Bhakail Fight Practice 8/27/15

•August 29, 2015 • Leave a Comment

My friend Nicholae, who I had known for several Pennsics now, had just gotten his armor together and had invited me to come to attend his first fight practice with him.  So I drove down and we went to the Bhakail fight practice.

I started with sword and shield.  Because of my shoulder problems that I had earlier in the year, I did not expect to be able to hold the shield for long, but that was not a problem.  I fought both Gunnar and Vachir and I discovered that I was VERY rusty.  I fell for all of Gunnar’s fakes. He offered to give me pointers, but I refused.  I didn’t refuse because I didn’t think he had anything worth teaching, but because I felt like I wasn’t going to retain anything until I actually fight sword and shield regularly again and knocked enough of the rust off of my game to actually benefit from it.  Although he was a good enough fighter for him to remind me of the areas I constantly left open.  And time and again I did not do what I needed to in time to actually avoid being hit in those two weaknesses in my defense.  Vachir was difficult to fight because it seemed every fight he did something different, so there was no pattern to follow.  I think I maybe had one or two kills when fighting sword and shield.  That was it.

Next, I took out two swords.  I ended up fighting both Todd (whose SCA name I forget) and one other person, who I forgot.  I did well with two swords.  I think I actually killed more often than I was killed!

Then, several people took out two-handed swords.  I did not bring mine, so I brought out my shorter pole arm.  I did okay.  I got killed more times than I was killed.  Again, I felt very slow.

Then there was a spear drill led by Barry (again, forgot his SCA name).  Even though I’m authorized for spear, I really have had very little experience fighting with it.  My car is too small to fit a spear, so I don’t own one.  I didn’t do terribly well.  The spear seemed quite heavy and I didn’t have the muscles built up for it.  It didn’t take me too long before my muscles lost their strength and my shoulder started bothering me.

Sadly, when my friend put on his armor, he discovered that several modifications were still necessary, so he didn’t get to fight at all.  But I was still glad to get to go to the practice!

Midland Vales Fight Practice 8/25/15

•August 28, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I attended the Midland Vales fight practice.  It was the first time I’ve fought since Pennsic and the first fight practice that I had attended in months.  They had a theme for this practice.  It was initially supposed to be two-weapons, but pole weapons were added at the last minute.

I started fighting with my pole arm.  The first thing I realized was that either I was really rusty, or I wasn’t as good as I thought I was.  I was killed more often than I killed for everybody I fought with a pole arm.  I also felt like my movement was exceedingly slow.  I’m not sure if it’s just because I’m rusty or if something else was going on.

Then the two-weapons came out.  I fought two people using two-swords.  I found that I did better with two swords.  I think it’s just because of two things.  Most people who use two swords will strike blows with their dominant hand 3/4 of the time.  I no longer have a dominant hand, per se.  As a result, I go back and forth between the two hands.  My right has a weakness because of my shoulder issues while my left has a weakness because I’m less accurate.  I suppose if I work on both of those issues, I’ll get significantly better!

Afterwards, I took off my armor and lent it to someone who was interested in fighting.  She was about half my size in almost every respect.  I guess it shows just how versatile my armor is that it was able to fit her!  It was a good practice and I had a good time, though I wish I could have done better.

Barleycorn Heavy Combat

•August 23, 2015 • Leave a Comment

As you all know, earlier this year, I became a marshal.  Then I was made KM of the canton I now live in. Then I was asked to organize the heavy combat activities at John Barleycorn.  Having never been to one, I really knew very little about this event, so I did some homework.  Apparently, this event used to be known for its fighting, among other things and has had years with attendance of over 600 people.  It used to be a regular RP event as well.  In recent years, the attendance has diminished as well as the fighting activities.  This year’s theme is “John Barleycorn Goes to War”.  The idea was to promote more fighting activities.  I know the fencers have some interesting activities planned as well.

Here is what I have planned for this year:
“Friday evening there will be a torchlight tournament to test your skill at using weapons other than sword and shield!  Bring your pole arms, axes, great-swords, two swords, or anything other legal weapon(s), but shields will not be allowed (including bucklers).    The tournament will be a round-robin format and your weapons form does not need to match that of your opponent.  Prizes will be given for first and second place in this tournament.

