I’ve found my rapier weakness (well, one of many).

I gotta watch my damn legs.

It sounds simple enough: keep the sword between you and the other guy and you won’t get bruised, right? Except most of the other guys/girls I fight against are wayyyyy more experienced than I am. And it seems others have found my weakness as well. Each week after Friday and Sunday practices I end up with more and more bruising on my legs from letting myself get struck. No, I’m not letting them hit me on purpose, but by not parrying or by getting in too close or by leaving openings in my defense I pretty much am giving them free reign to whack me in the legs.

At least now I know one of my focal areas of training: Legs. Gotta watch the legs. And head (but no bruising there, thanks to fencing masks). And arms, though I don’t get bruises on my arms as often. And, well, pretty much everything. I mean, I know it’s all important, but my Achilles heel seems to be my thighs at this point. I don’t know what has changed; when I first started fencing, I didn’t really get legged much. Now? Now I’m legged all the freakin’ time.

Am I discouraged by this? Nope. I’m still a newbie, so this just gives me more opportunity to hone in on areas where I need more practice. There’s also a rapier company that I plan on joining where learning and teaching are the main focal points, so that will help. I already have friends who help (most of whom are in the company), but I think that researching period fencing Masters–which is one of the requirements for advancement–will help me immensely. I’m a little apprehensive about it because I don’t necessarily do my best physical learning from pictures (and the Masters didn’t have YouTube in their time to document their styles). And written descriptions of what to do? Geez-o-Pete, it’s going to be tough. I’m still stumbling on the four basic parries. Is one down to the inside and two down to the outside? I know three is up, in, thrust and four is up, out, thrust…I think. So much to remember! And a lot of fencing terminology is Latin or Italian or some other foreign language that is not medical Spanish. So yeah. There’s that, too.

Still, despite all the hard work involved, I’m glad I found rapier fighting as a means of exercise and socialization. So far the local rapier community has welcomed me with open arms, which is refreshing, and I’m told that I’m doing really well for a newbie, which is surprising given my lack of coordination in all things sportsy in the past. Who would have thought that there would be any sport that I’d do well in, let alone one as technical as this.

Here’s to my continued training and growth in rapier fighting, and here’s to not letting myself get hit in the freakin’ legs! 😉

Hello grogginess, my old friend

Good Goddess, I can’t wake up for anything this morning!

I suppose it’s my own fault. I was up “late” (for me, anyway) last night and then woke myself up early–ostensibly to start on cosplay sewing. With how sluggish and groggy I am, though, I’m not quite sure I should be operating a sewing machine.

Coffee is not helping. I wanted to start on the skirt for my Dark Phoenix cosplay this morning and plug through that; it shouldn’t take too long–maybe a couple of early mornings– especially given that the bustle wasn’t a bad project and that was more involved (I’ve never hated elastic as much as I did then lol) but I just can’t. Not this morning. Not even with Phoenix Comicon looming less than a month away.

The writing is on hold temporarily while an editor friend looks it over. I have been ordered not to make any changes until she has had a chance to read through it and offer critique and suggestions. It is very, very hard to not tweak it when I think of something that could be better.

Since I don’t know what changes she’ll suggest (or rather what changes she’ll suggest that I agree with), I can’t work on book 2 either. If the change or changes are sweeping enough to affect the plot/flow of book 2, I need to be ready to make the changes to that book as well. This is difficult as well, because I already don’t like the grand, epic scenes that I wrote most recently. I have decided that one of the primary scenes driving those grand scenes is fatally flawed and must be murdered for the sake of the story. However, if enough changes are make to book 1, it may be a moot point. I suppose I could still delete the offending scenes, but if I did that I don’t think I could restrain myself from rewriting everything.

Rapier fighting is going well. I can “feel the burn” after practices and I have been told by multiple people that I’m doing really well for a beginner. Also, apparently though I’m mainly a passive type of personality in my regular life, once I get a sword in my hand I become “really aggressive” and go on the offensive more than I do in modern-day situations. Put me in a position where I have to make choices or something, I tend to either go on the defensive or take a don’t-rock-the-boat stance on whatever’s going on. With rapier, not so much.

That reminds me: I also have to fix the hood I made for my husband’s fencing mask. I made one that I *thought* was good, but it turns out it’s either not long enough or not heavy enough to prevent the wind from blowing it up over the top of his head and leaving the back of his head exposed. I know how I want to try to fix it, but again, groggy + sewing machine = almost certain disaster. Even now my eyes are crossing and trying to close on me…not ideal conditions for using a machine that pumps a needle with enough force to penetrate skin. I really don’t want to deal with that literal mess this morning.

