grauwulf: (SCA-Fencing)
Friday, September 25, 2009, 08:54 PM

Nobody is exactly the same as you for any given fight, but within the realm of reason there is a margin of variance where really the differences are insignificant. As Dante would say, "you might as well flip a coin." So what is the difference between the victor and the victim in such fights?

Will is a very important part of the psychology of combat.

Professional athletes will often call it "heart".

When all things are equal sometimes you have to look beyond your technical training to get the edge you need to survive. It's not "blood lust" because it's controlled. It's not anger because it not emotional. You don't 'Rhino', cheat or otherwise play foul because that defeats the value of the victory. You simply decide that you will control the fight. You set in motion a sequence of events that is of your design not because you are "better" but because you seize all initiative.

When all things are equal; sometimes you just have to know that you can win and you will win because the will is just as sharp a weapon as your sword and if used effectively, even more deadly.
grauwulf: (SCA-Fencing)
Thursday, August 13, 2009, 01:04 PM

The Lochmere practice had a few newbies this week and it got me thinking again about the learning progression. If you're just starting out what do you need to learn and in what order? Well there are of course as many different answers to this question as there are people teaching the use of the sword. I take the following approach:

1) Stance: Just knowing how to be balanced and well distributed in you physical positioning is SO important, and so many people just really ignore it.

2) Footwork: Good footwork drives your lunge, it facilitates measure, it sets time and tempo, voids, volta's and even all the crazy stuff like pasatasotos all live and die around your footwork.

3) Basic parries: you don't _need_ to know the difference between pronation and supination, you don't need to know the difference between a parry in opposition and reposte imbrocatta. You NEED to know how to not get stabbed when somebody is trying to stab you. Basic simple precise efficient parries.

4) Basic blade control: If you can stand, walk, and keep yourself from getting stabbed you are already about 60% on your way to winning the fight and you haven't even picked up a sword yet. Seriously, think about it. With: good efficient blade control, thrust, lunge, a simple disengage and the ability to hit what you aim for, you can easily find yourself as a 75% fighter right out of the box. Not too shabby, not to shabby at all.

If you have that all of the tangible pieces are in place, beyond this you start getting into more advanced concepts like mechanics time manipulation range and angulation... All of which really improve your game and you can use them to supplement a weaker area. For example if your footwork is a little weak, but you can out angle a geometry teacher, you'll probably be fine. you need all of the parts but at a certain point you can fill in the gaps with a little bit of crafty.

Build a strong foundation and you can take that with you as far as you choose to go.
grauwulf: (SCA-Fencing)
Thursday, August 6, 2009, 12:40 PM Fencing Talk
Pennsic was short but fun for me this year. I didn't do as well as I had hoped to but I didn't horribly disgrace myself either (no wins but I did go pretty deep into each list *sigh*shrug*).

Moving on.

I'll try to get a nice full post on recapping pennsic but I just want to quickly touch on one thing.


Attitude is everything. I had a fight the other day with a particular Cadet from Ansteorra who I was fighting; when I offered a suggestion on a manner in which she could close the opening I had been exploiting in her guard of case. She responded rather excitedly that "Oh I think I know what I'm doing, if I needed advice I'd have asked for it."
So I hit her in the mask on the next three passes. After that she rather, rather nicely too, if I could offer any ideas for improvement.

not a bad person, she just had a bad attitude

If this was a matter of "ego" she would not have been able to admit to herself that maybe yes she could use a few pointers. It was attitude. She approached our simple pickup fight as if lowly me (an Atlantian White Scarf) simply had nothing to offer her in the way of instruction. ... *sigh* Mels Rules of Fencing (see link to left)

#1 There is always something you can learn, from anybody.

Do not expect defeat, do no anticipate failure, and do not for one minute think that you are unbeatable. We are all constantly learning and to think that you are beyond that is to set yourself up for a world of disappointment. I have been taken to school by the newest of newbs, and I have executed with precision the best of the best. That is the way of life. Learn from both and move on.

