Deconstructing Defeat   10 comments

I went to KWAR! Some observations:

  • C&T melee is the best (but we already knew that)
  • Rapier spears are problematic (but we already knew that)
  • If you don’t wear a white scarf in a foreign kingdom, people assume you’re a goob until you prove otherwise (but we mostly already knew that)
  • Sport fencers seem to have some strange ideas about historical fencing (we were disappointed to learn this again)
  • Despite the above, historical fencing is alive and well in the SCA, and even developing to new heights, although you do have to look for it (we doubted this one)
  • There’s some correlation between skill at fencing and SCA rank, but there is frightfully little correlation between skill at teaching and SCA rank, and apparently an inverse correlation between the ability to accurately assess one’s skills at teaching and SCA rank.

“Teaching Movement (And Most Everything Else)” is now on my list of University class ideas. But you came here for swordfighting. It is given.

KWAR C&T Tourney

Held in the evening after classes. Fencers were divided into four pools. Each fencer took a turn “holding the floor” against all others in his pool (so A fought B, C, and D in immediate succession; after a break, B fought C, D, and A; and so on, until everyone had fought everyone twice). Each bout was three passes each. Each pass was fought to the first valid blow, scored accordingly:

  • 4 points for a clean hit to a kill target (head, neck, torso, or legs)
  • 3 points for a clean hit elsewhere (arms and hands)
  • 2-1 for an afterblow, weighted for the first strike
  • 0-0 for a double

The top scorers in each pool advanced to the finals – a straight round-robin with the same scoring system. Top scorer in the finals won the tournament.

(As an interesting aside, this scoring is very close to a tournament structure Dante posited following my Swordfish complaints. I thought three bouts were better than Dante’s one. And the “holding the floor” element is similar to how Gawin has suggested we run round-robins in the past. So I imagine we’ll all like this style.)

No system is un-gameable, but whether from SCA chivalry or a prevalence of historical styles and tactics among the competitors, admirably good fencing resulted.

My Performance

I drew the easiest pool, and dominated. Of my 18 passes, I believe only two resulted in afterblows (one for, and one against me). Everything else was clean.

In the finals, I was dominated. At this point in the day I was dehydrated and stiff and a little tired, but it wouldn’t have mattered; I was outclassed by people who’d been doing C&T way longer, and using their secondaries far better.

Vs Vincent (George Silver):
– First pass: he cuts my dagger-hand. 0-3
– Second pass: I feint low, he cuts to my sword-arm. 0-3
– Third pass: I strike under the buckler and parry (or void) the afterblow. 4-0
Vs Kai (LVD):
– First pass: he cuts to my head. 0-4
– Second pass: he thrusts under my arm. 0-4
– Third pass: inconclusive, re-fought
Fourth pass: he cuts to my wrist. 0-3
Vs LOGOS (Fabris):
– First pass: he feints and yields around the dagger. 0-4
Second pass: he beats and strikes between the weapons. 0-4
– Third pass: he feints and strikes between the weapons. 0-4

But hey, video! That means time for detailed analysis and learning. Take a look! I’m interested in your comments; mine will come next week.

I’ll conclude by saying nearly every fencer I saw in this tournament had perfect calibration, and was a pleasure to fight against. The finalists were all great examples of historic fencing.

Posted November 17, 2015 by Ruairc in Uncategorized

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