All Gussied Up
Last night I attended fighter practice for the first time in ages. What with band practices and the Lish doing derby, I haven’t been able to attend, but my buddy has been going pretty regularly. For here, since everyone gets a special name, I’ll call him Mick. He’s been collecting armor bits, he built a pell, and now has a set of loaner kit (kit=armor) to play with. When I showed up, he was already getting suited up, so I stuck to the pell for the first hour or so. After that, he was tired and sweaty as fuck, like he just got out of the pool at an abandoned hotel. Mick asked me if I wanted a go in the armor. I said yes, but not really to fight. I wanted to see what wearing armor was like: How it moved, how it restricted movement, how much it weighed, etc. While getting suited up, the fighter who was working with Mick, whom we’ll call Bob, came over and said that we can have a go when I’m all geared up. I figured why not. I remembered Hamish’s line from Braveheart when he said “Well, we didn’t get dressed up for nothin!”.
The armor itself was a bit uncomfortable, which is to be expected with loaner gear. I have an odd body type, which means I have issues finding certain clothes. It also means that loaner gear it not gonna ever fit me right. The armor was thick leather. The top of it dug into my clavicle pretty hard on the right side, and the arms held me back from making good offside shots because it dug into my hand and wrist. Apart from that, and the copious amount of grody Mick sweat, it wasn’t bad at all. Visibility through the helm is something I’ll have to really work at to get used to as well. I’ll also need a helm that fits my heat in the right way. The one I borrowed, Mick’s, sat a bit low and I had trouble seeing high shots coming. To be perfectly honest, though, my armor was most certainly not my problem.
Once we began fighting, I was reminded of a few things.
- I’m a very defensive fighter. I know many newcomers may be that way at first, but I’ve been this way for a very long time. I’ve fought in martial arts before, and I’m always defensive. Hell, even when I play fighting games in the arcade, I have a defensive style. Gotta get outta that.
- My reflexes suck. I mean REALLY suck. I can’t even count how many times I got hit when I knew it was coming, but didn’t react in time. Because of this, I shall call my persona Internet Explorer.
- I’m physically weak as fuck. I pretty much always knew this as well, as I’ve never had upper body strength in my life. I have very long legs, and always had all my power there, and other arts and fighting styles incorporated the use of the entire body when performing a strike. Even a punch’s power, which many seem to think comes from the mainly upper body, actually comes from the hips and core. In this, however, it’s all isolated. Strikes come from the arm and upper body, so I hit like a mildly upset 3 year old in the midst of a hissy fit. Even if I was given a full opening, I don’t think I could effectively deliver a killing blow. Also, my left arm was very underpowered for effectively using my shield. After some fighting and teaching, one of the knights came over to teach me some stuff about shield movement. I could see he was getting a bit frustrated with me because I kept screwing it up, but at that point my arm was killing me and I just didn’t have the strength to get it done.
I feel bad about being such a shitty student. I do try, and when I see them getting frustrated I do try harder, but I have a slight learning disability which can make it difficult sometimes. That, compounded with my lack of physical prowess, makes for a tough situation for both student and teacher. Still, they were all extremely patient and awesome. The guys I worked with were very open and kind, and really did a great job in making me feel as comfortable as possible through all of this, while also teaching me what to do, and more importantly, what NOT to do.
Overall, it was a great experience. I had a lot of fun, and I think if I can get my strength up I’ll have a much easier time learning. Keep in mind, though, I didn’t really get hit much. The only time I really got hit was when I asked Bob to hit me in the head hard enough to be a called shot. It didn’t really hurt, thankfully. It was more like….remember in cartoons as a kid, when one character would put a huge cast metal bell on the head of another and then ring that shit with a hammer like he’s mining for diamonds? It was like that. Not terrible, just different and a bit disorienting. So my takeaway from this is that I need padding, armor that fits a bit better, and strength training, but overall it was fun shit!