Prepping for Poland-A retrospect on a trip to an IMCF World Championship

This post is just meant as a collection place for my thoughts on what is needed to get ready for a campaign abroad in the IMCF. It’s more a brainstorm for the guide I plan on writing for new ACL fighters than anything with it’s own coherent structure of purpose. It’s going from zero to knight so there’s alot of basic information. Much of it will need corrections and input from other fighters. It’s mostly just a base to start from as I look back on my trip to poland and the lessons I think I learned.

First off Gear. Gear can be acquired through purchase or personal labor. Unless you have the money to order something specific, say 5 to 10k, don’t worry about documenting to start. It’s a thing that is important but most of the lower end armor can be matched up to most other lower end armor. ArmorArchive, Various Facebook groups, Icefalcon Armory, and Forge of Svan are the ones I recommend. In general follow the low end specs of ACL rules and you should be safe

There are 3 exceptions to this advice, gauntlets and helms. Helms that are cheap can be from all sorts of regions. You may end up with a cheap helm that is hard to document to cheap armor, which is mostly splinted, though lammeral can be done cheaply too. Make sure your helm matches a cheap armor set and doesn’t require a full breastplate, plate arm and legs. Those are expensive. Also don’t just match the minimum ACL stats. Spend a little extra money and really make sure your head is protected. It’s worth it.

Gauntlets, I want to tell you to spend the extra money and get something close to grettirs in protection but I’d be a hypocrite if I did. I have Ice gaunts and they are serviceable but I wish I had better. I’m nervous every time I go into battle, not because the guantlets are bad per se, but I just don’t know to what extent they are good. Can I take a straight two handed axe chop to the hand? Are my thumbs really safe?* Right now though I know my guantlets are more protective than finger guants. The problem? We keep hearing rumors that the authenticity committee wants to ban faux finger gunats and that mittens will only be acceptable on kits that had mittens. Personally I think this is a horrible decision but I’m not in power am I?

Weapons. While there are plenty of weapons that hold up to our combat, getting a good weapon will really improve your ability to be effective with it. Some people think weapons are superfluous. They aren’t. If you are skilled with them you can use them to trip, distract, power someone down, or force them to quit through pain compliance. All are valid tactics. Weapons are also harder to match to kits. Get your kit first. Borrow weapons till you know what your whole kit looks like, than go searching for documentation that matches it.

So, you put aside$ 50-$100 a week and buy a single piece at time. Guides on getting armor will be fothcoming. Create a check list of your armor. Include a gorget, it’s worth it.

Documentation- As you get each piece of gear go find documentation. If you don’t know what you’re doing after this, reach out to me. The basics are simple though. Know the name of the piece you have, do a quick google search to find out a basic time period. If you can’t find that, go  to armor archive, show pictures and ask for help. Don’t ask for documentation. They’ll probably do it for you, but don’t abuse the resource or they will stop helping people who just pop in with documentation questions for the sport. Once you have a basic idea of time frame, go on Manuscript and Minatures. Type in the time frame for manuscripts and go through. You may get a lot of hits, but it really doesn’t take that long to scroll through them all. Try to find a few for each piece as you need to match basic region too. Once you have the majority narrowed down to a region you can use that to filter the image search. If you can’t find something in Manuscripts and Minis, go to Effigies and Brass and search there. The vast majority of low end kits will be easy to find on those sites. From that pick whatever weapon you want that matches, ie can find in those images, and use that.

After you have your gear and your documentation, you need to actually make the team. However, we’ll get to that later. If we assume you make it, you need to worry about how you’re going to get there and what you’ll need.

Extra gear-Surcoat. We have a surcoat that serves as our team uniform. Runs about $100 but works for multiple years.

Insurance and camp fees- We set up a camp for the team, where we hang, plan, and get watered and fixed up if injured. It costs us money. You need to pitch in, about $50. Insurance is also needed to participate and usually american insurance doesn’t work. Call your provider and ask. If they do, get it printed out. If they don’t, look up travel insurance. I suggest IHI Bupa.

