How I Found My Inner Fire as a Female Fighter in the SCA

Photo credit: Marissa Wheatley Williams

It’s continually problematic for many new SCA fighters out there, especially fighters who are women. We’ve become comfortable in the gear, or at least as comfortable as one can get in a gorget and cup. We understand the basics of hit or be hit. And we feel confident that all of the time and practice put into fighting is going to pay off once it matters.

But we face our opponent and the fire just isn’t there. We’re throwing shots to just throw shots and without realizing it, hoping the fight ends quickly with either a lucky shot from us a or killing blow from them.

Let me explain to you my reaction and let me know if it’s similar to yours. You might not even realize it –  and that is part of the problem.

My First Fight



I had been fighting for a few months, practicing multiple times during the week with some of the best fighters in the entire world. I had put together my own armor so I was feeling comfortable and confident. I wasn’t afraid to get hit and I sure as heck was feeling like I could throw a shot.
Flat snap, offside, up and down, make your opponent move their shield. I knew what I had to do. I had already even participated in a tournament! Granted I didn’t win a single fight but I was up against experienced fighters and that’s a crucial part of the learning process. So I didn’t think twice when entering the local novice tournament.

I was excited to see everyone participating in the novice tournament. Not only did that mean more new fighters for the SCA, but the participants included many of the guys I’ve fought before at practice. Obviously if I’ve fought them before than I should feel comfortable fighting them now. But I set my goals realistically and told myself to win one fight.

My first opponent is someone I know and have fought many times. Yay! I know exactly what to do! I’m feeling good, my knight is watching me and I can picture it in my head how I’d like the fight to go. 3, 2, 1, lay on!

I freeze.

The fight is over quickly and my sword never moved an inch. What the hell was that?! My brain literally turned off and my arm turned to lead. I felt my throat close and my eyes get wide. Even my knight exclaimed I wouldn’t win any fights with my sword on my shoulder. He was right… what the heck.

This wasn’t me.

Next fight, I go in chanting to myself ‘swing the sword, swing the sword.’ YES! It worked. I don’t remember the fight at all but I had won. My goal had been met. I was obviously cured!

Third fight I was still uneasy at my body’s reaction during the first fight but feeling a bit more confident after the second. I just needed to do the same thing, block oncoming shots and make sure to throw my own. He throws a shot… blocked. I throw a shot… blocked. He throws a shot to my legs… ehhh, light but I’ll take it.

I try and defend myself but he moves in with a shot to my side… light once again, but I take it and graciously walk off the field. It was brought to my attention by a few fighters, even the man I was fighting, that they felt the shots were light. But they consoled me saying it was better to take the light shots than ignore hard shots especially as a very new fighter.

I was so angry. And embarrassed and disappointed. That wasn’t like me. At least I didn’t think it was. I chalked it up to new fighter nerves and walked it off.

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One of my first practices learning how to throw a flat snap.

 

 

Perseverance


I continued to practice. And as I continued to fight and become better, my opponents would increase their fighting to match mine while always remaining respectful. Keep in mind these are men that have been fighting and some of them knighted longer than I’ve been alive. They always worked at my pace and although a step above to help me learn they never felt the need to get aggressive.

There was one fight that still really stands out to me and was the first crumbling pebble to the avalanche thought process of my current thinking.

I was fighting my knight, who I find is extremely good at scaling his level of fighting to the fighter he’s up against. Just enough to push you but able to give you the chance to build your confidence in your movements.
Then for some reason we decided he would fight me how he ‘normally’ fights. Everything changed. His stance, his grip on his sword and shield, even the look in his eye went from training to a serious fight. It took my breath away and not in a good way. Thankfully I didn’t completely turn into a pell for him but he made quick work of me.

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A few months into fighting I had a hard time hitting people. So we started with hitting the pell with someone close to it. Made me nervous but helped ease in to it.

 

The Extra Hurdle: Fighting Societal Conditioning

 

Could just the overall attitude of an opponent completely change how I react?


