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Role Models and Pedestals

There was a discussion several months back about putting Knights on pedestals. Some felt it was unfair to do. They said that Knights were like anyone else. I both agree and disagree with that. Knights to me are what your favorite rock start or actor would to be people who aren’t SCA/swordfighting inclined. They are the ones those like me strive to be like. They are the role models that you think about when you think your dream is not going to happen.

So honestly, it’s hard not to put them on a pedestal. They are human. They will make mistakes sure. And I’d never want to put someone in a tough position of having people look up to them. And not in stalkery sort of way. I mean genuine, honest flat-out respect for what they have achieved. And really it doesn’t pertain just to Knights. There are many fighters who have yet to get the accolade that are also great role models.

I remember at Crown last year when Sir Duncan took time out to talk to me about fighting. Some of it I don’t remember sadly because I was just in awe that such a high level fighter was talking to ‘me’. Now, please don’t let that sound like our Knights are a bunch of snobs that only keep to themselves. It’s 100% the opposite! These guys do go well out of their way to help people of all fighting levels.

But, it’s still that ‘rock star’ sort of thing of, wow… look at who ‘I’ am talking too right now!!!! You want to be like a schoolgirl that just got asked to the prom but you have to maintain. Believe me it is NOT easy.

And then there are those role models that you’ve never ever met that make a huge impact on you. Of course I cannot forget my mentor Sir Johnathon. He would not be happy with me that I have strayed from my Path since he passed away. I promised him I would continue on and honor him and I will do just that. He made a huge impact on me and my Path. And Duke Thorstenn who is a great Knight from Trimaris. He’s been helping me a lot with strength training. I’ve learned a lot about the Philosophy of the SCA Chivalry and the technical ins and outs of fighting from him too.

I struggle often about this Path I have chosen. Can I do it? I have all these knee/joint injuries and another likely surgery looming on my left knee. And I think about ALL the Knights that have similar issues and how they have overcome and I think I want to be like them. And I push forward.

I don’t ever want to put someone on the spot with my hero-worship. But I also hope those on the receiving end have an understanding of why people like me do it. It’s for inspiration, it is to get us to our own goals. And one day, I hope there is a way I can inspire someone. And when that happens, I want to be like Sir Duncan, who took time out to talk to me and literally made my day.

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Power Applied on Return

So I learned about this very interesting concept from Gavin yesterday on the Armor Archive. I’m going to share his explanation:

When you throw a standard flat snap, everything begins with your hip abductors. There’s a discrete impetus that initiates the strike. Your torso turns, your legs begin to drive, eventually your shoulder, which lags behind the hip initially, comes forward (much of the “snap” really happens right there, as your shoulder makes up for lost time and passes your hip). In Paul’s school, the sword effectively goes ballistic as the shoulder comes forward and the arm and sword swing toward the target. Personally, I have another element to the equation, in that I close my hand, hard, to add a bit more acceleration aid in power transmission and make the strike “stick”.

All of that just to get to the returnĀ ;). And here is where it gets interesting. You need to recover your sword. You want to do that as fast as possible (remember that for what we do, speed is power, to a degree). So those same hip abductors that initiated the strike initiate the recovery, you start pulling your torso back, your legs support this recovery motion, your arm really doesn’t do much but steer the path of your recovery.

Your torso has begun counter rotating and you put effort into making this action happen quickly (this is applying power on the return). A fast recovery – with drive – adds energy to your sword. When you keep the energy flowing, moving from one strike, through recovery into the next strike, you can add all of the force you put into recovery to the next strike.

One way of looking at it is our strikes are, essentially, circles. They start at a point, travel through an arc, return to the starting point. So your first strike travels roughly half the circle from starting point to target, but your next strike is beginning out there at the target. It’s going to travel the full circle. It has more opportunity for you to put energy into the strike.

It’s from the Bellatrix School of Fighting – more info here:

http://www.bellatrix.org/school/section04.htm

Now, I’ve never thought much about the return to be honest. I’ve focused more on following through with the shot – where you make sure the shot goes completely forward that you don’t stop midway and then ‘return’. But I never really thought much about the importance of the return itself. I’m guessing that is where a lot of hip action comes in to play as well. You get the return, set your hips to generate the power for the next shot.

