Monday, May 23, 2016

Southern Regional Rapier Practice

Fun, exhausting, long day. Joining us in the car were Orlando and Bereneka (Lucy)for the drive, so we had a full car. When we got there, the parking lot was already full and we had to park on the grass. This was going to be good. I got suited up and did some warm up passes with Eldritch. He snagged the tip off my long blade, so I went inside to tape it back on. I couldn't find my tape, so I just swapped the blade out for the 37. We did some more passes and then it was time to begin the days tournament for the Champions team for Pennsic.

My first fight was Orlando. Of course, the guy I drove down with. He took case of rapier to my rapier and dagger. I managed to get his right hand, then put him away after a long drawn out fight. It's not like we don't see each other every week.

Next up was Antonio. After the bout with Orlando, I swapped back to the longer blade. What most were probably expecting to be a longer fight was over quickly. I pushed on his shirt and should have followed it up with a step, but I backed off. He hit me in the under arm. I was going to call it arm, but then in the pause to think about it, it was right on the edge within the hand span of the arm pit, so I called it good. First loss.

After Antonio, I drew Declan who came at me with case. He exposed the centerline and I struck home a winning shot.

Next bout was Yehuda, another person I see regularly. He was over extending and reaching and it gave me the opportunity to strike.

Then came Eldritch. He presents such a different style but it works well for him. Fortunately for me, he paused and dropped his weight just add I was throwing for his head. It came in a little hot, and I apologized immediately.

My penultimate fight was Ciaran, yet another who I see weekly. I'm glad E was not watching as my son might have cheered against me. He was throwing things at me but without intent. I dropped my hand and aligned my blade so all he saw was my point and my guard. He paused and I took the shot right along the same angle my blade was at to his eyes. He never saw it unit the point was on his mask.

My final fight in the tournament was also my first, Orlando. He took me clean with a shot from his right hand into my left chest.

The finals was then Orlando vs Antonio. I missed the bout but it was won by Antonio. So I wound up losing to the two finalists and in 3rd place, not to bad.

I later realized it was only my second tournament since K&Q in October. The other one being at 1066.

After the tournament we did some melee drills. It was fox and hounds.  During my third go around, I was the fox and managed to lock and roll my bad ankle. I went down. It wasn't too bad but with the moisture falling from the sky, I and done.  Sorcha got me an ice pack and that helped it from swelling more. We waited around for our travel mates to be done and then headed home with a stop at a diner for food.

All in all, it wad a good day. I couldn't sleep last night add my adrenaline was still spiking. I wad riding that high all day while fencing and it lasted until somewhere around 4AM.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Enemies at the gate

Practice last night was awesome.  I felt alive, rejuvenated and wanting to fence.  There was an energy in the room that was amazing.  We had 24 people on the floor fencing last night.  Most of these were our regular attendees, but we were also visited by a lot of people.  Professor Pieter from the Midrealm and Don Po Silvertop from Aethelmearc both chose to visit our practice.  Additionally we had Alesone and Elizabeth attending.  Malcolm also released a bunch of the newer fencers out of the kiddie pool and into the big pool, so there was a lot of fencing going on.

I reinforced a lesson I gave to Perot on using a curved blade from two weeks ago, showing him the subtle differences in blade positioning.

I got suited up and then waited for my chance to cross blades with Pieter.  It was awesome fencing him, as I have not had a chance to cross blades with him in a few years.  I know I'm short, but even Garrick has to look up to Pieter.  The man has arms longer than a Brighid (a standard unit of measure).  He popped me a few times, I got him a few times.  There was some dagger work involved in close.  It was a ton of fun.

Over the rest of the evening, I fenced Jonathan, Po, and Rachel.  With Jonathan, in our last bout, he hit me with a beautiful outside shot from his right, while his body went to his left around me in a passing step.  It was a creative and amazing shot.  Fencing with Rachel, she is coming along very nicely.  Her defense is tight and she takes instruction extremely well.  Her offense is coming along, and when I leave a hole capitalizes on it.  When I change up what I am doing, she reacts appropriately to it.

Fencing Po was like fencing a mirror image of myself.  Short, pudgy, old, and Jew-ish.  We went our rapier and dagger and it was a very tight series of bouts.  It was also so much fun.  Tactical, strategic, neither of us giving the other much time or distance.  A conversation of blades.  His hand speed has improved since I last fenced him.

Overall, it was a great night.  I wish I had more passes, as I was feeling good, but the energy from last night will help sustain me until I have a sword in hand again.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


I have not posted a lot recently as I have been in a rut with fencing.  I'm facing the same people over and over again at practice, doing some teaching.  I'm still enjoying things, but needed a day to just let loose and fence.  I got that this past weekend at 1066 out in Long Island.

We drove out Friday night and stayed with friends.  It was a gray day, with rain threatening all day.  I watched an authorization bout, and made a comment to the fencer trying to authorize about his hand position while the marshals were discussing things.  I'll get back to this in a little bit.