Of course it can, but stay with me. As a woman I have time and time again downplayed my actions to control the reactions I get. I’ve brushed things off, laughed them off and blatantly ignored them all to prevent a nasty confrontation. My mind and body are so trained to defuse a situation that I do it constantly without even realizing it.

Why is it so much easier for me to throw an extremely powerful shot into a shield but something holds me back when offered an arm or a leg, even one covered in armor? What makes me hesitate to get in close and throw shots I feel are cheating but perfectly legal? Why do I take light shots even though I shouldn’t?

It’s as if I’m fighting myself with every. Single. Motion.

You’ll hear women fighters say ‘we think too much’ and that is what delays our fighting progression as opposed to men who just do it without thinking. We DO think too much, but not how you think you’re thinking or what other people tell you. You’re thinking of the outcome, the repercussions. What if I hurt this guy? What if I don’t take his shot? What if I tell him no?

Once I realized this, I began to push myself out of my comfort level. And it all started with small everyday things. When the guys hang out during armor shop or at practice there is a lot of teasing and joking that goes on. Usually I would allow myself to be the butt of so many jokes because I was so hesitant to speak up. Everyone loves the straight man and it honestly didn’t bother me… but it didn’t benefit me. I was just so scared to upset these new friends. So, we hung out and the joking started.

I stuck up for myself once. I got a few laughs AND THE WORLD KEPT TURNING. They didn’t hate me or take offense. It happened again and again, even with my knight who I especially didn’t want to upset. He made a small comment during one shop night after I stopped midway through a retort, he told me it’s funnier if I join in. So I did. And wouldn’t you know it… they still like me.

Ever so slowly my confidence in people’s reactions increased. I was able to get confrontational without it going badly. Without even realizing it, those guys were helping me find my confidence to stand tall in other things. Including fighting.

I didn’t even realize it as it was a slow change but when confronted with an aggressive fighter, no longer did I feel the need to cower within myself but I also didn’t find the need to match them in aggression.

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A few more months into fighting I was feeling more comfortable hitting my friends. My armor also evolved with me which helped my comfort level.

Learning Aggression

 

95% of the people I fight are men and I will never be able to comfortably match them in their level of forwardness. It’s just not in my nature yet. But I can learn a way around it by trusting myself to give it my all and knowing that I will survive whatever gets thrown at me after the fight.

Looking back I realize that is what tripped me up during the novice tournament. My opponent, even though equally skilled as I, went in with an inborn confidence and an air of aggressiveness that triggered my flight instinct instead of fight.

At the following novice tournament at Pennsic I decided to stop thinking about what my opponent might think or how he might react and instead spent those seconds looking for openings. I went 4 wins and 4 losses. Much better than I ever thought possible!

I’m still learning every single day and working on finding my inner voice and fire. I still have a hard time hitting people because I feel bad. But being able to recognize when I’m disengaging from a situation and instead stand my ground is making a noticeable improvement on my fighting and overall happiness in life.

This might not resonate with all women fighters and that’s okay. With others this might afford you the chance to look at things from a different perspective. See if it can help you with fighting or help someone you’re trying to teach. I would love to hear about other fighter’s experiences when it comes to overcoming the hesitation to hit someone and welcome any discussion it brings. Let me  know what has helped you find your inner fire!

 

Featured Image Photo Credit: Marissa Wheatley Williams

65 thoughts on “How I Found My Inner Fire as a Female Fighter in the SCA

  1. Thank you for putting this to words!

    I’ve been searching for a way to understand; a logic behind what my own perspective could only translate as timidness in many of the female fighters I’ve tried to train. This will be invaluable in understanding the “why,” I think. That should help lead into the “how” we get them around that.

    Truly. Thank you!

  2. I’ve never fought sca but I’ve been fighting in several different foam fighting larps for 8 years and I still have a big problem with hessitation. I’ve lost many fights due to it but I can’t imagine my life without it. I’ve learned so much and made sooo many friends over the years. I’ve also gone on some pretty crazy road trips to events including driving all the way to Texas when I live in Maryland.
    Your story is very inspirational and even kinda makes me want to try out sca.
    Keep up the good fight!

