Next week is the Rose Tourney. I'm equal parts excited and worried about it. I've fought in a few Birka tourneys in the past, more for fun than anything. The only tournament I've actually "competed" in to this point was my local Barony Champions event, and that ended pretty poorly (reasons for that, by the way). So this time I'm still new to the tourney scene, but I'll also be fighting for the Rose that has given me this chance to fight (Duchess Avelina has given me this honor). I just hope I don't let her down. I just need to make sure I'm able to utilize what I've been focusing on lately.
One of the biggest things I've been working on over the last couple months is "finding the zone". Something I started to notice was when I fought someone I looked up to or have known for a long time, I was able to find the zone and do everything I needed to and wanted to. For a long time back in college, I was teaching all the new fencers to come through the club, so I was very aware I would fence down to people. I didn't feel like I was continuing this, though. What this new thing was was me not using my full skill set against anyone unless I knew them well or really looked up to them. So upon this discovery, I decided I need to learn to find the zone as often as I could. So far that has been mostly successful.Definitely something I want to keep working on, and something I want to be able to invoke during the Rose Tourney.
Since the early Spring I've been trying to work on something that will help me even more though, and I think it's finally happened. Anyone who has fought me in the past knows that when I used to fence, I used to stand very square - my shoulders would both be equal distance away from my opponent. So in this time, I've tried to retrain myself to tighten my guard up a bit. My shoulders are no longer squared off. When I started to teach myself this (rewriting 8 years of habit is hard, by the way), I was given some pointers by Seamus, and he told me a few ways to use the square guard to my advantage. At the time I stashed the info away to use for later, because I couldn't figure out how to do too much at once. I have since started bringing in some of the tips he gave me, and it's been pretty successful. I'm very happy with how it has turned out.
As of late I have only been fighting dagger. Dagger is reliably my strongest form. I'm thinking after the Rose tourney, I might start taking my cloak out more often. I am a very strong cloak fighter (toot toot). Cloak isn't something that just anyone can pick up, it takes a lot of skill and a lot of practice. I had a raw natural talent for it, and I learned cloak from the best cloak fighter in the East. These two facts have put me far above your average cloak fighter (toot toot). If I can get my cloak skills to be as strong as my dagger skills, I'll be in good order.
So moving away from the rapier-side of things I do, I'm pretty excited to head to Albany for Coronation next month. I've never been to a Coronation. I've heard it's basically court, with a side of court, and a big heaping of court for dessert, but I actually don't mind court all that much. I always love seeing people getting recognized for their achievements, and it's fun to people watch. And the best part of all is we get to stay overnight away from home for a night. And we'll be staying where everyone else is, as well. It should be a damn fun (and late) night.
There may be an update before then, I'm not sure. I have a handful of practices between now and then, and I'll probably post something about how the Rose Tourney goes.