Ruby Joust 2012: Wistric’s vague memories

Sweetums and I trucked up early Saturday morning, pitched our tent, and eventually made our way to the rapier field.

Ruby Tourney

For the Ruby tourney there were 44 fighters, which split to 11 per pool.  The White Scarves had a lower representation than normal, there was only one per pool.  Except mine.  It had three: Celric, Greylond, and me.

Overall I was not in best form.  The cracked rib had meant I’d gone two weeks with no workout, which in turn meant I’d turned to jelly.  I was planning to rely on automatic responses, my long measure game, and my snap lunge.  This didn’t mean I neglected judgment, but it ran so much slower.  After my fight with Celric he asked, “Were you just fencing with me so I’d feel better about myself?”  I fumbled the Fezzig quote about “I just want you to feel that you are doing well before I kill you.”  In truth, he and I had been dancing at long measure for a good couple of minutes until a few things clicked: a) he hates to be aggressed, b) he and I have the same range, and c) he kept putting his back foot on the edge of the list field, by choice.  When all that clicked, the automatic responses took over and I slammed through his sword, planted my dagger on his chest, and incidentally punched him in the face as I passed through to his back field.  Great fun and all, but no art to it.

I was fighting 45″ and dagger all day.  A few months back, Dante was harping, again, on my use of 45″ and 30″, so I said, “Tell you what, I’ll fight dagger until you beat me with it.”  He opined that this was not how things usually worked.  I maintained that the logic was sound: If he beat me, he won and I got to go back to fighting with my 30″.  Win-win.  If I beat him, I won and he got to say “I told you so.”  Win-win.  So, really, win-win-win-win.  Rarely do things work out so prettily.  He demurred.

My fight with Greylond had a similar slug-fest quality to it, with a flurry of shots and twice points ended up sliding under armor.  He slid a low shot up my chest and into the underside of my gorget, I slid one across his chest and under his doublet.  While my point was getting caught in his doublet, his point was going into me, so he took that.  It was my only loss in the pools.

Though, credit where due: Big Simon (who’s short) legged me, for the second time at a gem joust.  I think Dante’s taught him to look for my weight shift and strike my knee, but he claims that’s not so.  Once legged, I had a range advantage, so he closed hard, but stumbled, and my dagger ended up on his cup (afterwards, he told me he pulled his dagger shot so as not to hurt me, which made me feel bad for taking the win.  I advised him that next time he should bury me in the grass and apologize afterward).

The fourth memorable fight was against ______.  He’s a large strip-fencer, and did the weight forward-weight back rhythmic shift.  So when his weight shifted forward I lunged, struck his center mass, passed forward, and shivved him in the ribs twice with my dagger.  He backed out, and said “Nope, nothing.”  I looked down at my dagger.  It had a 90 degree bend in it.  I shrugged, though (it’s SO nice to have nothing to prove to anybody but myself), and we resumed measure.  I lunged, hit hard on his center mass, passed forward, shivved hard to the ribs, and then drew the entire 45″ of sword across his throat.  “The first one was good,” he said.  Just so we were sure.  Note: If I overkill you, it’s because I feel the need to make sure you’re dead, because either you are a threat or because you forgot to call the first shot or two.

I came out on top of my pool.  The top two from each pool went to the quarters.  This is still an odd sensation.  Last year was the first year I made the quarters at Gem (last year’s Ymir went rather poorly for me).  It’s really only been around 12 months that I have consistently been top 8, so it’s always pretty awesome.  On the other, I still expect to win the whole damn thing, every time, so we’ll see how that turned out…

My quarter final opponent was Brian de Moray, FS.  It’s been 5 years or so since I fought him; he’s been out due to various medical conditions (car crash, broken wrist, offspring).  That was the year of the Arte of Defence tourney, which he got top honors in for fighting Fabris.  He’s maybe taller than me, has about the same range, and would maintain long measure religiously (press him and he backed up the exact same distance, immediately).  He’s a patient mo-fo.  His game’s sagged off a bit during his off time, but he’s getting back in.  The one thing he hasn’t gotten back, which I’ve noticed over the past year, is the long lunge he used to use to finish that long-range fight.  He’s still patient, but it was safer for me to come in to my long measure, and his footwork wasn’t as tight as it used to be.  I stole an inch or two of measure, lunged center-line below his blade, and landed.

