Pre-Pennsic Post

•July 23, 2014 • Leave a Comment

As I think I have mentioned before, I have been working at a physically demanding job for the first time in my life. I kept telling myself that when I was no longer tired and sore after my work week that I would start attending fight practices again. That just happened for the first time this week. Sadly, I had too much to do to prepare for both Pennsic and my sister’s wedding to be able to take the time to attend a practice.

I am a little concerned that I will not be at my best for Pennsic since I have not put on armor in so long. I DO know that my muscles are stronger than ever and my body is losing fat. I also know that every day that I crush rocks with a single jack (a one-handed sledgehammer) I am building my sword muscles. Every day I sidehill (a technique that cuts a trail into the side of a hill) with a rogue hoe, I am building my pole arm muscles. Even so, I haven’t actually used a sword or pole arm since mid-May. I hope I will do okay!

I plan to be at Pennsic during Tuesday and Wednesday of Peace Week. I will also be there during Tuesday and Wednesday of War Week. I plan to be there either Monday or Thursday of War Week too, but I haven’t decided which day I will take off of work yet. I will be doing pick-ups on both Wednesdays and will try and fight as many people as I can for my quest. If I’m not too wiped out after the woods battle, I may attempt to do pick-ups after that as well. I’ll look forward to seeing many of you there!

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What I’ve Been Up To

•June 5, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I have moved further south in NY for work. Where I’m living I get poor cell reception and have no access to internet. As such, my blog posts are likely to become sporadic. I also will not be able to post all of them to Facebook like I have in the past. When I do, I can no longer tag the names of the people mentioned. I wish I could because if I’m going to write about people, I feel they deserve to know what I have to say about them.

People have asked what I’m doing now. I am working with two not-for-profit-organizations to build and repair hiking trails in New York state and to train volunteers to do the same. Anybody interested in coming out to volunteer can check us out at nynjtc.org/taconiccrew/

I have completed my three weeks of training and have now been on the trails for two weeks. I am already getting stronger and am getting smaller, though I haven’t lost much weight yet. I plan to start attending practices when I am no longer drained and in pain after a work week. I will also sadly not be long at Pennsic this year. I only have Tuesdays and Wednesdays off. On the bright side, I have some co-workers interested in attending Pennsic, which should be fun.

I feel like even though I’m not fighting, I am at least getting into good shape for when I do.

Nordenhalle Fight Practice 5/14/14

•June 5, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I brought one of my new co-workers to practice because he wanted to try getting into armor. We showed up a bit late because we went shopping for a cup for him. Neither of us had been cup shopping before, so it was definitely an interesting and entertaining experience.

There weren’t many people in armor that day. I am also writing this two weeks late, so I don’t remember much about this practice.  I recall fighting Brandon and Charlie with my usual rate of success (meaning I defended myself quite well but didn’t get many shots in). I also recall my muscles getting tired really quickly but that might just have been from overuse.

Ivan had helped my co-worker get into armor. I have seen some newbies fight before, but I had never seen one who relied so heavily on thrusts. There is some really bad video that was shot in the dark of me fighting him. He actually managed to thrust me in the gut twice. He also enjoyed getting into shield bashing which, for some reason, I enjoyed. I started getting tired, so I left him to fight other people.

Hazlet Fight Practice 4/28/14

•May 13, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I had decided to attend this practice at the last minute. Because of that and some traffic, I got there quite late.

There were a number of fighters that had showed up that were not normally at this practice. The King was there. As was Syr Culann, Sir Oscad, and Ioannes. I tried to fight the people I hadn’t fought before, but it only sort of worked out due to the bear-pit format of this practice.

Because so much time has passed between writing this blog and the fight practice I am writing about, I sadly don’t remember much.

My fights with the King were over very quickly. He hit me in my most obvious opening every time. I remember him giving me some good advice, but it happened so long ago that I can’t remember what it was.

