Post-Thanksgiving Fight Practice

This practice came about because Visc Sir Miles and Count Sir Alfar were coming up with one of Miles's squires to work with another one of Miles's squires who lives in Adiantum.

Having just completed my new center-grip heater, I was keen to try it out. However, I discovered that it was about 4-5lbs heavier than my previous shields. And being that my arm wasn't conditioned to that weight, I struggled towards to end of each of my sets to keep it in play.

Unfortunately I suffered substantial damage to my left thigh and knee early on, and persistently was smote in that same area. Also, it felt like I was shaking off rust, rather than truly gathering experience.

Visc Sir Gabriel, whom I am man at arms to, came, and we had a short set, though he had to leave early on account of work. I also had a set with Visc Sir Ambrose (An Tir).

Alas, that was the extent of my fighting for the day on account of the shield arm muscles' fatigue and the damage to my leg.

Set with Count Alfar (West)

Set with Deitrich (An Tir), squire to Visc Miles (West)

Set with Sir Morgan (An Tir)

Set with Visc Miles (West)

I feel that largely this practice was a good dive into using the new shield style and getting used to the weight.

September Summits Coronet, 48/2013

Last weekend I day-tripped coronet. Unfortunately it was a rough start, showing up to site about 1.5 hours later than I anticipated, I was concerned at a point that I may even miss the start of the tournament. Fortunately that wasn't the case.

About two months prior, I developed a notion to prepare a song/poem extolling my consort's virtues as my inspiration.
Sonnet for Idonia
My inspiration's virtues must be told
To those here gather'd, this tale shall I spin
And speak these words of honored merit bold
Of she who would be Princess should I win -
I tell of fair and timeless classic beauty
That ever lifts my heart and stills my soul
It strengthens sword in executed duty
And melds my dream from parts into a whole
Still too with art and craft to yet inspire
A simple man to reach for greater heights
To honor and to glory I aspire
The Coronet is where I've set my sights
Because of fair Idonia this is true
Her virtues inspiring everything I do
While romantic undertones could definitely be interpreted, that is not the case (just to be clear).
I think it was a nice "send off", as I will no longer be fighting for Idonia, as she wants to focus on some aspects of her mundane life.
The sonnet was written by Visc Elizabeth Turner de Carlisle (I helped!), and recited by HL Rose Atherton during the tournament processional (being "on the spot" would've made me freeze up). I was doubly honored as His Majesty selected me to be a "challengee" because of the sonnet, as the first round is a challenge round.

My first round was against Corbin, one of HL Robert Engleson's introduced guys from Myrtleholt. I've fought him in a practice setting, and I knew of his aggressive combo flurries. He stuck one shot that was just below my gauging, but there was something I didn't like about it (totally not meant to sound as a rhino). I believe I eventually stuck him with a wrap to the head.

Second round was Visc Willy Jeffy d'Rogue

Obviously didn't go so well. I haven't fought with Jeff in over a year. I know his style, but was apprehensive about needing to close past his preferred range. He managed to stick me right below my rib, in the diaphragm, knocking the wind outta me. It was one of those shock-then-laughter sorta hits.

Third round was against Lord Aaron Brandson, another leftie. I struggled against his leftiness at the principality defender tournament back in June, primarily not being able to get around his shield. We had a couple of exchanges, but I believe I landed a J-hook wrap on him, one which Visc Sir Gabriel Luveday encouraged me to use in a practice the previous week.

Fourth and last round was against Duke Tjorkil. Having a few fights with him in practices some time ago, I felt I understood his fighting style, in that he tends to fight "just above" his opponent's ability, which I feel pushes his opponents to excel beyond what they are normally capable of. After a few exchanges he legged me, then stuck me with one of my primary weaknesses, offside headshot.

So once again, a coronet tournament that went four rounds. While part of me is glad I've maintained that "standard" of going four rounds, "breaking even", I now want to push myself beyond that, aiming for 3:2, five rounds, at least.

Somewhere between rounds, second and third, I believe, Visc Sir Gabriel took me as his man at arms, we had discussed things, and he offered that status as a trial phase with the prospect of squiring.

All in all, a good event and tournament, the fighting overall was very clean. And now I'm looking forward with goals in mind, and positive changes taken to heart.


Perhaps I'll recap some of the activity I've missed in not writing here. I've had some negative experiences on (or more accurately, near) the field, and I'd rather try to focus on the positives of Egil's.