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Now what I have been doing with the return is just popping it back up and stopping. Even with my combo shots, there is a hesitation before I go into the next shot of the combo. I would bet that even a slight hesitation is what is making me lose power in those follow-up shots.

If you look at Figure 2c on the Bellatrix page – that is the point I was stopping and starting the return from there. I wasn’t letting the shot follow through like Figure 2d.

But now, I need to really make sure that I focus on the return – I have definitely been lacking there.

 

Love thy Sword

Lame… I have not kept up on this blog like I should have been. Work kicked my ass this summer and I did not get to attend any SCA events which left me with a bitter attitude about my fighting. Self doubting and all other kinds of negativity just bombarded my head.

But as always my sword Muse has quietly but forcefully kept my dream going. Even with another knee surgery looming on the horizon. I think, well, yeah, my knee needs worked on but there’s not a damn thing wrong my arms and so I can and should be working on that. I could be practicing on my pell, or shadow work here at home. I could be back on the forum learning everything I can. There are many things I can be doing that will further my goal even if I have a bump in the road.

My Muse will not let that desire burn out. It’s hard to explain to people who don’t share the same interest. They hear swordfighting and they kind of raise their eyebrow and look at you like you’ve suddenly grown a second head. But for those of us bitten with that fire, its beyond what words can explain. It’s deep within.


http://www.elfwood.com/~warlordwardog/roman-princess.jpg.3597997.html

And so I forge ahead. Not beginning again as much as continuing on more forcefully. The good thing is I’ve gotten myself back on track after a summer of no exercise, bad eating and just plain not caring. It’s not an easy road. I don’t want it to be. When I reach my goals I want to know that I worked my ass off for them. I want to know that through pain, tears, sweat, surgeries – whatever – that I did it.

The season that probably wasn’t…

Ugh.

I see my event season slowly slipping out of my little hands. Work has gotten beyond chaotic. Many of the days I had scheduled off a couple of months ago are looking more and more like they are not going to happen.

Best case scenario right now is pulling off fighter practices only since they only involve 2-3 hours in an evening. Anything longer than 8 hours is going to be hard to pull off. And if I didn’t need to pull my weight at work and make sure I keep my job in this economic uncertainty – I might push the issue a bit. But I’m going to go with the flow and make sure I slide through this summer job intact.

There will be plenty of events coming up to play at.

I haven’t done anything with regard to my fighting. I’ve been focusing on work. But I will be making some time in the next couple of weeks to get my rig finished up so I can at least go to fighter practices. Just looks like my big fighting debut is gonna have to wait until next summer.

I know there are others dealing with job issues, so I know I’m not alone. I was just really looking forward to a fun summer like last year. šŸ˜¦

That’s all for now. I’m actually in Anaheim and will be back to Oregon in a few days. Will know more then about my July/August event schedule. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Crack the Whip

Slow is a good pace, but sometimes it’s you know, slooooow.

I have a free session with a trainer at the gym so I’m going to make use of it and figure out what weights I need for better upper body strength. I know cardio is going to get my stamina going. Actually went on a hike today and realized how much I do need to work on that.

I’ve been delving into the Rules of the List so I am up to speed on that. I need to update my SCA membership next week.

Not much to report SCA-wise so this is going to be an incredibly short blog. Plus my mind is really wandering to modern work related bologna so I’m really having a hard time focusing right now.

Hope all are well, and remember where the pointy end of the sword goes.

Ever After

The new Princess by Her Own Right in Cynagua has really gotten me to think. I want to win Crown in our Kingdom. I don’t think it’s out of my reach. And I don’t think that is vain of me to say. There is not one reason why I cannot win it.

But, I have to get started. And that is where I stand stuck. I have a few pieces of armor to get fitted, I need to really get into shape and get some wicked stamina. I need to not be lazy. I need to want this in reality as much as I want it in just thinking of it. And I think of it a lot.

Here is a video of Sir Mari in their Finals.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeD6MVgIxn8

Just beyond cool.

