The Great Northeastern War 2018

OK, I’ll start out by saying that there’s gonna be a lot to cover here, and I’m very likely gonna start rambling about shit. If you don’t wanna sit and read through my inane ramblings, there’s a TL:DR at the end for you. Otherwise, buckle up.

We decided to give GNE a go this year. It’s pretty far for us, about 6-7 hours each way, but we’ve been wanting to make this event even before I put on armor. We were told earlier this year that our wonderful friend Christiana, the Winter Witch, was getting elevated to the Order of the Laurel at it this year, so we figured the time is right. This time, we packed the kids in the car with us and began our adventure.

We were invited to camp with house Fulton, which was mainly people who camped with us at EK Royal during Honig and Ioannes’ reign last summer at Pennsic. In other words, a camp full of top shelf people. Even those whom we didn’t already know well were amazing and welcoming. We pretty much just chilled out around camp on Thursday, and enjoyed everyone’s company. The kids mingled with other kids and ran in packs across the countryside, and all was well.

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Dead men walking…

Friday kicked off with a youth combat archery event. Me and a handful of others got in our armor and acted as moving targets for kids with CA legal crossbows. We, on the other hand, were armed with soaking wet sponges. Kids each get 3 bolts to fire, and if they get hit with a sponge they gotta get back in line. Both of my kids jumped in to shoot at me, and it was glorious fun! Puppah’s first shot was against my boy Conri, who threw a sponge at him only to have it shot from the air! The beast responded similarly, when she shot the sponge out of my hand as I was ready to throw! By the end, we were tired and soaked, and we eventually grabbed the buckets of water to empty at them. This was some of the most fun I’ve had in armor. Later on, at court, the Winter Witch was sent on vigil. It was glorious seeing her shock and awe when they called up the order to send her off to contemplate the question. I was at her vigil later on, serving guard duty at the vigil tent with Conri. It was such a great atmosphere, everyone was all smiles as they enjoyed good company and absolutely superb food. Definitely a good time!

Saturday kicked off with some delicious food, then off to the field for the fighty bits. I went down, got inspected, and made it in time for the woods battle. I fought on the side of Malagentia for this war, so we were team white. The other side was team blue. Woods was a resurrection battle. The footing was pretty precarious, so things went slow for the most part. Also, we were very short on shields, so pulses were virtually nonexistent. I don’t think I threw more than a dozen or so shots the entire battle, spending the majority of my time out there either drawing fire to let my spearmen (and women, of course) work, or just protecting spearmen from getting clipped from the sides. I did take one glorious shot from a blue spearman, who hit the gap between my sword and shield while threading his spear through the branches of a dense tree. It was pretty badass. I was also helping protect a lady spearman for a bit, only to miss a block resulting in her taking a nasty thrust to the guts that took her breath away and caused a hold. I felt truly awful, and really need to learn to work better with spears for situations like this. Maybe this is something we’ll be able to work on at PAL. Though we did go back and forth a bit, our side ended up losing the battle, and we headed out to do the field battles.

The first field battle we did was a broken field battle, with hay bales set up in the middle to break things up. This was run as a capture the flag game. The first round ended quickly, as someone got through to get the flag and started running about 5 feet in front of me as I was heading back to rez. I ran my ass off to catch him, screaming my brains out the whole way, but I just wasn’t quick enough and he got it back and scored. The second round had a lot of push and pull, and in the end nobody touched either flag. During this battle, three things of note happened. First, I realized that when I’m heading back to the line, people expect me to run up to the line and then fall in place and stay the line. What they DON’T expect is for me to just keep walking right up to them and start throwing shots like mad. I did this a few times, usually taking one of them with me. Sure, I had to go back to rez, but so did they, and it’s way more fun than just holding the line. Besides, most times I did it the other fighter was mostly alone. Second, one of the times I did that aforementioned move, I was heading back and saw a spearman and told her to come with me. I figured I’d hit their line, and she could capitalize on it. I don’t know if I realized it at the time, but the spearman was her majesty. I hit the line, died gloriously, and thought it was vastly entertaining. Truth be told, as I walked back to rez I was mildly concerned that I just made myself look like an ass in front of my queen. Whether that’s indeed the case or not remains to be seen, but hey, I thought it was a riot! Third, at some point I made my way over to the right side to see what was up, as that side was being pushed way back. His majesty was on that side, and he pointed to someone and told me to hit them. So I did, and while I don’t exactly recall whether I killed them or not, I hit them and eventually died gloriously (I did LOTS of dying!).  Now, I mention those last bits for a reason. Following these battles, their majesties held a brief battle court (which I thought was a strategy briefing at first). His majesty mentioned that he will call out good things he sees on the field when he sees them, and his example was when he told me to murder someone, and I did. He brought me up, commended me for my skill, and honored me by making me a companion of the Order of the Silver Tyger.

