Monday, January 5, 2015

Time to refocus: Uncle Olaf and his axe.

At our annual Outpost event Fall Frolic in September, we have our Shire Championship tournament. This is a tournament held to determine the rattan champion for the Shire for the coming year. Not really making a conscious decision, I fought the tournament solely with my axe. I used it in all my fights till the finals against Rhys, and then basically decided to "dance with the one that brought me"... and finished the tournament with it.

This event, and a look back at the last few months of fighting prompted a decision to refocus my energies on my axe fighting. I built a new axe, as close as possible to my steel dane axe, and have fought with only axes since then. I did fight sword and shield at one Coldwood practice, against Aiden.

It has been good for me, I think. I had become a bit complacent in throwing shots I knew worked much of the time, and stopped exploring what the axe could really do. Fighting the axes every practice (both my shorter dane axe and longer war axe) against whatever weapons forms my opponents were fighting really made me step back and evaluate what the axe is capable of doing, and figure out how to make myself capable of letting it do that. I have also been watching some axe tutorials on Youtube...  ones I have watched before, but going over them again and picking up stuff, or remembering things I forgot. Duke Eikbrandr's video and Duke Tomuki's videos are some of my favorites.

I have focused keeping the tempo up and firing multiple shots... not just combos, but  shots to displace shields and then strike, or shots to set my opponents stance or move them where I want them. This, combined with the faster tempo, can create gaps in or completely overwhelm a defense. It requires more stamina... I am moving an axe quickly and alot... so I have tried to work on that.

One of the ways I have been working on stamina, tempo, and targeting is by using an axe. Not my SCA rattan axe, but a steel one. In a blog by Christian Cameron he discusses what he believes to be
an important training tool in period... chopping wood. I agree with most of his points, and during Closing of the Inne this year, when I could not fight due to an injury, I chopped wood. ALOT of wood.... all weekend. Wood really is the fuel source that warms you twice... once when you chop it, once when you burn it. It also, as Mr. Cameron discusses, really requires technique and precision to chop wood well. You need to place multiple strikes with a small blade at precise angles in a very small target area... say half an inch or so. Repeatedly. This is exactly the kind of thing that trains you to strike at small openings in a defense, or to MAKE those holes and capitalize on them.

So here I sit, three months later, looking at what this focus has bought me. I definitely feel more competent with the axe most of the time. I still have those derp moments where the brain just stutters... that happens.

But generally, I feel pretty good about it. I have been able to make Sir Rhys have to respond to my attacks and change his defense instead of feeling like I am playing his game all the time, and that's definitely an improvement. I have been told to focus on movement and speed, working on controlling range, and that's valid. I do tend to get sucked into brawls, which isn't always good.

I definitely need to travel more... occasionally I get to Coldwood and Harrowgate Heath, but I would love to do more. Time and money limit me there... and will probably continue to do so.

If you see me at an event... pick a fight. I need to work against a variety of different forms, so don't feel like you need to match weapons (though I am always happy to discuss axe).

No comments:

Post a Comment