About 3 years ago, I got into SCA heavy combat. If you are not sure what that is, I would suggest googling it, and checking out some videos on youtube. In a nutshell, it is full speed combat wearing heavy armor, using rattan weaponry. During that time, I went to practices once or twice a week, and attended events. I was getting past the extreme novice stage, and learning to defend blows while delivering some decent ones of my own. I was by no means a high caliber fighter, but I felt like I was making real progress. Then came my absence from fighting. I was accepted into a fairly intensive program at the local university, and most of my time was dominated. To be honest, I could have probably kept going a couple times per month, but I decided not to. The feeling of getting beat up and physically exhausted is tough to deal with while doing intensive schooling. I felt like being a fighter was something that I didn't want to do half way, so I decided to put my combat aspirations on hold until my program finished.
Fast forward 18 months since my last fight...
I am finishing my program, and I am ready to get back into it. I went to practice a couple weeks ago just to say hello to the fighters, and get my face known in the community again. It was fun, but I knew that I had to suit up and fight to reintegrate into the group. For me, fighting is also a social activity. It reminds me of when I was in the Army. Camaraderie is an important thing to me, and it enhances the scene. So, last night I suited up and fought. I knew I was rusty, but I didn't feel as bad as I thought I would. My shield was heavy, but not overly so. I cut 3 inches off of my sword, because it was something I had mean to do for a while. It really helped with my snaps. I felt quick, although I had trouble putting together combos. I think that going to the gym has helped out, but not hugely. While fighting, it is all about bursts of speed, and whole body movement. I had forgotten what it was like to move in rapid explosions of energy. I must say, I was out of breath pretty early and often.
Today, I am fairly sore all over, but in a good way. I took some solid shots, but nothing that actually hurt in a lasting way. I feel like I got what I needed out of the practice. I did alright, and didn't get seriously hurt. I took enough shots that I am hungry to improve. I have several goals that I want to accomplish. It is all about being dedicated, and continuing to show up to practice.