So, About That Tournament…

I did another three day Amtgard week, sorta. I went to fighter practice and I did go to the Silvermoon Tournament but I also stopped at Dusk Hollow on Sunday, but only stayed for an hour or so. With only briefly stopping at Dusk Hollow, it only felt like a sorta three days. This blog will mostly focus on Saturday’s tournament and my foam fighting journey. This was a big milestone in that journey. I haven’t fought in a tournament in well over five years.

Fighter Practice

I was looking forward to getting in some foam fighting on Friday and was considering it my warm up for Saturday’s tournament. I was especially looking forward to getting in some work on two stick fighting. Even before I arrived I knew I wanted to take it pretty easy. I’m usually sore the next day and I didn’t want to be sore going into the tournament.

We only did bearpits and as usual we started with single sword. We didn’t go as long as usual with that style as I would have liked. It was relatively short compared to usual. The next style we did was open weapon. Then after about an hour we took a break.

I did not come back after the break though, I ended up stopping for the night, but I didn’t go back home. Not only was I still streaming (you can find the video HERE), I wanted to watch and keep my focused on fighting. I did my best trying to analyze the fighters; trying to figure out any patterns I might find.

I don’t remember any specifics I picked up from doing that but I don’t consider it waisted time. It gave me a chance to exercise that muscle and even if I don’t remember specifics, just making a point to do the activity helps in the long run. The more I do it, the faster I’ll be at figuring out a fighter and that will translate to better fighting.

Tournament Day

The day of the tournament I was less hyped. I didn’t tell anyone at the time, but in the back of my mind, I didn’t want to enter. There was a lot going on in my head, but the main two issues were, one, I was anxious about performing and two, I was worried that I would let myself down, as is usual in tournaments

Still, I made myself go. I had my brother go with me so he could mind the tripod. I didn’t get any time to warm up before the tournament, which is fine for me. No one else really did either. Even while waiting in the back of the line of the bearpit, before my first fight, I had a knot deep in my stomach.

It quickly went away when I started fighting. For this tournament there weas only 10-12 fighters, so it did not bracket to the top 8 like I thought it would. They took the top four.

The First Bearpit – Single Sword

The first category was single sword. the one I expected to do my best in and, it was! I tried not to let my nerves get to me, or hold myself to to high of an expectation for myself.

I had some pretty good fights in single sword. Watching the video back I moved a bit more than I did in April, so there was improvement there. I also had a few chances to show off my sword arm switching skills, which secured me at least two ins all on its own.

Still, after finishing, I didn’t expect to place in the top 4, yet I did. I ended up fighting Valruin in the bracketed part and losing. That left me tied in third place with Ceian. We were unable to do a tie breaker as he had to leave before there was time.

The Second Bearpit – Two Swords

The second category was two swords. I had no expectations heading into this one, other than losing a lot, which happened. My biggest issue was that I forgot I had a second sword. There is one instance with Torg, where I saw him go for a stab, but rather than blocking it and attacking, I only attacked. I didn’t even move my right sword at all. It was dumb.

I did so bad I know I couldn’t have placed in the top 4. In fact, I was so let down with my performance that I didn’t even remember getting any kills, which wasn’t the case. I got two. Still not enough but better than none, which, when looking back, lifted my spirits a little.

The Third Bearpit – Open Weapon

This one was by far the biggest crap shoot. I entered using a war pole. A red weapon about 7 feet long. I haven’t picked one up in just as long as it’s been since I’ve been in a tournament, at least more than five years.

I picked one up a few years ago, just to see how it felt, but I was too physically to weak to use one properly. So I never even tried to use it. To be honest I’m still to weak to use one, but at least now I have the arm strength to move it with purpose. At first it was a bit awkward to wield, I was very unsure of myself, but I got into the rhythm.

I got a few kills in a row and got some cheering from the crowd, it felt pretty good. I didn’t make it into the top 4, but I did get 5th place, not that it mattered for points. Still, it was nice to know I was one kill away from placing.

Watching the video of my fight, It was sad to see how slow my feet reacted to being charged. Still, one fight, I managed to stay calm, blocking the shots as a shield person came running in. It ended as I stepped away while attacking and killed them. That was probably my highlight of the tournament.

Overall Feelings

When I left the park I felt a little disheartened and for no good reason. For me, it’s not hard to turn a positive experience negative. I thought about all the mistakes I made rather than looking at my successes and congratulating myself on how far I’ve come in only a few months.

I went home and watched the video of my fights and I started to feel a little better. I noticed some improvements I hadn’t realized that I had made. Sure I made several mistakes, but I was certainly doing better than I was when I picked up fighting again. Plus I did get into top four of 4 single sword and beat the other half of the people in open weapon.

I did not meet all of the goals, but I did meet enough of them to feel pretty good about the day.

What About Your Goals?

If you read my last blog, you’ll know that I set myself four goals. Some were easy, while others were a long shot. I met three out of four of my goals. The the one I missed, I never really expected to achieve so I don’t feel bad about not getting it.

Goal 1 – The Easy One

The first goal was to enter every category and I succeeded. There was part of me that almost stopped after single sword, but I’m glad I didn’t. I know it sounds silly to have made this goal, but it was necessary to keep myself accountable.

Goal 2 – The Safe Bet

This goal was to get into the top 8 of the tournament. That became harder when it turned into the top 4, yet I managed to do it it! I was only one win away from second place too! We’ll never know if I would have truly been third place or not, but I’d like to think I had a good chance.

Goal 3 – For The Fun Of It

This goal was to use a pole arm for the whole open bracket, which I did! Torg did bring it for me to use and I was thankful. I was worried that I was going to get to tired to complete this goal, but I managed it alright. Picking up the polearm, I could tell lifting weights had had an effect. I still wouldn’t call it light, but it didn’t feel unwieldly.

Goal 4 – The Longshot

I also wanted to place in the top 8 of either open weapon or two swords. I did not succeed in doing so. Well, technically I did, I was number 5 in open, but I don’t consider it really achieving this goal. The bracket was ended up being top 4, so to succeed, I think the spirit of the goal, would mean I needed to be in the top 4.

Yet despite not succeeding here, I’m supremely happy about how well I did using a polearm. I have a long way to go to get back to using it as well as I remember being able to. Still there was palatable progress in my foam fighting journey in that regard.

No Dungeons and Dragons For Baelnorn

Saturday I was going to be running my dungeons and dragons game after park, but sadly it was canceled due to illness. That’s alright though, I knew I was playing in a game the next day, but alas, Sunday morning that game was unavoidably canceled too.

I found out early enough that I thought I could make it to Dusk Hollow. I wanted to say hello to Tiid. I had seen him at the Weapon Master and I said I would stop by some time. So why not now?

It helped that also wanted to get out of the house for a little while. I made it there around 1:30 and hung out for an hour or so. I talked with Tiid for most of the time, when he wasn’t organizing games. Watching everyone have fun was enjoyable, plus Tiid had brought his adorable 7 week old puppy!

Final Thoughts

I did it! I entered the tournament and met my goals! I broke the habit of setting unreal expectations for myself and it feels nice. While I was a bit hard on myself, being so only last a few hours. This is an overall positive!

I thought I was on the right path, for the last several months and this confirmed it. I still have a long way to go. Hell I don’t really have an end point, I just want to keep walking this path and see where it will take me.

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