[Smashy the Hammer] [An Aspiring Luddite]
I carry no phone
An aspiring Luddite
In a wired world.
[Jeff Berry]
Jeff Berry is an early adopter of the Internet and the Web, a late adopter of Twitter, and declines to adopt Facebook. With the death of Google+, he's experimenting with federated platforms. He admins a medievalist Mastodon instance, and can found on t he PlusPora diaspora pod. He hates cell-phones.

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First Entry

Thirty-Five Years With Blade in Hand
The Thought Plickens
Part Ten

As 1986 drew to a close, I was living in a condo in Caer Galen, and was taking up heavy fighting. As far as rapier fighting was concerned, I was coming off a streak where I don't believe I had lost a tournament for over a year - and I entered a lot of tournaments. All that was in the process of changing. Ian of Nightsgate and Maximilian Stonebryg (if I've got the spelling right), who now uses the Italian version of the name, Massimiliano Pontieri dal Sasso, had also moved to Caer Galen from Unser Hafen, and had begun studying with Gary Copeland of Northern Colorado Fencers. Gary is a well-established and accomplished fencing coach and instructor, and at this time SCA fencing had much more in common with modern fencing than it does at the time of writing. Schlager blades had not yet come on the scene, although they were just around the corner, so épées were the default weapon. If memory serves, the flexi-dagger was still to come as well, so we were mostly using cut down épées as parry-only daggers. Ian and Max began to improve very quickly, and within a few months, my streak was well and truly over.

In February, there was Estrella War! I recently learned that there is footage available of that war. (See below.) It was at that war that I bought a spun top to make my first helm, which I used into the 2005 or so. Johan was King of the Outlands, and Artan was not yet knighted. He would be knighted at that Estrella War, and win the next Crown Tournament. Although I had no way of knowing it, his victory in that Crown would have great repercussions in my own SCA career.

I may not have been the unstoppable rapier force that I had been a few months before, but I was still good. It was, I believe, at this Estrella that a ringer of sorts entered the big rapier tournament. My memory may be faulty, but I think someone said he was Hungarian and had been trained in modern sabre, and the rules at that particular war were slightly non-standard and bore a more than passing resemblance to sabre rules. If I recall correctly, cuts were allowed, except downward on the head, as we were assumed to be wearing English Civil War style helmets. This man was either very new to the SCA, or was only on the fringes, but the rules of the day set up very nicely for him. The final came down to the two of us, and I still remember the result. I took a sabre-style guard, and when he threw a low cut toward my leg, I struck him in the body. I suspect that he fell prey to one or possibly two of the things that used to trip up modern fencers when they came to the SCA. The first is that modern sabre has a right of way rule, so if we had been playing his game, I would not have been able to attack since he had right of way. He might also have thought that he hit me and hesitated because in modern sabre, the point would have been his if I had hit him after his blow landed. That is speculation, of course, but what did happen was that I killed him and might have lost a leg, winning the tournament. This meant I got called up in the big court at the end of the event, was complimented very nicely by Ioseph of Locksley who was running the rapier that year, and took home the prize of an epée rig that I used for many years thereafter. I probably still have bits of it around somewhere.

On reflection, I suspect that I did no heavy fighting at this war, only rapier. The next year would be a different story.

Watching these videos, I see so many old friends ...

Disclaimer: This is based on my memory of the events and people, and although I have bolstered them where possible with references, it is a work of recollection. Errors, omissions, and all such-like are mine.
If you are reading this, remembering this, and wondering why you aren't mentioned, or are mentioned only in passing, or by reference and not by name, I'm trying to be very careful about other people's privacy.
As an experiment, I'm linking to a Diaspora posting for comments and such.
Comment thread on PlusPora

Luddite'sLog, 28 August 2021
© 2021 Jeff Berry
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