On Saturday morning, the armored fun continues.  There will be a tournament to determine the warlords for the melees to follow.  It will be double-elimination with the first round being swords and shields and the second round using pole arms (can be provided, if necessary).  The following rounds will be the contestant’s choice.  Prizes will be given for first and second place in this tournament.  The first and second place winners will also become the warlords and will choose not only their teams, but the melee scenarios for the remainder of the day.
Following the tournament, there will be three melee scenarios chosen by the winners of the tournament.  The winner of the tournament will choose the first and third scenario while the second place winner will choose the second scenario.  Choices could be field battles, bridge battles, castle battle, capture the flag, warlords (when the warlord dies, the melee ends) and woods battle, with the warlords choosing whether each will be a resurrection battle or not with a maximum of 30 minutes on resurrection battles.
Pick-ups will follow the melees for any individuals who are so inclined.”
There are also going to be a few tournaments run by other individuals as well.
I’m looking forward to it, but I’m also a bit nervous because I’ve never been in charge of heavy combat activities at an event before.  I would LOVE to make this a fun day of fighting for all attendees and I would LOVE to get a good turnout.  If you are free that weekend, please come.  I would also recommend that you pre-register, not just to save the $5, but to ensure you get a bunk in one of the yurts if you’re planning on spending the night.
Here is the event’s website: Barleycorn Event Page.
Also, if anyone has any tips on running the heavy combat portion of an event, please post them in the comments section below.

Pennsic XLIV: Post-Pennsic Thoughts

•August 21, 2015 • Leave a Comment

It does seem like Pennsic just flies by.  It also seems like I can’t get through a Pennsic without encountering personal problems of one sort or another.  Two years ago, I split up with my husband.  Last year I was there on VERY limited resources and for a limited amount of time.  This year, it seemed I had several people with unfinished business to reckon with.  There’s no better way to put it than that.

Despite all that, there were many good things that happened at Pennsic.

  1. I had a very enjoyable first week, despite a very large blister that prevented me from getting around for two days.
  2. I enjoyed the parties and the company I kept first week.
  3. I enjoyed the fighting second week, especially in the woods.  Maybe this sounds odd, but the woods really feels like home to me.  Another fighter in the woods was complaining about it.  I made jokes about his persona not living in the woods, but, alas, it was not found funny.
  4. I really learned who would be there for me when I needed someone.  You know who you are, and thank you for being there for me and I love you guys.
  5. I discovered that the c-belt did not make my back pain worse in battle, so I can start attending fight practices without fear of additional pain afterwards, which was a large roadblock for me.
  6. Much to my surprise, I was made a court baroness.
  7. There’s something magical about watching naked guys cook food over a fire (but maybe that’s just me).
  8. I got to see SO MANY people I knew recognized for what they do in the SCA, from AoAs to peerages!  Many of which I thought were long overdue.
  9. Even though a lot of stuff happened, I feel freer leaving Pennsic having dealt with those issues with those people.

I left Pennsic with remarkably few regrets.  I am very much a perfectionist for myself and my self-improvement, so the fact that I have such a small list really says something.

  1. I wish I didn’t lose so many days to hangovers.
  2. I wish I could have spent more time with the people I wanted to see.
  3. I wish I hadn’t flipped out so much on the person who accidentally spilled a lot of hot wax on my hand-sewn, hand-embroidered dress AND apron dress.
  4. I wish I could have helped out more with the reign by retaining more.
  5. I wish I could have fought some pick-ups, knowing then what I know now about the c-belt and my back pain.
  6. I wish there were some things I didn’t talk about when drunk.  There were a few occasions where I spoke about things I really shouldn’t have.

Otherwise, there’s nothing else I really regret about this Pennsic, which is really saying something.  Maybe I have learned to live more by doing what I feel I should do more so I regret less.  Now, I need to start getting back in the groove. I need to start attending fight practices, practicing my shots on my own at home again, and work on organizing the heavy combat activities for Barleycorn.

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Pennsic XLIV: Middle Sunday

•August 21, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Today was a long day for me.  I woke up early, put on my opening ceremonies garb, and got to my meeting at 7am. A special thanks to the Beast and Boar for opening early so I could eat breakfast! Opening ceremonies was a grand affair, full of pomp and circumstance. I have seen it once from afar, but it is really something up close. I never realized out big our kingdom was. While we were waiting, I went with the queen to give out favors to the baronies that were lining up. It was amazing to see how long the line was! Because the teams were different this year, I’m sure things were set up differently. Aethelmarc was assembeled at the castle, which was adorned with Aethelmarc banners with their populace waving red fabric. The East and Middle processed in together. There was the declaring of allies. Most kingdoms gave a short “We’re with Aethelmarc” or something equivelant. One king gave a long speech saying something about fighting the Middle East. The word play amused me.