So I’m needing to come up with a plan of action. Cardio, weights. I’m going to start some big time swimming as I keep hearing that is a good low impact way to build up muscles. My focus areas are my knee and neck.

I have zero concerns about my armor. It will protect me, however, I’m most own worst enemy with regard to my knees. And as I’ve mentioned before a bit nervous about the prospect of one of them blowing out. But I refuse to let that stop me. I know there are fighters that have dealt with much worse and come back on top. And that’s going to be me.

Then, I need to start going to practice. And not just talk about going to practice. And not just the same practice but multiple practices. I’d like to start a Facebook page for Kingdom fighter practices that could include ride share info where a bunch of people could be traveling around to different practices.

I need to set quill to paper and start working through a plan of action and keep up with it.

 

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.

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.

And We’re Off!!

Wasn’t a very spectacular first day but I did get in a first set of Ā sit upsĀ to build up my core muscles. Tomorrow I will be heading to the barn to visit the warpony and set up my pell in a good area where I’m not going to trip over hay bales. By the end of the week pell work will commence.

I have a couple of adjustments to do on my device and gather up my name document information then that should be ready to be sent in, in a couple of weeks. Hope that goes smoothly. I always hear nightmares.

Still on the hunt to track down my Award of Arms but hopefully it will turn up. I’m still bummed that I missed the event that it was awarded at. Would have loved to have been able to get it from King Thorin. But as I’m not able to make it to 12th Night this year and that’s when they are stepping down, that’s not going to happen.

My armor is all set up in a handy pull tote so I’m not carrying around so much. It’s even camo! I need to get some supplies together to get my helm padded up. And I need to really start working to build up my neck muscles since I do have some neck issues.

All and all, heading in the right direction. As soon as I get my armor pieces together I’ll start practices. Looking forward to it.

 

Fighter from Sport of Kings, 2011

 

Project 365 – Livia Tasia Style!

WordPress is doing a Project 365 where you blog every day about a particular subject that interests you. Pictures, whatever. I have a friend that is doing A Year With Horses: http://ayearwithhorses.wordpress.com/ and another friend that is a photographer doing a picture blog but I need to get her address.

I thought it would be good to convert this one to a Project 365 because I have a really busy year ahead of me with my swordfighting. In one year’s time my goals are the following:

  • Get into shape and build my strength and stamina
  • Get authorized
  • Attend at least one, hopefully two practices a week
  • Enter my first Tourney
  • Enter my first War
  • Continue on my Path to become a skilled swordfighter that I may pass on my knowledge to others
  • Spiff up my kit with two more pieces from Sir Kerrigan (gauntlets and new gorget)
  • Start working toward a period encampment
  • Submit my Device and Name for registration
  • Co Event Steward my first event in July
  • Volunteer at many events
  • Work on my Pelican and Laurel studies

Pretty big list. But at least the first one is going well. I’ve lost almost 13 lbs. during the month of December. I joined the Lose It! online community and it’s a great support system. You record what you eat and the exercises you do daily. Stay within your calorie budget. It really works! http://www.loseit.com

This past year was a tough one, I lost my Gram and I lost my Mentor Sir Jonathan. My goal is to push forward and make them both proud in 2012. There is never a lack of SCA/Medieval topics to write about, so finding something to write about will never be a problem! And there’s always some hot topic going on at the Armor Archive to weigh in on.

So to update where I am now, I got my armor pieces from Sir Kerrigan:

Leg/knee, belt and gauntlet plus accessories
to attach the legs to the belt.

Sir Kerrigan did such a fantastic job I’m having him make me a set of gauntlets and a gorget with the Greek winged horse on them. I’m keeping my body armor as is though. I’m really proud of how that looks. The rest of my armor I will use as back up and loaner armor for people.

I’ll add a section each day called training. It will include workouts, pell work, book work. I’ll add one for practices that will give a recap on the days I go to a practice. I’ll add pictures and videos as well.

Look forward to any comments/suggestions/tips etc that anyone wants to offer up on how I can do better. Whether its training, learning – whatever. I look forward to having you on this journey with me. It’s going to be kick ass!