I was knocked out of two consecutive tourneys by the same guy this Pennsic. Because I suck? No. I can hold my own just fine. Because I did something wrong? Maybe. Hind sight 20/20 and all that but in the end on those days on those lists, he was better, and having experienced those fights which he executed with such deft prowess I would like to think I am a little better too.

Come into the game with the right attitude and you won't need it adjusted.

So to sum up, relax. You took up this activity for fun. If that fun is found in winning 500 Tourneys, or if it is found in executing 1 single *perfect* lunge. Remember that attitude is everything.
grauwulf: (SCA-Fencing)
Thursday, July 30, 2009, 10:41 AM Fencing Talk
Let's take a minute to talk about blade length.

In period it seemed that every fencing master had their own particular psydoscientifical formula for determining weapon length and construction. One of the prevailing notions, and the one I personally think makes "sense", is that when dualist and weapon are both perpendicular to the ground the weapon should come to the base of the sternum (solar plexus). This seems to be a pretty good ratio that actually "works". This is not to say that different lengths of blade are bad, not at all. This ratio is just a good indicator of what a nice all purpose weapon should be sized at for you. Weight is a completely different beast altogether and will be discussed after Pennsic in a follow up blog. I like a heavy pommel because I like to use short distribution angulation in my parries to maintain point aggression. Sometimes I need a "quicker" blade and so I keep a variety of pommel weights on hand everything from a ~1lb basic lock to a 3.5lbs block. On it's own that is a fair topic and we'll get back to it... promise :)

Ok, the previous paragraph is not secret knowledge that was passed down to me in the super-secret-white-scarf-meeting-caverns (oh noes, I've said too much). If you think about it, it's really just a good common sense.

I imagine that right now some of you are starting to think about those 40"+ blades you have lurking in your gear bags, or maybe you're thinking about my 28" katzbalger... "Hypocrite!" you name me, but not so fast! First let's break down what the blade length buys you (advantage) and where then we'll look at the basic size groups. As a disclaimer, these groupings are "my" groupings you will almost certainly run into others.

Right then, lets talk geometry for a minute. 9th grade math class taught us that the area of a sector at any given degree is proportional to the length of the radius. Another way to think about is that you fight in 360 degrees, right? And your opponent is also fighting in 360 degrees, right. the point at which these two circles touch is the sector of potential danger. As you move closer to each other the size of the sector increases as the radius decreases. Sector of overlap increases as the intersection of the opposing arcs increases. In simple terms, the closer you get to each other the shorter the functional radius(sword) length within a arc(places you can stab). By increasing the distance between the centers of the two circles you reduce/eliminate the intersection of those circles. when the distance between the two centers is greater than the combined length of the radius' then you are effectively out of target range. So increasing your circle's radius(sword length) gives you a greater arc length and thereby more available intersection(you're able to extend your range and you can cover more of the same opposing arc). So if you get close, a shorter blade is to your advantage and if you stay far back a longer blade is to your advantage. Got it? See, math is power!

Average (optimal) Weapons
These are the weapons we have been talking about already. This is, what I would consider to be, a must have. This is your all around use weapon. This is the one you should know and love. Not ~LOVE~ but really love. Got it? But Melchior! I don't like my 'optimal' length weapon. That's fair, but I would not exceed .05 +/- of the optimal length.
40" * (+.05/-.05) = 38-42"
So generally speaking, obviously depending on your personal tastes and abilities, you should be looking for a weapon that has a blade length of 38-42"

Short Weapons
I consider anything "short" that is less than or equal to 85% of the optimal blade length. So for the sake of discussion lets say that a generic weapon has a 40" blade.
40" x .85 = 34"
So, for somebody that would normally fight with a weapon that has a 40" blade: any weapon that is 34" or shorter would be considered "short".

