Wednesday, October 17, 2007


The Guy hinted on Monday that we would be doing freeplay on Wednesday. This fact had a lot to do with my decision to expand my lungs by jogging yesterday and made my perking up and giving myself that long-overdue arm and shoulder massage on Monday night a fortunate circumstance indeed. I also made sure to eat well and rest enough today in order to tolerate the gruelling horror of a heavy training session and dozens of pressure drills which tend to precede freeplay; we assume this is to tire people out before letting them try to bash each other over the head and body with heavy swords.

But delightfully, the class was no more tiring than ordinary and pressure drill were noticeable by their absence, so that everyone got into bouting fresh and, well, rested might be slightly too strong a word, but at least we weren't exhausted half to death.

I got good blows in at the start of my first two bouts, first with Maaret and then with Topi, who called the one I got him with a nice one and commented that I had become a much more aggressive fighter lately and attacked more. Heh, and I was always the most aggressive of the salle's lady fighters! After a good start my performance went downhill, probably mostly due to fatigue which I didn't notice at the time. One problem I keep having with Topi is that in freeplay, I'm terrified of him! So of course I had to attack him as soon as I may to end it before my fear got the best of me. Unfortunately, this not being a battle, the bout still outlasted my nerve and he solidly beat me into a heap.

To sum up what I learned about my own freeplay:
  • I still can't get from low to high and keep getting hit in the head.
  • I get stuck in frontale, unable to yield or attack. (At least I'm not the only one spending half their time standing in the quintessential Oh Shit Guard.)
  • Against The Guy, it really doesn't help me to patiently wait for him to attack because when he does so, he's too fast to actually see very well.
Some of the highlights of the session included:
  • Topi catching The Guy and absolute beaut of a point right below the ribs.
  • The Guy and Ilkka closing in for zhogo stretto and The Guy's sword sliding at high speed across floor to be stopped by an onlooker.
  • The Guy literally throwing Ilkka to the floor.
  • Maaret's last attack being followed through properly and putting a point in The Guy's face.
One of the low points was my final action of hitting our German visitor in the knee with my point. Fortunately it was just a muscle but at the time, I thought I'd fractured his kneecap. Leave it to me to inflict injury during class or freeplay.

Fourth drill

Yes, in the final counter your blade must be inside the circle of your partner's arms and blade even though this leaves their blade between yours and your face, because when you ram that point through your partner's visor and into their brain, reducing them to quivering brain death, you won't care if their blade flaps weakly against your mask., I mean when you gently tap your partner's mask with the point of your sword to let them know you hit them, then you won't care if etc.

And how very annoying it is when, after you've done the technique correctly half a dozen times, got second thoughts and revised it to keep your blade with you while still hitting your partner, then The Guy comes along and berates you for doing the wrong technique... and finding yourself unable to replicate your earlier flawless performance when he is demonstrating. Aaaargh!


I met an actual reader in class on Monday - someone who reads this blog but who didn't know me beforehand. Wow. And they're from out of town, too. Double wow.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tears and jolly good fun

Wednesday two weeks ago: Auri's body refuses to cooperate in class, resulting in an exhausted collapse into a weeping heap. (Literally. I couldn't stop crying and I couldn't get up to leave. Guy had to prod me, verbally only, thank goodness, for me to move my arse out of the salle. Part of the energy to move was my annoyance at his slanderous statement that it was my inability to learn "this stuff" that made me cry.)

Since then: Auri's younger daughter has an operation (relatively simple stuff) and starts recuperating well. Auri has a long meaningful discussion with her husband in which decisions are made. Our family starts returning to a semblance of normal life.

Yesterday: Auri gains much enjoyment and learning from the lesson.

In short, my younger daughter's operation and all the attendant stress and misery have been wreaking havoc on my training motivation and energy levels, and certain relationship and life issues with my husband have been draining me further - but noticing nothing, I thought the problem was me and specifically old age gaining on me. Sorting out these two problem areas (no matter how temporarily) has brought back my joy in learning swordsmanship. Sometimes the problem isn't nearly as complicated as it seems. Actually, I think the problem is never as complicated as it seems.