After opening ceremonies, I had signed up to retain for His Majesty. It was during the champions battles. He went around to the various champions chatting, saying encouraging things, etc. It made me realize that there is a lot more to being king than just various court obligations and the pomp and circumstance. I realized the same thing retaining for the queen at Northern Region War Cap. She went around to everyone who helped out – from the people running troll to the youth marshals giving them thanks and something small to show her appreciation.

I went to the gypsy camp and got “gypsified” because three of them were getting there AoAs. We headed up to court and watited for it to start. I was happy to see my friends being recognized!  Many of them had been coming to Pennsic for years, but did not play much during the year for various reasons. Some worked weekends, for example.  One of them had been working hard to make her Middle Eastern garb more period.  When the queen commented on it, it made her Pennsic!  I think those are the little things that make a King or Queen great — the small things that are said that really mean a lot to those that they said it to.  I remember when I got my AoA, the Queen admired the embroidery on my garb and the King asked if I would be fighting for the kingdom at Pennsic.  Because they took the time to say something meaningful, I remember that, even years later.  I guess, on a smaller scale, it shows how much words really do matter (and how carelessly I have used mine, at times).  Well, we live, we learn.

Pennsic XLIV: Peace Week

•August 21, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I spent my peace week getting settled in my own camp, visiting friends, and doing a bit of partying.  I usually talk about my Peace Week in more specific terms in my Pennsic blogs, but really so much happened that should not be told on a  public platform I’m afraid this blog entry will be pretty brief. (again, it’s stuff in my personal life having nothing to do with the reign).

The only thing that happened to me first week that is fighting-related were two drunken conversations in the swamp/bog area.  I know there is a difference between the swamp and the bog at Pennsic, but I don’t know what it is and I didn’t know which section I was actually in at the time.  A common “topsider” error, I suppose.

One conversation was simply about various fighting strategies.  While most of the concepts discussed weren’t new to me, the concept of being able to do a standing scorpion wrap on somebody without being significantly taller them or have your opponent on their knees seemed very interesting.  Even though I tried to get him to demonstrate it or describe it, I still didn’t understand how it worked.  If nothing else, it was a notable idea for me to pursue later on.

The other conversation happened when I was introduced to another female fighter at a party.  I don’t remember her name.  I am horrible at names when I’m sober.  She started by talking about how she accidentally threw a lot of cup shots. I did not grasp her meaning at first and talked about a few times I accidentally cupped Sir Alex.  Then I understood her.  She “accidentally” throws cup shots, meaning she throws them on purpose and claims it is an accident.   I do not subscribe to that method of getting men to take my shots.  I would personally rather be a bad fighter than to resort to that method. I listened as politely as I could then I started talking to someone else.   To be honest, I am appalled that someone would behave that way.  I remember a few years ago overhearing a female fighter teaching other female fighters to aim for the cup, but I didn’t realize that there were people dishonorable enough to actually do it.  Or maybe I’m being naive.  Do you think it’s okay for female fighters to aim or the cup?  What about male fighters?

Pennsic XLIV: Friday of War Week

•August 21, 2015 • Leave a Comment

The field battles were interesting. We were informed at the beginning that if we won all three we would tie for war points. In the first one, there was a point in time where we had a bunch of shields against two shields guarding six combat archers. I tried to order them to come with me and take them out. I had a pole arm and it would be unlikely that I could do it on my own. They didn’t listen. I didn’t know them and I wasn’t a commander of any kind, so they didn’t listen to me. I can’t say I could blame them.   As soon as I yelled it, one of the archers shot me in the face.

The second battle was interesting. There was no combat archery. There was a moment where there was an order to shift right, which made no sense to me, but I followed it. Then I realized we were the flank which would encase the opposing force into a “tidy bowl” maneuver. Unfortunately, there was a hold just as we came around them. It gave another unit the chance to notice what we were doing and as soon as the hold was over, they ran over to their aid taking us out. I caught a spear shot to the face and then it was all over for me.

We won the first two battles. The third battle started with an interesting strategy on their side. Their entire force was on the upper half of the battlefield. Our unit (and a few others) were on the lower half. We came around to flank them, but some of their force broke down to stop us. There were a few holds, including one medical, then I was taken out by an archer. I did not get to swing a stick throughout the entire three field battles. They won the third battle. Perhaps we will tie them in the rapier battle or in one of the other war points. I found out later that we did tie the war after all of the remaining points were tallied.

 
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