Monday, December 14, 2015

Bhakail Yule - 12/12/15 (Provosting - is that even a word?)

So Saturday was Bhakail Yule. It was a day I was very much looking forward to for many reasons.  A time to hang with friends, a chance to see my friend reading stories to the children as king, some great people were to be given writs for peerages, and...

I was to become a provost to Master Jean Xavier Boullier.

I have known Jean Xavier for many years and have considered him friend.  We served on Brenwen's guard for her second reign, he as captain.  When he was forced to vacate the position, due to his elevation to the Pelican, he suggested me as his replacement.    He is the only person to hit me right on the plate in my ankle while fencing.  He is my favorite drinking buddy for Dragon*con.  He is the kind of person I have looked up to and tried to emulate, always gracious, kind, thoughtful.

When the MOD was established, I knew I had a new goal.  I'm not sure if I will ever get there, but it is something I have been working towards, even before it was a possibility.  It took a lot of thinking for me to decide to become a provost.  I was already an OGR, well established in the rapier community.  Was this something I needed or even wanted?

When I thought about the idea of becoming a provost to a MOD, I had a few people I considered asking.  Of all the Eastern MODs, I consider many close friends.  But when I thought about it, I thought that pairing myself with Jean Xavier would be a great match.  With that thought, I asked him if he would consider taking me on at the Roses Tourney back in September.  He readily agreed and I am very thankful.

When I squired to Sir Mitchel, I was asked to give an oath of fealty. I had never been asked to give an oath like that so I was a little on the spot trying to come up with words on the fly.  It might not have been pretty.  When I became Emeline's cadet, we didn't exchange oath or have a big ceremony.  We gathered friends about and she put a scarf on me.

When it came time to think of what to do in this  case, I started doing some research.  I figured an apprenticeship contract would be a good starting point.  The document I found was a little out of period, but started adapting it to work for this situation.  I asked Alys for editing help, which she gladly supplied.  I sent the words to Jean Xavier and he liked them.

I was coming down to the deadline and wanted a document to present at Yule, so it could be signed by all parties.  Again, Alys to the rescue.  So with that said, here is the contract:

Contract of Indenture
This indenture made the 12th day of December in  the  50th year of the Society in the presence of Brennan II by grace of God King of the East, and Caoilfhionn the Queen, sovereigns of all the lands from the Great Eastern Ocean to the borders of  Ã†thelmearc, Atlantia, and Ealdormere, defenders of the truth.
Witness herein that Owynn Greenwood, Baron of the Eastern Court, does  hereby covenant, accord and contract with Master Jean Xavier Boullier to serve him as provost from the date of these presents until the said Owynn shall accomplish his full understanding of all matters that the  said Jean Xavier shall require, during all which term the said Owynn covenants, agrees and contracts to serve the said Jean Xavier faithfully in all lawful business according to his power, wit and ability; in all things the said Owynn shall demean and behave himself honestly, orderly and obediently towards his said master during the said term. 
And the said Jean Xaxier for himself, his executors and administrators, doth covenant, agree and contract by these presents to train, educate and inform the said Owynn in all matters concerning the arts of the rapier and defense.  And the said Jean Xavier shall and will, during all the term aforesaid, find, provide and allow unto the said Owynn meet, competent and sufficient meat, drink and apparel, lodging, washing, and all  other  things necessary and fit for a provost.  And the  said Jean Xavier also shall and will provide that the said Owynn shall not be in any any way a burden to the faith or fame of the Kingdom. 
At the end of the term aforesaid, the said Jean Xavier agrees and confirms that he shall and will make, provide, allow and deliver unto the said Owynn apparel of all sorts, good and new, that is to say a good new suit for the holy days and another for working days. 
In witness whereof the parties abovenamed have put their ensigns manual to  these presents upon the day and year  written above.
We whose name are  subscribed below, Administrators of the peace of the Kingdom, do consent  to the contracting of Owynn Greenwood as Provost according to the intent and meaning of this Indenture.
So a HUGE thank you to Alys for the editing and calligraphy.  Also a big thank you to everyone who stood there to witness the occasion.  It meant a lot to me.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Practice Report - 12/8/15

