So I’m the American Longsword Armored combat champion. Second time winning it. Both times though the field had been reduced before the tournament making it only a few fights to achieve victory. That bothers me. I still feel good about it, because much like last time, the fighters I beat to secure it were quite talented. I did not just walk in and get it unearned.
However I still feel a bit like a pretender to the throne. Last time I won I became the US representative for Longsword in the IMCF tournament and went 1-2 in my pool, not even making it out of the round robin. I have worked hard on my fighting since then but my longsword has remained mostly untouched as I focused on other aspects of the Armored Combat Game. My tank is deeper, my speed and footwork much improved(which is disgusting because my footwork is just this side of wretched), my strength is up and most importantly my fight sense has improved. I’m able to think occasionally in fights, no longer relying on pure instinct.
None of these improvements though speak to my increased skill with a blade. Because I haven’t. Yet again I won on pure athleticism. It’s one of the differences between this sport and other attempts to revive medieval fighting. Your physical ability plays here, it’s exceedingly important. It’s one of the reasons this is my chosen form, because I know that in any real fight that shit is usually the difference maker. Less so when weapons are brought into play but even there, the guy who can swing or stab faster or harder is gonna win all other things equal.
However when all things aren’t equal I know skill can beat athleticism. And I’ve been spending too little time working that aspect. My pell work has slipped since I injured myself in July. I’ve done no practice transitioning through guards and strikes. I’ve studied no film, read no fight books, done basically nothing to improve the sword aspect of being a swordsman….and that shit needs to stop.
Time to go eat some crow…or at least humble pie. I’m going to be entering every SCA and HEMA tournament I can find where Longsword plays a significant role. Go get my ass beat in the skill game so I have to focus on that aspect. Hopefully that will be enough to force me back on the technique grind so that when Nationals comes I can defend my title with more than spamming more shots than my opponent. And then…come Denmark, maybe actually make a real showing instead of embarrassing myself, my country, and my school.