Judging The Longsword Tournament – The Climb #266

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Judging The Longsword Tournament – The Climb #266

Saturday 14th October 2017

After yesterday’s migraine, I woke up feeling a lot better today.  Rather than dwell on things, I simply focused on the event at hand.

I know tournaments.  I know that tension and excitement that precedes them as fighters ready themselves to be tested against each other.  Except today, I wasn’t fighting, I was judging.

I’ll be honest and say I’ve been very nervous about this.  After the problems with scoring at Fightcamp, it’s really put me off doing any sort of judging.  I was offered to get out of it, but my personal feeling is that if our hosts have paid for me to fly over, the least I can do is help them with their event.  I’m here to work, and so  even given my worries I was happy to help by being a line judge.

I find it difficult to see everything that happens in a bout.  Sometimes there’s such a flurry of swords that I find it difficult to know what it is that I just saw.  Even Pim says that those flurries are difficult.

And keep in mind that I don’t do Longsword.  Whilst a hit is a hit, there were different points depending whether it was a one-handed hit or not, so that added to my nerves.

I decided that the reason there’s one head judge and 3 assistants, is because people do make mistakes and mis-see things.  So I decided I would just flag what I saw and go from there.

I had an early mistake when I mixed up my colour flags, but after that, I got the hang of things and started having fun.

We started with 2 rings.  Pim ran one (which I was an assistant) and Matt Galas ran the other.  The early fights were pretty clean which made things easy.  We lost some time with the next fighters not being ready, and over the course of the day, this really slowed things down.  It really needed one person telling the next fighters to get ready the moment the preceeding fight started.

At least we had a separate time-keeper and score-keeper, so that eleviated some of the worries that Fightcamp gave me.

The opening rounds went pretty well, and seemed to run on time, but then we needed to do some knockouts from the highest scoring losers to fill out the final 32, and that’s when things slowed down.  People weren;t ready and there was a lot of dead time.  I think we only needed to do 2 fights on our piste and that somehow took an hour.

The next lot of fights were more difficult to judge.  Things got a bit scrappy, and it was difficult to judge.  However, I just stuck to what I saw, and felt vindicated when Pim also saw the afterblows only I had.

We didn’t seem to pick up time though.  People were not ready, people were having a smoke.  Part of me wanted to say that their fight started in 2 minutes whether they were ready or not, but it seems a more laid back culture in terms of timekeeping in this part of the world and it’s not my place to say.

We had a problem with the flooring on the other piste starting to come apart and so we went down to a single piste as we got to the final 8.  By now, we were incredibly late and it was already looking like our seminar would be bumped so we could get the tournament done.  Though we were now down to just a single piste, with Matt as head judge, Pim & I worked as assistant judges, and I felt I’d found my stride now.  Sure, there were things I missed, but I called what I saw, not worried if other people saw something different.

As the breaks continued, Pim and I got bored and put on a bit of flag rapier & dagger.  We were just bored but it was nice seeing everyone stop and watch us.  Everyone knows Pim is good, but I’m a little unknown so I’d like to prove myself, and that was a good showcase that I can actually fight.

As the fights progressed to the quarter finals, the fighting got a little less scrappy and easier to judge.  We had one mask cave in and someone get waffled.  Matt kept checking the guy was OK, and to be honest, I think it was the right call as I couldn’t be sure if he was just shook up or concussed.

But eventually we had our winner.  He was one of the tournament organisers, but we’d been independent judges and it was clear he deserved to win.   I don’t think there was any doubt.

We held the award ceremony round the other side of the palace by the lake to yet another idyllic sunset.

There was no time to spar, so I went back to my room and showered before dinner.  Got a message from back home that allivaiated a bit of stress so felt a little brighter going down to dinner.  We drank a lot and regaled each other with wild tales.  There was some drunk dialling, a lot of palinka and cognac.  I even got given a bottle of cognac from the organisers as thanks.

I really enjoyed today.  I’d been nervous about judging but I feel I found my feet again, and by the end of it I was really enjoying it.  As Pim said, I can now judge Wessex Longsword.  As I told him, I never offer to judge as I want to focus on my competition.  However, once I’ve fought, if I’m not too knackered I’d be happy to give it a go.

Tomorrow is our last full day and I’m already sad.  Though we’ve been here for little more than 48 hours, I’ve had an incredible time.  Despite the tournament overrun (nearly every tournament does that) it’s been exceptionally organised and the hosts have been incredible and welcoming.

I just hope that I get some sparring time in.  Whilst it was fun to watch others fight,  I want to get some fighting in myself.  I’ve had loads of people ask me for fights tomorrow (probably because they think me easier than Pim) and even if I didn’t see it as part of my role as an instructor, I’d be more than happy to.  I just hope I don’t embarrass myself.

If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.

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2017-10-17T11:25:02+01:00October 15th, 2017|Swordfighting, The Climb, Travel|0 Comments

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