So this week at practice, I was not there.  I've been feeling under the weather since Sunday.  Today is Friday, and I'm feeling a lot better.  I will be at Bhakail Yule tomorrow, where I will become a provost to Master Jean Xavier Boullier.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Foot / Ankle Issues

For the past two weeks or so, I've been having some pain in my right foot.  Not sure what I did to aggravate it, but its frustrating.  Its along the outside of the foot as indicated in the picture.  I found that I'm landing on that area when walking or pushing off it when walking instead of across the entire front of the foot. Part of it likely stems from my the injury to the joint, however I struggled and worked hard in physical therapy after the  injury/surgery so I would walk without a noticeable limp.  In trying to figure out the issue, I've noticed that my foot is turning out as its normal position.  I'm going to have to stay more conscious of what is happening when I walk.  I may need to get new shoes.  I'll need to examine the treads to see if it is wearing unevenly.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Practice Report - 12/1/15

This week I spent a lot more time teaching than actually fighting.  Orlando asked me to run drills this week, and rather than just doing footwork drills, I ran a drill to help work on opposition and disengages.  We had three people who are newer to fencing in the SCA, Jonathan who  has been at it for about a year, Miles who just started, and Tim who started just prior to Pennsic but has a background in modern epee and saber.  I realized quickly that Miles didn't know the basic terminology, so in order to help build him up and as a refresher for  everyone, we worked on wards and building a common language.  For me, this is based on modern french foil.  This is what I was taught, and is understood by many, so it gives us a basis for understanding and instruction.

In observing Tim over the past few months, he has a lot of energy, but not a lot of blade work.  His parries are all parry by distance, retreating out of the way, but not availing himself of the opportunity to attack or counter attack.  We discussed this, and he commented to me that many a coach tried to break him of the habit, but it worked for him on the strip, so they just let him continue as it would win matches.

We had a bit of a discussion on what he wanted out of this game and the SCA, and what he was willing to do.  He could be a good fencer by just continuing with his instincts, but he wants to be better than that, so thus began the process of introducing new skills.  His parries were weak and there was never a riposte coming from him, so we started with defense.  In order to allow him to concentrate on his bladework and not retreat out, I placed his rear foot/leg against a wall.  We then began a slow drill of parry, followed by a riposte.  We worked this, but he was still trying to rely on body movement  without any blade movement to get out of the way during the drill.  So  we slowed it down even more to concentrate on just the parry.

Not wanting to burn him out, we stopped so he could fence.  We discussed him concentrating on his blade work and not retreating, but its still his first instinct.  He's also sitting in more of a gunslinger stance, not covering his opponents blade or even covering a line defensively.  I could see him getting frustrated, and when that hit, all the talk about standing ground and working with the blade went out the window.  There was some good stuff in there as well.  I called a hold and showed him how and why his opponent had free access to strike at him, without him being able to do the same.  I showed him how I could sense and tell where an opponent was going if we had a little blade contact.  I did it  with my eyes closed.  Jonathan moved his blade and I followed it blind, due to feeling it through the sword.  They did a few more passes and we talked afterwards.  I think Tim is of the mindset that he needs to win his bouts, even in practice.

After that I got a little fencing in against Malcolm.  I switched back to my 37" blade and found it to  be comforting like an old pair of jeans.  At one point, I tweaked the ankle, so we did a few more passes and I called it a night.

In other news, next weekend at Yule at the Palazzo (Bhakail), I will be taking on the role of provost to Master Jean Xavier Boullier.  This was something that was discussed at the Roses Tourney, where I broached the idea with him.  It further strengthens our friendship, and I can think of no finer men to take on a project such as myself.

Friday, November 27, 2015

This week in rapier

I skipped practice this week. Between Thanksgiving prep and my ankle being sore from 100 Minutes War, it was just not feasible. Still having some major pain in the ankle. My weight is a contributing factor I'm sure, but it's never taken me this long to recover so I'm getting a little worried. I need to do something, just not sure what.

