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Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Lesson Learned

Last nights fights went well, though there were so few of us. We did not fight in our regular location as there were preparations for a Yule party that I think would be disrupted by the combat of heavy fighters, so we went next door and discovered the room was probably twice the size, though the tile considerably slipperier. There were only four of us suited up and prepared for battle.

Since there were so few players I was taught many a lesson that night, and some I will not easily forget.

Lesson 1) The cup is all important, all praise the cup, I may found a religion based on the protective powers of the cup. Without the cup last night Lilley would have definitely been my only child, although perhaps my singing voice might have improved with the new ability to hit higher notes.

Lesson 2) I am not a heater shield person, time to build my own center boss. Center boss is the "Boss".

Lesson 3) Cover my ass for a blow to my seat makes a painful ride home.

Lesson 4) Vary my blows, I am way too predictable (some who know my alter ego Jeff might not be shocked by this revelation).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Barroom Brawl at Yule

Trinovantia Nova celebrated Yule yesterday (Dec 10th), and what a party. There was enough sugary goodness to knock out even the hardest of sugar addicts. I know that even this morning I still felt the effects of a sugar high (or was that the mead I drank when I got home).

I did discover (as I do every year) that I can only stand so much hot apple cider before my stomach revolts. If only cider didn't taste so darned good I could resist it a tad, or at least before my fifth glass. There was fantastic homemade fudge there that was just beyond good. And whoever made that onion dip should be commended as well.

Before the food was brought out a barroom brawl broke out. First there were no apparent alliances, truly a free for all brawl, then slowly groups began to form until it became heavies against boffers. Though the boffers outnumbered us we still managed to teach them a thing or two. I found I rather enjoy using two swords, fighting two fisted is even more fun than sword and shield. I did use a great sword for a while, but since it was a boffer great sword I wielded it one handed with a short sword in the other hand. There was one kid who was just deadly with two weapons and try as I might I could not land a blow past his whirling arms though he was half my hight and I should have had an incredible advantage. Funny how the smallest of warriors sometimes are the most deadly. Until that kid I always thought the quick twirling of swords you see in the movies is generally ineffective, this kid proved that if done right it works. I didn't catch his name, but he was amongst the youngest of the fighters I believe.

Raithe was up to his usual shinanigans constantly attempting to sneak a shot in even if I wasn't engaged in battle with him, however I got one or two good shots in on him as well, and I am practicing more and more with my sword so I am hopping to teach him a lesson in our next battle that he won't soon forget ;).

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Practice Dec 3rd

I attended fight practice again and fought hard. Sir Kasimir attended the training as well, it is his tradition to show up to Trinovantia Nova's Heaving Fighting practice once a month. I had much to learn from Sir Kasimir and Vanion who both took much time to teach me much.

Adelle and I sparred once and she managed to do a nice wrap to my back which I still feel this morning. She felt bad for her blow, but I assured her that it was a fair and well placed shot. The bruise should heal by next practice.

I was impressed to see Raithe take down Kasimir in a single blow. I hope someday to be skilled enough to do the same.

I did win a few bouts, though for the most part I know they were given to me to demonstrate how to take advantage of openings and to keep my moral up.

This is my first attempt at using the leg armour graciously loaned to me. It felt good to toss the hockey pants aside and have the mobility that the new armour gave me. Though the spanking I got form Kasimir definately made me pine for the protection of the hockey pants, luckily there is no welt on my rear to stand testiment to the pain.

I'd like to thank Damon for his assistance in teaching me how to peen a rivit and helping me get straps and stomach protection on the kidney belt. It was definately a learing experience.

Friday, November 28, 2008

So What is Heavy Fighting

So yesterday I described (very) briefly what the SCA is, now you might wonder what Heavy Fighting is. Amongst the SCAdians Heavy Fighters are commonly referred to as "Stick Jocks" This is meant to be a slur, but personally I think its a great title. Heavy fighters are the armoured fighters of the SCA, we dress up in armour and bash each other with sticks. I'll lay out what happens and how we are armed as I understand it now.

The weapons of the SCA Heavy Fighter are length of Rattan of 1-1.5" diameter. For those of you who don't know what rattan is, it is solid bamboo, very hard chunk of wood. With the rattan you can make pretty much any weapon that was used in the middle ages except hinged or chained weapons such as nunchucks and ball and chains. Some common SCA weaponry:

Slashing Sword
This is your standard starter weapon for Stick Jocks. A simple length of tapped rattan with a hilt of some sort. Basket hilts are the most common because with a basket hilt it is legal to wear half gauntlets enstead of full gauntlets and are thus less restricting to hand movment.

Thrusting Sword
This is your basic sword with a thrusting tip added. A thrusting tip is a piece of close-cell foam tapped to the tip of the sword so you can include thrusts to your maneuvers. You are not allowed to train with a thrusting tip until you have authorized with Shield and hand weapon first.

Great Sword
A great sword is just a two handed beast of a sword. Think of the Scottish Claymores.

A mace is a basic bludgeoning weapon, usually with an large head, sometimes with points added for added effectiveness. I don't believe anyone in Trinovantia Nova uses a mace right now, but as I understand it it is a somewhat common weapon.

In the SCA a spear is similar to a great sword except it can be two handed or one handed depending on length and generally only has a thrusting tip, though you can add slashing blades to it as well. Since my personna is an irishman from around 700BC I would like to start using a shorter one handed spear with a shield to be accurate to my personna.