A bit of back story on this, as I was told after the fact. Apparently, I was written in for this two weeks ago, so I wasn’t supposed to get it yet. There was no scroll or medallion, as this was completely unplanned. His majesty, after the battle, ran off the field and into Honig’s camp and said that I was straight up murdering people out there, so find my family cuz he’s giving me the award right now! Though I’ve spoken to him a few times, and we’ve fought a few times, I wouldn’t say I know Brennan well at all. I’m sure some of that may have been affected by the last reign of my head of household, as there was tension following that crown (to put it lightly). I mention this because, if you know me, you know that once the shock and joy settles a little, my lizard brain will pick the situation apart to see how this could be something I didn’t earn and don’t deserve. Problem is, with all things being considered, it’s got nothin! Hell, Brennan and Caoilfhionn were the ones who created this order, which just made this the perfect storm for me. Who other than they would know who would be worthy of this order? It certainly wasn’t a pity or nepotism award, it was a direct consequence to my actions, and upon that realization I was just overcome with emotion. I’ve been fighting against my own expectations of where I should be, and what my worth is on the field. Being affirmed like that on the field was nothing short of incredible. I am so deeply humbled to be in such incredible company, and I now feel like more of a member of fighting community than before. I know that probably sounds weird, but in everything else I’ve done I’ve almost always been more of an outsider or some sort of fringe participant. Now, things have changed, and instead of feeling a bit like I’m on the outside looking in, I feel like I’m inside and that I SHOULD be there. Keep in mind that none of this has anything to do with what other people say to me, since loads of people have been incredibly welcoming and have been saying I belong for months now. But in MY lizard-driven head, things were different. Now, things have shifted, and considering that I’m now “on the radar”, I’m gonna really have to step things up further. I want to pull my weight out there, and I feel it only right to honor this order by pushing harder. Also, now that I have a better idea of what a Silver Tyger should be, I can now help some other new fighters get to that level!

Following that court, there were a few bridge battles. I was “Running with Scissors” for these, so once lay on was called out I ran my ass off to hammer into their lines. My first battle I rushed well, but didn’t push past the first person I hit. Instead I just held them, instead of giving those behind me something to play with. Kit pointed this out to me after I got whack-a-mole’d by a polearm and dumped over the hay bales. The second time I did a little better, drove deeper in, and eventually got wrapped and dumped over again. Overall, it was way fun, though my strategy and technique still need quite a bit of work. Finally, the field battles happened. I ran, I clashed, and I eventually got clobbered, but I enjoyed the shit out of it every time. After the field battles, the unbelts challenged the chivalry again, so I waded over in case I was able to play. They were doing a 10 man champs team, and a 10 man alternates team. Only about 6 of the actual alternates were there, so they picked 4 more, and to my surprise I was chosen to be one of them. I did my scissors duty and flanked off to the side to run at their flank. The first time, we met both his majesty and his highness, and his highness left to go back to the center. I let the other two I was with take his majesty on, and I ran to the center as well, only to be met by Sir Zippy and taken out. The second time, we went for his highness on that side again, though I got there too early and went one on one with him. We’ll just say that the odds were not in my favor. After that battle, I went to get some of my gear off because my leg was hurting. Afterwards, I went back to the unbelts as they discussed tactics and what worked and didn’t work. Once all was said and done, I geared down and went off to shower and chill.

Time for evening court came, and I limped my broken ass off to court. Just before it began, I decided to hit the can so I wouldn’t miss anything. On my way there, I ran into his majesty who said “Fearghus, just the guy I was looking for!”. I may have done an internal “rut roh”. He asked a favor of me; he asked if I would act as his champion for court and hold the sword of state. Here I am, struck speechless by the same dude twice in one day. My bladder shortly forgotten, I said I would be honored and proceeded to process into court. I stood for those three and a half hours (I peed during the intermission for a short eternity), watching people getting recognized for their hard work and dedication, and it was amazing. I’ve attended during court before, and it’s always glorious. This time was no different. My only regret is my lack of absorbent clothing, as I’m a bit of a weeper and got misty quite a few times. While I didn’t do the deed to earn the right of being the champion, it was pretty awesome to be the proxy for such a crazy and amazing day.

