Jean Paul's Fighting Page

February 15, 2000 Practice at the Mission. I had taken a trip to Santa Clara California, so I hauled my armor with me to the practice that was held there in Santa Clara, at the Mission College.

This turned out to be one of the most intense practices that I have ever partaken in to date. There were 2 dukes, 4 knights (6 if you count the dukes), a Viscount, and bout six squires, and about 10 other unbelted fighters. Hell, I've been to Baronial events with lower turnouts than that. Feeling a bit anxious, I put on my armor and went out to fight.

Now the first thing that I noticed as "strange" was that almost everybody from the west kingdom (there were a couple of transplants who originally were from out of kingdom but now lived in the west) started out doing slow work. And it wasn't just one or two of them, but all of them. I talked this over later on in the evening with Merlin (more on him later) and its built into the west philosophy that slow work bridges the gap between working on the pell, and full speed fighting. It lets the pell (your opponent) move and react, but also gives you enough time to think about your next shot before throwing it. Additionally it allows you to try new attacks/defences without paying a painful cost. I could also see that it would help stretch you out and build up your endurance to boot. I talked with Angus after I got back, and we decided that we were going to add pell work into our repetoir.

The other thing I notice about the West's fighting style (or at least this regions of the West) is how pretty it is. The shots were big, circular, fast, and elegant looking. The exchanges looked dynamic, and there was a lot of good footwork. In addition, there were a lot of strange, wrist-flipping shots that I hadn't seen a lot of in Ansteorra. Now a good part of that is probably based upon the size of their shields, which on a average were bout 20"x28" or so. Our big Ansteorran shields block a lot of the shots that we throw, and without those big ole shields in the way, the Westies were able to throw several different kind of shots.

While talking between fights, I met Merlin. Now, I could spend several pages talking bout Merlin (or just transcripting our talks, we stayed up till 4 am talking that night) and one subject that sticks in my mind was what he called the 5 components of fighting : speed, power, footwork, execution, and timing (I think thats correct). He said that great fighters master 4 of those, good fighters 3, and decent fighters 2. I haven't mastered any, but I find it a good way to think about other fighters. For example Angus, is good speed, good power, good footwork. Execution and timing are not as good as the other three. Asoph is great execution, good power, decent speed, decent footwork, very good timing. I think its more something to think about with regards to classifying other fighters. I also wonder if this is a modified version of The Five Rings by Musashi.

I could keep writing for hours, but I got a life, so I'll sum up my impression of the West.

1) Good fighters. Not any better than Ansteorrans, but good.

2) Better teachers. They seemed to have their manner for teaching people down pretty rote. Seemed the age of the Kingdom kinda works in their favor.

3) Very proud of being first Kingdom. They were never shy about it or very modest. Merlin kinda summed it up "We started this once, we could do it again."

In service to the Kingdom and Mooneschadowe

Jean Paul de Sens
Seconde, Lion Dragon Guard

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