Question for the Audience: 4 out of 5 not bad?

From Dante

So, a while back (on the Armour Archive) a duke from another kingdom, in regards to his knighthood standard, remarked that consistently winning 80% of your fights in all tournaments that you enter was a significant accomplishment because not many people can manage that. I started paying attention to how I do (and how I feel about how I do) in relationship to winning 80% of my fights. Since my friends list is pretty much mostly fencers: how does an 80% record stand in your mind?


14 comments to Question for the Audience: 4 out of 5 not bad?

  • Staffan Arffuidsson

    I think you’d need more of a challenge, if you can consistently do that.

    In Service to the West
    Staffan Arffuidsson

    • Wistric

      A lot of the discussion on FB has been contextual: You can pull a pool or a list that’s all top-10 white scarves, and be pretty thoroughly boned out of the 80% bracket.

      My thinking is general, though: in general, I’m pretty sure I’m better than 80% of the fighters, and closer to top 10%. So I should do close to 90% win rate, 90% of the time. Ymir and Ruby, which are the two largest all-access tourneys in kingdom, have been 85% to 90% the past year and a half. So 80% is underperformance for me.

      On FB, Giacomo pointed out our heavy community fights a lot of bearpits and Bedford points. I’d in a bearpit I’d expect to go 90% even more than I expect it in a double-elim. I seem to like those. But Bedford points, with their progressive stratification, mean you pretty quickly end up fighting top end fighters against each other, so the 80% would be harder to achieve there.

      Maybe 80% is just a bullshit, arbitrary measure to go by. How about “Beat everybody you should beat, which is everybody.” Or if you want to be a little more lenient on yourself, “Beat everybody you should expect to beat, and the guy who beat you last time”

  • Staffan Arffuidsson

    My focus is less on winning 80% (I’m no where near that stage right now), instead it is more about improving my game against those who are better than me.


  • Ruairc

    I think averaging 80% is “not bad” by any measure of the term. But it’s awfully arbitrary, and I don’t see how it helps one improve one’s fighting. Is there something magical that happens when you can consistently defeat four-fifths of fencing SCAdians? Some martial enlightenment attained? Some mastery, precision, or control which is conclusively proven?

    It’s as good a benchmark as any other external measure. Which is to say, in my view, it’s useless. Any given gold scarf could probably go better than 80% outside of Atlantia; so what?

    All the above is hypocritical, naturally, because I totally keep track of my win percentage in tournaments. I imagine it’s human nature, when in a competitive setting. At the end of the day, it doesn’t help. What matters is how close you are to your ideal, and if you’re continuing to progress towards that. If you are, you will continue to improve your win percentage, and do better against stronger opponents.

    • Dante di Pietro

      Any given Free Scholar can NOT do that. In fact, most can’t. The average fencer will have an average performance, on average.

      If you read what I wrote, and what the Duke said, 80% is an *accomplishment*, not an end goal. It was also given as an evaluative tool for the purposes of polling. Going 8-2 (or better) consistently is a sign of having reached a standard of ability that puts you in good standing for the higher end awards. There’s a reason why there are so many degrees of black belt in the systems that have them, for comparison.

  • Staffan Arffuidsson


    Obviously you level up when you consistently beat people. Who knows, you might even get the “Glow”!

    Seriously though, having benchmarks aren’t a bad thing, but you stagnate once it is the same thing over and over. When you stagnate (and consistently beating 80% is stagnation), the game can loose some, if not all, if the fun. Once you get to the point of that magical number (whatever percentile you want to call it), then you should change it up and work on something else. If not, the game will no longer be fun. I know of at least one West Kingdom fighter who doesn’t play in kingdom much because he is that good. Since he’s perfected his main techniques, he has slaughtered the field. But he hasn’t played much because he isn’t challenging himself. So we don’t get the pleasure of the fight, nor of learning from him.


    In Service to the West,
    Staffan Arffuidsson

  • Dante di Pietro

    I think it’s interesting and more than a little funny that most of the responses I got on FB were also criticisms of the metric’s validity/usefulness rather than an answer to the question itself: How does an 80% record stand in your mind?

    • Staffan Arffuidsson

      I congratulate any fighter that can do that. It gives me someone to hunt for, so I can better myself by challenging someone who is that good.

      The fighter that can consistently dominate the field at 80% or better is someone who is very skilled. I think they know the “Sweet Spot” that will allow them to win, and that they will, eventually, get bored maintaining the Status Quo (80%) if they’ve been doing it for a while. Unless they want to loose focus, they should set up other mile markers (doing that well with the off hand, don’t get hit, etc.)

  • Miriam d'Hawke

    I know at one point we defined it as ‘ 80% of the fencers, 80% of the time ‘. You’re always going to pull a list that just absolutely blows ( I make myself feel better by paying attention to person who beat the crap out of me, and hoping they win. Usually they do pretty close ), you always have the chance of pulling a list that just absolutely blows in the other direction ( I once pull three new auths in a row… that I had just authorized before the list. Easy, but not much fun ).

    And obviously your local vs. global numbers are going to be different. While I can probably do the 80/80 trick within Kingdom ( I can come up with only three or four fighters in Kingdom who I can say ‘this person beats me significantly more than I beat them’ ), my percentages drop at large events like Gulf Wars.

    I remember Davius St. Jaques and I once spent a good two hours coming up with a rating system for fencers within the Knowne World, all based on underwater creatures. ( one of the lower ranks was ‘clawed kitty’ — they have no idea what they’re doing in the water, but that doesn’t mean the can’t claw you if you get dumb ) One of the concepts we realized is that the water isn’t the same in every group. I can certainly pull 80/80 in my local group, but 80% of my fencers are new; when we get up to Kingdom level, I’m a little more hesitant on my numbers; and when I get to the Knowne World level….

    Bigger ocean. Lots more sharks to watch out for.

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