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Journey to the Crusades, 9/22 just down the road

I'm Armored Combat Marshal for Journey to the Crusades down here in Caer Gelynniog (Fluvanna, near Charlottesville) in two weeks. If you'd like a day of melees and training, please consider coming down.

Crash space is available!

Authorizations begin at 10:30.
Combat to begin immediately after, or no earlier than 11 AM.
For those used to "SCA time" please be advised that I work very hard to START ON TIME!

Planned armored combat activities include a warlord tourney with field obstacles, post-bout training and analysis and other scenarios to prepare for Crusades as time and numbers allow.

Details at

I think I have to skip the feast so I can rescue the dogs.

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Was Saturday the Last Day of Good Weather?

Photo by Skorri.

Less humid than Friday, but still good and warm. I had an average performance in Tarl's polearm tourney for me, feeling a bit tired and placing tenth, but I did beat Sir Maynard of the Flyfishing Pole the one time we fought, and he won the tourney. He ran backwards flicking a very long whippy unpadded pole at my head, hitting me light four times.
There were four kinds of polearms in evidence at Tarl's tourney:

  • Proper, padded polearms: maybe five or seven of these.
  • OK, "doubled up" unpadded poles, where something had been done to show a head: Only two of them.
  • 5 to 6 foot unpadded poles that seemed to have been chosen for stiffness and heft. More than half.
  • 7.5 foot flyfishing poles that don't handle one bit like a real weapon. All the rest.

Every time I got hit by one of the unpadded weapons, I had to ask if I'd been hafted. How else would I know?

Later, I helped Jonathan finish his half gauntlet and was denied a chance to buy a nice cross-hilted shlager broadsword at Darkwood because Roland bought the only one they brought.

Colin, Clare and the kids arrived, which meant the camp was at capacity.

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Videos from Storvik Novice Tourney & Caer Mear Practice

You're better off saving these to your desktop, rather than watching them in a browser window.

Both require Quicktime. is the finals from Storvik Novice. is Amos & Aradd at Caer Mear.

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Assessment Report

Friday night Robear and Alicia and Jonathan stayed over so we could get an early start in the morning.

Jonathan and I polished helms after I cooked dinner.
In the morning, we all had a plush drive in Robear's monster van to the site. I got a nap on the way.

The day was hot, but tolerable. About 50 armored combatants came out.

Things seemed to really take a long time to get started, and it really looked like the marshals needed to get moving faster once the authorizing fighters assembled. I put a bit of push onto that, but not as much as I should.

Jonathan Authorizing Jonathan authorized! He also fought all day long, almost. His loaned warshield broke just before the last portal battle, and he was done from the heat. We now have two fully authorized SCA fighters who are UVa students. That's almost a record. Considering the number of "nearly ready" fighters who will be back on campus in a month, I imagine by mid-fall, we'll be at 5! Picture by Skorri.

Yes, he's wearing my "Mod 2" aketon, which was new in 1994, when Thorbrandr was prince. And that's Colin's old helm.

For the first time in quite a while, I felt like I had a good day on the melee field with pole and spear. I found myself in the right place to do some real work in each of the three field battles, which I fought with polearm. In each of those, I tagged several people, usually at least one of the opposing knights. One count said a chest shot "was pretty hard."

Later, with spear in the bridge battles, I found myself hitting challenging shots onto the charging opponents, often from "over the top" of our defenders. Those are the kind of shots I don't usually get because in that press I'm constantly getting bumped, having someone step in front of me, or some other interference. In all the bridges, I think I only died to Kymber's bolts.

There was lots of discussion about how I had suddenly found the fountain of youth--in other words, that Jonathan looks like me, twenty years ago. Colin says one of us needs to shave our beards. It will only get worse when I get a haircut this week! But it did generate a potential SCA name for Jonathan--someone else thought up "Aloisius" and I added "Cortez" for the fountain of youth. Somehow, I don't think he'll go for it.

Northerners should feel ashamed of their limited attendance. Compare the DC area 3 hour drive to one fine fellow who made the trip from Border Vale Keep, a 7+ hour drive. My applause to those (ten?) northerner armored combatants who made it, but where the the other 30 of you?

Today I'm not too tired or too sore. I guess the Wii is helping my conditioning!

Tomorrow is a big regional practice in Caer Mear, with people from Tir-y-don, Isenfir and Black Diamond all converging on the regular Tuesday Caer Mear practice. Come on out!