I've made many changes in the past four months since I've posted here.
The immediate things on my mind:
I've began dialogue with Visc Sir Gabriel of Adiantum with the prospect of working together. I've realized that approaching a working relationship with a knight is something that must be done tentatively, and I was foolhardy and had my priorities misaligned when I first approached a knight over a year ago, and it turned out to be a poor match. The Path isn't something one can rush, and certainly not with an ill-advised mismatch.
I got burned out at West-An Tir War. Spending ~$200 and to not enjoy myself at all was a major downer, and I seriously considered just leaving the SCA. But it occurred to me that I need to make the SCA what I want it to be, and for me that is courtesy, honor, and sincerity, I want to share this version of the Dream with others, and I feel it is something that isn't a focus in this area. And with this change of disposition I've also begun expanding my friendships created in the society, rather than focusing on a select few individuals.

Practices and pell work have been interfered by a change in work schedule and fires here in Oregon causing terrible smoke. The latter is improving, so I can manage to work there, but presently I feel that what will allow me to progress in my Path is in-kit practice against other fighters, and assess my errors and deficiencies and work to correct/improve them.
Just today I put together a new 35" sword done with a 1.5" planked piece. And of all the sticks I've put together, it feels the best balanced, and weighted, especially compared to the monstrously heavy 2" plank I've been using.

My focus in fighting is currently: speed through proper mechanics, creating openings, employing measure as primary defense.

And because I get a lot of hits for image searches, here's a picture of June Investiture's Principality Defender Tourney. With some sweet lefty-on-lefty action (there were like five of us in the tourney!). Thorfinnius was probably my favorite fight that day.
And here's me, being hot and annoyed with format bungling at Egil's.

Suddently... A Pell!

Covered in open-cell foam & carpeting,
secured with a crapload of various tapes.
After eighteen months of fighting, I've finally put together my own pell. I cannot help but wonder at how far I would be if I had one earlier in my fighting career. That could be a discouraging thought, but I've had too much fun working on my flat snap today. Only about forty-five minutes working on it today, I've thrown over two hundred shots. I did work a bit on combos and right-handed flat snaps.
Last night I watched Count Gemini's measure video that Sir Rauokinn posted on youtube, so those principles were on the forefront of my mind. Next I heard Troy's voice in my head after about a half hour, reminding me I shouldn't be leaning forward, which also made me wonder if I had any other telegraphs. While I feel I am rather observant, a more experienced eye on my body motion would be beneficial.
I feel confident about my shot mechanics and power generation, and I hope that in the coming weeks it will develop into more complete muscle memory.

Plans for 2013

I've planned out my 2013 SCA season, and I like the way it is looking.
Hocktide Emprise in Glyn Dwfn. Still a local event. I'm not sure if I will be fighting in the tournament or running the lists. I'm not all that keen on the format for the tournament, in regards to the weapons.
Egil Skallagrimmson Memorial Tournament in Adiantum. This is looking to be the highlight of the tournament season for me, as I'm confident I could take the Never Won A Tourney tourney. I'm not crazy about the holmgang, though if I have a bastard sword by then I think I'll use it here. And there is to be a "gladiator" tournament, which looks promising.
Summits Heraldic and Scribal Symposium in Briaroak. I have a burgeoning interest in device heraldry, and I think it important in the context of historical interest to have a decent understanding of names and et cetera. Hopefully I'll also be able to take the voice heraldry classes as well. There is a prize tourney slated as well, but little info has been presented on that.
Summits June Investiture in Glyn Dwfn. I'm not very enthusiastic about this event, as I don't know the Summits heirs all that well. And as the defender tourney's format hasn't been announced, I don't know what to expect.
West-An Tir War in Tymberhavene. Its war. I'll be solely using pike during the war scenarios, but I hope to fight with as many knights as possible in pick-ups afterwards.
September Crown Tournament in Fire Mountain Keep. Tentative, but I'm excited to fight at a kingdom level.
September Coronet Tournament in Myrtleholt. Unsure what the format will be, so I'm not overly excited on account of that.

My focus in fighting will be on offense. Combinations, range, speed, reflex and torso mobility (5 D's of Dodgeball).
I'll be looking to go to Myrtleholt's practice on occasion, and work with the local knight as well (and maybe coerce him into putting on armor).

