Sunday, September 20, 2015

Ladies of the Rose Tournament 9/19/15

Yesterday I had the honor of participating in the Ladies of the Rose Tournament, fencing for Duchess Avelina. It was a great day. Lots of fun, and I had plenty of fencing come the end of it. We had a fun team consisting of Don Mallochio, Duke Kenric, Clockwork, Rowan, and myself.

It didn't start off so great. I've been practicing with my dagger heavily the last few months (as mentioned in my previous post). It is my strongest form, and taking that into a tournament to show off my prowess seemed like a good idea. The thing is, I started to over-think things while holding my dagger. I was getting killed in moments I shouldn't have because I was hesitating, and not giving my opponent the best fight I could. That was upsetting me, and it took me a few minutes to figure out why.

After my second or third fight (which happened to be Master Jean Xavier), I knew I couldn't use the dagger any more. He took my dagger-hand in a shot I should have been able to defend (though it was an odd angle), and then killed me pretty easily thereafter. At that point I realized it was the dagger. I didn't even hesitate to pick up my cloak. I hadn't touched it in months, but it makes me think differently - believe it or not, dagger is my defensive form, and cloak is my offensive form.

My next fight was against Master Pascual. Yes, you read that correctly, Mallochio was kind enough to give me two MoD's in a row. Honestly, I didn't mind. The fight against Pascual got the blood pumping. Of course I died (and I don't remember the specifics of it), but I put up my best against him, while trying to get used to the cloak again. From there on, I felt like I was putting my best fight forth and everything was right in my fencing world again.

And then I fought Remy. About fifteen minutes before we fought, I had a fight against (I am very sorry, I will butcher this name) Eggrassia that lasted - as Mallochio joked - for an hour and a half. We were fighting in fairly gravelly terrain, so she wasn't moving much, and after the fight we talked and I found out she's a counter-puncher much in the way I am. Even though I am very aggressive with the cloak, I still need my opponent to make some movement so I can do things and she wasn't having it. The fight probably lasted 7 or 8 minutes - no exaggeration - and we were both exhausted come the end of it (her team only had four fencers, while ours had five, so she had to fight a second time against my wife Rowan), but it was a damn fun fight. So fun I almost needed an inhaler. You know it's a good fight if you need an inhaler afterwards.

So back to Remy. I was a bit tired when I fought him and making some lazy decisions, but the fight against him was an eye-opener for me. I rely on voiding rather than parrying too much. He attacked, I voided. He attacked a second time, and I voided. He attacked a third time, I voided, and time slowed down. I saw his feet adjust and come together. He had set himself up to run me down on the void he knew was coming. If it were a movie, it was the point where he would have locked eyes with me and smiled with a cocky smile. I saw it coming too late, and there was nothing I could do. I was off balance and couldn't get a parry up or make any movement. Straight up death. He gunned me down dead-to-rights, but it was my laziness that caused it. I wasn't exactly happy with it. I'm not making excuses, but fighting that other fight for so long took a lot out of me. I made a stupid decision and had to live (or die, in this case) with the consequences of it.

Luckily that was one of my last fights. I think I fought two after that, both of which I just wanted to end quickly. And end them quickly I did. I was told by one of them that I lower my head a little when I make my attacks. I ran my preferred response (but you didn't hit it, did you?) through some filters and came out with "I don't get hit in the head often, so I can leave it seemingly undefended for the most part". The truth is, my gorget sits over my hood to fit comfortably. And my gorget has bent a bit sitting in my gear bag. I don't have much backwards head movement as a result. So when I make a long attack which involves me leaning over, my head kinda goes out there. Not open, as is proven by the fact I very rarely get hit in the head (and it's usually not when I make an attack).

So what I learned from the day is it is most definitely time to pick up the cloak and start fighting with it more regularly, which was the plan anyways. I need to stop relying on voids, especially with a cloak. I should be clearing the zone with the cloak and making a solid riposte.

Rowan fought very well. We all think she had the highest win percentage on our team. She started off with dagger, and around the time I dropped my dagger, she dropped hers and fought single. More than once I heard Mallochio say "her off hand is so strong! Once she gets that blade on her off-hand, it's over." And it was the truth. She made movements that were textbook: parry,transition their blade to her offhand, make the attack. She looked like she was demonstrating manuals all day. I'm so proud of her. We all were.

Everything started off pretty formal. Everyone fighting for a Rose was called out one at a time to be presented to those gathered. Pomp, circumstance, all that jazz. By the end, everything had broken down to be one of the most casual events I've ever been to. More casual even than Bare Blade Tavern Brawl was.

Included in the casual was a pretty low-key ceremony between Master Donovan and Don Remy. Donovan took Remy as a provost. Donovan did up a script based on a London Masters of Defense scroll he found. Prince Brennan asked to herald for "Dondavan", and read the scroll aloud. The same text was done twice on the scroll. Remy signed both sides, then Donovan. After that, their Highness's Brennan and Caoilfhionn both signed, then those present signed as witnesses. The scroll was then cut in half so each could have a copy. Pretty casual, with only about 15-20 of us standing in a circle while this happened. 

Anyway, I've rambled on a bit at this point. It was a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to Coronation in two weeks. That should be a lot of fun as well.