I did some pickups to get warmed up with a nice guy named Ian from Long Island.

For the tournament and melee we started out with 6 fencers.  After getting a bite to eat, the tournament began.  I usually don't eat before fencing, but had not had anything all day to that point.  My first bout wound up being Jean Xavier.  It was best 2 out of 3, single rapier only.  I was victorious in a well fought series of passes.  I love fencing against Jean Xavier.  He is my Master, my friend, and one of the people who always makes me smile.  I then faced two gentles I have never met before, Bob Fox and the guy who tried to authorize.  I hit Mr Fox with a shot and he continued to come in and close with my point on him.  He eventually called it good.  Against the new guy, he was keeping his blade refused and was trying to jab his shots in.  I thought I had a touch on him, but he got me in the side.  Ah well.

This set us up for picking sides for the melee.  I was captain of one team, while the provisionally authorized  guy was captain for the other.  It was a 3 on 3 resurrection bridge battle / capture the flag. There was even archers with Nerf arrows to add to the fun and theme.  My side was competitive, but we could not gain the other side's flag (lanterns actually).  After being run over a few times with my point on my opponents chest, a very hard shot to the head, and a little more melee stupidity, I decided I needed a break as I was not having fun.  So I took myself out for a bit to relax.  After all, this was supposed to be fun. After the short break we resumed, but this time, my side added a fencer, so it was 4-3, but we could only have 3 people out on the field at any time.  It was a fun change to the scenario.  One member of the opposing team had to go, so we needed to give up a person to balance the sides.  I figured, why not me?  So I switched sides for the last round.  One of the archers, with her tiny nerf bow and arrows managed to shoot me 3 times during the last round.  Twice I was shot while halfway across the bridge, not even engaged.

After the melees, I wound up doing some authorizations.  I ran a bunch two-handed rapier authorizations, and we authorized four fencers in that weapons form.  I think I fenced everyone on the rapier field with a 2 hander. I also authorized a fencer for case of rapier.  At the end of the day, I was beat.  That was the most fencing I had done in a long time.

At court, I was awarded the first place prize for the tournament.  I traded it with the guy who finished in second, as Evan had made the 2nd place prize.  To me, totally worth it.  All in all a very good day of fencing.

So getting back to something I mentioned at the top, I gave unsolicited advice to someone I don't know.  I see it as my job as a duelist to improve not only myself, but also help those I fence with.  Sometimes I will notice something and just tell the person.  In this case, the guy I gave advice to, I did not know, had not even introduced myself, and here I am, trying to give him advice.  It was not done from malice, but to genuinely try to help.  I think it was taken the wrong way, and set off this person, as it seemed like anything I said to him for the remainder of the day on the field was taken poorly.  I also found out this person was a HEMA instructor, focusing on German long sword.  Fencing him with long swords was some of the most fun I had all day.

The thing is, I don't want to stop giving advice, but I need to find a better way, most especially with people I don't know.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Mudthaw & Practice Report


Well, that's pretty easy.  I missed it.  We had flight delays and by the time we returned to NJ, we were  done and just wanted to get home.  Thankfully, its an annual event, so there is always next year.

Practice Report - 4/5/16:

Got to practice a little later than expected.  E fell asleep in the car and he was a little out of sorts after getting there.  Had a long talk with a new fencer on the topic of motivation and self actualization.  No one is going to hand you anything, you have to work for it, earn it, and be proud of yourself.  Its tough sometime, especially when you feel like you are in this all alone.

I got suited up late, had some great passes with +Jonathan Bayles, a newer fencer visiting from Endless Hills, and then +Raymond Edwards.

Jonathan is in that transition stage where he is going from being raw, to becoming a fencer.  Its that plateau we all face when we start to over think things.  I am sure it will be a short plateau for him.

With Ray, it had been so long since we actually fenced one another.  He had his longer blade, and I kept my regular blade.  We both had our daggers.  It was some of the best passes I've had in a long time with any opponent.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Rapier Academy & Practice Report

EK Rapier Academy

This past weekend was the culmination of an event I have wanted to do for about 5 or 6 years.  The problem has always been in finding a suitable site that was affordable for such a specialized event in my area.  Well I finally inquired at Jennie's church on the cost and available dates.  With K&Q Rapier having been moved from the winter to fall, I felt winter was a good time.  The only available date the church had didn't conflict with any local events, though we would lose some people to Gulf Wars and Black Rose Ball (RP).  So I put in a bid with Settmour Swamp, who were very supportive.

As an autocrat, this was the easiest event I have run.  My biggest difficulty was getting people to commit to teaching at the event.  Without classes, it would just be a big rapier practice.  The things that made it easy on me were:  no court, I'd know almost all of the attendees, limited focus, and a much smaller pool of attendees.  I figured a break even of 50, which when compared to Mudthaws I've run, is less than 10%.  I was hoping to break even on the event, but knew the Barony would still support it in the future, even with a small loss.  My budget was under 10% of what my Mudthaw budgets were.

