The Horned Crown Approaches!

Just a quick post today as the next leg of the IHFL is coming up on Saturday and I want to save my writing skills for the review next week.

Practice this week was excellent. Me and one of the other guys in the sparring group are heading to Wexford for the Horned Crown competition and wanted to get in as much fully kitted, steel longsword sparring as possible to help us prepare. We even managed some actual technical drilling on a few things as well. It was pointed out to me that (when reviewing video of the Blademaster’s Cup) I wasn’t being as aggressive as some of the higher scoring qualifiers and that winners often used three move combinations when making their hits. An example of this would be blocking the opponent’s strike with an Absetzen, thrusting toward the opponent’s face and then when they reciprocated with offsetting pressure to the thrust, leaving the bind to make a strike to a now disregarded opening. So we drilled some variations on that theme, some 1-2-3s and some more direct double moves. I particularly wanted to focus on what to do when my opponent makes the inevitable opening Zornhau; what footwork and timing was required to take control of their weapon, remain covered by my own and land a blow on a ‘deep target‘.

The Horned Crown will be using an interesting scoring system which allows the fighter to continue an exchange after using a technique that targets the hands if they then continue on to strike a higher value target and maintain control of the hands/weapon. This is an attempt to make the scoring more accurately represent a lethal clash of arms. I have an entire post planned to look at scoring systems so I’m going to drop this until a later date. I want to see how this proposed system works before I get stuck into the topic as a whole. I have reservations based on how consistently this can be judged and whether I can take advantage of the opportunity for additional points as it will require a different tactical approach. I for one fear change…

My new Wrathful Peasant patch takes centre stage.

In non-fighting news I received a long awaited parcel this week, containing some custom made Velcro patches. I really like personalisation and have been very lucky with this particular idea. The design, by fellow fencer Michael Nolan, has come out looking very tidy as an embroidered patch. The price wasn’t too exorbitant but I only had five patches made so they were always going to be somewhat pricey. I’ll be getting my sewing kit out tonight to attach one to my kit.

I’ve also been in contact with Neyman Fencing about their leg and arm protection. I currently use riot gear for both my forearm/elbow and shin/knee guards. The protection is very good but the fit and feel are far from ideal. My fault, I suppose, as I am definitely not as big as the average skull cracker in the Met. Police.

I’ve had my eye on the Neyman gear for a while and a well timed 20% off promotion has just about cinched it for me. My main concern is that they are described as “semi-rigid” pads and the Irish League requires “hard shells” for both elbows and knees. Discussion with the league organisers has come out inconclusive; they have never seen the Neyman pads and so can’t make a ruling on their suitability until they do. Fair enough but that means I would have to take the plunge and see. I think I can fashion some hard shells that can be added if the don’t pass muster. The guys at Neyman are pretty confident, they’ve never been deemed insufficient by other leagues/events. I’ll be a bit put out if they aren’t acceptable but the risk is mine to take. Either way I should end up with some excellent pads, if they are anywhere near as good as the jackets and gloves I have seen from this company I will be very pleased!

That’s your lot for this week, wish me luck at the Horned Crown (yes, even you potential rivals for victory).


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