The Pros: Lots of them. The people, the parties, the conversations. A lot was accomplished in a single weekend.
This year it was all about the camaraderie for me, and a lot less about the competition.
It was great getting to be a part of the unofficial and non-existant Fechtschule Hooligan crew this year. You guys were great to party with, and I drank until my liver ached, and laughed until my abs hurt.
The people I got to fight this year were challenging and excellent. I took a few nasty injuries this time around, so on monday I plan on training again, and getting my conditioning and toughness up. * You haven't seen the last of me Nathan 'Frodo' Grepares... *
There were lots of people I had great conversations with, and really enjoyed watching the instructors teach, and watching the students in the classes.
The skill level in the instructors has gone up, mechanics and combative theories are much better than they were during the first fechtschule.
As well, it was nice to see Ben Floyd do so well. Hopefully his performance can help spring board his school, and really bring more students through his doors.
It was great getting to hang out with my EFC bros, Rob and Omar. It was fantastic to be able to gauge Omars improvements with the rapier, and I can forsee a great future for this group. In only two years they have grown immensely in both technical fighting ability.
SLUMFU - I met Jeanry at the first FA event I was at, and since have maintained a great friendship with him and Christian Trosclair. These guys are a class act, and have lots to teach, and brilliant ideas that will have an over all positive effect on the community. Eric - thanks for the kicks, i want my damn shirt
And good on your for stepping up and winning after eliminating me. You showed a ton of character and skill in this tournament.
Sword on Sword - The Houston crew. First a special thanks to 'Super' Sam Street for taking care of me and my crew. Your a class act Sam, and one of these days you will have to come by and visit. Also Dakao, great conversations with you, I am looking forward to seeing what you can achieve in the next year or two. Nathan - You kicked my ass at the club, but its exactly what I needed to get better, thanks buddy... know that I will be even better next time we meet.
The Darce's: We as a community are really lucky to have them building our equipment. Natasha and Christian work extremely hard to make great products that we all test as hard as we can to see them fail... and its rare when I am able to break one of their products. It's always great getting to hang out with you guys, and if we are fortunate, perhaps we will get to see you in the Pacific Northwest at our 2012 event. Thank you guys for everything you do.
Steve and Kara Reich: Great seeing you guys again. Kara, its always great getting your perspective, and its great to watch you and steve teach with such beautiful flowing mechanics. Steve, great getting to hang out with you and exchange ideas with you again. I had a blast on saturday night, and I am looking forward to seeing you again.
Iron Crown - My fellow ass kickers from the PNW. Great to see Wayne and Amanda out kicking ass, and representing really well.
Jeff Tsay - Dude, we got eliminated by the same guy... some dude who kicks alot and looks like he belongs in Greece... what gives... Anyway, Great seeing you again, and I hope to hear from you in the very near future.
Miah Smith - Great to party with you, and get to connect. I think your glove design is really good, Now you and your group have to travel down to the PNW and make the big party in august.
Kron: You guys rock. So much improvement, such little time. I really regret missing your sickle class Jason, I did however enjoy our free play with it.. perhaps next year.
Kristian: My finnish partner in Peanut apoclaypse, and random drunken Mayhem. Great getting to fence with you finally my friend. Your single sword game was really good. Next time its with longswords.
Axel - I should have my new sideswords by WWOC, lets have another match. We are over due for some longsword fencing though.
Mr Analson - Mike its always fun having you around. You made me laugh more than anyone, and you are always a source great conversation. We still need to fence with longswords, and I owe you my 'A' game.
Jay, Keith, and Al - It was great getting to touch base with fellow Meyerites... Thanks for the great conversation, and filling my head full of ideas. Also Jay, thanks for beating the hell out of my student Jesse.
To everyone else I missed... It was great meeting and hanging out with you all. I look forward to fencing more of you at the next event.
Oh.. the Hotel, fantastic. This was the best hotel I have been to at one of these shindigs. Food was excellent. A big Thanks to Scott and the Houston crew for pulling this off.
Judging - the big one.
I am sure I will piss a few people off with this one, but I have never been one to keep my mouth shut... so here it goes.
If any thing showed us that our skill level is now outstripping our ability to judge our matches, it was the tournaments in this event.
Two years ago, we were not even remotely at this level of ability and skill.
This year also showed how much work needs to be done with the judging, and rule sets. I observed the 'afterblow rule' repeatedly gamed, as well i saw the 'lightsaber' rule in effect, and the repeated failures in judging an adequate cut or thrust.
The franco-belgian tournament this year was my least favorite tournament... although it had some of the best exchanges, there were way too many people in the line up, the rule sets were overly complicated. This lead to less action, and too much discussion, way too much sitting around... and indecisive judging.
At least I can safely say that right people won in the dussack, and the longsword tournaments, both are proven in our community, and it was nice to see them finally take the pole position. Good job Ben and Eric.
With this being said, I believe this is only a momentary challenge, a growing pain if you will. Its a challenge that can and will be solved through measured experimentation, and implementing the correct training for future judging staff.
I for one, believe our community is most certainly up to the challenge.
I can say that this was a successful event.
The food as always was fantastic, the beer great (love that Shiner Bock).
And the people easily the highlight of my trip.
All of you were great to hang out with, have beers with. I learned a lot, laughed a lot, and I am looking forward to seeing you all at future events.