King’s & Queen’s Rapier Champs Recap

Yesterday was the most draining K&Q Rapiers I’ve been in. It’s also the deepest I made it, so that’s not too surprising.

I’m breaking this post into two parts — the What Happened and then Analysis– depending on what you might find more interesting.

What Happened

More than 90 rapier fighters signed up and fought to be King’s or Queen’s champ. Absolutely amazing. I’ve never been part of a tourney that big outside of Pennsic, and definitely not a tourney that size with that much intensity mixed in.

The pools were deep. Super deep. They pretty much started at 20′ deep and then plummeted from there. After the first list was announced, it was obvious what sort of a day it was going to be. Absolute meat grinder. Each pool had 12 or so fencers. Unreal.

I tend to look at K&Q as two separate tournaments. There’s the round robin tourney and then the double-elim tourney. I find the former to be 100x more stressful than the latter. Once I can get out of the pools, I relax a lot (relatively speaking). I’m sure I didn’t look very relaxed yesterday.

I went 10-1 in my pool, which is all sorts of amazing considering the amount of talent in there. It was a huge confidence booster going into the Sweet 16.

(Side note: Really pleased with the size of the actual, physical lists. They were much bigger than I expected.)

Then we got into Sweet 16/double-elim where we had to fight single rapier until we lost. This format pleased me to no end. It definitely played into my strengths. I love single. Single is best. Single is home.

Don't forget "single rapier," Conan.
Don’t forget “single rapier,” Conan.

Double-elim for me was a stroll through my local practices — Kenric, Rowen, Malocchio, Effingham & Lupold.

I wanted to ride the single rapier wave as long as I could. And I did until I ran into Malocchio. I get the feeling that if people didn’t know better, they would think we absolutely hate each other. I swear it’s the complete opposite — we just really wanted to kill each other out there… quite viciously, apparently. Jokes aside, those passes were highly skilled and intense and vicious. It’s everything I’d expect from a fight at that level. Maybe next time we’ll learn what defense is all about. 😀

After besting Effingham, I had the monumental task of having to beat Lupold not once but twice to get to the finals. Both rounds went to the brink. I won the first round, forcing Lupold to snag his dagger. That too went to the final fight, with Lupold besting me. Those passes were highly enjoyable.

He came up to me after to triple check that we were cool after our fights (spoiler: we totally were, 100%). I responded with the only appropriate response:

Kinda how I see me, Lupold and Malocchio at future K&Qs.
Kinda how I see Lupold, Malocchio & myself at future K&Qs.

Honestly, as disappointed as I was that I didn’t make the finals, if I had to pick two guys to get there instead of me, Lupold and Malocchio would be it. So that finals was a big Win-Win, in my book.

This is the second year in a row that a Caliver faced off with a Handsome Boy in the finals. Also second year in a row that the Handsome Calivers had three of the final four. I remember when we were all a bunch of nobodies. We’re really doing an awful job at that nowadays. 🙂

Huge congrats to Lupold for his victory and being the first of my generation to be King’s Champ. The seal is broken. Also props to Malocchio for his well-deserved Queen’s Champ and getting his MoD writ. They’re gonna be great champs for the East. I’m proud to call them friends.

Also congrats to Eldrich for being the newest OGR, and Morwyl getting his OSR. Well deserved all around.

Analysis

My adrenaline levels were off the charts yesterday. Ideally, I want to keep that as low as possible, to help me focus. But I did a good job managing it and not letting it overcome my focus.

I tried mimicking my success last year by doing what I did at the past couple of Birkas and last year’s K&Q. Keep it loose and fun out of the list, keep it 100% business in the list. That’s clearly the recipe of success for me. That and all the Italian rapier I can study between now and then.

The tournament drained me, though. Physically and emotionally. It’s kinda surreal to look back and see how a tournament like that can affect you.

I fought the best I could and left everything I had on the list. I’m ultimately disappointed I didn’t achieve my goal, but I can’t hang my head in shame; not without insulting the rest of the 90+ fencers that gave it their all, in the process.

With that said, I felt the mix of pride and disappointment afterwards — much like when a  faucet can’t regulate the water temperature quite right. Adrenaline and hormones can be absolute crap like that. Especially when you’re super stoked for your friends but bummed for yourself.

I have absolutely no regrets on how I fought. My opponents got everything I could throw at them. They were amazingly well fought fights. I was on my game. They got the best me I could produce. Malocchio and Lupold earned the hell out of their victories.

That's not weakness; that's life.
That’s not weakness; that’s life.

At dinner, Aiden mentioned that I seemed to have put more pressure on myself than usual. He was right. I had been putting that pressure on me for months now, mostly because I’ve felt like I wasn’t fighting as well as I should be — or how I thought I should be. Clearly I was wrong, because you don’t get to top four by fencing like crap.

Sometimes it’s good to be wrong.

Tournaments like this are roller coasters, especially if you care. And I’m pretty competitive (maybe I’ll write about that in a future post, as it was interesting discussion with Aiden over beer).

It’s easy to dwell on the negatives, but even my negatives are positives. I fought some of my best passes and got further into K&Q than I ever had before. I saw new fencers give it their all, striving to better themselves. It was great.

I did get a slew of compliments from folks (a couple asking about the techniques I was using) and a nice little trinket from Duchess Caoilfhionn. All that took the sting out. The rapier community is strong and I love everyone in it.

Now back to work.

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