Monday, October 12, 2015

King's and Queen's Rapier Tournament

This past Saturday was The Rapier Tournament in the East.
The site was determined rather late in the game, at a place none of us had been before. I don't think I was the only one a little worried about what the day would bring and how the tournament would go.

But! It was an absolutely GORGEOUS day out, and the site was beautiful. We were right on the sea shore, by an old fort, with relatively flat ground (only slightly muddy).

63 fencers entered the tournament. There were eight pools, and the top two from each pool went on to a double elimination sweet 16. The finals were best three of five, matched, rotating forms.

Fencers were out in both quantity and quality, which was wonderful to see. I've heard almost entirely good things about the fighting - clean, courteous, etc. I am hoping that the exceptions are being taken care of appropriately - but they were not enough to mar the day.

My pool was definitely clean. Our marshal and MoL were wonderful, efficient, and active when needed.

There will eight people in the pool, and I lost three fights, tying for third with several people. I'm not HAPPY about that showing, although I'm not kicking myself about it either.

One loss was to an OGR who I practice with regularly. I nearly had him a couple times, which honestly is better than  most of our fights.  He has always had my number.
One loss was to an OSR from the south who uses curved swords, which I really to practice against more (which is hard, since no on in my area uses them). We had a messy exchange where there was a question about whether he daggered my head - we were in close enough, and there was enough stuff hitting my mask at weird angles (quillions and the like) that I couldn't tell. I appreciated that the marshal stepped in to tell us that he didn't think it was good. So we refought, and this time he got in my shorts and made a cut at my belly that succeeded. I feel like it could have gone the other way, but I'm not upset at how I did.
The last loss if the one that I am saddest about. I was fighting an OGR who I haven't fought much, besides him being in my pool at my second K&Q. I am certain that I should have won that fight, but I didn't commit to my Fabris guard - and additionally, he is a short guy. The combination mean that I was really in a "stab me in the belly please" guard, which he proceeded to do. He mentioned afterwards that my buckler had floated up too far. Which is he doesn't know what I'm intending is a reasonable assumption to make. But the buckler was fine - I just wasn't bent over near far enough. In hindsight, against someone that short, I really shouldn't have gone for that particular guard at all.
Also, I didn't properly warm up that guard. I was worried about getting tired too early, and didn't have a lot of time to get my blood flowing, so I didn't concentrate on it at all. I feel like I should have, to at least remind myself what it feels like.

My pick ups later on were fantastic and fun. I fought a northern OGR that I've never managed to pin down before, and he was a blast to fight. I fought another person who is into Fabris (way more into Fabris than I am, really) and he was super excited when I fell into that stance, and we talked about Fabris for awhile. I did pickups with some of the people from my pool.


People I care about did amazing things all day, and were recognized for things, and it was great.
Marguerite was inducted into the Order of the Silver Crescent for her many "bad" ideas.
Natalliia was given a writ to answer to the question of whether she would join the Order of Defense.
Jean Michele was inducted into the Order of the Golden Rapier.
The Carolingian Calivers were made the King's Calivers for the duration of the reign due to their prowess at Pennsic.
Malocchio was recognized for his great service as Rapier General this past Pennsic. I am beyond happy that someone did.
Scrooby and Marielle were given their AoAs.
Donovan won his third K&Q.
Llewellyn, who I have known for pretty much ever, had a great day in the lists and was chosen as Queen's Champion.
I heard innumerable good things about my cadet all day long - about her fighting and her attitude. I am very proud of how she came back from her injury a better fencer than she was before, and how she's finding her place in the SCA. Initially is was weird to have people come up to report to me about her, but then it was just awesome.

So yeah. It was a good day.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Practice Report

For three practices at once. Blogger is very finicky at work, so I typed most of this up in an email and then it wallowed...

What I didn't know on Monday was that over the next few hours I was going to start feeling like death.
There were no real epiphanies - I fought some people. I did ..fine. I fought in the tournament, and got out of my pool. But it's always the same people that I have problems with in the next round. 
The details of the practice are a little fuzzy. Silly being sick.

Thursday practice I was recovering, so I didn't push myself too hard. I fought Ted when he had case, because tall people with case will always be a problem. The kills I got on him were all clean and precise, but there were not as many as I might have wanted. My buckler game was not strong, and my body was not interested in being properly Fabris for very long.
I fought Donovan, and we had some very good fights. I've been working on changing my guards to better match what my opponent gives. It's still sometimes hit or miss. Donovan gave me a couple more guards to add to my repertoire, although they felt particularly awkward. We also talked about feints and invitations. Mine are not convincing enough. And we rehashed the conversation I have had many times with many about how if someone ignores a feint then you should be able to follow up on it and kill them.
It was a low key night with more braining than fighting. Which is good, because I still feel slightly worse than I did yesterday.

Then Monday happened again. I was coughing some, but mostly fully recovered (and I wasn't at Coronation...poor everyone who was.) Gabe and Lupold are my problems, and once K&Q is over I really need to pick some fights with them and try things and be willing to die. I had another Fabris session with Donovan. We talked about how when the guard is extended - with a straight arm, all up in their face - you can't let anyone get anything on your blade, because there's nothing you can do. Luckily, a very small movement at that distance will generally be all you need. This moved to remembering that when you make that small movement, your should capitalize on it. And that that small movement is different from faffing around with relatively pointless motions, which I tend to do no matter what guard I'm using.
I continued working on trying to change my guard to match what my opponent is giving me. I think it went better, but that will be an ongoing process.

Now to not hurt myself or get sick before K&Q this weekend.