Well the week has been pretty slow on the HEMA front really, I have been slightly ill. Too ill to do any training anyway. Needless to say I’m not very happy with the situation, I’ve got the last leg of the IHFL coming up and I’m feeling a bit rusty. I hope that two evenings of sparring this coming week will warm me back up for the “26 Commandments” event on Saturday the 14th.
The ruleset that Sword of the West looks interesting. Scoring is pretty much the norm but the structure of the bouts is really quite experimental; sort of like a formalised, scored fechtschule using teams and rotating through opponents. They are using a scoring system where everyone starts each bout with 7 points, when one player is reduced to 0 the fight is over. It’s similar to last year’s rules in that regard; I had misgivings before the event but it actually worked quite well in the end. It did promote caution in attack and qualty defence as intended. The basic tenents of sword fighting – stay out of danger and land more telling hits than you recieve, ideally none – still hold true for any system. The details are just that and hopefully won’t get in the way too much. Experimental systems seem to be more pressure on the organisers than the fencers anyway. Check out the rules for yourselves here. I will be doing a full review and discussion after the event of course.
There have been a few people taking an interest in coming down to the club. Our woes in that area won’t be solved overnight and certainly not if I have to miss any more nights. The regulars are putting out the word to prospects and people who have been busy over the summer are strting to raise their heads for swording once again. Maybe we’ll get up to the magic number of 6 regulars! I’m setting my sights low but realstic at this point.
On the equipment front I’ve been trying to combat the damp atmosphere of County Clare by looking at ways to keep my kit dry. I bought 100s of those little silica gel packets on Amazon and have been scattering them around my stuff like petals at a wedding. I also cracked open a chemical de-humidifier and put the pellets from inside into a sock and hung it inside my jacket to keep the air in there a bit dryer. It turns out this was a BIG MISTAKE! The pellets just pulled moisture out of the air into the sock which dissolved the pellets. The resulting salty water then soaked into the jacket. This meant that when I came to look at the jacket it was literally soaked where the sock was, so I hung it in the sun, hung it by the fire and basically tried everything I could to dry it out. If it had been just water then I am sure this would have been good enough but unfortunately it was salty water. No matter how dry I got the jacket, the salt just drew water out the air and the next day it was wet again. Intially I thought it was happening because there was moisture still sitting inside the padding and seeping back out overnight. I spent about a week swearing and scratching my head before I managed to work out what was really going on. Once the lightbulb had lit up I did a full hand wash of the jacket to get rid of the salt and then hung it out to dry (again). Success! The jacket has finally dried, only took the best part of three weeks!
I’ve been in contact with a blade-smith in Hungary to make enquiries about a set of custom sword. It’s my 40th next year and I think I deserve a toy or two as a prize for reaching such a milestone. I’ve been looking at a new feder for competitions/sparring, a sharp longsword for test cutting and a type XIV arming sword for Sword & Buckler. They will all be made to match and to my measurements. I want to get (what I call) a Claymore style crossguard; forward swept rather than perpendicular to the blade. I mean of course the two handed claymore and not the basket hilted one. I have seen a couple I like and I want to get a modern-styled one with to trefoils/quatrefoils. Hopefully the smith won’t have too much trouble with the customisation and at the moment the waiting list isn’t too bad.
I’m really only worried about the arming sword as I have no idea whether it will be suitable for competitive fencing or if it will be a more technical practice piece; the maker hasn’t come back to me on this yet. The problem with authentic looking arming sword is that they are hard to make in such a way that you get the same shape as the real deal and the flexibility of a feder. I think Regenyei do a one-handed feder type sword which is used in competitions like Swordfish but I would like to have a more ‘swordy’ looking one. Still, watch this space and I’ll keep you up to date on it all. As we say down at the East Clare Sparring Group “Nobody will ever be lying on their deathbed regrettiing they had bought too many swords”.
That’s more or less what I’ve been thinking a doing HEMA-wise this week. If you want to get in touch about this or any other post then you can use the comments section or the Wrathful Peasants facebook page.