I also subscribed to Duello TV

Sunday, November 22, 2015

100 Minutes War

Sorry for any typos. I'm trying to post this from my phone.

So there was an event yesterday, 100 Minutes War. It marks the end of the outdoor fencing season here in the East.  This year the weather was cooperative. 

The day started out slowly. Bethany asked a question of me and while I wad right in my thinking, I'm not as good at saying the full answer.  I noticed Lorenzo, Donovan, and Remy having a discussion, so I pointed her at the three of them. I enjoyed listening to their sword geekery in breaking down the answer regarding the differences, subtle and gross, between stances of Gigante and Fabris. I need to get better at giving a fuller answer than just an overview as my thinking was right,  but not complete.

Onto the warlord tournament to help choose sides for the day. My first fight was with Melchior, and it wad one of the most fun passes I've had in quite a while.  I figure in a warlord tourney you want good teammates and I could not have asked for a better captain, as he beat me cleanly.  We eventually lost in an 8 on 8 to Orlando.

Then there wad the crazy cannonball melee. Seems like people enjoyed hitting me hard, including a punch with the guard to my mask (Looking at you, Monsoiur Remy) and a shot from behind into my kidneys. It was all good, though I do have a few nice bruises. I talked to the folks who made the mistakes after the fights,  not out of anger, but to use it as a teaching moment. Remy still continued to hit me hard.  Must be my mask that offends his sensibilities.

At brief court in which for new members were added to the rolls of the Silver Rapier, Yehuda was given a medallion that started with me, was passed to Engracia, and is now his.

Alesone, put out a call fire anyone willing to be a lava otter for the next scenario.  Now lava otters are an elusive creature, chaos incarnate but with a sense of fun and fair play. I jumped on the opportunity and thus the forces of chaos included myself, Caine, Nataliia, Melchior,  and Ronan.  It was some of the most fun I've ever had fencing. My queen called me the perfect lava otter for my actions. That made me smile inside. Chasing Aiden through the woods at the end like a crazed horror movie killer, telling him "my son wants me to give you a fist bump" and his reaction to that is going to be s favorite memory for a long time. We were both laughing about it.  He said I had that perfect killer stalk, which was because I was wiped and my ankle was killing me.

Then into the final tournament, the MOD/OGR challenge. I had some great passes with people, was able to provide some good feedback and instruction (I hope), and end the day on a high note.

Gearing down a leaving site down, I was very happy with the day. This morning, my legs still hurt but I am smiling. It doesn't hurt that my sin wad just giggling and being all cute.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Practice Report - 11/17

Not happy with where my fencing was last night.  I'm relying too much on tricks and not good fencing.  This makes me want to just pack it in for a while.  I know in my mind what I am doing is wrong, but I just can't break the body of the habits and make it do something different.  In part, I wonder if it is due to the new blade.  I think before next week, I am going to drop back to the 38" Darkwood blade, instead of the 45" Castillle.  I wonder if I'm using the length as a crutch to prop up bad fencing.  I have not been this unhappy with the way I have been fencing in quite some time.

The good, well interesting, from last night was Yehuda and Firebow doing some teaching on what they learned at KWAR.  We were doing some very basic things, like finding the blade, which is awkward at the moment since it is new.  It is very similar to what I was doing on Saturday with my bouts against Jean Xavier, but now there is some thought behind it.  I look forward to learning more as I need new skills to develop.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

St. Andrew's on Long Island and Practice Reports

Practice has recently felt like a chore.  Last week however, I had some great passes with Orlando which I really enjoyed.  I'm not sure why the feeling of malaise when it comes to practice, other than my life has been very busy right now, and going to practice feels more like an obligation and not like something fun.  But I do enjoy being at practice for the people and the fencing.  Its the "going to practice" that has me iffy.  I also need to get back to working on drills and building up muscle memory.

