Songs of the Stone

Saturday morning Letia and I loaded up the War Wagon and headed west.  Sacred Stone was hosting an event an hour away, and it seemed a reasonable drive to get some killing in.  Also, it seemed as good a time as any to kick off the Spring 2011 Event Torrent (14 events before June, including one war.  Somebody make sure to flip me over in late March so the other side of me gets toasty, too).  It was pointed out to me recently that I may have, um, only fought in one tournament in the last six months of last year, so maybe this is just over-compensating.  Who knows.

It was cold

Balls cold.  It did not get above 40.  Probably didn’t get above 36.  I was in my longjohns, but missed having my glove liners (made of silk and awesome).  As a winter kit goes it wasn’t too shabby, actually, and should hold up pretty well for Ymir.  ‘course, this is what we train for on dark nights in the middle of winter when the grass is rimed with ice.  “It snows at Ymir” is the mantra that carries us to practice when the weatherman waves about his dire threats.  But silk glove liners and silk sock liners sure do help when training doesn’t quite cut it.

Tournament 1

The first tourney of the day was a single-elim, 3-pass tourney.  First pass single sword, second pass sword and offhand, third pass goofy-handed.  Single is, pretty much, my best form.  I’ll take single on single any day and expect the win (though I won’t take single against Sword And, most of the time, because my skill with single doesn’t overcome the advantage of having an offhand device).  And it held up; the first passes I won.  The second passes not so much, and it came down to the third, off-hand passes in just about all of my fights.  I’m moderately annoyed, but I’ll blame it on my rusty case game, and then go knock the rust off of it.  After the first few rounds I switched to fighting single sword even in the second pass, though that didn’t produce much improvement in the results.  Luckily, my left-hand managed to save my ass well enough that it pulled me through to the big W.  I’m also moderately annoyed with my finals fight: I went through way too many double kills with my finals opponent for the second pass, before he scored a kill and I had to pick up the third pass win.  My brain wasn’t in quite the right mode for the tourney, but comparing my performance in it, with sub-optimal mindset, to my performance at last Ymir, with sub-optimal mindset, I think my base level has improved pretty substantially.  Now, to just be able to dig that mindset out.   More on that later.

Blacksword Tourney

The first of the Blacksword series of tourneys occurred at the event, too.  This one was run by Raph, and provided a chance to sort out a few bugs before I have to pull that duty this coming Saturday.  The idea is that these are training for champions fights: single elim, single pass, best form.  Here, again, there was a lag in getting my brain up to speed, and it lasted into the finals.  It was a three-way final, and I won against the first opponent, but lost to my second.  He’d lost, though, so we went another round.

Jaeger described what happened next as “It looked like you were tired of the tournament and wanted it to be over.”  I think I more-or-less one-shotted both opponents with as little movement as possible.  And, you know, if I can manage that in every round of a tournament, I’d be realllllly happy.

I watched the end of the Jets-Patriots game a week ago, and saw the Patriots march down the field and into the end zone in less than a minute.  Too bad they were down by two touchdowns.  But Girard and I observed to each other that, “You know, if they’d played like it was the last two minutes of the game for the first 58, they’d have trounced the Jets.”  Which is kind of how I feel about the Blacksword Tourney: I’m glad I had it for the final round, but why didn’t I let it out before then?  Why not fight every round like it’s the last fight?  This shall be the subject of my thinking.

Yutes

After the tourneys, I worked with a 14-year old yute fencer who’d shown up.  He started off half-assing it until I called him on it (he’s a grand-student of Walter Triplette, been training for a year and a half).  His form switched immediately and he came at me like a damn wolverine.  It was great fun, and gave me a bit of hope.

Now, I do love and appreciate every youth fighter who gets out there.  But too often it’s painful to watch, with not a whole lot of good fighting to commend it, or make old fencers shake in their boots.  This guy, he scared some of the adults good and proper.  And I believe it is the duty of every youth fencer, every time they fight, to make all the adult fencers stop what they’re doing, watch long and hard, and then go take up heavy fighting.

And then, after Giovan had introduced them to the concepts of fencing, I fought with the next-next generation, his 6 and 9 year old boys.  With the plastic beeping foils.  Which are crack in sword form.

Oh, and 23.

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