Uggh, time to the dreaded necessary and pick apart my performance at Poland. I’m not happy with it. At all. And after watching this fight I definitely shouldn’t be. I look pretty shitty in that first round. Ettiene(Apologies I really should know how to spell your name) on the other hand is looking real on point. Lets dive in.
–Note I’m watching the video with the audio off. I’m led to believe there is an announcer speaking over this. I am not taking into account any insight he has as I write this blog–
That first 15 seconds or so where we’re feeling each other out, I’m not really doing anything with my movement just waiting for something. Ettiene keeps his guard back almost in the German Vom Tag but much lower. I think he’s looking for an opening to through a quick vertical cut at extreme range using his speed and reach to give him an advantage. Whatever the case it really fucked up my plan. I’d been training an opening move as a quick snap cut, the same motion as a thrust with the hands, but the blade kept pointed up until the last second when the hands snap, causing a cutting motion. It wasn’t meant to hit but to displace the opponents guard allowing me to hopefully throw a blow unanswered. Theoretically it should still work on that guard I’d just have to cut towards the shoulder blade and reach deeper to make sure my strong controlled his, but for some reason I just never felt comfortable with it.
At 1:55 the video seems to jump as the perspective changes vertical. Ettiene is in my corner and I’m in his. Ettiene enters and throws an offside cut, looks like he puts alot of power into it. I’m not sure if I cue a strike off his motion, him off mine, or we both strike at the same time, regardless, my strike is poor in power and quality. I believe he saw me think about throwing, he committed hard and I hesitantly threw as a reaction. I believe that should have just been a block, rotate my body outwards and catch his blade on my strong. Alternatively if I was too committed to throwing I need to change targets from his hip to some target, probably his head with my weak, to make the arc of my swing intercept his blow. I do catch something with the blade but it looks like his hands. If he could have dropped his blade a half a foot lower on that strike he would have come away completely clean. Still I’d call that a point for him none for me.
My guard falls apart as we separate, neither held back prepped to strike nor out presenting defense. It looks like we trade a few bad blows, I catch one on the gauntlet and step out on another. Ettiene steps out on one, gives me his hip on another and we trade to the head. The whiffs were caused be some nice lateral movement on both our parts, but we both abandon that and move in a straight line from one corner to the other instead of continuing the circle. That would have given either of us that made that choice a great advantage, which Ettiene actually uses and capitalizes on at 2:01, stepping way out as I approach, Oleing me as his strikes the back of my head and retreating as he throws a second shot. I completely lose him rush in and engage in a wrestling match which Ettiene comes out the victor in.
When I lost sight, I shouldn’t have tried to re-engaged. Ettiene has all the advantage there, I’m throwing blind and even if I land something it’s likely he’ll land twice as many, likely placed somewhere it might hurt or stop me as well. Instead of turning back into him I need to turn out and run away to get my bearings or turn towards him while stepping out to give me fraction of a second to recover my vision and guard.
That wrestling match was pitiful. I’m just pushing against a bigger and stronger man and I do nothing with it, don’t even bind up his sword. The first time we push together he pushes me away with ease lands a strike as we separate, though opens himself to one as well. We go to town on each other, giving up defense for the fast hit combo. Not sure that that was the wrong idea for me, but I executed terribly. Ettiene is tall and doesn’t guard his legs well. Some level changes with on-side off side combo or a real close squat with a double strike to the offside would work well if I brought my guard up through a hanging guard(Similar to Ox or Window, but the point more downward to protect the body as opposed to out to present a threat), I could have gotten a 2 for 1 or even perhaps landed 2 with no downside if I was lucky. Instead I through shots to the same two places, losing steam as I did so they became sloppier and slower.
For his part Ettiene should have gone more lateral. I was mostly static with some small half steps to the side but no real movement. A good passing step to his left, after either of the pushes at 2:05 and 2:07 and he could have opened up on my right side. I hadn’t noticed before but Ettiene might be like many of the Euro fighters I’ve seen who don’t like throwing the offside cut if it’s part of a combo. He throws some 3-4 onsides in that exchange but never switches it up.
I think around here is where my helmet slipped into obscuring my vision slightly. This is no excuse, I have plenty of holes to see from in the bottom of the helmet and I’m used to fighting blind having had issues with this helm since I got it. Still there is a point where I whiff big time, than just sit there and let Ettiene tee off on my head for a few strikes. Around 2:16. This can’t be wholly blamed on helm. I look gassed and I felt pretty dead at the end of the first round. I had gotten into my own head, way too stressed, and Etteine really pushes the level of the fight, like myself so when we brawl it’s a bit tiring. Still, more cardio is needed.