I guess for now it’s more coffee (or possibly an energy drink) for me. At the minimum I need to get this grogginess out of my system before I have to go to work lol

Not too chicken, after all

Okay, so maybe I didn’t get up and talk to many people. Maybe I stuck to my friends a little too much. Maybe even the few attempts I made at mingling flopped. Still, in the end, I had fun. I even won something!


That’s right; even though I didn’t “win” the Weird Weapon bar fight, I got an A for effort prize–and a weird weapon of my own for next year. 🙂

I wore that chicken with pride the rest of the night, and I received several compliments and congratulations from people on my prize.

Conclusion: The SCA can be fun even for a major introvert like me. There were several points in the day when I felt left out or out of place, but overall I had a great time. I plan on expanding into needlework and possibly illumination (decorating scrolls for awards), but first thing’s first: Phoenix Comicon.

Now that we’ve had our first SCA event as fighters and we have our protective garb for rapier practice, I have nothing holding me back from powering through the cosplay sewing and getting shit done. I’m going to start on the corset next (to give myself plenty of time to order the boning I’ll need) and then the skirt, shirt, my husband’s coat, and, if I have enough time, some bloomers for myself (because I feel really uncomfortable in skirts when I don’t have something underneath). After designing and finishing two three-layer tunics in less than two weeks (with the initial design being for two layers, which meant quite a bit of finagling to get the third on after I had already started), I’m more confident that I can get it all done.

Flying by the seat of my tunic

Well, here goes nothing! I’ve started the tunic for my Rus Viking SCA persona. I used some old fabric my mom gave me to kind of mock it up a bit, then I started on the real fabric.

So far, the tunic (what little there is of it just yet) seems to fit okay. A little snug in places, a little big in others. But I don’t need it to be 100% perfect…it just has to hold up against a rapier. I’m starting on the outer linen layer, then I’ll do the inner cotton layer once I’ve got the measurements down pat. Then, bada boom-bada bing, tunic will be ready for the next event (or even the next fight practice, if I can get my husband’s done before then as well).

Even though I’m using rough patterns I found online, since those “patterns” were just vague sketches of what shapes to cut out (with measurements based on someone smaller than I am) I’m pretty much winging this. I mean, I haven’t found any historical patterns for what I’m trying to do that are readily available, so this is like my “make it work” moment here.

I’d post a pic of the tunic as it is currently pinned on the dress form, with one sleeve pinned on, but that just looks silly. No, I’ll wait until I have it basted down and I’m certain that it’l fit. If it doesn’t, I’m kinda screwed, but I think it will. I just need to stay calm and keep on truckin’.

Hopefully this Friday we can order the gear we need for rapier fighting. So far, I need a mask, gorget, hood, and gloves. My husband needs gloves and a codpiece, but he already has a mask and gorget from when he used to fence. We have a friend who is supposedly going to give us gloves (since my husband loaned some to this friend’s daughter and they somehow got lost before he gave my husband’s gear back), but I don’t know if that’ll make the cutoff time for the next event. The guy might actually be at the event, so maybe we’ll get them then, but I worry that we won’t have gloves in time.

I got my first rapier-induced bruise this past weekend. Kinda proud of it, tiny though it is. Why am I proud that I got hit? Well, it’s because I actually was out in the field (well, a field of sorts–we practice at the local park). Even after I got frustrated a couple of weeks ago, I geared up and got back into it. I didn’t cry, I didn’t freak out, I just practiced until I needed a break then practiced some more. I get the feeling that most of my “opponents” are taking it easy on me and just being nice when they say I’m doing well (and I know they’re letting me get hits in sometimes when I otherwise would not have gotten them), but it still does give the ol’ confidence a bit of a boost when you get a hit in or when someone tells you “good job” when it’s only your third time “taking arms,” as it were. So this first bruise is a sign that even after I embarrassed myself I got back up there and toughed it out.

Here’s hoping I don’t embarrass the shit out of myself at the next event!

Home sweet home

Even though I had a fun time at the SCA event this past weekend, I’m glad to be home. I slept great last night–perhaps a little too great. I’m groggy as fuck this morning, even after my usual coffee.

^^Okay, so I was groggier than I thought I was. That was written yesterday morning after much, much thought…then I got distracted by the fact that it was time to leave for work and forgot I was even writing a post. D’oh!

It was fun dressing up in period garb and walking around watching the rapier fighting and kinda sorta meeting people.

It was the annual Mideast Feast, so I wore some loaner garb that was sorta Middle Eastern. I’m grateful to have friends that are willing to loan out clothes for events until I can make my own.