    1. I’m so happy that this makes sense even to a non SCA fighter. I’m so happy to hear it’s inspiring you and if you have any questions about the SCA I’d be happy to help!

  3. It is hard in some ways. I feel lucky because I have a naturally bombastic personality and have the advantage of being raised around horses. You absolutely cannot give in to that flight instinct when faced with an animal easily five times your size who has decided to treat you like a doormat. But I’ve also had those personal boundaries destroyed in a pretty awful relationship so more recently it’s been a similar awakening process to go through. I’m allowed to push back, to stand up for myself, to demand respect, to participate fully.

    I remember my fencing master, Toshikage, putting me up against a wall and making very controlled but pointed thrusts at my face because I would close my eyes and flinch or duck my head. I needed to be desensitized to it. He also taught me the value of being a smaller female against larger men and how to turn that to my advantage. I learned how to go to that still, quiet, calculating place where everything fades but my opponent and to use their enthusiasm and aggression or pacifism and insecurity to my advantage. My husband was in TKD when we first started dating and was utterly terrifying to watch during a tournament. He had that powerful intensity and air of absolute confidence and focus during demos, tests, and sparring. He is only like that in the ring and is otherwise an easy going, easy to get along with guy. But that change can be really unsettling and hard to learn to let is wash over you and just be without it affecting you.

    1. It’s interesting how similar we are. I also work with horses and know exactly what you mean. I’m not use to be intimidated easily as I’m 6′ but it was shocking how a different situation can change a person. That’s a really good idea with putting you up against a wall and forcing you to go through it. I might try something similar to that.

  4. Nicely put and well thought out. I particularly enjoyed this line.. ” It’s just not in my nature yet. ”

    Sir Trelaine, West

  5. Loved the perspective. As a man we never think on those terms and I can see how it would be something to go beyond as a fighter. Very interesting and informative piece. I even like your gear. My starter gear looked like a refrigerator with arm holes.

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed it! I wasn’t sure how the guys would take it but it seems to be doing well, I really appreciate that! Thankfully the practices I went to had decent loaner gear and steered me in the right direction when I started purchasing pieces myself.

  6. Really nice to read. Good to a new person’s point of view. We are currently gaining a few new lady fighters out in our shire. Enjoy the moments of fighting and the people you are meeting. Good luck in your adventures. Hope to read more of them

    1. Thank you so much! That’s great to hear, I’m always excited when there are more lady fighters! I’ll be sure to keep writing :)

  7. Hey! My name is Nicole and I’m from the barony of northkeep in the kingdom of Ansteorra. I have been fighting for a full year now. I came to the sca because of a friend of mine and haven’t been out of armor since. One of the problems they say I have is not swinging as hard as I should. I know some hits I do we’re not as hard but then again I didn’t have that good of movement when I swung it. Do you or anyone else have this problem? I love fighting with the guys and such but sometimes even I have the problems thinking well what if? And such. I am still learning and my knight is helping a lot. I have never froze while fighting but I know the feeling of what you mean. Keep at it and keep fighting.

    1. As a woman, our power comes completely from our core when throwing shots…more so than the men. So we have to put our whole upper body into the shot…think of it as being spring loaded 😉

      Lady Mór, West

    2. Hey Nicole!! I’m so happy to hear you’re fighting! Being able to swing hard enough is a common problem for new fighters, not only girls but for guys too. My biggest piece of advice would be to make sure you’re using your hips and follow through on your shot. I would constantly stop the movement and power of my shot once I connected instead of powering through. My knight always says imagine hitting the opposite spot, striking the right leg you should picture pushing all the way through to hitting the left leg too. Hopefully that helps!

    3. Nicole,

      You should talk to Syr Owen in Wiesenfeuer. He’s taught classes before on generating power through your core for a killing blow. I used to have the exact same problem when I was just trying to use my arm strength.