Pole Axe
A particularly useful weapon when fighting melee with a shield wall, the pole axe is a two handed axe with a really long handle. Useful for reaching over shield walls both friendly and enemy to strike down foes.

In the SCA there are certain armour requirements, beyond that it is up to you to do as you feel comfortable. The rules of armour are:
  • Helms:
    • Helms must be 16 Gage steel at a minimum
    • Face guards on the helm cannot have more than a one inch gap
    • When the front of the helm is pushed it cannot come in contact with your nose
    • Must have a chin strap
    • Must be padded with 1/2 inch closed-cell foam
  • Gorget (neck protection)
  • A cup (guys you really really really want to make sure on this one)
  • Kidneys must be protected
  • Hands must be protected
  • Elbows
  • Knees
Beyond that anything is optional, however I would recommend some chest protection and shoulder protection. On a first time out go with as much coverage as you can (and still move) and scale down from there for comfort as you improve if you find parts that are unnecessary.

I didn't include this in armour because really a shield is optional, although in starting out you must authorize (I'll explain that later) with shield and hand weapon before you can train in any other weapons. Your shield in tournament must be no larger then you can reach with both hands when the opposing edge is touching your chest. In melee your shield can be as large as you can carry thus enabling Roman style shield walls in combat recreation. You can go with heater (standard shield shape), or center boss (round shield with a metal bowl in the centre), or any other shield configuration that would work.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

So What is This SCA Thing Anyways?

Wassail (Wassail is a general greeting/cheer that people in the Kingdom of Ealdormere use) readers. So you've popped into my little blog here and are wondering what the heck the SCA is. Sit down and allow me to regal you with the tale of the SCA.

The SCA is the Society for Creative Anachronisms. In case you don't know an Anachronism is something out of time. For example if you are watching a period movie such as Brave Heart and one of the characters has a wrist watch on, the wrist watch is an Anachronism within the movie. Within the Society the Anachronism is the players. I know this doesn't really answer the question, but it sets the tone for how the name came about.

The SCA is oft quoted as "The Middle Ages as they should have been". We are reinactors who don't necissarily bother with the trivial details of actual events but rather the time itself. That is not to say we aren't interested in actual historical facts, but rather that we are interested in the way things worked and not the geography or actual battles and such.

The SCA started in the late 60's by a bunch of sci-fi/fantasy geeks (writers and readers) at a birthday party in which they hosted a middle ages themed tournement. From there it progressed to over 30,0000 members world wide. For more information visit thier website.

The SCA is a global organization, and it has been devided up into The Nineteen Kingdomes:

I reside in the Shire of Trinovantia Nova which lies in the kingdom of Ealdormere. Check out this site for an interactive map of the Knowne World. The Kingdom of Ealdormere is the only all Canadian Kingdom, it encoumapses most of Ontario. The Shire of Trinovantia Nova encompases London and surrounding area (no idea how far it stretches, but I believe it includes Woodstock).

Masquerade II from a Newbie's Point of View

Last weekend was Masquerade II a Trinovantia Nova hosted event that was held in St. Thomas. Here are my thoughts on the event:

I am new to the SCA. While I have been out to heavy fight practice several times in the past few weeks I was not quite ready to authorize to fight in the lists quite yet (next time I'll be ready). My daughter Lilley, who is six, enjoyed Masque even more than I myself did I think. This was our first event, but far from our last I suspect.

Everyone showed extreme kindness to myself and my daughter, and for that I thank everyone, from the Event Steward Wulfgang to other guests, particularly the dance instructors who took Lilley and I under their gracious wings to teach us some wonderful dances. Although I am
generally not a dancer and have I two left feet, my daughter, however, loves to dance and we spent many hours learning new dances and I must admit even I enjoyed the dancing.

Sitting at head table was a treat. It was a unique experience to experience my first ever feast from such a vantage point, next time I hope to earn the right to sit there in battle.

The songs were wonderful, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I think my daughter has the makings of a bard. Never have I seen her so keen to get in front of a crowd in such a public manner. Though music has always been a passion of hers, dancing and singing seems to be
something she does even in her sleep, she is generally shy and reserved in front of a crowd. I think because of the warm welcome we received she felt more at ease and was able to enjoy the attention she received for participating.

The toys she got from Gerard the "Evil" Toymaker are now her pride and joy. She brings them with her wherever she is able to. She has figured out how to "free the prisoner" (with a tip or two from me) and delights in the misery of others who cannot master the toy a six year
old has.

Now that she knows that the SCA is more than just fighting (she is quite interested in boffer, especially since she has seen some combat now) she is eager for more SCA experiences. She enjoyed the event so much she insisted on wearing her garb to her mother's on Saturday and
apparently wore it for most of the day.



I am Jeff Johnston, and recently I started going out to the SCA heavy fighting practices and am quite enjoying myself. So I thought I'd start a blog about my SCA activities and interests.

Everyone in the SCA has what is referred to as a "Society Name", this is the name you go by in the SCA, I have not officially registered one yet, but I have picked one out. I am Cú Allaidh mac Cummascaig a 8th century Irishman. I don't have any more of a backstory than that yet, but it seems fitting enough. While not all early celtic names have meanings this one does Cú Allaidh mean "wild hound" or "wolf", and Cummascaig means both 'the act of mixing together; mixture' and 'disturbance, strife, conflict, battle'. Since mac means son of my name can be translated as Wolf the son of Battle. I thought it sounded sufficiently bad ass enough for my purposes as a heavy fighter.

So from here on out I will be writing as Cú Allaidh and not Jeff.