Journal, 6/20/2011   2 comments

What does Wistric do when he’s not posting on His Warfare?  Well, apparently, he forgets a lot of shit, like the whole past two weeks.  This started out as a summary of one week of fighting, until I realized I was conflating 14 days, and that I’d forgotten about an entire baronial practice.  Oops.

So, let’s start two weeks back, when there were…

Sunday Driveway Drills

Which I’m sure were fascinating, but I can’t really remember them.  Given two weeks of time, my memory’s about as good as it is when I’m ten shots into the night.  I think I taught yoga to everybody to work on their flexibility.  I believe I put Rory and Jason against each other, each working on a personal skill to improve, in such a way that it actually was complementary.  And I showed Rachel the “dancing drill” to help her get past the focus on each individual step and instead think more in terms of moving through space.  That went so well that I pulled it out at practice, too, and made the four strip fencer lads (who it takes a whole lot of my effort not to call the Stripper Boys, or just the Gigolos.  Hmmmmm) work on it to remind them that it is not all forward and back.  How’s the dancing drill work?  Start with your palms touching.  Agente takes three steps in any direction, Patiente maintains hand contact.  Then switch roles.  Then switch to just the edges of the hands touching.  Then switch to no hands touching, cuing entirely off of body movement.

Thursday practice

I can’t remember it at all.  I think there was something about Rory running around in a melee with my polearm.  Yeesh.

Was there an event that weekend which was more memorable?

I know what you’re probably thinking, or would be thinking if you cared, or maybe not: Where is the Drums of War post? Did you not go to this event? Was there not melee training? Did you not, as is your way, get some melee training and then cogitate pontification on the matter?

Well, yes, yes, and slightly yes but mostly no. Yep, I went to the event. Yes, there was melee training. But I was only active for the last 30 minutes of it. Sir Axel, the only Youth Armored Combat marshal in the South, has a scheme underway to get me YAC-marshallated, too (based on the logic, I think, that “I’m a Youth Rapier Combat marshal, it’s only one word different”). I am all for this, because it gets more young people fighting and learning the blood lust, and because there is youth melee. But it meant that the vast majority of my day at Drums of War was spent watching and working with yutes (really, can anybody conscious in the 90’s not hear Joe Pesci’s voice when saying “Youth”?).  I did join in to work limited front battles, and aggressively annihilating killing cups, but that was about it, and then the sky burst open and I hied homeward.  Luckily, the next day was bright and sunny, so I could have my

Baronial Practice

Wherein I was sure I would train the armored fighters of Windmasters to take up the rapier and dominate the enemies of His Excellency on both fields.  That didn’t work out so much.  Only His Excellency and one other armored fighter showed up, and they fight each other all the time, so His Excellency hung out on the fencing field, where we had 9 other fencers.  I may have given some shit to His Excellency about how rattan fighters were a small minority that’s just pissing on the Dream that is the SCA, for which I do apologize.  But… really, don’t armored fighters love to fight, too?

Anyway, we ran door-breaking, with our awesome numbers.  And then ran “limited front” initiative drills.  Not so limited as to encourage a killing cup, but limited enough that no maneuvers were available, just the direct assault against an enemy line and, when any advantage was gained, the exploitation of that advantage.  That worked out fairly well, too, so that the fighters who got one-man up on the enemy generally were taking the day.  Sadly, there was another four days to wait to fight, unless, say, there was a

Demo on Monday

I like demos, especially for students of a certain inquisitive age who share my ebullient joy at the prospect of injuring people.  On Monday, Letia, Jason, Tessa, and I dropped in on the King Arthur Summer Camp at a nearby school, where pre-teens were learning all about King Arthur and the medieval era, so we had Renaissance fighters for them (no heavy fighters were available, oh well).  This short-coming led me to some thinking: What would be a good, educational framework to use to link “and now we fight” together.  So I started with MS I.33, passed around the book with the pretty pictures, and the Pretty Stick and buckler.  I talked about the reasons people needed swords: self-defense and warfare.  Talking about self-defense, I mentioned Judicial Duels, but not yet having my dueling shield made (demos next year are going to be SOOOOO awesome) instead set about demonstrating the judicial duel between a man and a woman, with Letia serving admirably as the female combatant while I sat on the ground.  The kids love seeing an adult male get clobbered, let me tell you.

Next we talked about judicial duels and warfare with poleaxes, and declined to demonstrate that being not-in-armor.

Then we talked about honor duels, and fought for a good while, and the kids seemed to enjoy that.

Tessa came out with her armor (she fights heavy, isn’t that awesome?) and we passed it around, and demonstrated the weapons against my shield (which Jason managed to, with a spear, knock in to my temple).  So then it was more show-and-tell.  Their teacher I think had a little moment of panic when I said “Who wants to hold a sword?”

Much fun was had by all, or at least by everyone under a mental age of 18.


Was heavy practice, with 3 crossovers, Chow, Girard, and me.  Chow, at my request, “reminded me of my polearm” quite thoroughly, and between that and having breathed in half of a goddamn vaporized forest I was pretty well done.  But I got to work with Rory, Jason, and Gawin a little bit, just enough to remember “Oh right, Chow’s got this one covered”.  Having brought 3-4 spears to the army, I will be just fine fighting polearm at war and not feel guilty at all for being so nearly useless.


The day of days, what all the rest of the week leads up to, and then, you know, continues on past on its way to whatever event is Saturday.  Still, 20 fencers (3 of them youths) at practice made my little heart all warm and toasty.  So toasty, you could make s’mores in the cockle-proximal region of my torso.  But what to do with such a horde?

Well, massive quantities of Peter Pans and the other hell drills, first, because a small band of fencers doing ridiculous things “to improve their foot speed” is awesome, and a large band of fencers doing ridiculous things is just fucking spectacular.

After that, we did the Push Hands drill: Fencers face each other, feet shoulder width apart, toes almost touching, and hold their hands at shoulder level.  Then they try to push the other one over by only pressing on hands.  Whoever’s feet move first loses.  It’s one of those nifty little drills that works stuff while looking like a game.

And was I yet full of joy at having fencers drilling together?  No!  So I sent out pairs of fencers to do the pressure-no pressure drill, and at one point got to see about 16 fencers, masked and drilling.  If they’d been in karate gis and throwing punches, it would have been that scene in Fist of the Dragon (or whatever it is).  Toasty toasty.

Then I unleashed them to fight, because they had been good little lads.  I worked with the youths a little, worked with some of our newer fighters, and was ready for melee.

Command, Communication, and Readiness

The first drills we ran were to work on a few necessary skills: Listening to orders and obeying orders promptly.  I named commanders, but banned any discussion of plans prior to lay-on, and fighters were only allowed to do what they were ordered to do (later revised until “After the first rally is called”, which was later revised to “Er, if the commander dies, anybody can call rally”).  I then handed out specific orders to the different commanders: “Advance, then run let” and “Run left when they call run left”; “Advance then run right” and “When they call run right, you charge”; and so on.  The reasoning is that as fighters, you won’t have previously discussed your plan when your resurrecting unit engages an enemy line, and you need to actually be able to respond to extemporaneous orders.


Posted June 28, 2011 by wistric in Journal

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