I’m starting to get a nice groove going in the mornings. Get up, make coffee and have a healthy breakfast of cereal, with a cup of berries and extra cream, and a few fish oil pills. After seeing my wife off to work, I get to stand at the window for a bit and just enjoy the morning light for a bit. After almost a week off of work, I was ready to try my first workout session.

Started with some frog stands, just relaxing and enjoying the balance. I resisted the temptation to stretch out a leg, or shift in place and do some muscle work. I just took it as a small meditation break. After I was good and warmed up with that, I started working into the advanced frog, by basically doing a pushup from the frog and trying to straighten my arms. Not so easy! I’m going to have to work on that for a bit.

Worked on l-sits next, and I’ve really slacked off on that training. I sat down on the ground and got that old “my arms are too short!” feeling you get before you build up the necessary shoulder strength. I cheated my start, keeping my feet on the ground and hoisting my butt in the air. From there I was able to lock my legs straight and get airborne, but it was only about five seconds before those vicious “kicked by a horse” thigh cramps kicked in. I enjoyed that pain for a few seconds, and let myself relax. A few sets of those left me a smidge shaky.

We’ve got the living room in the middle of a floor loom setup, so I don’t really have room for indoor cartwheels or handstands anymore. I moved on to six-step work instead, slow and steady, exploring the different positions and transitions, free experimenting with movement in the circle. Very good practice, left me feeling good and strong. And more than a little shaky. It will be good to get back to serious groundwork, and I’m happy to start slow and easy.

In the evening I met up with Jordan, and we headed off to see what was up with local SCA rapier practice. It’s a long time since I attended, and a very, very long time since Thursday night was the lynchpin of my week. I was eager to see if there was any chance of reconnecting with the old me, the one that lived and breathed for SCA rapier.

We got there just before 7:30, and headed in once the doors opened, with two other people. Got changed, did some warmups and kitted up to bout each other. By eight o’clock there was a total of seven people there, including Jordan and myself. Really disappointing turnout, considering that three of the five people there had been fencing long before I even started. Two new-ish fighters. I’d heard rumours that the local rapier community was dying out, and sadly it seems to be true. Old guys, and new people…what happened all the people between those two sets? I was told there is a risk of the practice folding soon due to a $60 a month increase in rent, and low attendance. That would suck..it would be an ignoble end to an incredible legacy.

I really enjoyed fighting Godfrey, felt like old times. He always brings the best out in me, and I feel like I get the same back from him. That was worthwhile. Sadly, I flagged pretty fast. I only wound up fighting one other person, one of the new guys. I enjoyed the fight, but was only really able to muster enough energy for a few composed attacks. I spent the rest of the bout doing what I thought I had come for…trying to learn, doing stupid things repeatedly and observing my own body. I would have preferred to have a few more fun fights before I got to that phase, but it wasn’t to be. Wound up leaving after that.

I’m not sure I’ll go back, honestly. It took less than five minutes for me to remember just how much I hate the ruleset, especially the onerous armour requirements. The necessity for full-body, no skin showing protection at all times is ridiculous. I don’t care one bit if I get scratched by a blade and bleed a little. That’s a minor, minor thing. I am more than willing to take the risk, but I am not given the choice. I don’t mind so much in a formal tournament, since the idea is to dress appropriately and my Renaissance clothing provides more than ample protection, and I’m wearing it all day anyway. But at a regular practice? Working out, drilling and sweating in full coverage, with back of head protection as well? With a two hour round trip, I’m looking at maximum bang for my training buck/time.

With more people in attendance, I could probably overcome some of my distaste. Hopefully that will happen. I know there are a lot more rapier fighters in town than show up to any of the classes or practices that are available in town. When I occasion to talk to them, they all have reasons they stopped training, but they aren’t the same reason that stops them from going back to training. When you ask more about that reason, it’s kind of surprising how often you turn up some unpleasant feelings. It’s normal to have strong feelings about past associations, good or bad, and after a break people are reluctant to rekindle that connection, that commitment.

I kinda wonder if the city wouldn’t benefit from a neutral practice space, a Tanelorn for the lost rapier fighters.