Most of the people were from a different barony, meaning I didn’t know them from the local area, and the majority of the new names I learned kinda zoomed in one ear and out the other. Not that I wasn’t trying to listen, but I just was so overwhelmed (not to mention I am terrible with names to begin with). The protocol of calling everyone m’lord/m’lady or calling people with crowns on “excellency” or learning who was king/queen to call “your grace” or the prince to call “your highness” was hard to figure out. Then there’s the whole regular-name-vs-SCA-name thing. I still don’t quite get it, but hopefully I’ll pick up better as I go.

I’ve pretty much picked my SCA name and some of the detail work I’ll do on my garb once it’s finished properly (I’m going to just make it “good enough” for rapier practice for now), and I have the beginnings of a persona. I’m definitely going for Viking shieldmaiden–partly because fighting women are awesome, partly because I get to wear pants instead of skirts–and I’ve got a name picked out that’s referenced as being a Valkyrie in some period poetry. Valkyries are awesome as well. Plus my name loosely translates to either “protection/luck rune” or “ale rune.” Protection/luck for the battlefield, ale for after. 😉

Next up on the SCA list of things to do is going to our first official SCA meeting. It’s kind of like a “town hall” sort of thing, so no garb required, but in two weeks is “court” so we might have to wear garb for that. Hopefully by then I’ll have our fencing/period garb coats done and we can have something to wear to both rapier practice and SCA events. The pants will probably have to wait because of time constraints on the cosplays, which I really need to get cracking on as soon as the jackets are done. For now, jackets and, like, pajama pants will have to do in a pinch. I have patterns for leggings, but not quite the type that the Vikings wore. It doesn’t look too hard though (famous last words).

Some friends of ours are being gracious enough to loan us some rapiers to practice with at home. We’ll definitely have to be super careful, because I don’t yet have a fencing mask or, well, anything. If we can find the wall space, we might put up an EVA foam “target” to stab at. Protects the apartment walls, provides something other than each other to practice on.

This is going to be a time-consuming (and expensive) hobby, but I’m looking forward to getting more involved in the SCA and meeting new people and learning new things. It’s great having the friends we’ve already met and gotten to know, and hopefully I’ll make even more friends as time goes on.

I’m glad my husband finally talked me into joining the SCA and going to events. I’ll have to admit, the rapier fighting kind of cinched it for me. Even though I get frustrated with it at times because I’m very much a beginner, I enjoy it. Stabby-stab. I’m even interested in cut-and-thrust, which apparently is more risky (as far as potential injuries go), but it looks like it would be really fun.

I’m hoping I meet new people at the meeting tonight and don’t get too confused on the name thing. And I hope I don’t pronounce my own name wrong. Norse names are weird.

The Great Outdoors (kind of)

Well, it’s official: I’m am now a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. (Not a card-carrying member yet; those won’t come in the mail for a bit.)

This weekend is my first official SCA event. A camping event. I am not a “camping person.” I am a “creature of comfort” person. But I’m going to give it a try for my husband. He’s so excited for this weekend and for me to be joining the SCA, so I’m glad I can make him happy with this.

I don’t have any “garb” (medieval-style clothing) of my own, so I’m borrowing some from a friend. I’ll be making us some clothing soon, which will cut into my cosplay time, but some of the garb is fairly simple to make so I think I’ll still be able to finish the cosplays by Phoenix Comicon.

So far I enjoy the rapier fighting practice part of the SCA (although it will be quite some time before I participate in any kind of actual fighting/competition). There are apparently a lot of arts things that are available to try/learn, like calligraphy and scroll making and sewing, so hopefully I’ll find more things to do than just stabby-stab people with tipped swords. Not that that’s not fun, but y’know, gotta keep occupied. Plus I’m not a card-carrying fighter, which I guess is a thing that means I’m cleared to actually do more than just practice as a noob. I don’t know how long/how much experience it takes to get one of those cards, but I don’t mind if I just practice for the time being.

One of the pieces of garb that I need to make (technically two, because I need one for me and one for my husband) is some kind of jacket for fencing/rapier practice. It has to be kind of specific in that the fabric has to be puncture-resistant. And I’d really like to have a jacket that fits better than the loaner gear our friends have. Not that I’m not grateful that they provide loaner gear, but I’d like something that doesn’t restrict my movement due to being a bit tight. I’ve already got a fencing mask thanks to my husband being a former fencer, and we plan on ordering a gorget (neck protection) and gloves and stuff for me soon. Basically, all the things I can’t make myself besides the actual swords. Those are expensive. Or at least to me they seem expensive, but I guess for quality you have to pay for what it’s worth, so I don’t mind. We’ll just have to wait a bit and use the loaner swords until we can afford to get our own.