Saturday, we traveled out to Long Island for St. Andrews.  Its a small local event and most of the people who were fencing there don't travel all that much, so it was nice to see some unfamiliar faces, as well as those more familiar.  There were two tournaments, a single elimination tournament and then the novelty tourney.  I went into the first tournament over confident.  I drew Eanraig the Bonesetter as my first bout.  He's pretty good, I was stupid and I wound up dying.  So lesson learned... and its a lesson I've probably been needing for a while.   I tried to toy with my opponent, figuring that I could counter anything he threw at me.  I was wrong.  I need to fence my game and keep it tight.  That is when I am at my best.

In the second tournament, there were three people fencing at a time.  You got one or two points for picking up objects around the list and three points for killing your opponents.  I said heck with bending down, and my strategy was dispatch my opponents and then pick up any remaining objects.  At the conclusion of the tournament, I had 27 points.  My next closest opponent had a little over half my total.  For my effort, I was rewarded with a signed copy of "Honor Among Thieves" by J.M. Aucoin.

I did some pickups and a little teaching at the conclusion of the tournament.  I did some pickups with Eanraig wherein I felt better about facing him earlier.  He's strong and faster than I thought, but playing my game and maintaining proper measure, I felt more at ease.  He does like to come in hard and fast, but it left me his belly to hit as he tried to  recover from his initial attack.

I did some my quick and dirty dagger lesson with Baroness Lassar.  She picked it up right away and we signed her auth card for dagger.

Then I participated in a re-auth for a nice lady and did the dagger portion, as she had all her auths and had to go through all the forms.   I had to coax her significantly to actually make any attack with the dagger.  Even after tying her sword up completely with the dagger free, she was reticent to make an attack with it.

Finally it was a series of bouts with Jean-Xavier.  Its always a fun time fencing with him.  For some reason, I was making a lot of parries in five, with my blade over his, and my point offline, which was allowing him to complete his attack after the initial interception.  I'm not sure why I was doing this or what was going on in my head, but I was not rolling my wrist over to execute a parry four properly.  I paused what I was doing, evaluated it, still have no clue why I was doing it, but was able to correct it for the rest of our passes.

Following the fencing, I was able to witness Jean-Xavier take Lady Miriam Giant Killer as his first provost.   Then it was the long trip home.  I hate travelling through NYC.  While it was only a little over 90 minutes to get to the site, it took us an hour longer just to get to the George Washington Bridge.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Practice report -10/13/15

Last night, I decided to take my buckler to practice with me.  It was the first time I have used it in a very long time.  I had problems fencing a buckler fighter in the first round of the 16 at K&Q.  I figure the best way to learn how to defeat a weapon form is to study its use from the other side.

My buckler is a wavy buckler in the style of Marozzo.  I made it out of leather a few years ago.   It was the first leather tooling project I ever undertook.  After last night, I need to rework the handle on the buckler as it is way too tight to the back of the shield.

I fenced Garrick with it while he took cloak.  It was some interesting exchanges, and it forced me out of my comfort zone of staying linear.  It was a fun set of passes.  I took one that left a very interesting bruise from the chain shirt, up my arm from the bicep to shoulder.

I then did some passes with Ciaren, again working with buckler.  My left hand cramped up bad, from the handle being so tight.  I switched to dagger, but the hand was pretty much done for the night.  I did some passes with Jonathon, but the pain in my left  hand was intense. Not the practice I would have liked after this weekend, but I'll take it.

I need to figure  out a way to stand the handle a bit further off my buckler.   I'm thinking I'll but a wood block that will go between the handle and the back of the shield.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


So I had a pretty good day at K&Q.  I wish I could take back one fight. My only losses on the day were to Donovan and Thomas, who were both in the finals. Thomas hit me with a beautiful shot just inside the shoulder. I doubled with Donovan in the first pass. I had a great shot to his head but I let my defenses lapse and he wad cutting my belly. In the second pass he got me clean, and this I was out.

I finished top 6 or 8. Not really sure with double elimination brackets. The math is messy.