      Donnchadh
      Namron, Ansteorra

  8. Your words are very inspiring not just to female fighters but I think to new fights in general. As a female fighter there are a lot of things I can relate to and have had trouble with, myself. I do have trouble facing fighters that are far more skilled then I am. I never realized how much I actually do think too much until reading your words. I do over think fights which slows me down considerably. I over think my stance, shield & sword position, and footwork. I then get frustrated with myself which only compounds the issue.
    As a new man at arms I’m afraid of disappointing my Knight and my husband, who is a squire. I love hard suit fighting and want to improve my skills, finding and keeping the fire is key for any fighter to improve.
    I hope your words inspire other female fighters to look inside and find thier own fire to keep playing, and maybe inspire new fighters to take the field.
    Thank you

    1. You are very welcome and thank you for opening up! I’m really so happy that this blog is helping female fighters help understand their own fighting. I definitely think you’re on the right track and I’m sure you’re making your knight and husband proud every time you suit up. Disappointment is a real fear that I have constantly but instead now use it as motivation. Heck, I’m proud of you! Keep it up!

  9. Very well written with great observations.

    Only thing I would add is that women get cheered for swinging a lot–for throwing lots of shots rather than targeted shots aimed to win. Fighting is not swinging. This has been the hardest thing for me to learn.

    1. Thank you so much :) I think we get cheered on to swing alot because it’s assumed that is what is going to help us find our aggression as that’s usually what helps with guys. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we do need support to make sure we swing but teaching us how to find openings and not hesitating to take them is also helpful.

  10. Thank you for posting this. It matters.
    This is a problem a quite a few fighters have…female or male…it is not only a female issue.
    The only way to address it is to talk about it.
    I do not suffer from this, but many of the people I work on fighting with do.
    Some of the greatest advise I have ever gotten, and in turn given, for this issue sounds simple but is hard to enact.
    Trust your fellow fighters.
    We all enter the list accepting and understanding what we are doing, and give each other full permission to be violent to each other.
    Embrace that….

    1. Thank YOU for this. I honestly had no idea that men also have this issue so it’s eye opening to me to know this. Also exciting that I’m able to connect with guy fighters who were hesitant to say anything. I’m slowly but surely trusting my fellow fighters and it’s definitely making an improvement. Thank you again :)

  11. This was a very neat article that resonated with me on a few levels- the “tourney” mindset is something I have trouble with. The mental game is much harder to me to advance with. Thank you for writing this!
    Godfrey York, Atlantia

  12. I can relate to some of that. I also feel guilty because he might be teased for getting beat by a girl.

    The other trouble I have is that some fighters won’t take a shot because I am a female fighter. I never confront them and ask how a shot was.

    My struggle right now is that I don’t play a lot and whenever I fight I feel like I should be better, that everyone had high hopes and have taken time to train me and I am not as good for how long I’ve been in. I am also afraid to train because what if I just am not good and never get better.

    1. YES! EXACTLY! There was one tournament where I felt bad for winning because his buddies gave him a hard time about it… but I than decided that it’s not my problem and not something I can control. That fighter needed to either find new buddies or say something for himself, but maybe he’s fighting his own issues with confidence. It’s a tough situation. Hopefully this will bring awareness to it. I actually just wrote another blog about coming back from not fighting, that might actually help you. Don’t let yourself become your own worst enemy. Take every day one at a time and do what makes you happy. Those fighters helping you I’m sure are still happy to help you no matter how active or good you are because it helps them too. I always love teaching people because it always reminds me of something basic I’ve forgotten, even if it’s the joy of a new fighter.

  13. Tina,
    What a Very good Blog. and from a different generation. i hope you don’t mind but i will be passing this on to my Squires.
    Thank you for the time and the read.
    Count Sir Flanagan
    Outlands

  14. From someone who does not fight sca anymore (knees are to bad) and being a gentle soul from birth, I can say I feel what you are talking about. For me, it just came to the point where my mind would disingage and my body take over. That took a lot of slow practice, pell work, and meditation. I still miss it, still miss how sweat soaked leather smells, miss how thw sword felt in my hand, miss just being in that state my mind was quiet for once and muscle memory took over. Just keep practicing, learning, and above all, keep it fun.

