Posts Tagged ‘armoured combat’

The assignment for Day Three was to roam the wide world and find five blogs to follow. That was harder than I thought it would be and this post feels vaguely familiar.

I found blogs that speak to my various goals and passions. There are two blogs about being a bard, two blogs about fighting and more, a blog about paganism, and the blog from a young lady on her way to a laurel and/or pelican.

BardLog The first blog about the bardic arts, I was caught by the fifth installment of his new series about the Deadly Bardic Sins. I look forward to reading the rest. I am not optimistic that I will ever be a popular skald, but I do want to find the skill to enjoy my own playing and the audience response to it. Already, I have learned from this blog.

Protege Life is the work of a young lady in the SCA who has taken on a great task and is kindly blogging about it so we can follow along. Her journey as a protege will be somewhat different than my journey as a squire, but I am excited to see how she experiences her undertaking.

Studying Chivalry is written by an SCA fighter who, like me, wonders to what extent to our notions of chivalry can and should outline our daily lives. he is spending a year in meditation about this topic (certainly a quest worthy of a knight) and I look forward to seeing what he finds.

The Lefthander’s Path concerns magic and Druidism and the esoteric. She is a member of the ADF and has a Celtic outlook where mine is more influenced by the North. She does write some on the Northern Gods and heathenism, and I find her fascinating even when I disagree with her wholeheartedly. It was through her blog that I found the Heathen Round Table. I suspect that Round table will be a huge influence on my writing habits.

Santiago’s Grimoire is another blog written by an SCA fighter. A very accomplished performer and rapier fighter, he has decided to again put on the hard suit and fight heavy. We have a great deal in common including our ages and the fact that we see our fighting as part of a greater path that includes performance and Dragons.

Drake Orenwood is the final bard on this list. I intyend to gather from his writing and his commentary on his own songs and works.

There you have it. The seven blogs I found today when searching my interests. I hope you’ll visit some of them and find something well needed for your path.

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Kalev_BonecruncherNone of the virtues of chivalry come easily to me, but none comes with greater difficulty than humility.

I can fake humility pretty well.

I have no need to praise myself, no reluctance to praise others. There is no task so low that I cannot stoop to set my hand to it. But I will be oh so very concious that I am stooping. In my mental ledger I will make a mark that reflects that today I took a step toward that virtue. Then I will erase that mark as I take pride in the accomplishment.

I have that most obnoxious sort of pride available only to old men.  You know the type: “I went to Basic Training when it was hard. My Drill Sergeants were crusty Vietnam vets who were allowed to swear and strike us for our failings. You young people couldn’t handle what we went through. That being said: get off my lawn, you delinquents!”

That sort of thing.

And now that I have again picked up a wooden sword and resumed armored combat in the SCA after a thirty year break, I absolutely HATE having so much to learn from these twenty-somethings that beat me so easily.

Before I step on the field to practice, I think about what exactly I seek to accomplish. I have to recover my sword properly. I have to close distance with greater efficiency. Those two things are all that matter. I am not bothered if I lose, I am bothered if my Lady and my Knight have reason to say, “You’re still not doing it.”  That is what I am working on.

And my humility.

Men half my age are going to beat me then tell me how they did it.

As much as I am practicing the arts of war, I am also “practicing” the Virtues of Chivalry.

And I am so very proud of that.

Damn.

And there it goes again.

There is one sword, one shield, and seven basic blows.

Then, there is the pell.

Every day I carry out the sixty pound base and set it up outside my apartment. Sometimes, the kids come by to watch. They ask if they can hit it. I usually drag out my six-year-old’s boffer gear and let them attack it while I’m resting. Sometimes the six-year-old, Kalev Bonecruncher the Berserk, will announce to the kids he has to train, too.

Earl Syr Knarlic Wulfersson, whose squire I am, has me throwing the blows again and again and again. I have power, some small speed, but he wants the recovery to become muscle memory. Throw the blow, let gravity bring the blade down, pull it back up into the ready position. Again and again and again. Again and again and again. Again and again and again.

Duke Conrad has instructed me some on my shield use. It’s a strapped round shield, and very unpopular. I am told again and again that I should get rid of it, but, for now, Earl Knarlic allows me to use it. Its used much differently from other shields and its only advantages are found in a certain offensive manner. My round shield is useless at mid range. I have to close distance quickly and then use the edge of the shield to push my opponent’s shield or sword away for an instant just long enough to strike.

Start out of range but close the distance quickly and scrape the edge of the pell with the rim of the shield, throw the blow, recover. Again and again and again. Again and again and again. .

Sir Osric is a reactionary fighter. He likes to stay back and launch his attack when an opponent makes a mistake. The round shield’s disadvantages all work in his favor. I step in to close the distance and my helmet rings. I can’t find an angle of approach that defeats this tactic.

He explains that I have to keep his sword busy as I close distance. It takes me a few tries to understand. he explains it again. I don’t have to hit him, I don’t have to move his weapon, I simply have to make it unwise to use the weapon as I move in. I start using an offside blow to the head (number four of the seven basic blows) hopefully requiring my opponent to block with his sword as I close that distance.

And then I stand before the pell again.

Start out of range and throw a distracting blow as I step in to close range, scrape the pell with my shield as I recover my sword and launch another blow without pause and recover. Again and again and again. Again and again and again.

It isn’t the sword I need to master. It isn’t this impossible round shield. I’m not exactly sure what I am trying to Master.

Hopefully, I recognize it when I get there, though.

This was written in response to the Daily Word prompt found here.