This post was about to be titled:

What I Learned From Watching My Fencing in the Tir Righ CASBa Rapier Tourney

But I figured that wouldn’t work well for a link.  If you’re wondering how the A&S portion was it was great.  I had a lot of fun judging a food entry and got to judge a bardic entry for the first time.  Now back to the Rapier.

So this is going to be my reactions as I watch my fighting on Don Godfrey’s videos.  His YouTube account is here:

First three fights, three shots at that opening over my right arm.  Two parried one let through. That is not very efficient.  Fight four wasn’t bad, just proof that I need to work on my right hand parries and my left hand fighting in general.

Continuing on I seem to be the only one falling to show who won.  This is especially weird in the double kills.  I fall down and my opponent just calls it out.  When did fencers stop falling down when they get hit?

I manage a perfect shot against a gentleman with a buckler hitting him on the forehead while executing a perfect dagger parry low left.  Why can’t all my attacks go like that 🙂

Fighting against Donna Gemma I make the mistake of stopping inside her measure, and then don’t have full control of either of her weapons when I attack.

I’m getting a disproportionate number of dagger kills.  Perhaps people in the interior aren’t as used to dagger attacks?  Or I’m just really ready to bring my second blade into play.

Bad parry on my side when I attacked Ewein, let him slip right under my dagger. And a perfect cut to Kian’s face to make up for it.  Clearly need more practice fighting bucklers, I don’t move Godfrey’s around at all before he pezzes me in the head.  A re-fight as I ran someone into the ropes by accident, and get a tic to the side of the head on the re-fight.  And that rounds out my first pass with everyone.

Second round seems to be off to a good start.  Still not sure why other people don’t fall down.  It’s hard to tell the result from long distance.  Three wins to start off the round though.  One against buckler too.  It seems like I”m now compensating for the hole that was in my guard at the beginning of the previous round.

I seem to be struggling, letting my opponent pick the distance.  That’s a sloppy finish.  I’m down, but looks like it may have been a double kill.  I don’t remember how we called it on the floor – again problem with falling down when dead.

And that’s the first video.

Video #2:

First fight and it’s going well, some nice Swetnam styling, the unorthodox stance seems to be throwing off my opponent.  A nice guarded lunge, quick bob back of my head to avoid a cut, coming back in, dagger on his rapier, loose contact but I keep going in, and double kill.  Woops.  Should have listened to Swetnam.  Return to guard after the lunge.  Pressing your opponent’s great, but it’s safer to make the attack and recover.  That probably would have been better.  I was betting on his being disoriented by my previous attack and was heady with being able to put him off his guard so well that I let him slip past my dagger.

Next up I’m fighting one of the Dons.  Not sure which one.  I get a pair of good parries in while closing the distance, have him on the defensive.  I manage to control his blade with my dagger and advance. He’s fighting single sword so his only real defense is to retreat. He retreats quickly and almost into the ropes and I call a hold.  We reset.  I make a lunge as soon as he steps into range, turning it into a parry as he responds with a lunge.  Slight move offline, then push in, keeping his rapier under control, come in with a dagger thrust to his sword arm and a cut up the armpit.  That’s my only win against a Don the whole tournament.

If it seems like I”m taking more time with these fights I am.  But that’s because I seem to have warmed up and am fencing better in this second half of the tourney than I was in the first.

Next up looks like I”m fighting Sir Stein.  I begin with a few feints and quick thrusts and lunges to see how his guard works. After a bit he returns the attack and I parry it foible to foible, then rotate my torso bringing my dagger onto his rapier and clearing mine.  I make a low thrust and he drops his blade to parry it low, but I angle my blade up and thrust to his chest over his guard, he just manages to parry it under his armpit, raises his blade to clear it and moves to attack. I adjust my rapier to guard against his incoming dagger thrust and parry his rapier with my dagger.  We’re squared to each other with my blades inside his. He drops his blade to try and cut my face and I managed to parry it over my head with my dagger while stepping back and bring my rapier back inline only to have him parry me.  We both step back with no one hit and restart.  That would have been much more impressive if I had withdrawn and managed a thrust to the chest.  He’s really good at parrying.

Our re fight is short.  He attacks my sword arm (that hole again), but this time I get the parry in, stepping forward and pushing his rapier offline while at the sametime fouling up his dagger line.  A step in with my left foot and I hit him in the chest with a dagger thrust.  I remember my fights against him being the most enjoyable bout in the tournament.

Fencing Don Godfrey again.  And looks like my guard is too tight in.  I can see the opening over my right hand.  I throw a quick thrust to his dagger hand and take it.  And there’s the first mistake.  I don’t leave measure after taking his hand, instead I let Godfrey get set up and comfortable at his favorite range.  I can see a low attack coming, I move to parry what I’m expecting to be his normal low thrust to my gut and as soon as I commit he raises his tip, rotates his hand and elbow and hits me in the mask before I can get my dagger up to parry.  The perils of fighting someone too much in practice.  When they bring out something new it’s completely unexpected.  I clearly was anticipating too much, moving to counter his attack before he had committed.

Next fight is short and sweet, I cut my opponent to the side of the head after they lunged without controlling my weapon and I easily parried it off to the side with my dagger.

And I’m fighting someone with a buckler.  Loose my dagger hand on the first pass. And loose my right hand.  Can’t see how it happened on the video.

A fight with Alejandro that ends well for me, though very close in and not super clean.

Next up looks like a double kill with me not pushing hard enough on my dagger parry.

Fighting Ewein again, and again I let him control the distance.  I don’t last long.

Finally a pretty fight.  I get a nice cut across his chest and both arms after he makes an unguarded attack.

Next up, I parry too wide trying to cover that hole in my guard, he coupe’s and I’m hit with a beautiful shot to my armpit.

Final fight and Kian gets a sweet shot straight into that hole in the guard.

Overall things I noticed:  Yes there’s a hole in my guard, but I’m getting better at closing it, however I need to close the hole rather than just moving quickly to defend it. I need a lot of work on my footwork.  I’m moving forward and back well, but less well side to side.  Maybe I need to take up dancing again.  Most of my wins have been when I bait my opponent into an attack, parry it and close to attack – apparently I was listening when Godfrey was teaching me how to brawl.  My dagger parries need to be stronger, opponents are able to go through them with enough force.  Perhaps push further forward and out on a parry?  The majority of fights were clean, some a little sloppy, but much less slop than there used to be.

Ok, looking at this from Swetnam’s thoughts:

  1. A good guard – I’ve got that gaping hole that I need to close.  An inch to the right should do it.
  2. True observing of distance – With a few minor exceptions I did a good job of this.
  3. To know the place – I didn’t have any attacks where I didn’t know where it was going.  This is a huge improvement over the poke and pray I was doing a year ago.
  4. To take time – Very much managed this, nearly all my attacks were in response to a failed attack by my opponent.
  5. To keep space – I had some issues here, it usually ended up with me loosing, but when I remembered to defend myself in between attacks and to separate my attacks I did better.
  6. Patience – Did very well here.  I didn’t get angry or frustrated in any of my fights.
  7. Often practice – Still on it.

So not a bad day of fencing.  Some things to improve next week, but other than that a good tourney.



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