Saturday in the Salle   Leave a comment

Saturday at Way Too Damn Early, Gawin, Tassin, Antonio III, and Jana piled into the War Wagon and drove three hours down to Sir Christian’s place for a couple reasons:

1) I wanted to fight somebody, a lot of somebodies, now that my foot seems to be functional.

2) Christian recently got his hands on a few sets of the David Rawlings nylon wasters.

In addition to the War Wagonload, Christian, Raphael, Vortigern, Indy, and Maximillian showed up, which meant a room full of ass-kicking was in store.

A quick note about Jana, though: Her first practice was on Thursday.  There, she heard about this, and asked if she could go.  That’s the sort of enthusiasm that makes my heart all warm and smokey-smelling.  Her first time in mask was Saturday, as was her first fight (with, I think, Raph).  Not a bad way to start.

But, really, this blog is about me (Tassin and Gawin can post their thoughts if they want).

The weapons:

Chris had single-hand and two-hand swords, and one basket-hilt broadsword.  They don’t really vary much beyond that, except in the colors, which is one downside (I like to have a weapon appropriate to my body).  Their weight and balance are pretty close to what I expect of a period sword, and they probably weighed about half what my meat cleaver of a bastardsword weighs.  The blows they deliver are sharp, stinging blows, but don’t do a whole lot of damage.  A somewhat chewed-up edge of a sword gave me a bit of a cut on an exposed inside elbow, which would have been prevented by long sleeves.  As of Monday morning, both shoulders are a bit bruised and sore, mostly because I got nothing against Vortigern’s longsword game, and that man swings like he means to kill you.

But that’s really what’s great about these: You can swing, like the manuals show you, and you MIGHT cause a bruise without any armor.  With the meat cleaver, I usually punch my fist out toward my target to deliver my weapon into their proximity, and then let the blade drop or turn my wrist to actually deliver my cut, so it never has more power than gravity or my wrist can give it.  Any more than that, and it hurts like a mother.  So my “Underarm” I.33 guard in actual combat was holding both hands fully extended, my sword hand under my buckler for protection, sword hanging low and to the left.

With the nylon swords a properly formed I.33 guard can and MUST be used to deliver a telling blow.  Vortigern, Raph, and a few others and I all had sword and buckler fights and so much of the form suddenly made sense (though I couldn’t get Raph to throw an opening shot that I could properly fall under and deliver a nucken against.  Vortigern, though, would.  He just threw it better than I could counter).

Fighting two-hander against guys who knew what they were doing, with swords you could really use for it (not those stupid Alchem flyrods) illustrated just how little I had of it.  I need to get back with Athos and really learn some Fiore, or start pounding the books on my own.

The downside: They don’t stand up to metal well, so you can only use them against other nylon blades, and bucklers without a metal edge (which sucked, because there was a tiny little buckler, and big round heavy shields, and nothing of the size I’m used to.  I’m wondering if I can get some stretchy rubber tubing or a large-ish O-ring that I could fit around the edge of my metal buckler for fighting with the wasters).  Also, many fighters were attempting a DiGrassi-esque sword-and-dagger fight (with Coldsteel hard rubber, REALLY hard rubber, daggers) but I didn’t see anything that impressed, mostly because they were a bit confused about the difference between DiGrassi and rapier.  Next time I may pick up a dagger and give it a shot, though I’d rather see Roz rock her thing with it.  Also, her with the basket-hilted broadsword and buckler doing the Silver thing would be cool to see.

The the other downside is the gear: Since no metal armor could really be worn, we were using hockey gloves and plastic elbow and knee pads.  It’ll look like ass on the fencing field unless covered, or unless another option comes along.  On the other hand, it could get the heavy fighters working in more realistic forms.  I wonder if they’d make nylon sickles.

Is that enough of that?  Okay, then.


My fighting:

At some point I said “Hey, I also like fighting with steel, we should do that, too!” so we did.

One of my first fights was with Sir Christian.  We took guards, he said “Are we going to gunslinger this?”  And kind of did for the first few passes.  I have a bruise from where I beat him in tempo and he chose a double-out (which, if you’ve got nothing else, go for it).  Then I switched up and went to a Giganti-style.  With my 37 and his 35 (plus his four or five inches of height on me) it wasn’t ideal, but on the other hand it reminded me about measure and about closing his line (hey, he’s a lefty who refuses his sword, so he can ONLY attack from the outside!  INSIGHT!)  And I did pretty damn well against him.  I’m pretty sure I went better than 50%.

I fought some other people, can’t remember who all out of the group there, but I do remember fighting Indy.  He’s got height as well, and is quick and strong, with some really precise swordwork.  On the other hand, I destroyed him with counter-tempo 80% of the time.  Afterwards we talked about my use of tempo and invitations, and forming a counter guard to defeat my trap and force me to take a tempo instead of exploiting his.  But he has surprised me with his improvement in the past year.

My fight against him?  Fucking metal.  Measure, tempo, line, I owned them all.  The only shortcoming was that when Indy would drop for a toe shot I was not punking him in the head as much as I should have been, opting for a sweep 6 following with a low-line counter lunge and pursuit with passing steps until I could destroy him with brutality.  Though, our last pass, I closed for that brutality and he simply stuck his right hand out and seized me by the throat, so we called that fight a tie.

Posted November 14, 2011 by wistric in Journal, Musings

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