Tickets, start early and set up ticket alerts for the closest 2-3 airports to the closest 2-3 airports of the tournament using a service like kayak. Get your bags. Most likely you’ll get one free checked at 50lbs, one carry on bag, and one carry on item, which can also be a bag. There are airlines that do more and also more expensive tickets or services based on things like military status, but most of us are in that boat. Buy your luggage now, put your gear in them and try to get the wieght under. Some tips is pack things like greaves, helment, shoulders, and guantlets in your carry on’s. Bring only a few regular outfits and pack them in carry on. That won’t be good enough for some of you and usually you’ll want to bring something back from the trip, so you’re probably bringing a second bag at least one way. That’s $100ish per way.

Something worth looking into is discount airlines, like Wiz, Wow, and Ryanair that don’t often get put in aggregators.  You may have to make some connections but you can cut a few hundred off a ticket sometimes. I found a trip to gdansk for under $500 round trip. $300 to dublin, 70 to coppenhagen, and 30 from coppenhagen to gdansk. Compare to the $830 I ended up needing to pay. Be careful though. If you end up needing to pay luggage fees, you’ll have to pay them on each connecting flight as it’s not packaged together by a travel agency. You may be able to pay someone to take an extra bag for you whose flying directly and get your luggage when you meet up.

Passport. If you don’t have it, apply at least 3 months in advance. Usually only takes a few weeks, but things happen. Don’t be that guy. Once you get it, take a picture or get it copied. It’s not legal but will help if you lose it and need a new one. Make sure you sign it as well, as they get testy if you need to sign it going through customs.

What to say if asked any questions. You aren’t going to fight. You aren’t carrying weapons. You a medieval reenactor carrying props for a performance. OR you are an athlete carrying sports equipment. Only give more details if they ask you for them.

Money-call your bank, let them know your schedule, what countries you’ll be in. Bring cash as well, as cash really is king when traveling.

You know I just realized I forgot a bit of gear. I could go back and work it in, but I’m lazy. You need period shoes. Even if you’re rocking sabatons, you’re gonna want period boots of some variety. It’s not written down in the latest rules that I can see, but you can be bounced for failing authenticity standards, so don’t risk it. Just get some period shoes.

On that note, you also need some walking around clothes. If you’re going to be in the camps you’ll need something period looking. Don’t need to go over the top, a tunic and some breeches or tights works. Real simple on the cheap, wear your arming coat and buy some solid color leggings. They’ll work as hose(tights).

Lodgings- You can book a hotel, preferably get one near by the site so you don’t have to lug gear that far. Try to find someone else renting a car if you aren’t and ask if you can  toss them some money to help transport your stuff. You don’t want to leave it on site, cause sometimes stuff walks away. Alternatively you can stay in camp. Someone, last year it was Bobby D, will be arranging tents to hang out during the day as well as ones for people who want to sleep on site. I believe there is still a fee for this and you’re on your own for food but you get the experience of hanging with all the different countries every night.

Even if you don’t camp, you’re gonna be expected to pay a fee for the arming tent. It comes with water benches, and alot of other luxuries that help the team during the competition so just know that that fee will be there.

Car-You can rent one, but you may need an International driving permit. look up the local rules.

ACL membership. You need the expensive one, not just the $50 get in the door to events one. It’s something like $250 right now and will go up in price as the year goes on. If you don’t make the team you should get your money refunded, but I’m only 90% on that. Also you get discounts on Icefalcon gear so go ahead and get it now.

You’re gonna want at least one day on either side the event probably 2 at the beginning as the day before fighting we usually have team meeting. So plan vacation as soon as possible.

That’s enough for now. I’ll add my thoughts on training tomorrow

*Pro-tip, no. The articulation allows your thumb to be moved in a strange direction causing it to jam or sprain. This can be fixed through sewing in the glove in a particular way or making a new connection between the thumb and the guantlet, which I’ll give a guide on later

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