Great night of fighting at Academie Duello’s weekly Friday Fight Night. We got off to a late start, and I was a little worried when I got there, as there were only a few people about. A quick glance showed what appeared to be an instructors/senior student meeting or something going on, and I knew friends would be arriving later, so I didn’t worry too much.

I didn’t need to worry at all. I was fighting within five minutes of getting changed, and didn’t get more than a two minute break for the rest of the night. People were being shooed off the floor when time ran out…about an hour after fight night was scheduled to end. I started to cut my fights short in order to bout with more people, but I still left at the end of the night with another half dozen or more people still to go on my dance card. I’m going to have to go back a few times to catch a bout with everyone. I may have to start arranging bouts in advance…

The quality of the fighting was as good as if should ever get. Nobody was a walkover. Everybody was an enjoyable fight. Everyone presented some kind of unique challenge, and some were just untouchable. Everyone smiled, everyone was eager to fight more.

My own fighting was about where I expected it to be. I’ve been away from serious training for a long time, but have grown more aware of my flaws and strengths. I was able to work on my strengths, but my flaws were easy pickings for everybody. I think it says a lot about the quality of fighters that Devon has created, that even though I was getting tired of saying “good shot” and feeling rueful about collecting so many hits…I never felt frustrated. The atmosphere is one of professional competence, and constant improvement. Everyone seems to bout with clear intention, and the bouts themselves have a sense of clarity that is oddly calming and pleasing. It’s an easy environment to grow in.

I enjoyed pulling off the odd Evil Old Man dirty trick, but the biggest thing I got out of the night was a solid reminder that I’m not actually old yet, and putting in more practice time can still yield improvements for me. …And I still want to make those improvements. It’s a sign of a good practice, when losing a lot of fights leaves you happy…and confident you can get better.