Sunday 4th June 2016

Today was my first time swordfighting since before Chasepalooza.  I managed to wake up in time but still felt a bit out of it.  So I really wasn’t expecting much.  In fact, I reckoned I was so out of shape that it might be best to give today a miss.
But… I’d not seen any notifications of the sparring event on Facebook and enquired yesterday, resulting in a hastily posted event… which I said I’d go to.  I’d secretly hoped that they’d say there was no sparring this week.  I know what it’s like to turn up and no-one else to be there, plus I have Astolat in a month and I really need to train hard for that.
So, remembering that tournaments get won not so much in the ring, but on the days when you’re the only person who turns up to train, I went.
As I suspected it was a very small group today.  I thought it might just be Pim and myself, but James came along as well.  And what was great was that everyone fought hard.  Those two hours of sparring were put to really good use by everyone.
As I also suspected, I’ve put on enough weight in America that I couldn’t fit into my fencing britches.  More incentive to train hard over the next month.
The surprising thing was how well I fought.  Now, I’m pretty sure that certain world-class fencers that I fought were not on their A-game today, but still…
I tried a lot of things.  I’m starting to develop my own style that is very agile.  Things I’ve always wanted to be able to do, such as body feints and voiding / countering speed mechanics are working.
I went along thinking I would be shit.  I came away feeling that I fenced really well.
But as I’ve told everyone, I suspect that I’m going to get frustrated over the next few months.
I’ve sacrificed instant progress for strong foundations by teaching.  Everyone I’ve seen who has taught for an extended period of time has fallen a bit behind the ‘pack’ only to return and overtake them.  But, by my own calculations, I won’t be seeing that improvement until after Fightcamp.  Which means that at both Fightcamp and Astolat, I’m probably going to come away feeling as if I could have fought better.
I’ve told everyone about this for the simple reason that they can hold me accountable to my own prophecy if I start complaining.
But with a lot of people doing international competition, I’m falling behind in the world rankings.  I keep telling myself that I’m playing the long game, not the short one… but that doesn’t stop me wanting short term results.
Added to this problem is that admission into Swordfish – the Wimbledon of Swordfighting – is now based on ranking and there’s a chance that I might not get a place this year.  That’ll get me frustrated if I don’t manage to get one.
Still if I fought as well as I did today, maybe I could do OK at Astolat.  I’ve done decently at both Untournament and Bucklerthon, although neither of those counted towards my ranking.
I guess I just need to be patient.
I stopped at Tesco on the way home.  I noticed that a couple of weeks away has allowed the toothpaste in my bathroom sink to solidify and I was presented with a blocked sink this morning.  I got some drain unblocker and then went to pay only to find my card missing.
I thought back to when I last used it – in the petrol station back homeon the way to training this morning – and had a bit of a panic.  I had enough fuel in the car and I could pay for my goods with my phone’s Apple pay but what if I went back to the garage and they didn’t have it, or it had somehow been used in the meantime?
I left in a bit of a fluster, ready to make the journey home as fast as legally possible, and then, doing a quick last minute check, found it in a different part of my wallet.  I can only attribute putting it there to jetlag as I’ve had the wallet for so many years it’s falling apart and I’ve never put cards in that part of it.
If I fenced as well as I did today, either I can fence better when not jetlagged, or I need to do more long distance flights before I enter tournaments.
I got home and had a late lunch.
I wrote a complaint about the Tepwireless MiFi device I hired after my problems on the drive down to Oklahoma and in Amarillo, and then started planning out the work I need to do on the novel.
My agent has given me some general comments that need some small rewrites as well as so general edits as well.  My plan is to tackle the rewrites first and then do the edits afterwards.  Because I’m going to just dive into the sections and edit those rather than do a front to back edit, it’s filling me with a little fear… but that’s more down to the fact that I’ve never worked this way before rather than some lack of belief in my ability to do them.
I suspect that once I get going, it’ll be fine.  I know what I need to do and the changes I need to make so I’m hoping I can whizz through them really quickly.
As things are going to get hectic again from tomorrow and I’d still not seen it, I made the decision to go and see Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2 tonight.  It’s been out for ages and I’ve been desperate to see it but for one reason or another I’ve just not had the time.  I reckon it’ll stop showing very, very soon so I figured that it wasn’t something that could wait until after I finish the edits.  I mean… I had planned to see it after I finished the draft on book 2, and then Chasepalooza prep got in the way, and then I never got chance to see it in Canada and… well you get the picture.
I enjoyed the film although there was a problem with other people in the cinema.
There were 4 people in the cinema.  The screen it was on, given it’s been out so long, was one of the smallest screens, but still there’s more than enough room for 4 people.
So what do the couple who’ve just bought tickets do… sit by me.  I think they would have sat right next to me had the girlfriend not been rebellious.
“They can ask me to move if someone comes along,” I heard her whisper to her boyfriend.
Lady, no-one else is going to come along, and if they do, there’s 20 other rows of seats for them to choose from!
This in itself wouldn’t be bad were it not for the fact that I’d put my headphones and phone in my cap and placed on the ground.  And so every time they wanted to go to the loo, or get a drink, or whatever… I had to grab everything and let them out.
Seriously… they also didn’t stay to see all the post-credits scenes  (which makes them assholes in my book).
I was glad I saw the film and it was the perfect way to end the weekend.  The last few days have been recovery after Chasepalooza but from tomorrow, we’re going at it again.
I now have two main projects over the next month:  get in the best shape I can ready for tournament, and get the edits done.
Maybe by the time I finish that I can get round to seeing Wonder Woman.
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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