What’s that? Couldn’t get better? Well, that night I did go out gallivanting, and while I did partake of the ‘thunder punch’ at the thunder party, I made it a relatively early night since I was absolutely exhausted and sore. The next day, as we were packing up camp, house Fulton invited us to partake in their tradition of circling up and all saying something they liked about their stay in camp. I couldn’t really lock it down to one thing, to be honest. Everyone was so wonderful, interesting, fun, welcoming, kind, and understanding. I blundered my ineloquent way through it, in typical Fearghus fashion, and moved on. About halfway through the circle, Kit walked over. I thought she was just walking by, but she actually came to see me. I went over to her, and she proceeded to give me her Silver Tyger medallion. She knew that one for me was not ready, so she asked his majesty if she could give me hers and he said yes. While I’ve not spoken much of her here, Kit has been a huge influence on my fighting career in the SCA. She’s been there for me when the demons got loud, and gave it to me straight and unfiltered, which is exactly what I needed. She’s been a sounded board for me, a source of information, and an inspiration to me, though she may not have known it. All this made this act of including me in her medallion’s lineage an amazing honor, and I’ve been wearing it nonstop since then. I wasn’t able to say much in the moment (stupid emotions getting in my way), but we’ve talked since then. The lineage goes like this: She got her Silver Tyger on the battlefield as well, after her first unbelts battle. Duke Kenric gave it to her because of what he saw on that field that day, but since it wasn’t planned he had no medallion for her. He did promise her a medallion, but was taken from us before that could happen. Her friend Snorri got his some time later, and the topic came up in conversation. He was moved to give her his medallion and create a lineage for it. Though they were from different shires and households, they were brothers in arms and it just felt right. When Brennan called me up, it moved her to pass it along, and I’m almost in tears just writing about all this. Maybe someday I’ll be able to show these people what they’ve done for me, and what it truly means to me. I’ll show them like an eloquent and well spoken intelligent adult. Today is not that day, and tomorrow’s not looking good either. Until then, I’ll have to do it the only way my dumb ass knows how. The same way the Bundy’s from “Married with Children” solve problems, with swift and blinding violence. I will do my best to show my appreciation at war with glorious murder.

TL:DR GNEW was super, household we stayed at was awesome, I was awarded the Silver Tyger, stood in as champion during court, got a legacy medallion from Kit, and cried about 6 gallons into my non-absorbent fabrics. All in all, a magical weekend.

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A year in armor…in review

Yeah, I know, the title sucks. Couldn’t figure out how to word it better. OK, so it’s been a bit longer than a year, but as I’m a fucking spaz and forgot to do this back in May, I’m doing it now. May marked my one year anniversary in armor, and I figured I’d take a look at where I am now vs where I was then. This was also spurred by my conversations with other fighters about my progress at EK 50th, as well as going back and reading a few older posts I made. I’ll link them below:

The Poor Me’s, from July 2017

That old unfamiliar feeling from February 2018

So, now that we’re all up to date with how mental I actually am, let’s move on. The past year has been great in so many ways. I went to a shit ton of practices, fought in a bunch of events, and had countless conversations about fighting with all sorts of people in the society. In my opinion, at this date and time, I think I’ve come a fair way from the noob I was this time last year. My defense is a bit tighter, and my shots are more precise and better powered. My biggest increase, though, has been in reading opponents and recognizing openings. These days, I’m definitely much better at that than I was last year. My stance and footwork have also gotten quite a bit better. I can honestly say I’m undeniably a better fighter now than last year.