I was allowing some slop to get thru my defenses, and while it didn't kill me, it means I was not as clean in my defense as I would have liked. More things to work on. Need to also get in better shape, but that is a work in progress.

I was very glad to see some awesome people recognized for their hard work and their skill with a blade.

I am very tired and I have thoughts but I'm not awake enough at this point to write them coherently. We left Massachusetts at 6 this morning and just got finished with Bat Mitzvah.  Time for a nap.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Practice Report - 10/6

The weather was much better this week for practice.  I didn't feel sluggish due to heat or humidity.  This week I was working with a new blade.  I bought a blade from Castille Armory and wanted to break it in and see how it  moved, so I could make a determination if I would be using that blade or another one at K&Q this weekend.

My first fight was with Orlando, and we went out single.  I was not used to the change with the blade, so I was working on just figuring out the differences.  The balance point was a little further out than I was used to.  After the fight, I swapped out the pommel for one with a little more weight.

My next passes were with Garrick.  He is back to fencing with full contact.  I still want to be extra cautious with him though.  I had one shot that was aimed for his head.  I broke my wrist and changed the angle of the shot, going passe with the point, rather than hitting him in the mask.  It was one of those shots that I felt, had I landed it, the blade would not have bent, so I'd prefer not to hurt him (or anyone else) if I can prevent it.  That little bit of extra weight in the pommel helped out.  The balance point is about 1" in front of the guard now.

After Garrick, I picked a fight with Bethany.  I told her I wanted to work on my tournament game.  She was up for it and I brought my A game out with rapier and dagger.  After Bethany, I fought Ciaren.  Again, I was working my way up for this weekend.  Then is was some passes with Malcolm.  I wrapped it up a little early so we could get Evan home and in bed.

Overall, this is the least confident I have been in a long time heading into K&Q.  I'm not sure where my game is overall in comparison to years past.  The good thing is I 'm having fun, something I was not about a year ago.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Practice report - 9/29

So I think I needed to upgrade to gills last night.  I thought fall temperatures were supposed to be cooler.  It was actually warmer when we left practice last night than it was getting there.  Add to that very high humidity, and well, it felt like swimming.

Anyhow, practice was actually pretty good.  I warmed up fencing with Bethany.  I noticed her disengages were really large and I was not riposting with my parries at all, so I asked her if she'd mind doing some drills.  So we worked a simple drill where I would give her blade opposition, she would disengage and attack on the open line, I would parry and riposte.  We did this with both the inside and outside high line, both hands, and then we switched it up.  It felt good to do drills again.  If she or others are willing, I would like to do more of this.

Then I went out and fenced my squire brother Jonathan.  I went out with goofy case, my curved blade in my right and my 30" rapier in my left.  I had used this combo against Meryke at River Wars and I enjoyed it. It seems to work decently for me.  I recall about 10 years ago, I fought nothing but case, but since then its likely become one of my weaker forms.

After Jonathan, I fought +Raymond Edwards, who tagged me in the belly with his new blade.  It shows me I need to lose weight, as it caught my belly and pinched it.  Ouch!  We traded blades, and I really like his new setup.

The little man, and I, and Jennie were all getting over heated in the humid air, so I decided to pack it up early.  I didn't get as much fencing in as I would have liked, but I'm feeling a little better about where I am currently than I was last week.  Need to do more drills!

Monday, September 28, 2015

River Wars

River Wars was on Saturday.  Great fencing weather, overcast, cool but not cold, breezy, a little humid, looked like it would rain a few times, but splendid fencing weather overall.  There was very little traffic, and all the worry about the Pope being in Philly was for naught.

The format was interesting, in that it was the MODs/OGRs each held a spot on the field and the non-OGRs came to us.  It was three passes, not best 2-3.  We were asked to give feedback after the bouts with our opponents.  I really enjoyed the format overall.  I think I fenced 14 people as part of the tournament.  I know exactly how many fights I lost, but to me, it wasn't about wins and losses, and that in many ways is unusual.  I had a blast fencing, and it allowed me to give some concrete feedback during my bouts.