The important thing when running a schola like this is to approach people directly, asking them to teach a class.  A point was made afterwards though, that we should not be asking the teachers what they want to teach, but also asking the students what they want to learn.  Things to note for future years.

The event drew 65 paid attendees.  We were helped out by the weather gods and had a beautiful day in the middle of March. This allowed people to fence outside.  If the weather was not on our side, it would have been a little tight inside.  In  the future, if we use the same site, I will ask for the classrooms on the for use as classrooms and changing rooms and forego the rooms off the gym, except for one-on-one training.

Thanks to the positive reception, I will be looking to run this event next year.  Some of the classes people want to see for next year are:

  • How to recruit new fencers
  • Remaining period with your armor and weapons
  • Spanish rapier
  • German rapier
  • more beginner classes
  • Intermediate Italian rapier
  • Case of Rapiers
  • Long Sword in SCA Rapier
  • Rapier 101
  • Marshaling classes
If you have any interest in teaching one of the above, please let me know.  If you know someone who would be a good teacher for any of the above, please let me know who that is, and I would be happy to reach out to them.

So thank you to everyone who came out and helped in some way.

Practice Report - 3/15/16

As for practice this week.  I actually felt better about my fencing this week.  I'm still a little sloppy and need to tighten it up, but I also need to be put into the pressure of a tournament and not just fencing at practice.  This week, I warmed up with Bethany,fighting here rapier and dagger.  I fought stick against Mike (where I was trying to get the open end of my stick over his blade.  He let me get it on our last pass, after which I was laughing too hard inside to continue).  I also had some great passes with Orlando, going single.  Overall, not a bad week.

I'm going to miss most of the fencing at Mudthaw, as we are flying back from a family vacation that morning, but I do plan to be at the event.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

How Mike Bannon broke my cup at Practice (Practice report 3/8/16)

Practice this week was good.

I had some good teaching moments, working with Bethany while she  is figuring out cloak.

I had a blast fighting rapier and dagger with Garrick.  It's not his preferred form, but it is mine.  We had some great discussion on what I was doing, why it was working, tweaking his setups and movement, and then more fencing.  Due to his long arms and height, I have a little trouble when he goes into a refused stance that I normally don't have against most opponents.  But it was way cool to be able to sword-nerd with him and go through things.  Because of this and that there is an opening in the morning for a class this Saturday at the EK Rapier Academy, I am going to try and teach a "Simple Rapier and Dagger" class.

I had some great fights with Jonathan, who is really becoming a great challenge.  He absorbs things like a sponge and just has an infectious joy when fencing.  Raw technique, but great timing and understanding have him as a capable threat on the list.  I landed a little funny on my bad leg when fencing him so I called it a night.

Now to where Mike (Ciaran) Bannon broke my cup.  I had gotten an iced tea before arriving at practice, and while Mike was wrestling with his mask, trying to get it out of his bad, he knocked it off the stage.  The cup spilled most of the tea on the floor, but the fall also cracked the cheap plastic cup, but also managed to shatter the straw.  I only write this to give him a little crap, and so I can also remember in the future the night he broke my cup at practice.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Practice Report - 2/23 & 3/1

I've been remiss in posting my practice reports.  Mostly its because I have not been happy with my fencing and have been slacking for the early part of the year.  I've also been travelling a bunch this year as well, so that has not helped a lot.  When we were in Orlando, I had planned on hitting their local practice, but it is held outside and it was the only day/night of rain we had, so I kind of figured that no one would be there.

On February 23rd, practice was a lot of fun.  I had a few single bouts where I was working with some of our newer fencers.  After a bit, Orlando organized some melee.  We had 7 on 8 to start with.  Malcolm and I were in command.  I had the numbers advantage for the first bout, which we won.  Jonathan switched sides so we were outnumbered, which was OK.  We still managed to win all but one of the scenarios, even after we had another person drop out.  Rather than setting up as a line, I set us up as two rows, 3 in front and then a back line, which was able to react to what the opponents were doing.  For the most part, we had our lesser experienced fencers on the back line with me.  This worked out well for us.  The opposition was never able to flank us (even in the small space of our site).  I really enjoyed the small unit work, and it helped to reinvigorate me.

Yesterday,  was mostly good.  I had some good passes with Jonathan, Orlando, and Sir Jan.  I did some teaching.  Against Jan, well,we were both legged and we bounced our weapons off of each other and I took the edge right in the tip of  my off-hand pinkie.  Ouch.  It still hurts today.  But I did have fun.  That's the thing that had been missing for a while.

Coming very soon is the EK Rapier Academy, something I've wanted to run for a long time.  Its all coming together, and I can't wait for it to be here.