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Got me, Gandy, I just work here…

That being said, the real question for me is whether I’m where I should be as a fighter with a year under his belt. Well, this is a really difficult question for me to answer. I don’t typically fight people with the same time under their belt, and the majority of fighters with more years behind them whoop my ass pretty regularly. Still, I’ll be a bit arrogant here and say that I’m roundabout where I think I should be after a year of practice. I still have a rather daunting amount of work ahead of me, but I’m taking in a day at a time. My defense is still weak, especially when I’m on my feet (it’s better when I don’t have to block my legs). I’m hoping I can get better at this over time, and I’m not just stuck here because of my slow reflexes. I need to get more fluid and better speed out of my shots, and more power from my wraps. I’m starting the 100 day pell drill to help resolve this one. While my footwork did improve, it also has a long way to go. I think and act in too linear a way for it to be totally effective. Then there’s other stuff that I think will only increase with experience. Things like being able to read opponents and melee situations, being able to react to them, and feeling confident enough to take command on the field and make a call.

Now, for goals to have done by next year. Since I’ve finally obtained gauntlets, I’d like to learn how to use either a greatsword or polearm by next summer. I don’t have to be good at it, per se, but to at least learn enough to be able to put up some sort of fight with it. This means I’ll also have to learn how to thrust, something I have avoided thus far in my primary weapons form. I’d like to tighten up my defense much more in sword and shield, especially when using the targe. I’d also like to get my shot mechanics more refined so I use less energy when I throw shots. Next, I’d like to get more experienced in melee, and step closer to being able to see weakness and react without hesitation. Granted, I don’t think I’ll fully get there in only a year, but I’d like to take steps in that direction. Finally, I’d like to fight in Spring crown tourney next year. I’d love to have that experience, regardless of whether I get past the second round or not. I think it’d be awesome to step out there and swing for the fences for the lovely Lish.

I do have other goals, like getting my armor worked out and more period, but that’s gonna be a constant improvement over time, so I left that out. In the end, I think progress is being made, and hopefully I can keep taking steps forward, without too many steps back.

East Kingdom’s 50th Anniversary Celebration

So this past weekend, my lovely lady Lish and I traveled up near Albany NY for the 50 year anniversary celebration of the East Kingdom. We took Friday off, so we left crazy early and got there around 11am or so. We camped with Stormguard, which is a rapier melee group that members of my household fight with. They graciously invited all of our household who were looking to camp at the event to join them. We setup our stuff, introduced ourselves to everyone, and had a beer to start things out. Then, at about half past noon I put my armored party dress on and headed to the field for the day’s fighting.

Friday’s fighting had three separate official events. First was a single sword barrier battle. This basically consisted of a saw horse where two fighters line up on either side with only one sword, and no shields. Shots must be above the waist. We had about 15 fighters show for the day, so it was 3 teams of 5 fighters. It was a blast! I switched to lefty about halfway through it, and it was great fun and practice.

The second event was a Sword in the Stone tournament. This was basically a single bear pit style tourney, with points like they are in Birka. 2 points for a win, 1 for a loss, winner stays. The catch here was that you had a sword in one hand, and the other hand had to be gauntleted and gripping a greatsword stuck in a base. The arm whose hand gripped the greatsword was off limits, and 3 counted blows won each match. This was another tourney I really loved. It was fun, funny, and just a total blast. Sir Douglas took the win.

The third even was a roman melee. This was a charity battle, so all participants donated money in exchange for “lives” or “ransom”. For example, I donated $5 and got 5 coins for it, that were made for this event. We all start in a large circle on the field, and when they call lay on, you can’t just whack the dude next to you right away. Once it all devolved, however, you could hit whomever you pleased. 3 counted blows against someone stunned them, and then you had to walk them off the field. If you got to the edge, they owed you a coin. If you run outta coins, you’re out. Last man standing wins. The catch was that while you walked someone off, others could attack you. If they did, your prisoner started slowly counting to 10. If he got there before either of you won, he was free to walk away. If one of you won, then they got both to walk to the edge. This was great fun! I so totally dug this one. I kept being able to kill someone, only to get accosted while moving them and killed by the new person. It was hilarious. The downside, was that by the loss of my 4th life, I had overheated in a big way, and I all but crawled off the field and felt like I was gonna puke. As such, I’m not sure who won.

