Thursday, June 30, 2016

Report from SCA 50 Year Anniversary - Part 3

(Continued from 2 days ago)
The next day I spent most of the morning repairing armor, but managed to make it to a “boat battle.” This was a rollicking affair in which simulated “boats” carried fighters to an “island” on which “booty” was stashed. The different teams of fighters fought to collect the booty and bring them back to their “docks.”

This was absurd, ridiculous, and fun. My team actually won one of the engagements, collecting the most valuable booty. Here is a video of some of the action.

After that I attended a lecture on “The Psychology of Fighting” by Duke Talymar. IT was an interesting summation of the progression of a SCA fighter's career and options, how to break through plateaus, and guidance for fighters. After the lecture, the floor was opened to questions. There were some interesting points brought up. Among the most discussion-inspiring ones were how to deal with a student who refuses to learn, and what to do when someone has lost the thrill he used to have and how to help him get it back.

I found this to be an interesting topic. I have had periods in which I felt myself lacking the thrill for the SCA that I used to have. AS a result I wound up gravitating to other things like Brazilian jiu jitsu, pro wrestling, filmmaking, and the Battle of the Nations - Armored Combat League world. I contributed that I have felt the thrill fade, that I didn't fit in to my local fighting group quite as well as I used to. In my case, what I did was simply focus on what it was that I liked about it that was still there. In my case, it was the fact that even though I hate almost everything involved with fighting (pack the gear, carrying it, putting it on, the exertion, carrying the stuff home, being sore and tired), I do it because I love being able to say that I did it.

After a bunch more comments and discussion, one other thing came to my mind, so I shared it: The SCA is a hobby. If you think you will get more satisfaction by saving the whales, or getting involved in local politics, or finishing high school, or starting grad school, or spending time with the wife and kids, do it.

After all that was done, I noticed gnats or fleas flitting around me. I felt hot, sweaty, and itchy, but my armor needed fixing. I took all my armor off and fixed the three rivets that needed fixing before going back to camp for dinner. I showered all the sweat and bugs off, but it turned out it wasn;t me, there were bugs all over the place that day.

(to be continued)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

REport from SCA 50 Year Anniversary - Part 2

(Continued from yesterday's post.)

After the fighting on the first day I sat in on a class on the use of the shield by Duke Stephen. He gave some interesting advice on the various shapes and typos of SCA shields and the different ways in which they can be used.

The next day I spent most of the morning repairing my armor, but I made it to a “known world fighter practice,” at which Duke Visivald showed a couple of principles of polearm. I had replaced the thrusting tip on my polearm, and then proceeded to use it, and the principles Viz had taught, to great effect in practice.

Next came the 5-weapons tourney. At first I had not intended to fight, considering how long it had been since I had fought and that I might not have enough weapons. My lady and I were talking to a friend when {Prince Edmund of the Middle came over to my friend and asked if he would join the tourney to help balance the brackets. “You just need to be an organic pop-up target,” he said. My friend declined, but I figured that since that's pretty much what I had been the previous day, what did I have to lose?

The format of the tourney was double-elimination in which in each match the fighters would have to choose either polearm, two-sword, sword & buckler, two-handed sword, or spear for each round, and each match would be fought best three-of-five. I wound up fighting quite well. I lost the first match in three rounds straight, but won the second three-to-one. The third match was an epic that went the distance. I lost the first two rounds (sword & buckler and two-handed sword) but won the next two (poleaxe and two-sword). We then faced off with 6-foot long spears (a form with which I had never really fought before). Already the other guy was really enjoying the fights. He was a short, active fighters whose ducking had saved him from at least two kills in the sword and buckler fight, but who left enough opportunity open in defense for me to hit in the head in two-sword and in poleaxe.

With the spears, we alternated periods of cautious probing with furious thrusting and parrying. Some grappling ensued that almost resulted in short-range stabbing, but the marshal broke it up. In the end it was a shame that either of us had to lose, but he managed to get a thrust in on my face that I was not quick enough to block, and I was out of the tourney.

It is noteworthy to mention that in my polearm victories I did use the principles that Duke Visivald had taught earlier that day.

(To be continued...)

Report from SCA 50 Year Anniversary - Part 1

So...I just got back from the 50th Year Celebration of the SCA event. It was an amazing event for me, full of fighting and medieval merriment, and also a few observations about things. I will be posting them in bite-sized pieces for easier digesting.

It had been a long time since I had spent a full day in armor, so I was looking forward to the opportunity that this trip presented. There were sure to be fighters of quality from all over the known world. AS it turned out there were about – fighters who were in the fighting arena every day to take part in tourneys and pickups, with a few others who came in once or twice., so we all got to know each other a little bit over the course of the week.

I fought in 6 tournaments and scenarios: A Pas d'Arms, a polearm tourney, a “5-weapons” tourney, a greatsword tourney a “tourney of Love and Honor,” and a “boat battle.”

The pas d'arms was the first fighting I did. It was a casual affair in which fighters were invited to challenge other fighters as the kings and queens of two kingdoms watched and participated. I fought about a half-dozen fighters, 5 rounds each. Most of them were knights. I did surprisingly well, I thought, and got to meet several knights and royals on my first day. One of them was the queen of Aethelmark, who gave me a small token, a ring with a little green stone, to give to my lady.

Later that day was a polearm tourney. I fought hard, but my polearm's thrusting tip was too stiff to use safely, so I was at a disadvantage. Also, a couple of the fighters chose to use daggers as secondary weapons. This also put me at a disadvantage when I was in close. I fought 6 fighters in a round-robin, best 2-out-of-3. It seemed, for a while, that I was in the tourney strictly to make sure that everyone else get at least one victory, but I did actually win one match.

To be continued...