I had been busy working, packing, and moving for a few weeks and my funds were low, so I hadn’t had a chance to attend any fight practices lately. Then I saw on Facebook that my Master-at-arms was going to the Hazlet practice, I realized that I had the day off and the funds for the trip, so I decided to go, on a whim. I was surprised to see that it was essentially a Bloodguard practice. Other than me and Omega, I think everyone else there was a member of Bloodguard (until Bjorvig showed up later in the practice).
As I put my armor on, I could really feel the 7lbs I had put back on while I was sick. It was because I didn’t feel well enough to cook, so I stopped following my Paleo diet. Well, I could feel my armor weighing on my back as soon as I put it on, but I hadn’t driven all that way for nothing, so I fought.
This practice followed a bear pit setup. At first Duke Konrad and Duke Omega were the only ones everyone got to fight because they kept winning their fights. I fought Omega first. He killed me with a blow to the spot on my head that I tend to leave open. He reminded me to lean back to avoid that shot. What I didn’t tell him was that I tried and got a lot of back pain as a result. I was too busy focusing on controlling my reaction to the pain, that I didn’t react to his suggestion.
Next I fought Duke Konrad a few times. At first I was intimidated (he IS a Duke), but he played a defensive game which was probably his version of taking it easy on me. I am not good enough as a lefty to get much benefit from being piss-pounded, so I preferred his approach. He hit me in the same spot Omega did, but I didn’t try to lean back, knowing what would happen. He, too, advised me to lean back. This time I was able to explain why I couldn’t. He showed me how to block it with my shield. The next time we fought, he complimented me for executing the shield block perfectly (I wasn’t even aware that I had done it). It was good working with him! He didn’t give me too much information at a time and chose to show me things I was able to grasp immediately!
There were three lefties there, including myself. I tried using the tricks other people had taught me for fighting other lefties. One of them worked consistently on me, but I couldn’t get any if them to work. I guess I need more practice.
One benefit of the bear pit format was watching everyone else’s fights. I started seeing patterns in the way some of them fought. One waited until you threw a shot, then took your arm or shoulder while it was out there and vulnerable. Another threw almost exclusively onside shots. Another had three combos that he knew well and used very effectively. I couldn’t see patterns at all for some of the better fighters. But I was just excited that I was finally able to start seeing patterns. In one case, I managed to learn to react and block one of them!
My lefty shots are still exceedingly weak. As such, I can only really kill people with a thrust. I managed to kill three times with a thrust and once with a blow to the head where I swung my sword too far around for good form, but it hit solidly enough. There were other times where I was told a hit would have killed if it had any power in it.
I was pleased that I was able to fight more than just five fights with a few people near the end before my back insisted that I stop!
Another comment I got a lot is “your sword is too long” or “your sword is too heavy”. I was using the shorter stick King Brennan gave me, so it measured up pretty equally with their swords. Most people who picked it up agreed that it was light enough. So what that means is I’m wielding it like it’s too big and heavy for me.
While chatting with Duke Konrad near the end of practice, he had some good advice: take a very short stick and practice your shots in the mirror. It has the double advantage of not wearing my arm out and I have seen enough fighters to know what looks right and what doesn’t.
I enjoyed this practice. Most of them people were friendly and helpful. If I had the time/money, I’d come back to this practice again!
Quest fights at this practice: 32
Total # of fights for quest: 104