Holiday Faire, or rather, No Holiday Faire   1 comment

Despite my desires, I could not make it to Holiday Faire this year.  Quel domage, I was looking forward to rolling up there and kicking ass in at least one tournament (“Single Sword” hell yes!).  But talking with Dante just before the event (hooray technology) did remind me about how I was fighting a year ago, and how I compare today.

My birthday is usually the day where I evaluate my life (aided by brandy and a cigar), but this weekend, whether or not I make Holiday Faire, is as good a marker as any to evaluate my progress.

Last Holiday Faire was the day of the great exhausted, sick, headachey early morning drive to the event, fight like hell, win and win again, and pray for death between screaming giddy highs.

All that taken into consideration, I’m very proud of my performance.  On the other hand, it could have been better.  Much better.  There were fights in the tournament that took way too long, there were passes with provosts that I should have won.

And, frankly, the Wistric of today would have kicked the ass of the Wistric of a year ago.

But what, exactly, has changed?


One of the comments I received during the white scarf hunt at last year’s HF was that I could stand to upgrade my long rapier.  The blade I had was only 40″, in a world that’s moving towards 45″, and was whippy enough to throw off my point control and jeopardize my parries.  The balance was off, too, and it had just stopped being a weapon I enjoyed using.  I bemoaned this state of affairs for most of the past year, until Happiness arrived in all her 45″ beauty.

She’s balanced about as well as my 37″, moves quickly and smoothly, and is only slightly heavier.  Basically, I now no longer have an excuse, and any short-comings I must accept as my own.  But I was really looking forward to taking Happiness into the Single Sword tourney at Holiday Faire.  C’est la vie.


At the last HF I’d just begun studying Giganti.  I was starting to grasp the applicability of the back-weighted Italian stance, but in practice the applicability for me was pretty slim.  As with all major restructures of my fight, it made me slower and clumsier, and I knew that taking that fight to HF was in direct opposition to the goal of winning HF, and winning big.

But since HF I’ve had time to work on it.  It’s been slow and often stagnant progress, and the real breakthrough has only been in the past few months, when I’ve made the switch from treating it as an entirely new form to incorporating the principles of it into my extant form.

As a result, I can re-embrace my rapid footwork, driven off of the back leg chambered by the back-weighted stance.  It also has diversified my guards, permitting variation in body orientation that isn’t really available with a centered weight stance.  And, with Giganti’s enumeration of the elements of a good guard, I have a metric by which to assess whatever position in which I find myself.  So whereas my guard at last HF was generally weight-centered Lazy Man, these days it’s much more… diverse.  Lazy Man is still there, but so are many others, and always formed in a manner that I am still defended.


I think at last HF I had not yet had the insight into Giganti’s strategy (it happened shortly before Letia got “butt hurt”.  When was that?).  As such, I had a definition for tempo, but no concept as to how it was best applied to a fight.  This meant that many of my fights last HF had too much wasted effort and wasted opportunities.  There were too many times where I should have one-shotted an opponent instead of screwing around and exhausting myself, which came back to bite me later in the day.


It was the damnedest thing, a few months back, when Sir Christian suggested I be more aggressive.  MORE aggressive, thought I?  I, who have been the subject of bets as to whether or not I’ll balls-out charge my opponent?  But, yeah.  These days I’ve become more of a stand-off fighter, using my range advantage and quick opening move to stop an opponent’s attack as it’s forming.  I like to think that I still move in aggressively when needed, but I can also see that a strategy based on waiting for my opponent to move will not be the be all and end all (forcing them to move also needs to be a skill I develop, and for that I do need to work on my feints).

In sum, Wistric of 2010 would kick Wistric of 2009’s ass, but still has to kick his own ass quite a bit to get where he wants to be.

Posted November 23, 2010 by wistric in Musings

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