Monday, September 10, 2007

Sticks and Bones

I took a solid whack across the ribs on Sunday sparring against Andy with the singlestick. It left a welt across my ribs that's rapidly forming into a stick-shaped bruise.

Sunday was a set of fairly casual training. I think Chris figured that a lot of us were starting to burn out and set us on singlestick training instead. For the uninitiated, singlestick is essentially a stick shaped like a rapier. I think it's the transition point between actual duelling and modern sport fencing but I could be wrong.

After some basic footwork and working on some basic "protects", Chris set the senior class off to do some sparring on their own. There were only three takers, Tome, Andy and myself.

Andy and I squared off first. By that time, I was still in a "play-play" mood, thinking we'd get a few rounds of warm up practise before going at it in earnest. I took a solid shot to the ribs to pay for it. I patiently squared off against Andy for a couple more rounds before realising that he was swinging with force, and quite wildly at that. Standing almost a foot taller than I am, Andy was clearly bouting to win through his physical dominance.

I was getting increasingly irate at Andy's swings, which left welts on both my hands and my body - many of them in an exchange of hits. Increasingly, as the bout went on, I started scoring more and more hits against Andy without getting touched myself. I did this by advancing slowly and determinedly against him. I'm sure he must have sensed whatever emotion I was radiating at that point because his attacks to my advance became more panicked.

I still lost the bout, but I closed the margin toward the end.

I am surprised. I had always treated combat, even mock combat, as something to be feared and respected. I don't like battle or combat. Part of the reason I'm learning swordfighting is to get me over my fear of combat. This time was different. I got the distinct impression that Andy was bullying, albeit subconsciously, and I just refused to stand for it.

Maybe there's a fighter in me somewhere after all.


Anonymous said...

Andy is all you say he is and thats cause he is SCA. It not deliberate bullying but this inate desire to win. He cant help being a whole lot bigger than us.

I am very happy that you learn a very important lesson in the bout.

Aint about the size of the dog in the fight. Its the size of the fight in the dog!!!

Go get em Teddy!!! :)

Tome said...

Next time, we do this in Gambesons!

Anthony said...


I know it's not deliberate bullying. It's just Andy being Andy. That being said I was more than a bit miffed at him and that just kind of triggered...well....something.


Yeah, I'm thinking of getting singlesticks and practising with them after stress training.