  15. Reminds me of what we used to tell women in the martial arts / self-defense classes where I was a senior student. Once a fight starts the time to be nice has already passed.

  16. I understand, but you must come to the point where you can kill your opponent with extreme prejudice. Control the fight control the outcome. It is difficult but necessary. Practice meditation to clear your mind, never think within range of your opponent. Practice until you learn it in your bones.

  17. I was short, (4 ft 11) chubby, lady in my mid 30s when I first walked on a list field. My first time was in a Kingdom Warlord!! I had fun and I died a lot. The next morning there were pickup fights. I was not very aggressive about looking for fights and as a new fighter, I wasn’t getting a lot The King, (Duke Charles Inman MacMoor) looked over at me and asked “My lady, would you do me the honor of combat?” Once I picked my jaw up, I agreed to. First he corrected my stance (I had only had 3 practices before this) , then he decided I needed a better shield, so he gave me HIS. He went and borrowed a friend’s shield and he worked with me for quite a while. After we finished, he invited me to his private fighter practice! I was so honored. A little over 6 months later I accepted a squire’s belt from him.

    I had many of the same problems with aggression that the writer did and him and others helped me work through them.

    I need to mention a couple of other Dukes here. It was Duke Jonathan deLaufyson (sorry about the mispelling. the first King of Ansteorra that taught me about the ‘wolfing ‘ that guys do and how to join in. I have used that in other places as well, since I seem to often end up in interests where there are a lot of guys. Duke Lloyd von Eaker was another one that encouraged me and supported me.

    I am also 65 and I have shot knees, but if I could, I would be back on the list field as soon as I could rebuild my armor. I still have it.

    I learned a lot of things about myself on the list field and I was honored to be able to have that wonderful experience. The memories I cherish, even ones of being a shield man. I smile when I remember them

    1. Thank you so very much for sharing this story with me! Definitely brought a smile to my face and excited as I seem to be following in your footsteps. I had a similar process with my current knight, HRM Brennan. He has been extremely helpful with working through these issues with me. I’m so excited to continue with the SCA and learn more abut myself through the process. Thank you again and I’d love to meet you someday! I always love learning from female warriors and what they did.

  18. Great post, Tina. You’re absolutely right about the fundamental reasons behind hesitation for women and it certainly applies in many situations. However, it has never been your true nature to be passive. You have now learned to be competitive in a way the lifts others up and you are also not afraid to ask for help because you know that is a strength and not a weakness. Keep it up!

    1. Thank you so much Tara!!! That insight means alot coming from you as you’ve known me for years and have seen the changes first hand. I couldn’t have done that or this without you and my other supportive friends!

  19. I would like to recommend that you try opening up with 3 probing shots. One On Side Head, One Off Side Head and One On Side Leg. It does not need to be hard, just fast enough so that it is convincing. A fake to those target area will suffice too. Watch how you opponent reacts and remember where they opened up. If you don’t see anything, then bait them to throw 3 shots at range and see where they open up when they throw. Now you are in the fight and you have a goal. You may find this approach useful. I use it when facing a fighter I have never seen before an have no idea what do. Light shots and fakes are very useful to keep you opponent on defense and busy while you figure out how to beat them. This way you can save your energy for later in the fight.

    1. This is great advice and I will definitely try this out when I’m fighting next time! Having an idea of what to do going in always benefits me and prevents me from hesitation. Thank you!

  20. I forgot to mention in my earlier post that the probing shots never really intended to kill. It just gives you an opportunity to observe reaction and formulate some sort of plan. It also initiates aggression as a by-product.

  21. Loved your post, I had some of the same problems of being afraid of consequences but because I’m a big man and I always had to hold back and be careful not to hurt people and I was always scared to death of hitting “girls” during practice. Just some social conditioning that my parents and family had always drilled into me. You know be careful and your too big to do that you’ll hurt someone and so forth. So glad I had some of the nights who helped guide me and show me the thought that goes into a fight.