Long Weapons
Technically speaking, I consider any blade to be "long" that exceeds .05 of the optimal length.
40" x .05 = 42"
Practically, it is prohibitively difficult to use a weapon that is more than .15 of the optimal length.
40" x .15 = 46"

This is getting a little more long winded than I originally wanted it to. Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the differences between "Long", "Short" & an ideal weapon length.
grauwulf: (SCA-Fencing)
Wednesday, July 29, 2009, 09:12 AM Fencing Talk

OK let's ignore that fact that the Rapier is not a melee weapon. At all. Not even a little bit.

Melee's are big confusing, loud, and if you're not used to it it can be a bit overwhelming. It's not terribly uncommon to get separated from your unit, get conflicting orders from two different runners, or (some times even worse) to receive orders so confusing and obscure that you have to run them through the Spidey-Decoder Ring to figure out that you need to be holding the left edge so a flanking unit can skirt you at high noon to sneakup on the enemy! ~this is Mel looking at you skeptically~

Here are some tips to help the rank and file get the most out of the melee experience.

Weapon Choice and use:
Leave the daggers out. Case and ridged parry are the weapons of choice. Why? That's a good question. Fact: melee fighting is different than tourney fighting. you will not be throwing deep lunges or planning deeply complicated actions & blade density is important. A killing cup works because there are a LOT of points all in one direction. So if you're fighting in the line you want the most points you can bring or an effective defensive item (shield) that your friends can use to get a good shot.

more points on the line = better odds for team success

you having better defense = you staying alive longer = better odds for team success

So what else do I need to know?
COMMUNICATION. If the next person in your team/line/unit can not hear you issue a command, they are too far away. If your unit can not decipher the commands they are given those commands are worse than useless, they are detrimental because they keep those fighters out of the fight (or in the wrong one) while they run the newest set of orders through the enigma machine. Keep it simple "Left Edge! Reinforce!" is far better than "Hey! they are coming in on the left and I can't hold them!" Short, Simple, Effective.

Don't be clever, be effective

If you're a grunt: LISTEN TO YOUR ORDERS
If you're in charge: ISSUE CLEAR ORDERS

go out and stab something!
grauwulf: (Default)
Tuesday, July 28, 2009, 11:25 AM Fencing Talk

Keep It Simple
I keep talking to people, in particular people trying to "ramp up" for Pennsic, and hearing the most crazy notions of practice and drilling (which be honest, you don't really do). Knowing the difference between imbrocatta and sotcatta won't help you if you have a badly balanced stance, lame blade control or no parries. These are the simple things.

Practice your point control. Refine your range. Stand in an en guard stance every day. Pick up your sword everyday. Think about fencing. Think about the things you know how to do and try to work out the things that you don't.

The lunge is the most basic and most elusive skill that you can perfect.

Economy of Motion
grauwulf: (Default)
Wednesday, August 29, 2007, 10:36 AM Fencing Talk
Well the fencing world has been kind of quiet for me these past few weeks. I've been getting back into the swing of school (bummer) and dealing with some really fun (sarcasm) mundane life issues. But I did want to leave you all with a little nugget that recently was gifted to me by the ether:
"Leadership is the reduction of uncertainty."

Have you been put in charge of a unit at Pennsic?
Are you MIC for an event?
Are you in a 'political' position which requires you to 'lead'?

be prepared, be informed, be ready, and when the time comes act with certainty and conviction. Even if you "don't" have the answer, have a way to get the answer.

F1: that draw cut was a pull, then, a push, so the draw doesn't count!
F2: yes it does you got cut, deal with it. Marshal resolve this issue!
M1: _____________________ ?

lets assume that you don't know what to do here. (obvious misuse of rules to gain a technical advantage, big no no.) Instead of saying "well I don't know, work it out for your selves." you should be firm and consice. "my ruleing is that you're being a dumb-head. the rules say treat the blade like a real blade. if it was would you be disenclined? after the fight today we'll sit down and review the rules together if you wish. you may refight the bout if you both wish to do so, with the understanding that 'tiggering' is bad, don't do it."

