Monday, August 29, 2016

Brennan & Caoilfhionn's Ducal Challenge I

Saturday the 27th was Brennan & Caoilfhionn's First Ducal Challenge. You may remember the post I made two weeks ago showing that I made a thing for it. I hadn't expected to go to the event, but due to car problems, I ended up being in the area for the event, and decided to go. I never planned on participating in the Rapier tournament, but it turns out I'm feeling good enough to fight again. So I fought!

The prizes. The half in the foreground were the prizes for rapier combatants, background were fore heavy combatants.
Photo by Christy Page

Before we get to the event on Saturday, we're  going to discuss practice on Tuesday. I as staying with Alesone in Philly for the week, so we crashed the practice in Glen Gardner. I decided to give fencing a shot to see if my body could handle it. Everyone at the practice was very warm and inviting, and I instantly felt like I belonged there. That's not normal for me at a practice. Usually things feel a little weird, even at a practice I've been to dozens of times.

I started the practice fighting slow with Yehuda and I brought my dagger. By the time we finished, we were going close to full speed (well, as fast as my body would allow me to go). I then fought Rónán, who I had never fought. That was fun and I look forward to fighting him a lot more in the future when he's not already tired from fighting Alesone. I then decided to fight Alesone myself, but bring out the cloak. I made a few mistakes, but it was a good time nonetheless. At the end of the night, Master Orlando wanted a few passes with me. So we fought each other using cloak, and he tested me the whole time. He is also a lefty with a cloak (or was when I fought him), which makes things interesting; I fight so few leftys, and so few cloaks.

As I am moving to Philadelphia next week, I look forward to attending that practice much more once I am able to after the move. There are also a whole slew of practices within an hour and a half that I'm hoping to get to once we move down there. I'm excited at the prospects.

After the practice and I realized my body could take it, I decided I needed to get back into fighting shape, and quick. I spoke with Frasier, and we decided I need to do drills daily - if I don't have practice or an event - with a sword in my hand. I have already started building muscle mass back up in my left arm after only about 5 days of this. I'm making a huge push to up my game, become a better fighter, and get into better shape.

OK, so now to the event. The format was done in the way that Kings and Queens championships happen, pretty much as preparation for that tournament in the near future: smaller pools done as a round robin with the top 16  moving on to a double elimination, best two-out-of-three tournament. I came out about in the middle of the pack in my pool, going 3 and 5. But since we had 18 fighters enter and a top 16, I made it into the double elim portion.

A trouble of fencers gathering to hear the format of the tournament.
Photo by Christy Page
I had warmed up against Llewellyn using my cloak. Things weren't clicking, and the air was dead, so cloak ended up being a poor choice. I used it twice during the tournament itself before I dropped it for my dagger. I think the dagger will be my weapon of choice until everything starts to click again. Trying to shake off rust while rebuilding strength in my arm - the cloak is just too much to worry about while doing this.

As I said, I made it into the top 16. I went W, L, L in the first round; W, W in the second; and L, L to be knocked out in the third. I made a lot of mistakes I know I shouldn't have made, but people were telling me I looked pretty good. I wasn't in the right frame of mind and I was rusty, so still looking good is OK in my book. I was offered a few pointers to help in the future, and I was also asked for some pointers by another combatant.

Melkior and myself fighting while Declan marshals our fight.
Photo by Christy Page
And there were prizes! The way the tournament worked was every entrant needed to supply a prize made by hand - either their own hand or someone to sponsor them. The person who came in first got to choose whichever prize they wanted. The artist of the chosen prize then got to pick what they wanted. The second place combatant then picked a prize, which was followed by the artist of the chosen prize. It continued in this way until all the prizes were chosen. The cloak I had made was chosen by Master Orlando during his placement pick, and I then chose an awesome wool felt bag made by Engracia. I joked with her saying it was going to fit in nicely with the rest of my stuff because it already came with cat fur inside of it.

Wool felt bag with trim strap made by Engracia. This was my prize in the tournament.
Photo by Cathy Griswold.
So it was a good day, I know a lot of things I need to work on, and I got to fight a great many people I have never fought (but will be fighting frequently as soon as the move is completed). I was exhausted by the end of the day. I had no energy to do anything. But I had a good time. I really look forward to it again next year!