Wistric’s Weekly Warfare 34: Calibration   5 comments

War of the Wings flowed so smoothly (please disregard any apparent grousing on my part which may be interpreted otherwise) that I, as RMiC, had damned little paperwork to do.  No marshal’s courts needed, no blade breaks, no inappropriate behavior, no thrown masks, just a long day of killing.

All of which makes the two comments I do have to record on my marshal’s report stand out.  Both are for calibration issues, and it makes me realize that I the Warfare is full of my mental sputa on matters of tactics, theory, and psychology, but almost devoid of safety considerations, except for the whole “there is no such thing as an unsafe tactic, only an unsafe fighter” mindset, and of course The Beer Rule.  Screwy calibration is, of course, the number one way to trespass against the Beer Rule, and as such is nearly unacceptable.  That the two fighters in question are also Windmasters only saddens me further.

Lord Tiernen has a saying, and I’ve found it to be true: Melee is where all your bad habits come out.

Any flaw in your reactive form gets exacerbated by melee into a total loss of control.  You’re wired, overstimulated, and exhausted, restraint goes right out the window.  The woods, with more stimulus than other field and a larger are requiring more exertion, are just about the worst magnifier of all bad habits.

I may be able to throw a pretty, pretty shot on the tourney field, but all too often in the woods I end up looking like an octopus in a blender on a merry-go-round.  And if a Ninja-ass SOB like me loses a step in the Woods, then surely everybody else must have the same problem.  Right?

How to kill gently, part 1

It’s worth starting from a review of how to maintain good calibration in one-on-one fighting.

Measure. The closer the range from which you deliver your attack, the more likely you are to hit hard.  The body contortions required to thrust in close range  mean more motion comes from the hips and shoulders, creating more of a punch, than a lunge at range would (where the arm has finished extending before the touch lands).  Launching your default full-range lunge from anything less than full-range will also mean that your body is carrying too much momentum when you arrive.

Control of Line. Even though you may be able to control your measure, your opponents may get it into their fool heads to lunge when you do.  There’s nothing you can do to stop them from lunging, but you can discourage them by shutting down their line of attack.  And, hey, that’s good strategy anyway.

Body Mechanics.  The shot generation mentioned under Measure, using too much of the hips and shoulder, is a big part of the body mechanics involved in landing a controlled shot.  The rest is in maintaining relaxation even in the midst of action.  When joints lock or muscles tense, the body’s springiness vanishes and you turn into a steel rod.

Having learned all this stuff, we can then go about battling in the middle of the Pennsic woods with no risk of striking eachother hard, right?  Well, no.
Because while measure, line, and body mechanics will get you there, the woods fuck up judgment, which undoes all of your mastery of other principles.

How to kill gently, part 2

Exercise – Fatigue and adrenaline shut down the brain’s inhibition and judgment faster than anything legal, except a fifth of Jack.  And we’re taking that fight or flight response, skewing it towards the “fight” end so that we think we’re invincible, and then exercising our perceived invincibility with arms and legs that are soft and twitching.  So the more endurance your body has, and the more experience your brain has coping with adrenaline and endorphin floods, the better able you’ll be to keep control.

Practice – The more you experience a target-rich environment changing at high speed, the more your brain gets used to the high stimulus environment.  The first time a fighter goes into a melee they either end up bouncing from excitement or looking slightly shell-shocked, both are standard responses to having more asses to kick than you’ve got feet (lock up or over-compensate).  Of the two fencers in question, one is “feral”, hasn’t made a practice in a year, and the other hasn’t made an official practice in a few months, or been able to practice melee.  I wonder if we can ban fighters from WoW who’ve never practiced melee.  Probably too extreme, but…

Slow down – In the middle of all that giddiness and exhaustion, our over-compensation often takes the form of charging right into battle without much forethought.  Pausing short of the line to review the situation, catch your breath, and pay a little more attention to the range from your unit to the opponent.

I’ve already talked to the fighter who actually shows up to practice, but man I hate doing that sort of thing.  On the other hand, I do want the Kappellenfechters to get beer.  And if the feral ever shows up, I may actually have to talk to him about it.  Or let the Baby Freescholar do it.

Posted October 16, 2010 by wistric in Wistric's Weekly Warfare

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