    1. It’s interesting to see it from your point of view but I can completely understand that. I’m bigger at 6′ and when fighting much smaller new fighters I tend to hold back in fear of hurting them too. It’s interesting to see how much more goes into the action of fighting than just throwing or blocking a shot. Thank you for opening up to me!

  22. Thank you for your story, Signora. I have one for you that I hope you enjoy as I am minded of a knight who was training a young woman. He was a two sticker and with every beginner he worked with (gender no object) it was the same. “Lay on!” — ThwackThwack….down went the newbie. Over and over: “Lay on!” — ThwackThwack…..down went the newbie. I had seen many a newbie drop this way. They would learn eventually. They always did.

    But this young woman was a slight young thing. So after watching her drop umpteen times I called her over. “Signorina,” I said, “You know I always speak truth. You’ll drop every time. The man is 4 times your size and is 10X faster than you with those sticks.” She nodded, resigned. “You will die, ” I said, ” But I can help you so your death will not be for naught”

    We whispered to each other and the she stood against him again. “Lay on!” — ThwackThwack…..thud, down went the newbie. Again.

    “LEG?” yelled the knight, looking at his left leg disbelievingly. Then he gave me a look of pure death. I shrugged. I do not fight but I do pay attention; I knew the knight had a blind spot that few had noticed.

    As with all things in life, we should support each other, be we on the field or off.

    1. Thank you for sharing your story with me! I agree with you that supporting each other is a great thing to do and sadly doesn’t happen enough. I’m sure she appreciated knowing she had you as a friend in her corner!

  23. I am a female fighter hitting my two year mark for fighting in the sca, with having to take a few months off recently due to shoulder injury during a melee. This was a brilliant blog on how it feels to be a new fighter. I have had the freezes, the same natural reactions to hitting people, and the lack of aggression problems. I am getting back into armor after the new year and am looking forward to trying some of your mind tricks. Thank you for writing what I couldn’t put into words. I hope to meet you on the field someday!

    1. Awesome!! I’m so so so happy that this blog resonated with you! Nothing makes me happier than to hear that and I would absolutely LOVE to meet you on the field some day! Feel free to friend me on Facebook if we’re not already friends and hopefully we can make that happen! I would love to learn from you and ask you a million questions haha

  24. It’s definitely an interesting and thought provoking piece and I appreciate the time and thought that you put into this. It’s nice to hear another combatant’s perspective on what they feel is holding them back, especially when that fighter is a female. I don’t fight nor am I a member of the SCA, but I am a member of a group that broke off from the years ago called the Adrian Empire (I’m from the kingdom of Umbria with in that empire) and I participate in their live steel/armored combat as well as their cut and thrust/rapier combat. There aren’t many women that do in my organization, or if they do fight, they stick strictly to the lighter styles. I personally love the heavy suit stuff. I get frustrated because I often hear other women talk about wanting to fight steel, but having every excuse in the book as to why they don’t. My first tournament out, I took out a seasoned knight and did it in knightly combat (punching etc…), my next round was the finals where I had two against my one, I didn’t win, but it peeved me off and taught me a few things. I’ve been told to read _The Armored Rose_ as it is s book written for female fighters, I just can’t get past the prologue. Keep up the good work! Great job on getting out there and doing, even if you don’t win, you are still doing which is a win in and of itself. I tend to think of myself as a combatant who happens to be a female, not a female combatant, that makes me sound some how less than I am, and I earned my belt. Remember, we have to be stronger than the men in order to beat them. It’s not enough to be just as good, we have to be better in order to win.

    1. Thank you so much for reading my blog and I’m really happy you enjoyed it! I know exactly what you mean and can relate on alot of levels. I have not yet read The Armored Rose so I cannot comment on that but my knight has taught me that I’m a fighter that’s a woman and not a woman fighter. That simple statement changes more than would one think. Even my own mindset after telling myself that becomes stronger and more determined. When I’m called ‘my lord’ on the field, I take it as a compliment as my stance and attitude is similar to the other men around me. I wish you the best of luck to keep kicking butt and stand strong. You’re a role model to the rest of us out here!