The next day was the Grand Tournament, which was a double elimination. Before that, however, the unbelts did a few short melee battles. During the second one, I took a nasty shot to my shoulder and had to bow out for a bit because my arm went numb. Thankfully, I was able to fight in the tourney later on. My first fight was His Majesty, king Sven of Æthelmearc, who is also a royal peer from Sweden I believe. Really nice dude, we’d spoken a bit the day before at the other tourneys. He legged me, and a few moments later he bested me.  My next fight was against Brick James Beech (best name ever!). I got legged again, but held on longer while legged. I tried like hell to get some wraps in, but couldn’t get past his shield enough to really crank it in. It also didn’t help that both my swords were broomed, but I didn’t have a chance to make new ones beforehand. Eventually, he got me with a nice shot to the grill (haiyoooo), and it was over. I did some pickups after that with a few people, but during one of them I torqued my hand the wrong way trying to throw a scorpion wrap, which really sucked cuz my opponent was a really good fight. I tried it out an hour or so later again, and decided it was best to rest it until later.

Saturday night was the Beer Pit Tourney. This was bear pit style, with Birka rules. A win was 2 points, a loss was 1 point. Entry to the tourney was…yup, you guessed it, beer! How much beer depended on what level fighter you were, award-wise. For example, as an unbelt of no level, I only needed to bring a single beer to enter (granted I still brought a 6, but it was Oatmeal Stout so you can’t have just one!). A royal peer, though, had to bring a 6 pack. Winner takes the spoils, or divvies it up however they choose. This happened at sundown, so it was twilight at first, and fucking dark soon after. There were tiki torches, but it was still really hard to see, especially without my glasses on. Needless to say, it was a riot. There were about 15-20 fighters I think, and the only bummer about it was that I didn’t get to fight all of them. I did, however, get to fight Sir Ryu about 8-10 times or so, and Sir Douglas almost as many as that. I fought Sir Ryu so many times, that at one point when I had to give my number to someone I beat, I gave Sir Ryu’s number by accident and had to correct myself! It was hilarious. I had a few victories as well, though not against them, obviously. After about 40 minutes or so I popped my top cuz I was getting overheated again, and as I was about to grab my helm to head back in, I got badly lightheaded and decided to stay out rather than risk an avoidable injury. In the end, Sir Douglas Henry took the win. He grabbed about 6 random beers for himself, gave other fighters who came in 2nd, 3rd, etc the next picks, then we all got to grab a beer or two to toast and celebrate the East! It was great fun, and I hope to take part in another of those.

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Yup, it was like that…

This seems like a great time to mention the elephant in the room. This even was HOT! Heat indexes all 3 days were over 100, and it wasn’t much better in the shade. Even at night, it was pretty warm, and I didn’t really sleep much the first night because of it. During the Grand Tournament, we were all passing around water like mad. Lish bought oranges and a huge jar of pickles, and we passed them out to the fighters, spectators, and marshals throughout the tourney, as did a few others. The last day, Sunday, was to be even hotter, and though I wasn’t there to witness any of it, I do hope the fighters in the melees did well and stayed hydrated without overheating.

There was quite a bit of other stuff that happened as well. There was an amazing Arts and Sciences display that showed off the history of the East Kingdom, with booths for specific baronies and such, as well as general information about the Kingdom’s history. Some people even made dolls representing all King and Queens of East from beginning to current. It was super awesome, and there was so much incredible artwork on display! There was also fencing, archery, thrown weapons, and equestrian tournaments that happened, though sadly I did miss those. The Lish caught a bit of the equestrian and said it was incredible. At night, there were parties, music, dancing, fire, and drink. There was laughter, smiles, and just overall awesomeness at every turn, despite the brutal weather. Even the site favors were incredible, two sided combat medallions. Truly a worthwhile event, and one I’m glad I was able to make it to.

Lastly, I finally got some more of my newer gear! I got two stainless basket hilts, a crosspiece for a greatsword, an ABS chest and back piece, stainless spaulders, and my gauntlets. I also picked up enough rattan for a greatsword and polearm so I can play with those on occasion as well. Now I have the makings of almost entirely new kit versus what I’ve been using. The only missing piece I have now is a gambeson, since my zoombang is starting to get destroyed. Now I have to get all this stuff sorted and fitted correctly before pennsic. I also have to strap and paint my new heater so I can return all the loaner gear and finally be in my own armor completely. I can’t wait! Below you’ll find the videos of almost all the fighting I did, except the pick ups and most of the beer pit tourney, since it was too dark to take video.

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Yes, I’m aware I look ridiculous, but it was sunny and hot and I ran out of fucks…

Fighting Practice 6/25/2018

This Monday past, I ventured back over to my local barony practice, which is mainly comprised of the Brood household. I fought the order I’ve been doing lately, starting lefty with the targe, switching to righty with the targe, and then to the heater. I did a little better with my defense and stance when fighting with the targe, both righty and lefty. My left still needs a LOT more pell work to get used to throwing shots with it. I did some over the weekend, but haven’t made the time since, and that’s something I really need to get off my ass and remedy.