you don't have to always be right, but you do have to be confident and willing to seek out the answers.
grauwulf: (SCA-Fencing)
Preparing a Heavy Rapier Tip
Monday, July 30, 2007, 12:10 AM Fencing Talk
So I was thinking about it and I realized that although we tell everybody that they need to have a properly constructed tip on their heavy rapiers nobody has ever really spelled out exactly what that is (at least not to my knowledge) so this may grow into a full page how to but for now here is the skinny.

start with a standard archery bird blunt. these can be found at hunting supply stores for about a dollar +/- a piece and usually come in packs of five or ten.

next you're going to need the metal disc to prevent blow through. galvanized steel flat washers are my weapon of choice. you're looking for something that will snugly fit into the bird blunt so size is an issue. as a basic guide you're looking for a washer with about a 5/16" external diameter and the smallest internal diameter possible. I use a #6 metric washer which is available from most home improvement stores at about $2 for a hundred.

Now use a screwdriver or whatever else you have handy to push the washer to the bottom. A large Phillips head seems to work the best for me. Now here is the really really REALLY important part. MAKE SURE IT IS ALL THE WAY DOWN AND _FLAT_FLAT_FLAT_

Okay got that? now to finish it off I recommend using a first wrap of strapping tape to affix the tip then a good heavy layer of colored electrical or some other durable colored tape. Be sure to tape from the edge of the face of the tip (don't cover the face) to at least two inches below the tip onto the blade. give is a few layers to assure your self that it is well in place.

Thats it, see told you there was nothing to it.
grauwulf: (SCA-Fencing)
So I had lots. and lots. of really useless posts in my sca fencing blog that I've decided not to migrate over here. Some were worth keeping around for one reason or another and here they are for your reading pleasure.

Selected Blogs Back-up '04-'07 )
grauwulf: (Default)
my sca fencing blog is moving to LJ. Fencing posts will be public and tagged, and will continue to be embedded into

I don't post to it all of the time, but if you want to block them they will be on my FencingBlog list and tag.

grauwulf: (Default)
So we've all heard about, or had to deal with, the silly Home Owners Association B.S. You know the silly groups that try to put liens on people's homes because their mail box isn't the right shade of brown? Well this guy in VA was fighting to keep his flag pole in his front yard. A retired Army Colonel who served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. A vet who has some patriotism and wants to show it. Well the HOA tried to sue him into submission for his flagpole. First of all, dick move. Second of all this guy won the Medal of Honor for, get this (official Medal of Honor citation reads)

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 23 May 1944, near Carano, Italy. With his platoon heavily engaged during an assault against forces well entrenched on commanding ground, 2d Lt. Barfoot (then Tech. Sgt.) moved off alone upon the enemy left flank. He crawled to the proximity of 1 machinegun nest and made a direct hit on it with a hand grenade, killing 2 and wounding 3 Germans. He continued along the German defense line to another machinegun emplacement, and with his tommygun killed 2 and captured 3 soldiers. Members of another enemy machinegun crew then abandoned their position and gave themselves up to Sgt. Barfoot. Leaving the prisoners for his support squad to pick up, he proceeded to mop up positions in the immediate area, capturing more prisoners and bringing his total count to 17. Later that day, after he had reorganized his men and consolidated the newly captured ground, the enemy launched a fierce armored counterattack directly at his platoon positions. Securing a bazooka, Sgt. Barfoot took up an exposed position directly in front of 3 advancing Mark VI tanks. From a distance of 75 yards his first shot destroyed the track of the leading tank, effectively disabling it, while the other 2 changed direction toward the flank. As the crew of the disabled tank dismounted, Sgt. Barfoot killed 3 of them with his tommygun. He continued onward into enemy terrain and destroyed a recently abandoned German fieldpiece with a demolition charge placed in the breech. While returning to his platoon position, Sgt. Barfoot, though greatly fatigued by his Herculean efforts, assisted 2 of his seriously wounded men 1,700 yards to a position of safety. Sgt. Barfoot's extraordinary heroism, demonstration of magnificent valor, and aggressive determination in the face of pointblank fire are a perpetual inspiration to his fellow soldiers.[7]

and they think they're going to sue this guy into submission?! Are they fucking nuts? Grandpa is a fringing Red White and Blue ninja, and they think a letter is going to corral him? Nazi's, VC ... lawyers? So what does 90 year old Vet do? Keeps right on kicking ass. A letter? Really? pffft.