March Coronet '13

Reading the names of the previous holders of the Shield of Chivalry.
Bitter winds in the Northeast of the Summits; Corvaria, in Madras (north of Bend, OR). I largely wasn't paying attention to the tournament on account of the windchill.
I used a L38"xW1.25" sword and my aluminum shield, which was bought at L36"xW20", but has since been cut down to L30" to fit more to An Tir's ridiculous shield conventions.
I'm a particular person, and I had forgotten my gloves back at the hotel. Which means my demi's didn't fight properly, and my grip was questionable. Robert Engleson offered up "last season's" gloves, which I used, but they only alleviated the former issue, and not the latter.

For the first round, I received the bye fight of the 23 fighters, and fought Visc. Sir Gabriel Luveday. The fight went as well as my previous pick-ups last coronet went. Eventually my defense broke under combinations.
Second round was against Torsten, which I sunk a shot right under his shield and into his grill.
Fourth round against Robert Engleson.
Third round was against Keith, which contained a bit of ranging, a few exchanges. And ultimately I took a wrap to the head. Taran commented that the shot I took looked light. And perhaps on contemplation it may have.
Fourth round, Robert Engleson. I forget the particular killing blow (Perhaps a testament to the mind-numbing chill?), and with two losses, I was out.

Two coronets, less than a dozen tournaments in eighteen months of fighting, and once again, four rounds. I need to remind myself that is relatively decent.
What this coronet tells me is never go to an outdoor event in Corvaria (tongue in cheek), but mostly that I need to spend more time in armor, to focus and be active, and do less pondering and dreaming. And for fuck's sake, get a damn pell, because I find that my offensive capabilities are the most lacking of all my proficiencies.

September Coronet '12

Long overdue.

My first coronet I went four rounds, in a double-elimination format. The fourth round through the semi-finals were dubbed "gentlemen's rounds", being single-sword or hand-and-a-half (up to 42" in length). I used a L32"xW2"(planked) sword with a L24"xW17" off-center-grip shield.

My first round I had challenged (post-event) His Lordship Robert Engleson. A local (one shire over), senior fighter, and friend, whom I would like to see as prince some day. I consider defeating him in tournament a milestone achievement in my path. Not an obstacle to overcome, per say. I think he's aware of this in some way, and takes it as a friendly gesture. We had multiple exchanges on the field, but eventually he legged me. Being a sporting fighter (and as customary in An Tir) went to his knees as well. He kept me busy with whippy snaps and reverses, closed and got a thrust to my neck with his madu, which I wasn't paying attention to. Watching video of the fight I was mildly disappointed with my ground game, as I felt I let him work me over.

I do not recall which of the two fighters I had for my second and third rounds.
Lord Ulieum Haig fought two sword. It felt though, that he held his off hand sword (which was marginally shorter than his on hand sword) in a non-threatening manner, and did little with it, giving me little mind to fear it as a weapon. I eventually landed a snap on the right side of his torso.
Lord Tryggr Tyresson fought sword and center-grip round. We had several exchanged, and in a moment of his hesitation while toe-to-toe, I threw a high wrap to his head.

My fourth and last fight was single-sword against Sir Morgan the Truehearted, an older knight, and many consider him to be the prime example for behavior from a knight. We only had a brief exchange, he managed to juke me (though he felt he had hit me in the grill with his fist) and landed a blow to my head.

I was content with my conduct in the tournament, as well as my performance. I feel that I did quite well for my first coronet. As did Princess Telisia, who determined that I should win the Shield of Chivalry, also known as the Shield of the Summits. An award given by the princess to the unbelted fighter (a fighter who is not a knight) in the coronet whom she feels conducted themselves the most chivalrously. She decided that the honor should be shared between Herodocles and myself. He took the shield, his consort the scroll of names of previous holders, and I the fighting belt, and my consort the consort's baldric.
As Herodocles will not be at this coming coronet, Idonia and I will be turning the regalia to Princess Elizabeth. I'm looking forward to holding the shield for the first time.

The last piece of business in court that night was receiving my award of arms from Queen Astrid.

The Consort

Astrid asked me if a friend of her's, Count Vik Vikingson could fight for her in the crown tournament. The gist, I figured, was that he just wanted to fight in the tournament, and wasn't looking to win, and thus agreed. Astrid is now Queen of An Tir, and Vik had a very good day of fighting. And just like that, I was out a consort.