I suppose I should check out the SCA websites (for the SCA itself, our kingdom, and our barony, etc) to see what options I have for activities. Art is probably the way I’ll go, because sewing can get expensive once you factor in all the fabric. Then again, so is cosplay. So I guess this is kind of cosplay of a different sort.

This weekend will be spent in tents and on cots, with a few people I know (and a ton of people I don’t know), and lots of drinking. Not that I want to turn alcoholic, but I may end up getting lit just to cope with the social aspect of it all. I tend to get physically exhausted from too much social interaction, especially with people I don’t know. Our friends will be there, but they’ve all got things to do at this event, so I’m either going to be a social barnacle to my husband or I’m going to sit awkwardly off to the side by myself and try to become invisible.

I try to keep telling myself I can do this. I can do the camping, the outdoorsy stuff, the social stuff … but I’m not sure I have myself convinced yet.

I just hope my social anxiety/agoraphobia doesn’t get so bad I start crying. If that happens, I’ll probably be hiding in the tent for a while. A hermit in a social club. “Hermits United,” as The Doctor said in the “Utopia” episode:

The Doctor: Bit of a hermit.
The Professor: A hermit? With friends?
The Doctor: Hermits United. We meet up every ten years. Swap stories about caves. It’s good fun. For a hermit.

(Had to incorporate Doctor Who into this … because, c’mon, medieval-era stuff? Definitely timey-wimey.)

Well, it’s time to get ready for work. My last bit of modern day before diving into the past. Well, pseudo-past.

Let’s do this!


It didn’t take long. One practice, and I am now hooked on SCA rapier fighting.

I have a lot to learn, obviously–especially since yesterday afternoon was my first time picking up a sword–but I received a lot of encouragement from the people I fought with and they’re great at teaching newbies.

One of the first things I learned is that I’m horribly out of shape. It wasn’t long before my right arm was shaking with the effort of holding and maneuvering the rapier. I found a solution that allowed me to practice longer, though: left-handed fighting. Yeah, my derpy left hand that doesn’t know how to do much of anything now can perform a few thrusts and parries. It was all very basic, but I had a blast.

I’ve already started looking up places to find gear for myself, as well as started planning how to make protective jackets for myself and my husband. (Safety first, people!) Not that the local SCA group (barony) doesn’t have loaner gear, but I want something better fitting that I can move in. The loaner jacket I used yesterday was a bit tight and restrictive, largely due to my largeness. Broad shoulders and fat upper arms do not make for ease of movement when the garment isn’t fitted properly.

The swords will probably be a long time coming, because rapiers aren’t exactly cheap. For a good fighting sword, you need something that’s not going to break on contact or whatever. And for a practice sword (and maybe tournament fighting? I’m not sure) you need something that’s tipped to prevent actual stabbing.

No, I’m starting with a basic mask, some kind of hood to go under it, a gorget (look it up–basically neck armor), gloves, and a jacket. Very basic protect-your-vitals kind of stuff. Because again, safety first. They’re not going to let you swing swords at each other, rubber tipped or not, if you’re not wearing protection.

always use protection Okay, so maybe you don’t need that much protection. But you get my point. Keep the vital bits covered (and the “bits” as well, if you value your ability to bear children in the future and sit comfortably for a while–this is applicable to both men and women).

I’m not going to be joining any tournaments any time soon, but I already love the feel of a blade in my hand and the clash of sword against sword (okay, so it’s not quite that dramatic…still fun). It’s good exercise, and I am definitely “feeling the burn” a bit this morning. I took it easy, though, and made sure not to over exert myself. So the spaghetti arms of yesterday are simply achy, not shaky. Well, no more shaky than normal. 😉

My husband and I are going to purchase our SCA memberships soon and become card-carrying fighters, which I think will be fun. I’m leery of the camping portion of SCA events, because I’ve never been a camp-y person, but from what I’ve heard you get so busy doing event stuff that you don’t have time to realize you’re camping. By the end of the day you’re exhausted, so it’s find tent/cot/crash. Or something.

I already can’t wait for next Sunday. Things to remember: Benadryl (in case of bee sting), sunscreen, and some kind of headband to keep the sweat out of my eyes. I didn’t sweat that bad yesterday, but I know eventually I will.

It feels good to have exercise aches today. Definitely better than just arthritis aches or pains from sitting on my ass too long. 😉