Sir Oscad asked me if I had moved to their shire/barony. I told him that I had moved closer but that I was still not technically in their shire. He was kind enough to offer to help me with my sword work and offense if I started attending more often. I told him I probably would but would need to take a few weeks off first.

I managed to leg Duke Konrad!  It was with a poorly executed half wrap, but it clearly worked well enough. It was the first time I had ever gotten a shot in on him, so I was excited. He also gave me some good advice which I was able to implement right away. It was so long ago I again can’t remember what it was.

I also managed to kill my squire brother Ionius for the first time!  I have no idea how it happened and I probably couldn’t replicate it if I tried, but I somehow managed a thrust straight to his gorget. I was again excited to have done well (for me) against him.

It was a good night. I felt like I was actually getting better since I was able to place a shot on two great fighters. I hope this uphill trend continues for me in the future!

Quest fights at this practice: 13
Total # of fights for quest: 162

Serpentius (and friends) Fight Practice 4/25/14

•April 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

We had a good turnout at this fight practice. I fought my squire brothers Joe, Deacon (who I think goes by the name Dimitri), and Tiberius. I also fought Nkante, Omega, Egil Bad-Hands, and Bjorvik.

I am so backed up on my blog that I’m having a difficult time remembering how every fight went. As such, I’ll just mention the things that stood out in my mind.

Omega worked with me to have a more efficient offside shot. It was something he had taught me and I had practiced before. I’m not sure if I had just forgotten about it or just wasn’t using it while fighting.

I remember my fights with Joe went pretty quickly. Deacon took it upon himself to try and beat me quicker than Joe did. He succeeded with a number of one-shot-one-kills.

I did better against Nkante. He fought me with a club and short pole arm. I mostly managed to get the short pole arm out of the way so then I only had the club to contend with. That doesn’t mean he didn’t end up hitting me with it, but our fights lasted longer than many of the others.

I did best against Egil Bad-Hands. He did really well considering he had only been fighting for a few months. I think I killed him 2 or 3 times out of the 5 I fought him.

Quest fights at this practice: 29
Total # of fights for quest: 149

Nordenhalle Fight Practice 4/23/14

•April 24, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I had debated whether or not to get into armor. My back was still hurting and my muscles were still sore from the Hazlet practice I attended on Monday. When I got there, there were only two fighters other than myself. I told myself I could easily armor up and fight each of them five times. By the time I had armored up, there were four people to fight. Then later a fifth arrived. It was a small turnout for this practice, but more than I had anticipated fighting originally.

My first fight was Ivan. He killed me pretty quickly with the same shot a few times in a row. He managed to hit the precise spot in between my sword and shield in my guard. He mentioned it being a trick to fighting other lefties. I explained the other two tricks that I knew but couldn’t execute. He showed me an element that I had been missing in the one of tricks. He quickly won all our fights.

My next five fights were with Hralgar. I was surprised to find that while I was defending against him, my footwork was quite good. Our fights lasted a while. I was pleased with how well I was able to block many of his shots. The only shot was any that went up and over my head (he is significantly taller than me). I found out fights took a lot out of me. I was breathing quite heavily by the end of them.

I fought Branden next. Again, I feel like my defense was good. I was breathing heavily after every fight or so. I had issues getting any good shots in on him, but at least it took him a while to kill me.

My last fight was Charlie. I had never fought him before. I was defending even better against him. I still had issues getting a good shot. It seemed like it took him forever to kill me. Halfway through our second fight I could no longer hold up my shield.

I enjoyed myself, but I was annoyed that I hadn’t gotten a chance to fight everybody there 5 times. I also started to realize that my offense is really holding me back. I was able to defend myself for quite a while against most of the fighters at this practice. If I could actually get a shot in, I could probably have won some of those fights.

Quest fights at this practice: 16
Total # of fights for quest: 120

Hazlet Fight Practice 4/21/14

•April 23, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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

 
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