“Tourney Headspace” seems to be on a lot of fencers minds these days. Hardly a month doesn’t go by where I’m not part of some conversation, over drinks, talking about what works and doesn’t for fencing competitors.
For better or worse, a lacking “tourney brain” is often blamed for poor performance in tournaments. That’s definitely part of it. Not being properly focused can lead to early exits. I also think there’s a bit of a proper technique gap, especially in the confines fo SCA rapier, but tourney brain/headspace gets the lion share of blame.
I figure I would present my two cents on the issue.
Note: By all means, I don’t think my way is the way. I think it’s one of the unlimited ways someone can prep themselves for a tournament or their next fight. It’s highly customizable, which is both a pro and con.
I also encourage people who are trying to develop their tourney brain to talk to the top fencers in their area to see what they do, read up on sports psychology, and be willing to experiment and fail while figuring out what’s best for you.
So yea. K&Q Rapier was almost a month back and, man, this year was a day. After eight years of fencing in the SCA and five Sweet 16 appearances, I finally won King’s Champ.
I’m gonna compile all my thoughts about the tournament and the weeks leading up to it. It’s all tied together and were important to my road to the tournament, but no idea if the ideas will come across.
You can read my 2016 & 2015 recaps here. Apparently I didn’t write one for 2017?? Lame.
I know sometimes my sword-friends get frustrated with their skill development. Been there. Still there some days.
So here’s a little reminder. It’s hardest to see your progress through a mask.
When you get better the people around you get better. You make them better and, in turn, they make you better. It’s a leap-frogging cycle that makes measuring your progress frustrating at best and disheartening at worst.
But it’s so worth it for when things click. It’s worth it to prove to yourself that you can.
So when you feel that frustration build to a boil, take off your mask. Step away from the lists. Get feedback from people you trust. Tell the self-doubt to fuck off. And keep grinding away at those XPs.
I love Birka. Ever since I joined the SCA it’s been one of my favorite events of the year. I love that I get to fight a bunch of different people in a relatively short period of time. I also love that I can mine the stats that’s collected from the event I’ve used it to measure how I’ve progressed from year to year — both in standings, total points, and win percentage. It’s my yearly measuring stick.
Last year I won Birka. Went 70-10 for a .875 Win%. Not bad at all. I was looking to see if I could retain my title.
Yesterday was the East Kingdom’s King’s & Queen’s Rapier Championship. It was a beautiful day for fencing. Sunny and comfortably warm. A naval fortress on the coast as our backdrop. Great day. Great location.