  25. It reminds me rather of my TKD days. With two women sparring, we’d be like, “Oh sorry! Oops, that was a bit hard!” etc etc the whole time. Sparring with men was intimidating because they didn’t do that stuff and I always found myself lifting a little more. Interestingly, come tournament day, even against other women, I found i was actually too fierce and i didn’t like feeling like that. Looking back, though, I think I was coming up against conditioning there. Why shouldn’t I be fierce? A lifetime’s conditioning that that is not how women should behave or feel said no!

    It’s not exclusive to women though. My dear hubby is a better martial artist than me, but we realised he did not do breaks well if he was worried he would hit the board-holder and hurt them, say on some sort of spinning back kick where it was harder to be precise. I had no problem with that at all, nor about charging down to jump over a crouching row of people for a jumping kick. I loved it and never feared for my poor crouchers! Oh dear, how unwomanly of me! :)

    1. Haha thank you for that story and I understand what you mean! Crazy how our minds in both men an woman can translate through our actions!

  26. One must enjoy hurting people, hurting and getting hurt is part of the game… Bragging about your bruises, or having dented someone’s helmet. If someone doesn’t take a good shot, then you try to hurt them. So many times an opponent would shrug off a clean shot, then whine when you cranked up on the next one…”why are you hitting me so hard?” Cause you ignored the first two, fool.
    Guess that all seems a little harsh. But I guess that’s why I’m a duke and widely acknowledged as one of the best fighters in the sca.
    My attitude was, and I think was of most of the top guys, I am actually trying to kill you. Only the armor and rattan is preventing that.
    Skill, conditioning, stamina, need those. But attitude is a big part. Early on I was aggressive on the field, lay on, go, nonstop till done. But later I found a sorta laid back demeanor worked better… I’d lay my sword along my leg, shield low, and even yawn. Confused them. They’d ask, are you ready? Parry the first one or two with the sword, or a duck. Then come on with a hard combo.

    1. Thank you for reading my blog and I really appreciate your advice. I have learned a few things from it :) hopefully someday I’ll have the chance to meet you Sir.

  27. Excellent article! May I have your permission to translate it for the fighters in the German-speaking region of Drachenwald, giving full credit to you and linking to the original for pictures and comments, as well?

    Our female fighters would certainly appreciate it. Thank you, Petra/Catalina de Zaragoza, Shire of MeadowMarsh in the Barony of Knights Crossing

    1. Thank you! And yes please! Feel free to share it with whoever you think would benefit from reading it. I appreciate it!

  28. Excellent article! I hope as your journey continues you continue to write about it. Best year of fighting I ever had I kept a journal–front half for comments from opponents, back half for *me* to make comments. It helped as I can hardly think after fighting for an hour or more, and I never remember everything I was told. I will try to keep in mind the “diffuse the situation” mindset as I train others. I got over my hesitations years before I found the SCA (played high school football. Coed team–me and 70 “freshmen”) so I have trouble connecting to some fighters, especially women.

  29. Thank you. I have a great big personality, but I get very…meek…on the field.

    I know that just being out more would help, but it’s hard.

    *sigh*

    Keep up the awesome writing and fighting and general bad-assery!

  30. This was really helpful to me. It just got shared on my Barony’s facebook group. I just participated in my first TOC last week and left really discouraged because I don’t feel like I performed very well. I would have been happy if I had laid stick on even one knight I fought that morning but… alas… it was not to be so. I suppose the purpose of it is not to win (obviously) but to learn… and learn I did… but it would have been less discouraging if it didn’t point out my weaknesses QUITE so well, lol.

    Anyway, I am a female SCA fighter of 2 years and I have trouble with having the courage to get out on the field. I am quite timid by nature but I REALLY want to do this!

    Followed you on facebook. Keep it up over there. :)

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