Saturday, March 04, 2006

Pentamere Fighter's College Report

As noted yesterday, Melisande, Geirmundr and I attended the regional war college event in the Canton of Weald Lake today. We provided breakfast on behalf of Stormvale, and that was well-received.

The event was held at a conference center/retreat sort of place. We were in a lodge that had a largish conference room, a little kitchen, a lounge with a fireplace and a bunch of rooms with bunkbeds, some large enough that private discussions or conferences could be held in them. It was a nice place, although slightly crowded at times. There were 60+ attendees.

In the morning, Sir Jocelyn le Jongleur, the Pentamere Regional Commander and organizer of the event, introduced the program. She also led a brainstorming session on creativity and tactical planning later. Duke Sir Brannos discussed a wide-ranging set of issues around the theme of the "mental game" - he's quite an engaging speaker. He and Sir Tom Tintinabulum then split the attendees into two groups.

I went to polearm tactics with Sir Tom, while Geirmundr attended the spear thing. Not sure I really learned anything new (I learned polearm by having then-Lord Crispin Bucher beat me up for a few months, after which I was, as you would expect, reasonably competent), but it was a nice refresher course. Where Sir Tom's comments did intrigue me was in how to be productive on the battlefield with a polearm. I was never any damn good at that - single combat was my thing. I always wanted sword and shield or a spear for melees. Or two-stick for small melees where it was useful to create chaos as a skirmisher and flanker or intimidator. He also had some pointers on polearm construction and some comments on weapon weight that I thought were useful and interesting.

Sir Dubricius (whom I had never met, although he looks familiar) taught a very interesting class for the whole group on movement. This was really worthwhile. He and colleagues were examining a medieval text on sword and buckler fighting three years ago, he explained, and they realized that applying the movements was hard because the text didn't explain footwork. So they began to try to work up a way of explaining and defining footwork as practiced by the better Midrealm fighters when practicing their "A" game. I can hardly say how useful and productive I think the project is. We got a thorough explanation and demonstration, together with a more general discussion on fighting in an open combat order. That was coming into use when I fought more actively, but I'm glad to see it is now generally accepted.

We broke for lunch, and then we had a class and discussion with Sir Straum, the Midrealm general, who explained the Midrealm army command structure, and answered questions, mostly about the perennial problem of the wandering busybody telling units to do something outside of the chain of command. He had an admirable view on this, I thought. He also had some remarks about fencing and archery that I'll refer to in another post.

Sir Jocelyn taught her class then, and there was a break. Melisande, who had been very patient, and I left at that point. Geirmundr stayed a while longer.

My general comments - I wish we had done this sort of thing back when I was a much more active fighter. It would have been a very good idea. And I enjoyed the opportunity to hear what was going on. Now if I can continue to get back in armor and can actually get to melee events this summer...

More comments of a specific Stormvale nature later.

No comments: