Gentle Readers,

So, yesterday happened. Wow.

I got up about 6:30. I don't even remember why I got up so early, but I did. I remember I had stuff to do before we left but I don't remember what any of it was. We made it to site at our desired time (10:30) I was ready and on the list by 11. At 11:30, I fought the first bout against his Majesty (who is an excellent swordsman with steel as well as rattan) and from there continued to work through 48 more bouts in seven different styles of cut and thrust combat: Longsword, Rapier and Dagger, Sword and Buckler, Langse Messer, Rapier and Cloak, Single Rapier and *sigh* Case of Rapier.

Bouts of each style against mostly unknown opponents who all ranged from really good to insanely good. There were slight pauses for water and hippy gatoraidish jujube things (shocbloks) and a couple of instances of waiting on opponents but for the most part I fenced to the very best of my ability for the next 3 hours. .

The 50th bout was against the other prizor.

Then we got a little break and I had another 15 min run for the endurance round.

When the smoke cleared I had won 24 of the 50 beating the 17 I needed and the 20 that was my personal goal and was succesful in my prize.

I probably could have fenced more but I stopped moving and discovered that I was soaking weat from my neck to my knees. Clearly I had good hydration. I decided that dryness was the better part of valor and once I cooled down I went off and got changed.

The rest of the day was a blur with a court filled with well desereved acolades and a feast of the high quality and spleandor we have come to expect in ealdormere in general and harogate heath in particular. In particular their efforts to make sure that the restrictions of us at head table were taken into account were quite frankly, well beyond reasonable and were very appreciated.

I made one minor faux pas, but I think it was mostly ignored and I was allowed to take my foot gently out of my mouth.

I attempted to get the Don's I had invited to join me for beer at a nearby pub but they were mostly unable to attend for some reason. Still, it was an excellent cap on the day.

Today I am a little sore, but mostly from the weight of the chain on my shoulders, I think.

Catalogue of injuries:

two bruised toenails. This is probably the most painful thing.
a nice bruise just under the right shoulder
a nice bruise and cut to the top of the left calf.
a similar impact to the right jaw where the gorget was punched back from a thrust.

The price was worth it. I hope there is some video.


May. 2nd, 2012 10:38 pm
Gentle Readers,

Where making this hapen

That's right. In less than 2 weeks I play my prize. We've got 8 dons and possibly his Magisty. We've got a kick ass event. We've got a brilliant feast that we'll able to eat. We've got friends from far away.

We've got performance anxieity.

We've got almost all the things!

Here's what I still need:

2) list of stuff for herald to read out
3) scarf
4) man at arms
5) score card?

No Problem!

Excuse me while I consider the need to worry.
Gentle Readers,

I am lying in my bed after a lovely weekend away. We went south to visit Chez Arlette (I don't know if they have a preferred name for the house or not) and take in Ice Dragon. Ice Dragon was the driving force for the trip as I wanted to fight a bunch of people that I didn't know to get a sense of where I stood with regard to my personal skill.

The last (and first) time I went was 2 years ago. For some reason I had chosen to fight with Rapier and Buckler and I had my butt handed to me with every opponent. It didn't help that my pool was filled with lots of highly skilled aethelmarkian white scarves and their cadets. This time, either I got a much weaker pool or I was in a much better place skill wise as I did much better than I was worried I might.

I've been away from tournaments for some time and fighting strangers, especially ones from a different fighting culture, is never easy. However, this time I managed to force my game on them. I pulled off a beautiful Pallas Armata entry against someone who should have known better and managed some lovely Shieldhaus as entries into distance followed with a touch. In fact that was the shot that I used to kill the pool winner. Of the 12 fights, I lost 4 (I think. I can only remember 3 actual losses). The first one was a failure to control the sword of a legged opponent as I retreated out of distance (Meyer's Withdrawal), The second was a bad parry followed by a fluke shot. The third was a failure to be fully in synch with the Kingdom's fighting culture.

More frequent freeplay would have dealt with the last two and the first was the old problem of letting go of their blade within distance.

Another good thing: even with the very open hilt of the messer, I still had no problems defending the expected hand sniping. Even against the gentleman who I played with later who sniped a great deal in the tournament (with much success).

Another thing that I believe was contributing to my sloppiness was some combination of blood sugar and adrenaline shake which lasted much of the round.

Oh, there was also a great deal of sewing machine attacks. I found myself having difficulty with these, mostly because I didn't want to step in and get gut punched with a sword. I need to talk to Craig about how we used to deal with this particular problem.

Anyway, it was overall a very valuable trip. I'm feeling pretty positive about the trip. I think the daily practice is going to pay off in spades too.

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