My new leg armor is still being a pain, but it didn’t bite or chafe much this time because I wore it on the outside of my pants. I may do this until after EK 50th, since I would rather not risk fucking something up beforehand and having to fight in my old leg armor. The older gear doesn’t let me move quite as freely, and makes noise that gives away when I switch feet. The new arms, however, are doing much better. The super stiff leather that was cutting into my arms is starting to soften up, and it protects pretty well without the need to put padding in. Also, unlike my previous vambraces, these don’t spin around my arm and leave giant gaping areas of exposed forearm for people to hit. I’m still waiting on my gauntlets, Bokalo said he might get them out next week. Here’s hoping. So much for 7-10 days, lol. I’m still waiting on my spaulders as well, though they should be here this weekend while I’m at 50th.

I still took a good old fashioned beating, but oddly enough I wasn’t bummed after practice. I actually felt pretty good about myself, which was odd, but I chose not to look to closely at it and just ride it out. I’ll be hitting up Thursday practice as well this week, so hopefully I don’t get too beat up before this weekend.

Fighting Practice 6/21

This week at Wantagh we had me, Dante, Sabrina, and Conrad. I started as a lefty with the targe again, and I’m still having a fair bit of trouble getting off shots while focusing on not getting hit. Can’t honestly say that I’m improving noticeably, but from a logical standpoint I’m “probably” not getting worse. After some time I switched to righty with the targe, and I think my defense is slowly getting a tiny bit better with it. It’s still difficult for me, but it’s easier to control inside fighting with that rather than my heater. I can feel my opponent’s sword more easily through the targe, and it’s weight makes it easier to move around to follow. Now if I only had some sort of inside game, this might be awesome, but meh, baby steps.

Later on I did switch back to my heater, and fought the rest of the night that way. I worked on my defense mostly, with some attention to throwing combinations or throwing in shots to stall my opponent’s combinations. Mild success, but I can’t say I felt the night was a bad one. There was a calibration discussion that I had with Dante at one point, when I asked him what it would take to get through his leg armor. It apparently, according to Conrad, came off a bit more harsh than I’d intended, but Dante didn’t take it that way, thankfully. We discussed it and resolved it rather well. I hate having calibration talks with people, it’s such a touchy subject, but occasionally it does have to happen. Most times I just assume that I’m just not hitting hard enough, which does tend to happen. This was a rare occasion that I was sure it was a good shot, which is why I asked. In future I’ll have to take better care with my phrasing and tone, I’d hate to be “that guy”.

Next week is that last Wantagh practice until September. Maybe I’ll start having outdoor practices at my place for the summer so I can get another practice in during the week, and also during the time just after pennsic. Most other practices take a break for a few weeks following pennsic, but I’d prefer to not lose another step if I can avoid it.

Fighting Practice 6/14 & 6/18

Last Thursday’s practice was pretty small, just me Dante and Sabrina. I worked mainly with the targe, and since Dante was rockin’ the greatsword all night I ended up taking a beating. I was trying to roll my arm down more to intercept, but it was clunky at best. I have up leg and hip a bunch of times until I switched back to right handed with my heater. All in all, a good learning experience.

Last night I worked with Will and Zack mostly, but also fought with Conrad and Andrew. I fought the first half of the night lefty with the targe, then switched to righty with my heater later on. With Will, we worked mostly on intercepts and approaches with the targe, especially when my opponent throws an offside leg shot. The idea is to step into the path of his shot with my shield and close, then either fire or tie up his sword. We worked on that a bit, as well as just general shot mechanics and pell work training for later. I’ll have to snag a full length mirror to help with it, and will need to do pell work every day to beat this into my head. I then fought Conrad for a bit lefty, and did better than I have in the past, so I take that as a win. Slowly but surely, I’m starting to catch on.  With Zack, I fought righty and also worked a bit on approaches. He showed me a bunch of footwork, as well as how to counter some moves people would try on me. At the end of the night, I fought Andrew for a bit, and we went about even. I need to watch out for thrusts more, which is a weakness of mine. I’m gonna have to figure out how to counter thrusts at some point, or I’m gonna get torn apart if actual battles and tourneys.

