I was up in the Potsdam area visiting some friends. However, I had been to two different practices in the past week and my shoulder was sore simply by existing. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to fight today. I decided to at least give it a try.
Northern Outpost is the shire I started in. Whenever I go back, I always wish that I’ll come back showing how far I’ve come, but it never seems to turn out that way. Honestly, there were only two fighters there who were there when I first started fighting, though I knew everybody at the practice save one.
My first fight was with Master Olaf. We were both fighting with sword and shield. I don’t recall doing very well, but I also recall it didn’t last long. That’s one advantage of taking a defensive stance, I didn’t waste sword movement. However, it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t long before my shoulder was screaming with pain. I managed to go a few rounds. I told him I expected it was a sort of a problem with technique. I suspected that I was fighting differently than I was doing my pell work. He asked me to show him how I threw a shot on the pell. He watched a few times and told me that I’m still leading with my shoulder. He recommended that I try sword foot forward. He said that’s what he started doing because he didn’t have the build or shoulder strength or something like that when he first started fighting. Honestly, I have fought him so much in my life and I never noticed. I wondered why I was so oblivious to stuff like that that would be so helpful in my fighting. Anyway, back to sword foot forward. I realized that I do that when fighting with two swords. Yes, I realize that of course I’m fighting with sword foot forward if I’ve got two swords, but what I meant was that my right foot was forward in my stance for two swords.
I switched to a sword foot forward stance. Shots were easier and they didn’t hurt my shoulder. However, Olaf told me that I was exaggerating my hip motions, but I suppose it’s something that will improve with time. The biggest problem with fighting sword-foot forward is protecting my sword foot. The way my shield is strapped, it was impossible to move it over far enough to cover it. Olaf thought that my armor was getting in the way of my shield arm. I thought it was my chest. I checked when I got home. It’s my chest. I’ll have to see if I can figure out how to re-strap it. Or maybe I should switch to a shield shape that would more easily cover it.
I pulled out two swords for another fight. It ended up being against Olaf again. I did okay, I think. This fight didn’t last long either. Olaf managed to get me with a shot directly to the back of my right shoulder blade. It stung. Oddly, the pain in my shoulder went away, but I couldn’t lift my arm very high either. Sir Rhys came over and told me I should hold my swords further apart from my beginning stance. I’m sure he was right, however, it made my shoulder hurt just thinking about it. He demonstrated how a simple rotation in that stance was very effective and yet conserved the energy of the fighter. I’m sure the technique will be useful and I will give it a try in the future. I hope I didn’t appear rude, but I just wanted to get my armor off before my arm locked up even more.
I armored down, though I struggled with getting my battle dress off. I’ve also been thinking that it’s time that I retire the battle dress. It’s not that I dislike wearing a dress on the field. Quite the contrary. Dresses are easier to make and provide for a great air flow. However, there is that rule that came out a year or two ago requiring the knees to be either obvious or marked. I initially did mark my dress. However, the linen has been stretching or my weight has changed and the marking is no longer in the correct place. I am considering learning how to make decent pants and fight in Viking men’s clothing instead, simply because I don’t have to worry about the movement of the marking of the knees on my dress. But it’s just currently a thought. No fabric has been ordered yet.
I had wished that I made a better showing at this practice. It WAS good to see everyone again. Hopefully when I return again I’ll fight better!