Some funny stuff happens between 2:16 and when I fall at 2:24. Ettiene is bent over for a few seconds, perhaps hurt perhaps trying to trap my sword. I don’t know. Still don’t really know why I fell. It wasn’t muddy yet and it wasn’t a hard push. I just lost my balance. Very angry about that.
We start fighting again at 2:34 and GOD DAMN can I not keep the pommel straight. That quillons are doing nothing. NOTHING. At least I’m wearing protective gaunts and don’t have to worry about broken fingers.
The rest of that round is just slop. More me than him but he’s clearly tired too. Those blows lack power or intent, they are wild and we get stuck on each other twice. Glad it’s over.
There’s a 1 minute break where my corner peps me up. I wish I remembered what they said because I think it worked. Anyway the fight starts again at 5:05. You can feel free to watch the other fight they show inbetween but I have no commentary on it right now.
My first impression of round 2 is I came out with energy. I was still lacking skill but my energy was up and that may have been enough to force the third round. A sport like this being able to keep an offensive output the whole time is key. I think that’s the round we officially tied and on first watch at full speed, Ettiene got bent over and violated. I should go back and count each round but I’m probably to lazy to do that with this blog.
The round starts out and I’m still holding my quillions like a fricken noob. That’s gonna be something I practice hard in the next coming months, Quillon positioning and catching blades on the crossguard. Frissbee’s HEMA class should be great for that.
The round starts off much better for me. My movement has purpose. I’m trying to get to a good range, to tempt him, to open something up. I even try that snap cut twice. However I don’t throw it well. A, I telegraph it hugely bringing my arms up before I even take the step. Gross. I also don’t step in, meaning I can’t follow up with a combo. It’s fine if that blow doesn’t land, all it has to do is fuck with the opponents guard enough that 1 of the next 2-3 shots lands unmolested and unanswered. Throwing it and stepping away does nothing(except to set up the next time when you pretend to throw as a exit move but actually step in, however I’m not at that level yet).
Etteine is unimpressed with my cuts, steps in and throws heavy at my head(Lead offside this time. Second one of the fight, guess he can throw it, he just might not like to in close? Need to ask him about that. Perhaps it was just the chaos of fighting getting in his brain in round 2). I, like and idiot throw towards his armpit. I do kinda duck away but not well. Perhaps had I caused him to whiff that could have been a good trade, but that’s a hard shot to dodge. My best case outcome here is we trade points. My worst cast is his gets counted and mine doesn’t. That needs to be a block first, cut second. We’ll work on that.
We trade a bit, I try to stay outside, throw some huge whiffs, than come in throwing hard low. It looks like he lands a shot for everyone I land, so not well done on my part. My foot work is real odd here, I’m bouncing far too much I think, not nearly settled enough. I also follow Ettiene’s straight retreat. Not sure stepping further to my right trying to cut him off from the rail would have helped, but switching to the left with an offside cut would have probably opened up his other leg and even his back and might have caught his shot giving me the advantage on that exchange. Either way I should have tried something else.
For his part I think Ettiene would have been better served stepping in to jam up my arms and stop my shots and thrown some pommels on the head I was keeping way low. Either that or thrown low and the inside thigh keeps his pommel high so the sword would catch mine even if the blow didn’t land. Also all his retreating steps were half steps that kept that left thigh real exposed. A reverse pass step, followed perhaps by a pivot probably would have void that shot giving him the advantage in the exchange and perhaps given him my back to score at will.
We both need to work on lateral movement when we start gun slinging. We get obsessed with our target and just throw.
So after that Ettiene’s blade gets stuck in my aventail and we start to wrestle. I almost throw him right at the beginning when I grab his head but his base is sturdy and he is able to fight to a more even position and even gets the advantage with an under hook. Neither of us utilize our blades in this grapple. I wonder if they could be used to trip. I also wonder when it started I didn’t try throwing knees, kicks, and punches. Need to work on using my other weapons and not focusing entirely on the blade.
Anyway nothing else exciting happens in that round. We trade a few more times both looking real tired. My shots are clearly worse but Ettiene hits weak and flat a few times as well. We “clinch” he slips, the round ends.
Next round starts at 7:55. It’s just a hack fest. I throw, Throw fast, even throw well occasionally bringing my blade up trough the center line to cover incoming attacks. But it’s still all straight forward smashing. We’re clearly beat in this round. Add in the stream problems and I’m gonna call it not worth commenting on. In the end, my biggest take away is stay active, not just with the blade but with feet, movement in lateral directions, mix in punches, knees and kicks. Next week, My brutal loss to Lithuania. Dude was a monster.