I got to do some pickups after the tournament.  I really enjoyed fencing +Caitrin M even though we were both gassed and she was hurting a bit.  I don't get to fence her enough.  I did some pickups and authorizations with two handed swords in preparation for the Oct 1 rule changes.  I authorized +Patrick Panico and +Michael Fina, thus increasing the available pool of marshals who can authorize people.

During court, I was very pleased to help induct +ivan nosenchuk into the Order of the Silver Crescent by giving him the medallion I have worn for the past 2+ years.

Post event, it was dinner at The House of Brews with +Thomas Zadlo+Cathy Griswold , +Timothy Walsh, and +Caitrin M.  This is now a tradition having gone there three years in a row.  The food was good, the company was better.  The beer selection this year was not as impressive.  The drive home was ok, but when we got home, I showered and crashed hard.

My favorite part of the day though was watching Evan playing with daggers and the joy he had on his face while doing so.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Practice Reports- Rose's Tourney

Its been almost a year since my last entry in this blog.  I'm not sure why I stopped writing. But reading +Whitney Sternberg's posts has made me think it might be a good to start this back up.

So with no Pennsic, and a lighter event schedule this year, I've tried to be consistent with going to the local practice.  We unfortunately lost our Thursday night site over the winter.  Thankfully, Orlando had developed an alternate site on Tuesday nights in Glen Gardener, NJ, so that has been the primary practice I am going to.  The usual people there are Orlando, Malcolm, Yehuda, Mike, and some new blood.

The first week of September, I fenced at practice.  Yehuda was hitting me left and right.  No matter what I was doing, something was off.  This had bugged me as I was trying to break down what was happening and coming up with no solutions.  Then it was two weeks without practice, as we were at Disney World.  We got back late on Wednesday, and I was not feeling great so I was not  sure if I would be attending the Roses Tourney.  I felt better on Friday so we made the trip.  It has been a while since I did such a long day trip and fenced at an event.

I had the honor and pleasure to fence for Duchess Aikaterine.   I was on a team with Caine, Yehuda, Theron, and Agapios.  I started the day out fencing well, but as the hours wore on, and more time passed, I was losing steam.  In a late bout against Sorcha, I tweaked my knee.  I tried to do a body void, but my upper body didn't move.  My lower leg shifted a bit.  I walked it off and was able to continue.  I only had a few bouts left in the day.  I had a great bout against +Whitney Sternberg, and I look forward to crossing blades with her sometime soon.  I also had great bouts with Jacob, Firebow, and Jean Xavier to name a few.  Overall, I was not satisfied with  my performance but was happy to spend time among my friends.  I do realize that winning isn't everything, but I prefer to fence to the best of my ability.  When I look back on the day, and I looked at my losses, I had no clue what I was doing wrong.

So Tuesday, I was not in the mood to go to practice, but I needed to get out of the house.  So to practice I went.  I faced Jonathon, my squire brother who took up fencing about a year ago.  I was seeing the openings, but something was off.  There were way too many double kills and just bad measure of my end.  In waiting for Orlando, I picked a fight with Bethany, who is a newer fencer.  Against her, I was still coming up short, and this was after changing my blade out from my 37 to the  43" blade.  I realized while fighting  against her that I was not moving my back foot.  Everything I was doing was like a short lunge, not an advance or passing step.  This was the same problem I had prior to the vacation, without realizing it.  So after fencing her, I went back to do a couple of passes with Jonathan just to test out the hypothesis.  Things were working better for me.  My next set of bouts was against Orlando, and I felt like I was myself again.  Things were flowing in my fencing as they should.  My last set of bouts was against Firebow, and they were a fun set of passes.

This weekend is River Wars, where I am looking forward to fencing some more and challenging myself.  Not sure if I am going to keep the 43 on my sword or drop back to my normal blade.  Most likely I'll be switching it up to see what is more comfortable with K&Q right around the corner.

More to come...