On the injury front, the pain in my hand has almost completely subsided now, and while I may have some muscle spasms after practice, I haven’t had much discomfort during practices. I think splitting duty between left and right helps, so I’m able to train and learn without putting all the stress on that right hand. Also, once I make new swords I’ll have much more rounded handles which should help to reduce the issue quite a bit, if my hypothesis is correct. I did get a bit of tennis elbow, and some shoulder pain, the past few weeks. I believe this is due to two things. First, holding a shield on that side, which I’m not at all used to. Second, I had an instance a few weeks ago where I went to throw a shot, but my basket was caught and stopped part way into the shot. Problem was, my arm continued the motion, and it jacked up my arm and hurt. It’s been getting better, and didn’t bother me much last night at all, but the demo I did two weekends ago and the practice last week was rough.

Finally, I’m happy to announce that due to a really sweet side job I did over the winter, I finally had some money for armor. I ordered up a pair of Bokalo’s Cat’s ass gauntlets in aluminum, a set of HDPE hidden legs from Valkyrie Forge, a set of hidden arms from a guy on FB, an ABS molded plastic chest and back piece from another guy on FB, and an aluminum riveted aventail from Nicol. I get the arms and legs this week, the gauntlets next week, and the rest at EK 50th. I’m super excited about having armor I’m not fighting against so my attention can be completely on trying not to get slapped around like Larry Fine. More to come, nyuk nyuk nyuk….

Oh yeah, one last thing. For future reference, try to avoid deflecting leg shots from a greatsword downward. Take a great weapon blow on the calf, well, blows…

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Healing well, it was all black over the weekend…

Fighting Practice 6.7.2018

Last night I hit up the Wantagh practice again. Earl Horic came down again and worked with us, which was awesome! This was my first time fighting with my newly created targe, and I was anxious to see what it’d be like. I picked up a 24″ round shield blank of HDPE plastic online, and strapped it and installed a basket handle for the time being. I’ll eventually remove the basket and install a leather strapped handle, but as I don’t have gauntlets yet I’d rather not have my hand blasted with just padded gloves on.

Practice was good, but tough. I started out lefty as usual, and worked with the targe. It’s a FAR more active shield, much like a center grip, and due to its small size and lack of angles, take a ton more work to use. Sir Horic worked with me on it, and gave me the basics of fighting with that shield. It’s something I really need to work on at home, while I’m doing pell work. I’ll also need to start some upper body strength training if I’m gonna use this thing, or another like it. My shots with my left are still pretty poor. I feel awkward throwing most of them, and it’s rare that they land with enough force to be counted as good.

After working with my left for awhile, I switched to fighting righty. I began with the targe, and it was still very difficult. My reaction times have always been slow, and this shield just shines a bright light on that. I later switched to my heater and felt a bit more comfortable, though nowhere near what I was a few months back. I’m much more hesitant to throw wraps, for fear that my hand will flare up again. On that note, I may have come across some useful information. I keep getting this blister at the base of my pinky, and I’m pretty sure it’s due to my sword handle’s shape. I wonder if the shape of my handles has something to do with the pain in my hand. This would explain why it comes and goes, since I was going through a sword or two a month, and each handle is a little different. I’m gonna try a more rounded design and see how that goes.

Finally, I ended off the night fighting two stick. I enjoy the challenge of this, and since people fighting me are toning themselves down I’m not getting destroyed yet. I’m sure once I return to Nutley that this will change, but for now I’m getting a lay of the land. It’s weird trying to wrap my head around how to properly use them together, and just like with the targe, it requires me to be much more aggressive. By nature, I’ve always been a very defensive fighter, so it’s pretty far out of my comfort zone to be very aggressive. Still, I’m sure it’ll be a good skill to have in this game. I’m not sure if I’m spreading myself too thin here with the different forms as well as fighting lefty, but at the moment it’s just a lot of fun at practice to switch things up. It just means I’ll have to work much harder at home to get myself back up to speed. I gotta say, the amount I’ve stepped back in terms of skill really gets to me. Don’t get my wrong, it’s not like I was Silver Tyger material or anything, but I was definitely noticeably better a few months back than I am now. This burns the fire under my ass red hot. I refuse to be useless and shitty at the upcoming events, and drag down my teams as a dead weight. I WILL make this shit work, one way or another.