Van T. Barfoot, Col: you absolutely rock. Keep on doing what you do.


Dec. 3rd, 2009 03:41 pm
grauwulf: (Crazy-Silly)
33, my white scarf number: is the atomic number for arsenic. which made me lawl, then I ran the whole list, and I lawled again.

So just for fun.....
1)  	Master Geoffrey Gamble  			Hydrogen
2) 	Master Niall McKennett 				Helium
3) 	The Honorable Lord Giacomo Vincente 		Lithium   <-
4) 	The Honorable Lord Nathanial Sharpe 		Beryllium
5) 	Mistress Ceridwen Ferch Owain, CV 		Boron
6) 	Baron Roibin MacMorran 				Carbon
7) 	Lord Padraig Muadhan 				Nitrogen
8) 	Baron Gerlach Wiesengrund 			Oxygen
9) 	Master Alan Gravesend 				Fluorine
10) 	The Honorable Lord Duncan Gregor Macgregor 	Neon
11) 	Master Robert Beddingfield 			Sodium
12) 	Master Aedan Aylwyn 				Magnesium
13) 	The Honorable Lord Vyvyan Brousard 		Aluminium
14) 	The Honorable Lord Philip Bell 			Silicon
15) 	Monsier J. Abaran 				Phosphorus
16) 	Mistress Isobel Guildingwater of Ditchingham 	Sulfur    <-
17) 	The Honorable Lord Kirk Dragomani		Chlorine
18) 	The Honorable Lord Gregor Dow MacGregor		Argon
19) 	Lord Richard Ffauxes				Potassium
20) 	Sir Daemon Broussard				Calcium
21) 	The Honorable Lady Katherine Maunsel		Scandium
22) 	The Honorable Lord Percival Aldridge		Titanium
23) 	The Honorable Lord Gunther Drakenburg		Vanadium
24) 	Master Roland de Mounteney			Chromium
25) 	Baron Alejandro Mateo Ramirez y Mendoza		Manganese
26) 	The Honorable Lord Connor Levingstoune		Iron
27) 	Baron Marcellus Capoziello da Napoli		Cobalt
28) 	Baron William Welwyn				Nickel
29) 	The Honorable Lady Rosalind Delamere		Copper
30) 	The Honorable Lord Christopher MacConing	Zinc
31)  	The Honorable Lord Kynnyth Pyke			Gallium
32) 	Sir Christian von Nuremburg			Germanium  <-
33) 	The Honorable Lord Melchior der Grauwulf	Arsenic    <-
34) 	Baron Jean Claude de Calais			Selenium
35) 	Baron Llwyd Aldrydd				Bromine
36) 	The Honorable Lord Elphin ap Daffyd		Krypton
37) 	Baron Rufus Pigboy				Rubidium
38) 	Duke Ragnarr Blackhammer			Strontium
39) 	Baron Flaithrí Ó Cearnaigh			Yttrium
40) 	Signor Dante di Pietro				Zirconium
41) 	The Honorable Lord Greylond Crowe		Niobium
42) 	The Honorable Lord Celric d'Ravelle		Molybdenum
43) 	The Honorable Lord Geoffrey Ap Clywd		Technetium
44) 	The Honorable Lord Dominyk Wolferam		Ruthenium
45) 	The Honorable Lord Stephen Bridewell		Rhodium
46)  	Mistress Belphoebe de Givet	                Palladium

epic win

Oct. 22nd, 2009 09:07 am
grauwulf: (Default)
"you provide your own guitar solo. "

