Pre-Tournament Sparring – The Climb #176

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Pre-Tournament Sparring – The Climb #176

Sunday 16th July 2017

Today was my second consecutive day of swordfighting and my last weekend before the Astolat tournament.  In a week’s time I will know whether all those months of training will have paid off.

They usually say that you fight terribly the week before a tournament.  It’s almost become a swordfighting superstition.  And so I was a little unnerved when I found I fenced really well today.

It seems a number of people are really on their game at the moment.  There’s nothing worse than having a good night only to find that the opponent you thought you did well against was having a bad night.  But it seems I’m not the only person who’s on top of their swordfighting game right now… and I’m very excited how I’m performing as a result.

We have this concept called “arousal levels” in swordfighting.  It sounds rude but in effect what it’s talking about is how much you are in the zone.  It’s possible to be over excited and then perform terribly, because you’re not focused.  Or it can go the opposite way and you can be under-aroused where your head isn’t in the game and off thinking elsewhere.

I personally think of my fights in terms of two axis.  On one is my focus.  This is how much I’m focused on winning my competition, am in the zone, all those good things.  The other is physical force.  One thing I discovered is that as you get stronger, your fencing can get worse.  Your brain tells your muscles to give a certain amount of effort.  The problem is that as you get stronger, you need less effort to do the same action.  So, as a result, you end up throwing cuts rather than controlling them.  This manifests itself in sloppy bladework and tells to your opponent.

So for me I need to be 100% focus with about 80% effort.

What was odd, was that in driving to sparring today I noticed that I felt slightly “under-aroused”.  I was focused, sure.  I had my tournament playlist on and was thinking about winning.  But I was calm and didn’t feel pumped at all.

I soon realised this was a good thing.    If I’m pumped, I’m over-aroused.  Instead I was in a place of calm focus.  And it really showed itself when I fenced.

Normally I tend to only fight one weapon set before a tournament.  But I’ve entered both Sword & Buckler and Rapier & Dagger at Astolat.  I think my Rapier & Dagger is my strongest weapon combination but I’ve been teaching Sword & Buckler so, in theory, that should be pretty tight right now.

So I fought both today and it felt… well effortless.  I played with stepping up the aggression.  I know that come the tournament I’ll quieten it down a lot, but whilst aggressive Adrian gets hit a lot… he gets a lot of hits in.

So my Rapier & dagger was as good as Monday.  I’m fighting some of the best swordfighters in the world (well technically Pim is ranked #1) and I was getting hits in.  I think as I fought today, he’d beat me in competition.,,  but it wouldn’t be entirely one sided.  And if I learn to control it a bit more…

But sword & buckler was my big surprise.  I expected to get destroyed but I fought really well against everyone.  Like  everyone!

Of course, this now means I’ll have a terrible Astolat.  I’ll be over confident and get stabbed.  Or I’ll be superstitious and then get stabbed.  Either way, it’s going to be bad news for Astolat.

But ignoring the tournament for a second and the pre-determined outcome, I fought really well today.  I feel I’ve had a massive step up in recent weeks and whilst it will no doubt fall apart by this time next week, I’m going to try and remind myself that whatever the outcome… based on how I’ve fenced this last week, I deserve to do well.

I’ve put in the time, and I’ve worked hard, turning up to every training session.  So in that respect, I have put myself in the best position to succeed.  But at the same time, I know points are going to go against me and I’m bound to pick up an injury in the next week.

I just need to work on my mental focus and give it everything I’ve got.  Because maybe – just maybe – I’ve got a chance at doing OK at this upcoming tournament.

As a result, I came back feeling very happy and then spent the evening chilling.  I played Word of Warcraft and did the dungeon I put off yesterday.  I expected it to go badly but it was a cake walk and I speed ran it.  I was quite impressed with myself.

I had hoped that it would be enough to unlock the final parts of the Suramar campaign (needed to unlock flying) but I found out that I still need to complete a raid and couldn’t be bothered to do that, so instead I just ran some solo content and dabbled with some world quests.

Warcraft definitely seems to be the perfect way to chill out after a weekend of fencing and I only hope it’ll keep me calm during what could be a very long week.

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2017-07-17T10:01:20+00:00 July 17th, 2017|Games, Swordfighting, The Climb|0 Comments

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