Thursday, July 14, 2011

Crawl, Walk, then Run...

I have been fighting, and enjoying myself. I had almost forgot that I intend to write down my thoughts on the matter...

Now that I am not in the realm of academia, I feel like I have a lot more time for hobbies and other pursuits. When I came back to the SCA after my hiatus, I felt really good about myself. I had accomplished a lot personally and professionally. That feeling has not faded. I am working full time for the federal government, so I have great job security. The journey thus far has been a good one. I am now in a place where I can dedicate myself to this.

At the Stromgard practices, it seems to be hit or miss with regards to attendance. One thing that I can count on is a couple of Knights showing up. That is good, because they are always willing to fight me. I realize that the Society is a social group as well, and they would likely rather be fighting their friends, so I try not to ask the same person more than once per practice. On the flip side, I have been told by many Knights that I need to simply walk up and respectfully ask for a fight. So, that's what I do. I have never been turned down. On the contrary, I always get a thorough thrashing, and a sound education. To their credit, I have never been beaten down, and not given help on how to improve my fighting. Knowing what it is like to teach, I always try to be an attentive student, and implement their teachings. When I am a better fighter I will worry about deciding for myself what is, or what is not good for my fighting style.

Currently I am fighting with a heater shield. It is a standard, semi-triangular shield, with the point facing down. Basically, it is what you think of when you think of a regular knight's shield from a movie. The shield is very solid, and was constructed by a Viking some years ago. I have had it suggested that I try a tear drop shaped shield, based on my persona, but I don't have one of those yet. My gear is high quality synthetic armor, that doesn't look proper for the time period, so I cover it with a tabard. My helmet is a very nice stainless steel Norman Rounded helm, with brass rivets and a black front bar grille. It looks good, and protects well. It is easily my best piece of armor.

As for the actual fighting, I am currently fighting in a sword-foot-forward stance, which is counter intuitive for many people. I decided to give it a try for two good reasons; My left leg was getting hammered constantly while it was forward, due to the the prevalence of right handed fighters. And more importantly, most of the Knights that attend the Stromgard practice fight in this stance. I deduced through common sense that if the best fighters are doing it, there is likely a reason for it. Since changing stances, I have been taught a lot about how to use my footwork to minimize the required movement of my shield, and how to set up combinations. At this point, I feel perfectly comfortable with either foot forward. That helps me in transitions quite a bit.

Finally, the last thing I want to talk about in this post is the social aspect of this endeavor. There are people that attend this practice that have been in the Society for decades. Their view of time, in the context of the Society, is very different from mine. I know all about this, based my my time in another group. It takes a while to get integrated socially into a group that is so entrenched. With that in mind, Jen has been coming with me to practice, so she can get to know the other fighters, and their ladies. It helps me stay motivated if it is a group activity rather than just something I do alone. Also, I think it will help her have more fun at events if she knows people from practice.

I plan to post once per week on this blog, just to keep reflecting about this experience. I find that I can learn a lot more about my motivations and desires if I take the time to type them out.