It took a bit of time for me to start looking for a new consort, because being relatively new to fighting, I had little experience dealing with a consort, and being relatively new to the Summits, I don't know many people. Acacia suggested several different individuals, most of whom I dismissed for various reasons.

Her Ladyship Idonia Sherwood was brought up in passing. And after a time I reconsidered her on some whim. What I knew about her was her interest in the A&S field (I knew nothing of her specific interests), which to me seems a reasonable pairing, me in the martial area, her in the A&S area. A logical approach to my situation. I asked her Baron, Tadhg, and a friend of hers, Elizabeth Turner, about her, specifically in regards to her viability as a consort. Both had given a positive response.

After some social awkwardness on my part (try talking to a relative stranger about something serious and personal), we began dialogue about the potential pairing. Her primary concern was the notion of gossip that tends to surround fighter-consort pairs. The general notion is that the consort-fighter pair is a romantic thing; husbands fight for their wives, boyfriends fight for their girlfriends... Even though I could cite several consort-fighter pairs that had/have a non-romantic partnership. I assured her I would do my best in dealing with any rumor milling and gossiping I encountered. Funnily enough, her friends noted to me that she was attractive and single.
Call it hedonistic and shallow, but one of the qualities I was seeking in a consort was beauty, despite having no interest in pursuing romantic relations with a consort right now, it was still a criteria I had. Perhaps its a subconscious "status symbol" concept.

With this partnership begun, I'm eagerly looking forward to coronet. Despite my inexperience, part of me is mentally preparing in the event I win.


Recapping will be brief.

EDIT: An ambiguity was pointed out to me today, when I say some fighting was lackluster, it is on my part, not other fighters'.

Egil Skillgrimson Memorial Tournament 2012. Went in with a 42" sword (one-handed); worked a bit on single sword; had my ass handed to me handily in the tournaments; fought the byes in the "notable fighter" invitational, felt much more comfortable without any pressure to perform, even though I lost all those fights; enjoyed some good deaths though.
All in all, I think I'd prefer to go to Grand Thing next year, a more kingdom-central event with less fringies, and more fighting that is typically scheduled on the same weekend.

War of the Trees 2012. A small Summits war event; saw fighters from Wuduholt be Secg (shire in the West Kingdom) as its close to the border; "war" fighting (only about two dozen fighters) was lackluster for me; pick-ups were lackluster; Griffin Quest tournament had good fighting, though my anxiety levels were high. Switched to a planked 2" stick, cut to 32" in length—more persona appropriate.

Summits June Investiture 2012. Had a few pick-up fights with Sir Einarr, whose more aggressive approach was an interesting (in a positive way) change in fighting for me; Summits Defender tournament saw me out in two, but enjoyable skirmish in the finals.
West-An Tir War 2012. Came to the event a day late due to coming off a cold; first day of war fighting was lackluster and frustrating, had fun running around with my knight though; had pick-up fights with (then) HRH Vik Vikingson, Viscount Miles Fitz-Rauf, and another fighter whose name I didn't catch; second day of war fighting saw some good piking on my part, was much more loose and enjoying myself; Brian squired his other two men at arms; got heat exhaustion and heat tetany on the drive back, which was the scariest experience of my life, so far.
An Tir Coronation 2012. Saw Viscount William Jeffrey the Rogue knighted before the squire's tournament; tourney proper was total shit on my end; spoke with HRM Vik about the headspace issue.

Hocktide Emprise, 2012

Hocktide Emprise is Glyn Dwfn's premiere event. Largely an equestrian event, it also hosts the Shire Defender tournament with some atypical rules.
"Hocktide Rules" as they've become colloquially known, only acknowledge good limb blows, rather than "taking" the leg or arm. Two limb blows results in a death.
The tournament also consists of an atypical format: six rounds to be fought, with a set number of "lives", the fighter with the most lives at the end wins. A fighter could have fought with or without "honors", that is to say, to contend for the Shire Defender position. Each round was a different weapon style: single sword, sword and shield, mass weapon and shield, two weapon, greatsword, pole/great weapon.

Of the six rounds I won the first two; single sword and sword and shield. To me, these were the most important. Largely, the fighting wasn't important to me, while I was fighting for the Defender title, I think that the format distracted me well enough from getting too deep into my head, and getting overly-serious.

More over, the event was relaxing and mellow. Nothing much else about this event (plus, I'm playing catch up)