Today I got back in armor to fight for the first time since Birka. I had issues with my shoulder and I needed a new chin strap for my helmet. As strange as it sounds, the longer I’m out of armor, the more difficult it is for me to get back into armor. That’s why I decided to drive so far to attend this practice. After driving for so far, there was no way I’d come up with a lame excuse to not fight.
When I got there, I saw that the practice was well-attended. I think there were probably 8 other fighters there! I got my gear on, strapped my shield to my right arm, and grabbed my sword with my left hand. My first fight was Joaquin. I told him that it had been awhile since I fought and he offered to go easy on me because I’m “knocking the rust off”. I gratefully accepted and still did very poorly. He reminded me that my shield kept drifting outwards leaving my whole left side open. Then someone came over (I can’t remember who it was) and suggested that I just hit his shield a few times. While embarrassing, I knew he was right. I wasn’t throwing any shots that were worth anything. I tried to throw at his shield a few times, but I couldn’t hold up my shield anymore.
I felt very frustrated. I had driven all this way, gone through the effort of putting on armor, and got out there only to have my shoulder not be ready for it. I sulked by myself for a good 10 minutes. Fealan (I think I’m destined to always spell his name wrong) suggested we fight using single swords — no shields. Ian offered the use of one of his swords to fight two-stick with. I managed to pull my head out of my ass and walked over to where the majority of fighters were talking to a family who had come to watch us fight. As I walked over, I saw the mother point at me and say “Look, there’s a girl”. One of the other fighters kindly said that often women make the best fighters. I decided to take up my pole arm, my best form, and try to make a good showing of myself.
I fought Sir Alex who proclaimed it his worst form. I did pretty well and even killed him once or twice. I tired quickly, as did my right shoulder. I got some water and fought Fealan with single swords. I found myself at a loss of what to do. I started squaring myself up — halfway between the stance I probably should have taken and the one I usually take with sword and shield. Fealan advised me to take a “fencers stance” so I turned my body with my sword forward. I focused mainly on defense. I did a poor job of it and any strikes that I attempted were pretty half-assed. Fealan told me to give my all to any blows I attempt. I found myself flailing a lot, but I tried.
I took another break and I saw that Colin was starting to get out of armor because his right wrist was injured. I managed to convince him that he should stay in and fight single lefty sword with me. To my surprise, he did! We both flailed around pathetically at first, neither of us managed to strike a single “good” blow. Then I started to remember the things I had learned a long time ago from Duke Sir Paul and tried to use some of it. While I felt like I was leaving myself completely open as I attempted to do a very large teardrop return, it was the first blow I delivered that had any kind of power in it. I tried to do a few more and they also generated power, but I had a difficult time controlling where they went. The style may have merit for me after all! We had a lot of fun!
There was still some time left and then borrowed that sword from Ian so I could fight with two swords. His sword was the opposite of mine. It was very bottom-heavy and heavier in general than my sword. I put it in my right hand. He fought me using a sword and a great-sword. I used my right arm to try and tie up the great sword he was using for defense and hit him with the left. After a few more attempts, I found myself trying to alternate shots with both swords. I thought I did pretty well, considering I rarely fight two-sword. Again, I had fun!
After we fought, a bunch of us went out to eat. At one point, I had rehydrated myself enough to use the bathroom. While I was in there, I was very surprised to see that I had a very large purple bruise across my abdomen. I didn’t remember getting it and it really didn’t hurt. My hip hurt where I had been hit twice, but that was barely even red. I returned to the table, asked who had hit me in the stomach and showed them all the bruise. There was a chorus of “ooo!” Colin claimed credit for the bruise and we returned to our food and conversation.
While I was writing this blog, I tried to go to past blogs to figure out how to spell Fealan’s name. I realized that I really hadn’t done much fighting since 2013. My motivation for fighting then stemmed from some really unhealthy things that were going on in my personal life. I need to fix that and stop being so sporadic about attending practices. I also need to find a healthier form of motivation.