Here We Go… Here We Go Again… Here We Go Again!

Wow. January? Really?

I did not realize it had been that long since my last update. But a lot has been going on. Had a few setbacks since then. Had a hysterectomy so that put a kink in getting myself ready to fight. Had a bout of ‘I-don’t-give-a-shit’ which also didn’t help much either.

But, things are rolling the right way and I have some cool pics to show you of my new armor:

Still the Winged Horse theme – bottom of the new arms.

Side – really good protection.

New gorget – just the wings since there
was no room for the horse, but how freaking
cool is that?

Now, I just have to work to get my helm padded, attach my legs to my belt and add some padding and I’m good to go. Pretty exciting. I’m a lot farther behind schedule wise than I wanted to be, but you know what? That’s ok. I’m good with that.

I am taking some endurance related classes at my gym so that’s going to help. Been watching a lot of boxing videos.

And if none of that wasn’t inspiration enough – there is a new Princess by Her Own Right. Is that not cool news? That’s enough to get me back on the “I finally give a shit” wagon.

So, moving right along. A bit of a snail’s pace but better that than rush forward and get myself hurt. I’ll make arrangements with a local fighter to help get the armor ready and then I should be good to go.

Sleepless in An Tir

Summer tourney season seems SO far away! Found out July Coronation is going to be in the Barony that I live which will be awesome.

I’m a Co-Event Steward for Dragons Down in August which will be a lot of fun. It’ll be a Pennsic alternative/warm up for Autumn War sort of event!

Luckily I was able to schedule most of the big weekends off for SCA stuff so that will be cool. And even more cool will be fighting in these events.

I need to get camp stuff squared away. I’d like to get a cook stove. Next year I’ll focus on more period tent etc. I’m pretty happy with last years setup for now.

Main focus though will be learning how to put an awesome event together for Dragons Down. 🙂

Out of town for work tomorrow. I’ll try to blog if there is wifi available.

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Chicken Pants!!!

I didn’t go to practice. But my goal IS to hit next Monday. It’s a holiday so no work. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. It’s not like my pell is going to put me at the level I want to be.

I know I need to face other fighters for that. It’s not fear of getting hurt again, although that’s still on my mind. I think it’s still the weight thing. Although as if today I am down 15 lbs. since December 1.

I did notice the leg armor is feeling better. And I don’t need to use so many holes in my body armor buckles. 🙂

I’m getting there. I’m willing to do slow steady to reach the finish line.

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How To Train Your Sword Arm

I like slow work. But I didn’t realize how many people don’t like it! I find it helps me understand just how my arm is working. As I start to get a feel for the mechanics of the movement – then I speed it up.

One thing I’m still a bit unsure of is the starting position. Some hold the sword behind them vertically, some horizontally and a bit in front of their forehead.

I’ve spoke about this before. It was suggested to try different starting positions and see what feels best. I’m more interests in the pro and cons. Like what generates more power. That sort of thing.

This pic shows what I have been told is pretty standard for An Tir:

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But I also heard at Sport of Kings that this starting position isn’t necessarily the best for power generation until you are at a certain skill level.

I need to keep working with it to see what works best. I really need to work on the overall mechanics. I really need to get my butt to practice.

I have tomorrow off work. I’m half tempted to pull the armor bag out and do some work and maybe go to practice tomorrow night. I know once I get and the ‘first night jitters’ out of the way it will be no big deal.

I’m not worried about getting hit or hitting anyone. I just need to get out there! Here’s to hoping tomorrow’s blog is about how practice went. 🙂

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The Battle Within

This thing we do is not just a physical game. It’s a mental game. And not just a mental game against your opponent but a mental game within yourself.

Self doubt, lack of confidence – these are opponents just like the ones we stand before in battle. It takes a lot to armor up, step onto the field and fight. You can get hurt.

And if you’ve been hurt then you have to overcome that obstacle too. But on the other side, the bruises are a pretty cool badge of honor. 🙂

Focus is key. King Thorin often spoke of Zen qualities in his class at Sport of Kings. And it’s true. It’s just as important to train the mind as it is to train the body.

So as you work on your physical pell, don’t forget your mental one.

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The Ballad of Goofy Foot

I noticed something interesting when I was doing my Wii boxing workout. I had the same boxing stance as my swordfighting stance. Goofy foot forward.

For my non SCA readers that means left foot forward stance. Goofy foot seems to be looked down upon by many a teacher. And there are some pretty valid reasons for this.

Sticking your goofy foot out, you need to be really aware of your shield or your gonna get legged. Plus, as I understand it, goofy foot is a defensive stance, not offensive. So moving into an offensive stance from goofy foot needs to be done with care. I learned this at Sport of Kings.

Try as I might I cannot get comfortable with sword foot forward. It is just not going to happen. It’s not my normal stance and I spend more time trying to make the wrong stance work than figuring out how to work with the one that does.

As long as I know I have to watch out for that leg I think I can do it. Now, put me up against Sir Tiernan, Sir Skeggi or any of the others and maybe I’ll find I can’t. But for now at least I’m going to work with what is comfortable and feels write.

Because I need to he focusing on my shot placement. But, that my friends, is another story. 🙂

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One Ring to Rule Them All

Within seconds of any trailer or promo for a medieval/fantasy movie or tv show comes the inevitable criticism of the armor and weapons. It’s only natural if you are into history. And if you have a deep love for a specific time period.

