Now that there’s a Tuesday practice in Middletown, I haven’t been going to the Bhakail practices as often. Omega was supposed to be there and it was a regional practice, so I decided to make the trip down. Ironically, something came up and Omega couldn’t make it. And there were probably only ten other fighters there; a small turnout for a regional. Nonetheless, it was a good practice for me.
My first fight was a guy who introduced himself as Bran. We fought a bit. Somehow I got hyper-focused on not getting hit by a specific shot. I still got hit by that shot and couldn’t got a shot in on him. Our fight didn’t last long because his gorget had come undone and he walked away to fix it. Here’s a video of the fight: Bran vs. Gunnvor
Sterling came over and talked about the smoothness of my shots. Well, more like the lack thereof. Internally, I knew why that particular combo wasn’t fluid. I hadn’t practiced it and I was thinking too much about it. I guess it was more the way I was thinking about it. I sometimes compare fighting to playing the piano because the piano is really the only other thing in my life I have worked to get good at. To be fair, I have a lot more natural talent for the piano. Anyway, it brought to mind a time I was struggling with getting my scales to play smoothly. I thought scales were boring so my mind tended to wander. My teacher asked me what color I thought A major was. It was an odd notion. I thought about it and decided that it was a reddish-orange. She told me to picture my hands making waves of that color as they moved across the keyboard. I played smoothly until I got to playing my scales in the intervals of 10ths when my playing became choppy again. She immediately stopped me and asked me what happened. I had started to envision two reddish-orange waves off-set and compared them in my mind to a sine and cosine wave on the same plane. I had started to analyze it. So back to fighting, I need to focus, but in a specific way. If I start to analyze things, that’s where I go wrong. He also told me that before I go out to fight anyone, to tell myself “I am 12 feet tall and strong as an ox,” ten times. He didn’t need to explain why. I got it.
My next fight was Vachir. I think I took the 12 feet tall and strong as an ox thing to heart because I fought very differently. I’m not sure if it was good or bad, but I was much more aggressive. I think it threw Vachir off, because after a few attempted blows, I got him with a face thrust. I killed him about as much as he killed me. I have fought him before, and I think that’s typical for our fights, but I found that I felt better about my fighting afterwards. I got winded pretty easily. I’m not sure if it was that I hadn’t fought in awhile or if I’m out of shape or just the new aggressive fighting style.
After a short break, I fought Urdock. He was fighting mace and shield. The first thing he did was hit me with a shot that I called good. But it turned out he hit me with the haft. He spent most of the time trying to hit me from above. I tried to hit him with low shots, but he blocked them. I noticed he was sticking his elbow out, but I couldn’t hit that either. I couldn’t get a shot in on him. Again, I winded really quickly. Here’s a video of that fight: Urdock vs. Gunnvor
I took a longer break and went outside for some fresh air. When I got back in and put my helmet back on, Sterling was kind enough to point out that Fergus was free for a fight. He basically acted as a pell for me, hitting back rarely, if at all. I could have been offended that someone was “taking it easy on me” but it really helped me work on my offense. I had to stop frequently to catch my breath, but I learned a lot!
As I was taking another break, Sterling came over and we were chatting about various fighting things. He asked me what I am doing for pell work. I told him. He suggested that the next person I fight, I just pretend he is a pell and do the six point drill on him in as quick succession as I can. He also recommended that I sing while doing pell work because I have been holding my breath. That WOULD account for why I got more out of breath the more shots I threw!
The next person I fought was another left who introduced himself (I think) as Gottfried (sp?). I followed Sterling’s advice and did the six point drill. I was surprised at how far I got before he was able to land a shot. I also realized that I had been thinking of the six point drill as combos of two shots. After every two shots, I inadvertently paused. I also noticed that because I was fighting offensively, he began fighting defensively. Sterling encouraged me from the sidelines to sing, but I felt too silly to do it. I don’t like drawing attention to myself and I don’t like doing things in public that I haven’t practiced successfully in private first. Our fights were drawn out. He killed me twice. The first kill was a butt wrap that missed my armor. Two years ago, that would have had me in tears. A year ago, I would have had to stop and take a break to prevent tears. Last night, I just took a minute or two, stood there, and breathed before we resumed our fight. At least I’m growing, albeit slowly.
After the fight, I told Sterling that I had issues with the offside body and leg shots. I had had issues with those shots as a righty, too. As a righty, I had been shown how to do them countless times, and still couldn’t execute them correctly. For some reason, last night I just got it. Maybe it was the first time learning it as a lefty. Maybe it was that everything just clicked that everyone had taught me before. Maybe he just explained it the right way. Whatever it was, I got it.
My last fight of the night was Talan. He also acted kinda as a pell, though he threw more shots than Fergus did. For the first time ever, I really played around with what shots I could throw. I tried the teardrop return (which packs a wallop, but I would need to figure out how to increase the speed to use it effectively). I did some offside body and leg shots. If it occurred to me, I tried it. Talan seemed pretty impressed.
Overall, I had a great practice. I felt like I learned a lot and that I grew a lot. I may not have fought the way I was “supposed” to be fighting. I rationalized it by telling myself that I’m supposed to be working on offense and fighting aggressively gives me more of a chance to throw shots and work on offense than fighting defensively would. My back was what stopped me from fighting at the end. I couldn’t even lift my armor bag. Tally was kind enough to bring my armor bag to my car. When the painkillers kicked in an hour later, my relief was palpable. I hope I will be able to fight tonight at my local practice at Nordenhal because my back is still sore.