Gentle Readers,

Today's Pallas Armata class was looking at chapter 13. The play was to draw an attack, parry and stringer, then when the attacker withdraws and cavers to attack, parry and stringer to the other side and use the gained distance to allow for a fast riposte. We did this through several rotations, looking at new things to focus on from good distance to posture to making sure that you are doing a good recovery.

We also looked at gaining the blade with a stringer when your partner is refusing contact by using a finda to make them commit with a parry and then cavering to stringer. Next week we will do this as a decision drill where if they do not take the bait, you finish your attack.
Gentle Readers,

This weekend I was encouraged by HerRH to go to Winter War. I didn't especially want to go. It's in London and thus a ridiculous amount of driving for an event where the organizers seem to push the boundaries of minimum effort every year. For example, this year "feast" was "we'll have some take out and delivery menus at gate but you have to book space to sit and eat." They did eventually consent to providing dinner to the royalty from those same sources, but had to call for volunteers to plate it. The gentleman running rapier was an exception as he spent a great deal of energy to make sure that his fencing scenarios were interesting and provided plenty of fencing for everyone. I would have done it differently but it wasn't bad.

So the thing that convinced me to go was that HerRH had invited out of kingdom fencers, MoDs in particular. They seemed to be there to help give an outside perspective on our fencers and I think it really behooved me to be there.

So I went and the event was exactly what I expected. I ended up getting far less fencing in than I expected sure to a combination of obligations (EAOD stuff and running an authorisation for HisRH) and physiology (I had a blood sugar crash, more about that later). But I did get to play with some of our visitors and they were delightful.

I learned several things about my fencing.

First, my offline movement is terrible. I'm doing a terrible job at getting off the line and it's resulting in my getting stabbed as I try and move into distance our try and control the space and move in to attack.

Next, my sense of distance and my opponents reach is actually pretty good. Once I realized that one of my opponents was using a 45" blade and not 42", he was no longer able to sneak into distance.

My armor new armor is comfortable and moves well except for one minor flaw. The back plate on the helmet locks down into the ruff and prevents it from moving with my head. This sucks a lot and needs to be fixed. Right now I'm thinking articulated lames.

Finally, if your DOMS takes about 2 days, perhaps you shouldn't be surprised when your arms and shoulders hurt if you did a kickboxing class two days before the event.

As for the blood sugar thing. Well. I'm not sure the cause, but by mud morning my blood sugar was sub-optimal. My body just stopped responding the way I wanted. My hands were shaking and I was feeling fuzzy. It took me a bit to get realigned.

My endocrine system managed to get it's shit together, but my body continued to act weird.

As a result of not having to drive, I had the opportunity to go to a BBQ restaurant. I don't know what caused it, it certainly wasn't the alcohol but I just felt physically drunk for the rest of the evening. It was a very strange feeling and lasted until the wee hours. I ate the remaining leftovers on the morning and it didn't reoccur. I'm going to have to pay attention to see if it happens again.
Gentle Readers,

For those of you not in the SCA, this won't mean much but it's kind of a big deal.

Last weekend at the Queen's Prize Tourney, I was put on vigil to be the premier member of The Order of Defence of Ealdormere.

For court I was sitting at the back with friends. Not doing the snark, but but fully paying attention, joining in with the cheer as appropriate. There was an elevation happening in this court so I wasn't really expecting anything particularly interesting.

Then his majesty started talking about prowess and knowledge and I thought "ok, cool, they are going to laurel someone, that makes sense. It's an A&S event." And then his majesty begged the boon of her majesty. I thought "That's weird. I wonder why they are doing it this way."

Her majesty agreed, if it was a right and proper thing.

His majesty responded saying he would like to make me the premier member of the order.

Things get a little hazy at this point. I remember the feeling of the blood draining from my face. I remember slowly standing and feeling unsteady. I remember my focus narrowing and thinking all I have to do is walk up there. I remember walking like it was in a dream, floating and unsteady. But I didn't stumble or trip. I got to the stairs up to the stage and I think Cortejo was there and hugged me.

I ascended the stairs. I remember keeping a grip on the banister. I knelt and settled and my knee complained and I ignored it.

Their Majesties spoke and the herald spoke. I think I said thank you.

They bid me rise, and I rose. I thanked them and bowed. And went back down the stairs. I think Cortejo was there again, but I wanted to go sit down and I did.

And even people started coming up to congratulate me and I couldn't decide if I wanted to risk standing. And every one was so nice and saying such nice things and I was just trying to figure out what had just happened.

I'm told it was about 3 seconds before I registered what happened and stood up.

I'm told that there was a standing ovation.

I'm told that the herald read the requirements for the Master of Defence.

I don't remember any of that. I just remember shock and lots of people saying they were glad it was me.

All that was the easy.

Now I get to define the ceremony that everyone after me will use as their foundation. I get to be the exemplar. I get to be the old gun fighter. I get to be very very visible.

I'm not sure if that or the fact that maybe I wasn't as invisible as I thought is the more overwhelming thing.
Gentle Readers,

I cleverly had took my already packed fencing bag instead of my usual work bag yesterday. This was mostly clever except for the fact that it contained neither my saviolo notes nor my meyer notes so that meant that yesterday's class was not nearly as productive as it could have been with continuing to explore Meyer's single handed cut an thrust system.

There were 2 victories though.

The first was the similarities between Meyer's Face Thrust and the first play from Prime in Pallas Armata. The footwork is very close and the actual movements create almost the same result. (the opponent getting stabbed in the face).

The second was looking at the effectiveness of the face thrust as a response to an uberhaue followed by an unterheau coming back along the same line. It shuts things down nicely.

Better notes for next week.
Gentle Readers,

I'm running a merge so I get to take a moment and type out some stuff about last night's fencing mostly for my own recollection. I've been reading through Meyer's Rapier. It's pretty clear, but practicing is hard because most of his sequences involve lots of stepping and I'm much more practiced at a more static rapier game.

We had done a few of the actions in class on Tuesday. Specifically we did the groin thrust and the neck cut. I managed to get both of these to work exactly once at practice last night. There were a couple of reasons for this I think. The first was that I hadn't brought my sword and so I was using one of the loaner schlagers. Like Cortejo's Frankie, they are just so light they move with almost no effort at all. Unlike Frankie, they are terribly put together with some effectiveness, I think I was fighting the weapon just as much as my poor form.

Things worked slightly differently when Wilhelm graciously let me use his longer blade and I was able to work on some of the Capo Ferro blade work with Lars. Unfortunately, I was still getting nailed in the face. I know I'm engaged with the blade when it happens and I know I've got forte on foible so it's got to be something in how I'm aligning my blade that is either allowing it to be forced offline or I'm just not in the right spot to begin with. I did do a much better job of making sure to not push to the outside in 4th but I am rising out of guard too much and so need to keep resetting. I'm also starting too close to my opponent to be able to adjust my position as I move in more optimally.

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j_v_lynch

May 2016

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