Next we worked on quarterstaff techniques for 2 hours, which was great because I hadn't gotten to practice this kind of fighting much at all before, especially not with anything useful as a guide (for all of these areas of technique we used fightbooks which were published between around 1200 and 1700 AD). Not long enough for this particular area of instruction in my opinion, but still I learned a great deal about the proper range of strengths and weakness that the shortstaff can employ. It's really something I'd like to get the chance to work on again, although I don't know when I'll get the chance.
Then we had lunch, and then worked on 'half-swording' techniques and 'armored combat', that is to say, using a sword with one hand on the handle and one on the blade to give better control and leverage; this is really useful (and was shown apparently often as I can tell) against full plate armor, with lots of attacks against armpits and knees and necks, common weak points for that armor. There were a lot of ways to quickly turn an incoming attack into a big tangle of arms and to get your point right up in there against a throat or whatnot. It took some getting used to the odd way of blocking and thrusting, but eventually the attacks seemed to come naturally.
After the classes there was a great deal of 'free play combat', with people just putting on some protective gear (or not) and sparring with either padded swords or wooden swords, or doing some grappling or whatnot. I was challenged to wrestle two pretty strong guys in this 'chinese' wrestling style I've never heard of, and of course I lost both times, but I held them off pretty well for a long time. I was pleased. But I didn't get a chance to fence with anyone that day. I was totally beat and drained at the end of the day, basically not leaving until around 7:30 and getting home around 9:15. I could barely walk I was so sore and bruised.
Sunday I got there aroune 8:00 and got ready, and we worked on sword and buckler techniques for 4 hours, which uses a smaller cut and thrust one-handed sword and a small ~10-12" shield together. I'd never practiced this before, but I enjoyed it a lot. It seemed to have a lot more defensive capabilities and sneakier attacks involved than just longswording. I got to freespar once with someone using this, and did pretty well.
Then we ate lunch, and I took my General Free Scholar testing with another guy who tested with me kind of at the last minute. It was fucking intense. I did NOT expect it to be so rigorous, and afterwards everybody I talked to told me that it was harder than they'd ever seen before. I suppose that was a little comforting since I felt I didn't do as well as I should have done. But then again I wasn't expecting to be sparring with so many people so fast, and with wooden wasters with no upper padding, against sword and shield, and against one of the guys running the event. I took a hell of a beating, but I kept coming back for more without flinching. I was surprised at that actually, after the fact, and I think my taking the testing at the end of the event after I already had basically every muscle pulled and probably 2+ dozen bruises and blisters and blood blisters gained, I was just not that worried about being hurt any further. In the end, I was awarded my General Free Scholar ranking (as was the other guy, who really was a machine with that sword, I can tell you).
After this, we worked on dagger techniques and knife fighting, with a guy named Professor Ron Harris, who is from Baton Rouge, I think. His particular style of engaging and receiving knife attacks is a little strange to me as I learned a completely different set of methods when I was practicing shotokan, but after finally getting the hang of his style it was pretty easy to pull off, and although by then we were pretty busted up and tired, I still got pulled it all off okay.
Ater all of this we cooled down and some of us met at Pappasitos and had dinner. There were a couple of allright guys from Provo and Houston I got to talk to as well. I got home around 10:30 last night, dead all over. I took some pictures of some of the marks I got over the weekend, they don't look good and they feel even worse. I was going to post them, but then I looked at them and they're blurry and way too big. And I'm ugly so you'll have to just take my word that I was put through a meat grinder. In fact, I took off of work today because I felt too sore to really move around much.