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This Explains Some Fighting "Instructors" I Know: Dunning-Kruger Effect

The Dunning-Kruger effect is the phenomenon whereby people who have little knowledge systematically think that they know more than others who have much more knowledge.

  1. incompetent individuals tend to overestimate their own level of skill,
  2. incompetent individuals fail to recognize genuine skill in others,
  3. incompetent individuals fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy,
  4. if they can be trained to substantially improve their own skill level, these individuals can recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill.

From Wikipedia.

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Movies from Practice

This morning, I'm editing and uploading a bunch of movies of yesterday's practice.

  • Corby & Philip, 132 MB. Music by They Might be Giants! You're probably better off downloading the file than watching it in the browser.

I've purposely made these large files because higher quality video makes it easier to see what's going on. But if these are choking your computer, let me know and I'll provide other sizes. Requires Quicktime, you PC punks. Check back throughout the day, there will be more.

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Teaching Field Awareness

Wired has a very interesting article on the research underway to understand how atheletes view their game. Definitely worth a read.

The perhaps surprising thing they reveal is that this is teachable.

Makes me wonder if we can fit the funky goggles onto our helmets.

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Sapphire Plans and other Wine-infused Thursday Evening Thoughts

So, I'll head out to Sapphire tomorrow night after finishing packing. Gotfried and Mark are going to stay over and house/dog sit, so I can stay on site. Hooray!

It'll be interesting to see if my back is better after sleeping on the Aero bed Friday night. Perhaps the short commute will make up for my generally unrecovered-from-illness feeling I have. My joints and such feel cranky. Perhaps I can convert that to mean and sneaky.

Sleeping on site Friday and Saturday night allows for lots of extra socializing, reducing my carbon footprint, and allows for some catching up with people whom I might otherwise not have a chance to talk to until War. For some reason I am reminded of the Pennsic evening I hung out at Marinus camp to discuss household with Evja, several years ago. I'm sad she won't be at the event and hope her job situation improves soon.

Thjora is off in Seattle for 4 days, so I'll be bachelor'ing it this weekend. Watch out Svetlana! I might say embarrassing things!

On other topics, my writing style changes pretty markedly after 2-3 glasses of wine (duh) and it is a grievous shame that Carnivale was cancelled after just a couple of seasons. And what's with the people who whined that "it was hard to follow"? I expected something like Twin Peaks or Eraserhead. Carnivale is down right linear compared to those.

Ok, that's enough stream of consciousness for tonight.

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Pimmit Practice with Duke Paul this Sunday

Atlantian Combat :: View topic - Annual Atlantian Duke Paul Training 17- 21 May 07

Barring terrible weather, Philip and I plan to attend this coming Sunday's Pimmit Park fight practice in Falls Church. We'll drive up that morning. Click here for directions. 

I'm coming to this one because one of the most recognized teachers of armored combat in the known world will be there--Duke Paul of Bellatrix, the man who essentially invented "open" style shield work.  I hope you can make it out! 

Charlottesville local folks who want to make the trip--we may have room in the car. Get in touch.  Maybe we can grab some food after.

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New Dog Toy Polearm Cross Guard

IMG_3313.JPG  Here's Max helping to show off my new find, an "Orka" brand dog toy that may serve well as a cross guard or mace head. This is the largest size they make. It cost $12 at Target.  As made, its openings are too small to fit legal rattan through.  IMG_3318.JPG  However, cutting off about half an inch of an end, there's now a 1 1/4" hole all the way through to the other end, which also needs to be cut off. First I used a pocket knife to make the initial cut, then I used leather shears which worked even better. After that I remembered I have a band saw, and used that for the second cut. The rubber tries to bind the blade, but that's the best way to cut it. Just go slow.  IMG_3319.JPG  This is as far down the rattan as I could get it without some sort of lubricant, at least with any hope of getting it off again. It is  quite snug but I think a bit of water will allow me to move it where I want. Placed here, it really makes me want to hit something with it. But these points are way too stiff to use as is for a striking surface.  My initial plan is to use them as cross guards at the bottom of the blade.  I'll have this ready to try for Tournament of Chivalry this weekend. Hey I just found that Amazon sells these cheaper than Target or PetSmart.  That link takes you to the thrusting tip.   This one takes you to the cross guard/mace head.

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