My semi fight was against Llwyd.  Last time I fought Llwyd?  Also 5 years ago.  At Sapphire Joust, when he got his WS.  The God or Goob coin came down on the Goob side for him that day, so really I had no idea how he fought.  I knew he had reach and size on me, though, so the default plan of “long measure lunge” wasn’t going to work in and of itself.  We scooted around the field a little bit, testing each others’ preferred counter-guards.  I knew, basically, I had to buy a tempo of the sword off of him even just to come to my long measure, so there was a lot of tweaking of the feet and seeing what the response was.  At one point, I dangled my sword on his low inside line, and he beat it and recovered to his guard.  And that’s where the plan began to form, finally.  I danged it there again.  Again, the beat.  I think he did not like having my sword pointed at his cup.  So I did it a third time, and in the tempo of his beat, I cavazioned into a HUGE, GIGANTIC, and HORRIBLY OVEREXTENDED lunge.

Seriously, children, do NOT lunge like this.

It hurts my ego to look at that.  On the other hand, I felt like I had to go big.  I was pretty sure if I threw a smaller lunge and passed to complete, he’d counter in the tempo of my pass and I’d run onto his sword.  But look at that back heel.  It’s fucking flying through space.  You could park a Miata under it.

The whole first beat to lunge was all of about ten seconds, though it seemed much longer at the time.

Big Simon, who took the photo above, ALSO got video of the fight:

So then I was to the finals.  And my opponent?  Dante.  That fight looked like this (complete with Llwyd commentary in the background):

It was as thorough a drubbing as it looks like.  I can’t actually recall a whole lot of my thought processes at the time, except that right around when I noticed he’d worked his way inside my measure was when he launched his attack.  It’s really easy to do some Sunday quarterbacking on this (like, “Why did I not attack when he was in Dancer Pose?”), to the point that I’m not sure where to draw the line on the post hoc analysis.  So, watch, and comment away!

Upside: I get to go back to fighting with 30″ and Dante doesn’t get to say “I told you so!”  Though, watch the comments, he may yet do so.  I may keep fighting with the dagger for a little while longer, as I’m attempting to hustle up a pair of flat-soled period shoes for tourney fights, and wish to keep the number of variables to a minimum when experimenting.

Apprenticized

That evening, after the fighting and before court, Dame Rosalind took me as her apprentice.  I think that makes me the first HMA apprentice in Atlantia.  I got a super-spiff belt out of it (I will argue its spiff-ness against any other apprentice belt out there), and, you know, responsibility and stuff.

[INSERT PICTURES]

 

Sunday 5-man Tourney

Sunday morning was the 5-man tourney in the ravine.  Originally advertised as capture the flag, it was instead a last-man standing, in the ravine.  Due to leaf clutter and crap terrain, there was no running, and no DFB.  The Marxbruders formed up “Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Polka, and Dot” and took the field.  We came out of it with only one loss (MAYBE two?), I believe, and that loss was to the Kappellenfechters.  Well done to them!

The ravine was fairly narrow.  Two large trees marked the mid-point, and most fights were two lines meeting between these two trees.  While one of threes marked “edge-of-the-world”, the other did not – there was room for a fighter on the other side of it before the marshal marking the edge of the world.  Almost nobody went through that gap (of course I did, because flanking).  When the tree-line fights didn’t occur, or when they broke down, most of the teams did a good job of coordinating their aggression.   Even the scratch teams and blue-scarf only teams were fighting well together.  Which is heartening.

Military Tourney

After the 5-man was the Military Tourney, for veteran and active-duty members of the military and/or their champions.  Being a long-haired peacenik (I am totally, 100% opposed to violence) I helped marshal it, ’cause of Lt. Col. Woodrow Bullerman, Lt. (I think) Frank Townes, Lt. Col. Rusty Bullerman, and Capt. Amanda Bullerman.