And when you see some of the ‘making of’ pieces and learn there were historical advisors – it may make you scratch your head on how they could get the armor so wrong.

Pieces that wouldn’t have been in that time period, wrong style of saddle, stirrups where there should be none, creative license added on to armor and weapons. The list goes on and on.

But the same is done within our own group. Hockey gear, jeans, tennis shoes. But you might say, maybe if they had those items back then they’d have worn them too!!

And we have minimum standards we are working with. After all, we don’t truly want to kill each other! There’s been a lot if educational effort in covering modern pieces/items. There are even some fights that the only way you get in is with very period armor (Pennsic’s Combat of 30).

I think creative license for movies or the SCA is fine. One thing I gotta wonder about is women’s armor. A friend brought up a comment on Facebook about why women fighters are always missing large amounts of clothing.

The same can’t be said for the guys unless you are watching Spartacus or 300. Maybe it’s just a guy thing. At least in the SCA they don’t let women fight in skimpy armor fir safety reasons but the men need not worry. Plenty of chainmail bikinis to be had off the war field.

I think it all boils down to your taste. And there’s the entertainment factor whether it’s movies or SCA. I heard someone say they may suck on the field but they’ll look good in their armor!

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If You’re Not Having Fun… You’re Doing it Wrong!

This is a recurring saying in almost every Kingdom I’ve read about and it’s certainly true. If you don’t enjoy getting into armor, working up a crazy sweat and ending the day more black and blue then when you started (well unless you are one of the better fighters!) then you certainly are doing it wrong!

That said, it doesn’t mean you won’t reach a burn out point. Nine times out of ten I read/hear the reason for burn out is the politics. Just read through some of the posts on the Armor Archive and you’ll quickly see that there is a lot of politics in our swordfighting game. Whether it has to do with spear tips – thrusting – specific weapons related injuries – disagreements with rule changes – the list is quite lengthy.

Now add-on top of that the differences between Kingdoms and wow. I think that is why there are so many off-shoot groups from the SCA. Groups that wanted different rules (grappling) but there was no way the SCA was going to allow it. I really like hearing the fighters that have been around for a long time. They’ve seen more changes than you can imagine. Things like improvements in armor, changes in combat archery – and rule changes.

It’s not always easy to avoid the politics of the game. But there is much fun to be had by focusing on the fun parts of what we do. The camaraderie, the shared victories, the pats on the back during the defeats.

What we do should be fun, educational, inspirational – make it those things for yourself and it will be so for those around you.

There’s No Crying in Swordfighting!

Well sometimes there is but not in front of people! I almost cried once and that was when I tore my ACL. But I waited until I got to the hospital.

I’ve read some stuff the last few days about women in particular having issues with crying when getting hit hard. I think that is completely understandable. It can hurt really bad! Guys don’t like seeing girls cry. They don’t seem to have a problem with other guys crying.

I’ve even read that once a guy noticed a girl crying from a fight, they tended to not hit as hard. I think that is a disservice to both fighters. I’ve read some women cry out of frustration. I tend to just hit harder which isn’t a good option as you aren’t supposed to fight when you are pissed.

I’d never tell someone not to cry if they need to. I won’t do it though, not after hearing what some of the fighters say about crying fighters. I’ll bite my tongue, literally, and wait till I’m by myself if it ever comes to that.

Short topic today – I’m tired from these sit ups. Sir Skeggi is also doing a sort of 10,000 sit ups challenge. He’s also doing a hundred a day. So it’s good to know someone else is doing this!

More tomorrow!

Calibration Redux

The topic of calibration is certainly a consistent one in this sport of ours. It presents a real dilemma for people who travel not only outKingdom but out of their local practices.

Part of me is getting tired of hearing/reading about it. The other part is wondering if this is truly a serious problem. It must be it people wouldn’t keep talking about it.

Do you hit harder than you need too? If so, why? Caught up in the adrenaline? Think your opponent is a tool? Don’t really realize you are doing it?

I’ve realized there are two things happening. Either I’m not blocking well enough or I need armor adjustments. I keep reading that if a person is armored right they shouldn’t get hurt.

Shouldn’t isn’t won’t though.

Part of the issue is it’s all about perception. Not of the person hitting but one getting hit. You might think there’s no way in Hades you are hitting with excessive force but that doesn’t matter much if your opponent thinks you are.

It’s been mentioned that because our fights are honor based there is no clearly defined set of rules. After some of the fights I saw last summer I question some of the honor part. is there a way to set up defined rules? What sport with rules is similar to ours? Maybe boxing?

I’m not sure what those rules would be. I know that An Tir has a reputation of being a Kingdom of hard hitters. I learned recently that my local area (Portland) also has a hard hitting reputation.

It still goes back to does your opponent think you hit too hard? And in our game where people are striving to become Knights would anyone tell you? I don’t think I would mention it outright for fear of being labeled a whiner. I might ask you to show me how to better defend against the offending shot.

That said I did overhear some Knights telling some of the spear guys they were hitting with too much force at Autumn War.

Discussions like these make me realize there’s a lot of uncertainties in our game. Your best bet is to be armored well and practice your ass off.

Training: didn’t make out to get the pell set up but did work on my 5 minutes of sit ups.

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