Sainte Nazaire
Baron Rory Maclellan fighting for Baroness Astridr Sigrun Ulfkelsdottir
Lord Ingvar Thorsteinsson called Critter fighting for Lady Hasanah bint al-Kalil ibn Habib
Baron Vachir Artslanjin fighting for Sarvuu Arslanjin
The Honorable Lord Gawyn O’Clery fighting for Maeve O’Clery
The Honorable Lord Klaus Winterhalter Von Wallachia fighting for Lady Anastasia Wolfe
The Honorable Lord Arne Ulriksson fighting for Lady Anna VonBaden
The Honorable Lord Galvyn Lockhart fighting for Lady Rhiannon of Ayres
Lord Dorian Kalogero fighting for Lady Aziza al Shirazyya
Lord Martin Wasser Speier fighting for Master Donovan Shinnock
Lord Berkhommer Von Nuemburg fighting for Lady Auriora de Bianco
Lord Brick James Beech fighting for Lady Nadia Hart
Lady Vasia von KÃenigsberg fighting for Lady Ãesa Sturludottir
Lord Patrick Lumhalghs fighting for Lady Melody
Lord Abel atte Watere fighting for Ãesa assa
Luthor Von Eisenfaust fighting for Lady Mabel Fortune
Onryo fighting for Esmeralda

It's 23 days until Crown. My next time in armor will be at Nutley next Wednesday. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Nutley, April 5

At Nutley, they hit real hard.

So I needed to get back into armor to humble myself after Mudthaw. If that wasn't the intent, that was certainly the outcome. It was a really really big night, pretty deep, very painful.

None. All I wanted to do coming into the night was to relax and let the fight come to me. I didn't want to o A-Frame or Bellatrix style, I just wanted to go out and fight.

I've been working with dumbbells and indian clubs a bit, but not much. I'm just doing my dailies: pushups, squats, steps, and 100 strikes on the pell. I'm on day 88 of the Century drill.

Oh, wow! There were seventeen people in armor at Nutley last night, included seven knights. It was a deep night. I fought a good variety of guys, but I played in the deep end of the pool quite a bit.

DUNCAN: He's a guy I don't now very well. He hits hard on his first shot but then loses power. I got him with lateral movement to my left.

ARNE: This was tougher than Mudthaw. I had some great fights with him. I managed to take his leg twice and I won those fights. I avoided the thrust. He took my arm and my ribs once each, but I was guarding the off-side much better overall.

ALEXANDROS: He uses a heater and fights very tight. His defense is good and he doesn't fall for fakes, but you can freeze him with double pumps.

KING IOANNES: As I've said on this blog before, I wear a lobster-tail gorget because my biggest fear is a neck injury.  Last night I got all dressed up to fight Ioannes, then realized I'd forgotten to put my gorget on. Good thing, too! He was out their grand-standing and posing, trying to throw me off. I don't think it worked. I mostly stayed on my game and came after him. Once I mirrored him, but that was the worst it got. I don't think I laid stick on him at all. He has that wicked high shot that Duke Anton from Atlantia used o throw, which is nearly impossible to guard, but he jumps into the air wen he does it. Twice he hit me with it, and the second time was right across the lobster tail of my gorget. When he's air born, it lands REALLY deep.

ERIC HUNDEMAN: I manged to get him with a couple of thrust, including when I was on my knees, thrusting him in the belly. That was satisfying. I also got him with a top-edge hook. Nonetheless, most of my plans were not working at all, and he took my head off a couple of times.

STEPHAN: When you fight Von Dresden, you have to be prepared for the thunder to rain down upon you. He hits harder than anybody at that practice. In fact, he also hit me on my gorget, and it was so hard I felt it in the palms of my hands. He also got me with one of those short-stick strikes he trows, which are his hardest blow. The thing is, both the really ard shots he hit me with were follow-up shots. When Stephan hits you, you kind of go limp for a milisecond, or maybe its just that you cringe. Whatever. It means you are totally helpless for a second. If he thinsk you took his shot he will stop fighting, but normally he's so fast that his second shot has landed before you can get "good" out. To me a very good practice is one wherein I land a stick on Stephan somewhare. I did not do that. However, when we went toe-to-toe (literally--it's a game he likes to play, stand with your toes touching first one to step back or get hit loses), it was savage and I did great. When we were done everybody watching went "whoa" and somebody applauded.

HORIC: I mean, how could I not wait to get a shot at Horic? Those were very good fights, and I won them both. I almost got him with a butterfly. I did get him with thrusts twice, once with a hook/thrust when we were both on our knees. His is such a great fighter!

It's 30 days until Crown Tournament. My next time in armor will be Sunday in Iron Bog.