Pennsic 43: Peace Week

I drove down to Pennsic for Tuesday and Wednesday of Peace Week. I spent Tuesday unpacking, settling in, and visiting some friends. While visiting with my friend Olaf, he mentioned doing a “century” drill. Its just doing a shot or a combo 100 times daily, slowly, with perfect form. I like the idea. Maybe I will start doing them after Pennsic ends.

While crossing the battlefield on Tuesday, I happened upon a class on fighting.  As I walked by, the teacher (who was not Duke Sir Paul of Bellatrix) was discussing the teardrop return.  He mentioned that the more experienced one gets with the teardrop return, the smaller the teardrop will be.  That means that the movement will be quicker and the energy that is expelled will be more economical.  I did not grasp that concept the last time I was taught about the teardrop return.  That doesn’t mean it wasn’t taught, it just means I didn’t get it. Because of what I overheard from the class, I decided to stay and listen.  The teacher, whose name I did not catch, stated that no movement should be wasted.  If the energy is not being used to strike your opponent, it is wasted energy.  He also had a great way of likening movements to pie-slices.  I wish I could explain it better, but essentially a fighter’s range is in the shape of a pie slice.  Depending on that fighter’s stance, the pie slice could be thin or wide. Fighters move to make sure their opponent is in their pie slice. He also demonstrated how fighters can control the movement by moving in and out of their opponent’s pie slice. He also showed how fakes could be done with just a hip movement rather than moving the sword. I thought it was really interesting stuff!

On Wednesday, I did pick-ups. Given the choice, I prefer to do melees over singles fighting.  That’s probably because I feel more successful in melee fighting than in singles.  But because of my quest to fight 1,000 fights before next March, I went down to the battlefield for pick-ups. Even though I am notably stronger, because I haven’t fought in so long, certain muscle groups STILL wore out really quickly. I fought 7 different people for a total of 27 fights. I was really tired from the night before, so I can honestly not remember who told me what.  A few of the fights were memorable, so I will recount those.

I fought Duchess Sir Elina. It was really interesting fighting her.  I haven’t fought many female knights, but if she is any indication, they’re all awesome ladies! She genuinely seemed interested in helping me improve! She told me I wasn’t hitting her, even when she left spots open. I don’t know why, but I interpreted it to mean she thought I was psychologically having trouble hitting people. I explained that I was physically having problems hitting people. For some reason, I can’t get shots to go where I want them to. At least I’m not hitting light anymore. She had me compare my current stance (shield foot forward) to a sword foot forward stance. It turns out they were the same for power generation.

I was chatting with her after the fight and a young guy (maybe late teens, early 20s) came up and commented that I was moving too much. She explained to him why I was moving so much. Duchess Sir Elina said she encountered fighters of his caliber explaining a flat snap to her up until six months before she was knighted. I told her I tell people whatever they have to teach, I would be happy to learn. I didn’t tell her that I’m still so unsure of my abilities that I often wonder if I’m doing a flat snap correctly. She said that you can learn something from every fighter. I agree.

I fought the guy who said I was moving too much next. I didn’t win every fight, but I did get a clean face thrust against him. It moved his helmet, but he didn’t take it. I explained what it said in the Marshal’s handbook about face thrusts. Afterwards, he said he was tired and ready to stop fighting. When I asked him to sign my book, he said that I knew everything already. I hope I didn’t offend him somehow. I know I have plenty to learn.

I did learn other things from some of the other fighters I fought. I learned that because when I fight rightys they’re a mirror image of me, what works against me will work against them. Most of their advice is in my quest book and I have already stated that I will not post what is written in my blog. I also learned that even though my strength has improved, my accuracy has not. From all of the bruises I had developed, I learned where the weak points in my defense are, too.

Walking my armor back to camp, I discovered that while my back had greatly improved, some of the muscles surrounding it had not. It hurt to carry my armor bag up that hill. Even though being on the trails had improved my stamina going up hills, adding the extra weight of my armor caused me to get winded fairly quickly.

The next day I was seriously hurting. It was all muscle pain, which is good. It meant that I’m getting stronger. Because some of the muscles were core and shoulder muscles, it meant I was finally using my body to throw shots. It also meant those muscles were not getting worked much in the work that I do.

I left Pennsic anxious to get back. I will be taking some days off so I plan to be at War Week Monday-Thursday. I can’t wait to get back!

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~ by Gunnvor on August 3, 2014.

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