Got a message from Brogan on Wednesday to call him, so I did - he had to go out of town suddenly and would I be willing to portage loaner gear to rapier practice and then bring it to the event on Saturday? We made the exchange on Wednesday, I got it to BART last night and we were able to kit out the Usual Suspects.
James had checked out Young's Trading Co. (where I got my jika tabi) and showed up with his new kendo gi and hakama, jika tabi and a red martial arts belt. (Yet I am not allowed to order linen for rapier armor because I don't know how much we'll need for whatever it is Sylvia is intending to wear to fight in. I'm going with a modified shitagi
for me and James - lengthening sleeves to provide underarm protection and necessary 3" overlap with gloves and other garments. WANNA SEW!)
Without Brogan there, it was just Staffan doing marshal/coaching duty. I fenced with Sylvia, Brian, James and Emma (but somehow missed fighting her dad). We're all in various stages of rank beginner and it's hard to know what to do sometimes. Still not seeing things fast enough, if at all. Finally got some work in with Staffan towards the end (of course, when it was getting hard to see and when I was tired). One thing I have seemed to figure out and use with reasonable effect is the draw cut - if all else fails, I drag my blade against whatever part of my opponent is handy as I try to retreat. I also came home with an exercise on practicing disengaging my blade which involves me, my trusty wooden dowel and a nearby doorknob.
Both the guys are good coaches - always have positive, encouraging things to say, so one feels like one is making a little progress. Brogan tends to keep things simple, while Staffan doesn't mind getting a little more technical. Technical is actually good - I'm not a natural athlete, so being able to break down a process into more than just, "Do this!" is as useful as "Do this!" to me.
Met up with J&S at their place Saturday AM and headed up to Napa for the War of the Relic. James got authorized as a rapier marshal. (I watched and paid attention as I may very well do so myself at some point.) The rapier tourney used a positively diabolical format (designed by Staffan), a round robin in which each participant had to roll D12 dice which would determine which weapons they had to use in which hand for a given round. Crazy, fun and plenty challenging for the four authorized fencers who played. They also decided to do a few barroom brawl scenarios on the gazebo.
More photos here http://www.flickr.com/photos/70104978@N00/sets/72157630690395420/with/7619926348/
It was easily in the 90s, so J&S had brought several flats of water for everyone to avail themselves of and I'd contributed some snacky bits. When asked if we still-unauthorized fighters wanted to do some pickups, James and Sylvia declined - they're still relatively unacclimated to the hotter, drier inland microclimates, but I felt fine, so I geared up (I was wearing my linen hakama and plaid kosode over a sports tank and capri length yoga pants, so I just dropped it all, stepped into Lady James'* modern fencing jacket and pulled my stuff back on over it). We went down the hill to a shady spot on the trail with both a rustic gateway and a small wooden footbridge for some two-on-two melee. Sylvain was kind enough to pair up with me, and Brogan and Angharad were our opponents. I died a lot, but did manage to trade my life for Angharad's a couple times and even nailed Brogan with a sneaky slow thrust while defending the gate - I just waited for him to be focused on Sylvain and then slowly closed with him. I may never get away with that one again, but it was pretty neat at the time. It was also a good test of fighting in existing garb - the hakama didn't trip me up or get caught on anything and I felt comfortable, if hot. (*Brogan's lady's SCA name is James Bacon. It's completely documentable as a female name late in period and it suits her - it's just going to make this blog entry confusing!)
We all went down the street after the event to the Black Bear Diner. Plans have been made for a field trip to Victory Fencing in Millbrae next Saturday so J, S and I can get masks, with a gorget-making party at their place to follow. I got measurements and put in a linen order last night before bed. After wearing a nylon fencing jacket under my garb on a 95 degree day I WANT MY LINEN! And James has been very kind and tolerant about my stinking up her kit, which makes me all the more conscious that I should get my own together as soon as possible so she doesn't need to share it with me. (Though she had just finished a heavy linen leine to fight in.)
Gonna meet Sylvia at Civic Center BART at noon and take the bus out to Golden Gate Park for the Cloondara practice this afternoon. Should be a beautiful day for it.
Yeh, I'm hooked, can you tell?
In other news, my phone bleated at me at the diner. It was Ishida, texting to tell me he'd received his AoA. (Still can't believe it hadn't occurred to anyone locally to recommend him, so I was glad to instigate.)