SCA:: Month end 2/28

I’m 11 days behind the month’s end recap.  But it feels like it boils down to this::  Everything is awful.  Change is hard.  Growth is slow. Progress is hard to see.

In actuality::

  • Everything is changing.
  • We’ve started over from the beginning.
  • Patience is a virtue.
  • It’s only been 8 weeks.
  • It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

We are going to try a new tactic, dance not fight. I used to dance, a very, very long time ago… Paso Doble, Tango, Cha Cha, and Waltz  Let’s see if my body remembers. At least my footwork is solid.

SCA:: Practice report 2/26

Practice was frustrating and disappointing. It’s only been two months. I have new weapons, new equipment, new coaching, and a new form. Two months. It feels like longer. I feel like I should be much further along.

There are seemingly simple concepts that I should be getting and was not.
Slipping back into bad habits because I was tired and it was easier.
Lack of progression forward in skill.
Failing to recognize that sometimes putting down the sword is really the best option.

Having it pointed out that I was fighting with bad habits.
Lazy fighting and not challenging myself to push further.
Not being as vigilant in working through the problem techniques at home.
My lack of patience and kindness with myself.

Small win- because sometimes that is all that rescues a practice from being The Worst Ever ™. Balance and movement were good. I’m getting behind the sword more. And I almost have the right level of coaching for form and inner space development.

SCA:: Practice report 2/19

Concussion from the weekend, kept me from mask time.  But I was able to get good working time in at practice. Changed more stance and balance points with longsword. Got a much needed reminder that I’ve only been working with the Maestro for a month and a half.  And that patience still is a thing I need to learn.

Take home practice for the week, working on extending with the arms, and relaxing the shoulders. And long/short cuts.

HEMA:: SoCal Swordfight – Corners

This weekend was SoCal Swordfight. It was my first HEMA competition event. I was suppose to hit a different event in Maryland, but couldn’t get work clearance for two long distance vacations in 2 weeks.I fought well. I learned all the things. Met all the people. Have a laundry list of equipment things I have to figure out. And all the homework already. They gave me sticks and let me judge. I finally got to wear MKDF AND Tattershall colors on a field. I learned about corners and what I need vs being a good one for someone else.

We don’t really have corners in the SCA.  We have Dons and MoDs, but they are often fighting at the same time we are, and usually supporting their own students. In HEMA, the corner is the person you have with you as you fight.  They are an observer, cheerleader, coach, or some combination there of.  They are there to support you, through each of your matches. Everyone who fights needs different things. So identifying what you (as a fighter) need for a corner is important.

The corner literally has your back.

As this was my first HEMA competition, I’ve never had a corner, so I had no idea what my brain needed. Did I need coaching? Pompoms? Moral support? Silent observer? I quickly learned what I needed and what was going to be noise.

Turns out the best combination for me is the corner to act from a place of compassion/love, in a position of strength, and with authority to effect change in technique/headspace. Someone that can say “stop fucking doing [x], start doing [y]”,  “you are in your own way… stop it”, and “you know what you need to do… do it.” coupled with physical touch to re-ground, kept my mental space clear.  Between matches, going over the things that need to be corrected, was also super helpful. And having a corner where I could say “I need more [x] and less [y] right now” or “[a] isn’t working for me, can you try [b] for the next bout”,  was invaluable. This allowed my mental space to stay in the void.

I also learned my value as someone’s corner. “What do you need from me in this match?” I am a good corner for some people, and not others.  It’s not personal, it’s just they need different things. Some people don’t need anyone to do anything except stand there and be at their back. I think this adaptability on the part of everyone on the Tattershall fight team is what made the event super special.  We all rotated through the role based upon what the fighters needed. We could trust each other with what we needed. We looked out for our team mates. And really, at the end of the day, we all just want people to fight their best.

I was proud to be part of the TSD fight team. I was surrounded by like minded sword people. I vibrated all weekend like a caffeinated kitten on catnip in a yarn factory. And it was super great.

I still have a lot of other mental things to unpack, but I wanted to start with the Corner. 🙂

SCA:: Practice report 2/12

I was determined to fight as many people as I could in 2 hours. I think I fought almost everyone at the practice, and 6 different types of fights.  It has been a nice mix of rapier and C&T.  Since practice isn’t for winning, I was able to try out all the new things I had been learning over the last 1.5 months. I’ve started working with a longer blade in preparation for my new sword.  I’m slowly getting used to the added weight and blade mechanics.  And I know I will have to adjust everything again once I have the new blade. I’m making good mistakes in an environment where it doesn’t cost me anything to learn to fix (ie tournament). I’m finding I can slide up/down the skill scale to help be a better partner to people who are also working on things.

I’ve been working on getting ready for SoCal Swordfight by trying to push the skill bar with more complex and harder opponents. It has been educational. I’m starting to see the changes in guard, stance, balance and follow through appear in the fight.  I’m cheating the cuts less, but I still lack fluidity when moving through attacks.  Lots of strides made in how I’m mentally processing the fight.  More fighting in the void space.  Less time thinking about where things need to go.

I won the baronial challenge fight in a best of 5 C&T longsword fight. And I now get to defend the Knight against challengers. It will be good practice at being a well rounded fighter as the challenger sets the stakes.

Small win:: my stamina is better than it was 6 weeks ago.  I can fight longer and chase people down.

I still have a very long way to go

HEMA:: practice report- 2/7

We continue to work on Fabris. I continue to not like the stance, it’s too back weighted. The lead instructor halted the class, when we all were too tight in the drill. He had us switch up to something else to get us all refocused. It was an interesting thought experiment that seemed to loosen up the class.

This was our last real tournament practice before SoCal Swordfight next weekend. Im starting to get the hang of wearing my HEMA armor.  It’s still still, but not as bad as it was a few weeks ago. It was a rapier night.  Even though I am not fighting rapier next week, it was good practice for continuing to fight until halt is called. It was some of my best fighting I’ve done, and also some of the worst. A little 1:1 time and I have a lot more homework to do to fix the bad habits.

I’m have to work not cheating the cuts and leading with the sword.

SCA:: practice report- 2/5 accountability

It has been raining for 5 days straight, so practice was iffy to begin with. I set a reminder to bring vambraces as I am still blocking longsword shots with my arms.  I made it to practice after work, to discover I did not bring the rest of my gear (gorget, gloves, mask, rapiers… those were in the other bag). Grumpily, I headed home.

So that the evening wasn’t a complete waste, I settled for an hour long drill session. And pushed myself harder than I have in a very long time. I worked on uncomfortable sword strikes and complex footwork patterns. I turned up the speed until I became inaccurate in technique and then dialed down to quick, but controlled.

I feel much more comfortable with krumphau, sturzhau, and fontale. I am working on my elbow not speaking. My wrist cuts are getting smoother and smaller. I am pushing more and more into being uncomfortable.

Working with a mirror allows me to see when I am getting sloppy or allowing the technique to slip.  I can see when I cheat the cuts.  I can stop mid stroke and start the cut again from the top, making micro adjustments as I go. I am working on fluidity of movement and footwork. Other aspects of the inner space are coming together as well. I may not have practiced against people, but I feel like there was progress in the forward direction.

Accountability = missed practice, drilled effectively and with purpose, and practice reported on both aspects. Also completed a reading assignment and subsequent report (blarg). Next time, I’ll double check equipment before heading out for the day.