Melee Training

Celric ran melee training after the military tourney, with the white scarves and gold scarves on one side of the field, and the rest on the other.  The Dragoons were at the far left of our line, I formed up on the far right with Ella and Ilaria (Letia, Flaithri, and Rochelle formed the center).  At lay-on the Dragoons smashed the opposition’s right flank, we engaged the opposition’s left flank and ran it (I ended up with a string of five or six kills in each of the first three runs) and despite being outnumbered the Bastards (’cause that’s what we were being) won the first few.  We then talked through the tactics being used, and ran it again with much the same results, but that time the scholars were paying attention.  The run after that, they counter-charged (Black Diamond ran right to me, and I was so busy being impressed and yelling “Excellent” that I forgot not to back up, thereby screwing my flank over, and leading them to think I was dead), and ended up with 8 fighters surrounding Flaithri.

The scholars all learned to trust each other and take the initiative, which is probably the most important take away they could have from the day: When you form up with Atlantians, you must believe they will back you throughout, and if you are Atlantian, you had better back your teammates.

One factor that I haven’t seen commented on anywhere is: Throughout the hour or two of training, the Bastards lost Flaithri to exhaustion (or possibly family obligations).  The attrit rate among the scholars was something above 25%.   So while acquired knowledge and trust gave the scholars the W for the middle set of runs, conditioning and endurance handed it back to the Bastards for the last few.

The rib still hurts a little, but it’s time for me to stop being a whiney bitch about it and get back to running and conditioning.  Also time to go back to heavy fighting (I claim I didn’t want my rib to go into my lung for the past few weeks, but also it was canceled due to rain a lot).  Schadenfreude has a new, meaner (2.5″) spearhead.  Fuerchtenunabwend needs a new haft and head and he’ll be ready to return to the field, too.  Every weapon, every way.

2 comments to Ruby Joust 2012: Wistric’s vague memories

  • Dante di Pietro

    A few things:

    Simon was having some vertigo issues, so that pretty much wrecked his fighting. His knee-hitting tendencies may stem from the fact that I usually anchor my feet against newer people in practice, since a lot of my defense is in my control of measure. He’s recently progressed to where I use footwork against him. He’s coming along nicely, as are the others at my practice.

    I took a similar lunge in the first round of the Military Tournament. I’m not proud of it either, and I also have it on video. 😛 Llwyd was on FIRE all day (he was in my pod), so you probably made the right call for winning purposes.

    As far as the case thing goes…. You’re an HMA apprentice studying and teaching Giganti, and now the Kingdom HMA A&S Deputy. Fight Giganti or don’t. It is, however, the non-Giganti things that have let me defeat you in the last several big tournaments we’ve been in. Here’s my challenge to you, should you choose to accept it: in 2007, before I was a White Scarf, I posted a 21-3 record for Sapphire Joust after going 18-0 in my pod, 2-1 versus case-fighting Alejandro, and finally getting knocked out in the semifinals by Connor (who won), where I won the first fight and dropped the second two after I broke his sword (which *destroyed* my mental game!)… and I did it all with a single rapier with a 38″ blade. Spend a season of practice fighting with the sword alone, and go through Ymir and Ruby Joust next year with only a sword. Do not ask people to match you. It will be the best thing for your fighting that you’ve done in a long time.

    In any case, you’re not doing poorly by a long shot. As you said, you’re still very green when it comes to tournament participation, and I think that makes a difference. I’ve been making the top 4 or 2 at Gem Joust and Ymir consistently since 2006 or so, and I probably have somewhere around 80-100 tournament wins in my career (I used to keep a log, but stopped in 2005 when I was at around 50), and probably an equal number of trips to the finals or semifinals. Experience is a factor that can’t be ignored, and it’s in no small part a reason the big tournaments tend to have the same 4 or 5 people winning them. For my own experience, I essentially feel no pressure at all anymore; the biggest mental hurdle I face these days is if my brain thinks, “Hey, wouldn’t it be a better story if XYZ beats me to win this?” When that happens, I fade out *hard*, no matter how much I might not want to. I’m a bit of a romantic in that.

  • Brian

    It was an interesting fight. I wish the day had not been so draining (marshalling our list and fighting in it did not help) such that we could have done some pickups afterwards. If at a minimum, perhaps pennsic?

    Regarding you analysis, I think its accurate. I find I don’t have the speed of recovery I used to have, so I have cut the size of my lunge. I don’t care to be in a position I can’t move quickly in. I need to work on that.

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