Is this a graveyard? Is this a castle lab?
So many pieces that those other people had
Sewed them one by one, a new sort of son he’d be
I called for Igor, he brought a brain to me
Because Prometheus
He will rise
Show them all
I was wise
They all thought me maaaad
I’ll show them who’s maaaad you seeee
Not meeee

Just killed a man
Opened up the casket bed
He got cursed and now he’s dead
His sarcophagus
Was comfortable and they took it away
Ooooo oooooo
Didn’t really want to rise
But if they don’t put it back before tomorrow
they’re all gone
they’re all gone
And he will show no mercy

His job
Is never done
All his organs kept in brine, he’s made lots of overtime
Pharaoh was his buddy, his life-long bro
Said he’d stay awake and guard him in the tomb
Ooooo ooooo
there aren’t even windows
He cannot ever die
He’ll sometimes wish he’d never signed on at all

Igor be ready with that switch in your hand
God’s domain, God’s domain, going where you should not go
Thunderbolt and lightning, the monster is rising, see!
Come here, Igor
Here’s your Igor
Help me, Igor
I’m your Igor
Igor, shut it help me pull
This circuit clo-o-o-osed

I’m just a wolf man nobody loves me
He’s just a wolf man, oh the humanity
Three days a month he will hunt you and me

Quake in fear, I am here, to collect my rent
Dracula, no! We will not pay your rent
Pay my rent!
Dracula! We will not pay your rent
Pay my rent!
Dracula! We will not pay your rent
Pay my rent!
Will not pay your rent!
Pay my rent!
Will not pay your rent!
Never pay my rent?
No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Master we flee-a have to flee-a they have pitchforks at the door
The villagers have come to kill the monsters weeee
That’s weeee
We beeeeeeee

So you hit me with lightning and bring me to life?
Left me scared and confused and now I’m the bad guy?
Ohhhh, monsters
Who are really the monsters
Technically us
Technically, sure, but you see

We’re just allegory
You watch vicariously
We’re just allegory
You’re all the true monsters
Not weeee

Note the clever ennnndiiiing
grauwulf: (Default)
My computer just ate the first real decent ANYTHING I've written in quite some time. I hate you writer widget. I hate you in your face.
grauwulf: (Default)
Sirius XM is launching a Monty Python channel (105) tomorrow. I think it's running through the weekend for the anaversery of Flying Circus.

grauwulf: (Default)
I think it's time to step into the new millennium and get a GPS unit.

I consider a Garmin 760 but some of the Magellan's look nice too.

I know lots of you have them so, recommendations?


Sep. 29th, 2009 04:44 pm
grauwulf: (Default)
Mel is feeling not so great. A bit sick actually. So being Tuesday I'm left with a rather nasty question concerning fencing.

What Should Mel do about Fencing Tonight?
a) suck it up and go to fencing you wuss-burger!
b) go home and get some sleep
c) go to the coffee shop and do some school work aside from either
d) other
grauwulf: (Default)
[ profile] thanate has constructed homemade pumpkin bread, and pumpkin muffins and a pumpkin car and pumpkin space flight! AND A PUMPKIN CURE FOR PUMPKIN CANCER WHICH HAS WON HER THE PUMPKIN AWESOME PRIZE! I am a great fan of all things pumpkin so this makes me quite happy.

Thanks for being pumpkin-awesome love!
grauwulf: (Art-Poetry-Writing)
So it seems that I have inherited, been gifted with, a number of new tools including a very nice scroll saw, and FANTASTIC old Craftsman rolling tool chest and a 19x20 Grizzly metal lathe.

Now the tool box and the scroll saw I have under control. The metal lathe, however; has me a bit baffled. I know what it does and I even have a fair idea how to operate it, but what I can actually "DO" with it is entirely different.

I'm looking around for a few good starter projects just to get an idea of what and how this particular piece of machinery may be useful to me.

any ideas?
grauwulf: (Default)
10/17 Recher Theatre Towson, MD

Great little venue with lots of good eats right next door. If you care to join me just drop a note and we'll team up for all the good-times.
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