Fencing Practice: July 23, 2021

Practice in a Nutshell

Type of Practice: Melee: CRYPTIDS





  • Newcomers: As Needed
  • Initiates: DFB
  • Novices: Buckler
  • Swordsmen: Open Workshop


CRYPTIDS: Lake Monsters, Sea Creatures, and Wyrms in General

Hey we are on to Round Two of Voting for the Horrors Uncategorized as well, so bring a dollar or two for ribbons, and then lets have some crazy fun with our over powered lizards.

Lower Woodland Maybe

We might be in Lower Woodland this week. There is scheduled a play practice, but there was last week too and they didn’t show, so… who knows?

SHASy Month

August is traditionally our month to celebrate the 4 Levels of Importance so we are going to do that with scarves as per normal. This year we are also going to invite people to share their Y for why they fence, and what their rose stands for. This is not a concept limited to Swordsmen. Students will be welcome to share the value they fight for on and off the field as well. We will begin this at the end of next practice.

Shay’s Thoughts

I have been thinking about SHASy month coming up, and how much our values mean to me and to our group. I’ve already written some articles on them I’ll link them for you over the next month but I’d like to say just a few words about how I feel about our 4 Levels, one a week, over the next month.


This is our first Level of Importance, and for good reasons. Over the years safety has come to mean more, and more to me. Both on and off the field. In part because of the story I’m about to tell. But also I see the need for it everywhere. In our lives, in our homes and families in our communities and in, the world. Safety is immeasurably important.

Many of you know the story of how I injured my neck. For those of you who don’t, here you go. I’m going to talk about it to illustrate why I value safety so much.

I was 20, appropriately lively, and energetic for my age, happy, confident, and loving life. I felt invincible. This was my second full year of fencing. That year for Woodland War we invited several fencers from outside Terrasylvae to join us. We were smoking them. I mean just obliterating them. They didn’t take it kindly. One of the last fights of the day was above the Castle. This was before they had “improved” the hillside, and it was quite steep and rocky where the staircase is now. Our backs were to the hill, the melee got tight, and intense, one of the non-Sylvans was using a telefragger, an extra long rapier, and he was not happy. He threw a shot that was way too hard in the best of circumstances, but the worst circumstances occurred. He struck high and hit my helmet right above my brow line. Instead of the blade bending as it was designed to, it landed straight, and didn’t flex the right way. It was like getting hit with a steel pipe, My back foot slipped and I went tumbling, head first, down the hill side, knocking against large rocks, bumping over logs, scratching and scraping with each bounce.

It was a bad fall.

I landed on my head, and my helmet got stuck between a two rocks, while my body tried to keep turning. Fortunately for me, my gorget stopped my momentum, by digging into my collar bone, and preventing my neck from internally decapitating. It hurt, but I survived. Paramedics were called, I stupidly didn’t go to the hospital, I was taken home, iced, drugged and put to bed for a couple days.

I thought that would be the end of it. A few days recuperating, nursing my wounded pride, and back to life. But it was not. Over the next few months my left arm and leg slowly went numb in the fingers and toes. My neck wouldn’t stop hurting, and one shoulder was higher than another. I had headaches, sleepless nights, and I ached all the time. It was awful. I saw my first doctor 9 months after the fall, with three more that eventually followed, none could figure out what to do. I went through three chiropractors, two rounds of physical therapy, three years of muscle relaxers, so many x-rays I lost count, two CT scans, massages, hours, likely days under ice, a nerve conduction test, (so awful) and finally three rounds of spinal injections. All over the course of 12 years. This speaks nothing of the tears, and the frustration. For years I needed to lay down every afternoon just to relieve pressure. I could only drive for about three hours at a time before the pain became too much. I’ve owned every pillow for neck pain that you can think of. And while I feel much better now, there are days where I still hurt.

All this because Safety was not our top priority in that one fight. There are so many thing that went wrong. I really don’t blame the fellow that hit me. May he live long and happy. I do wish we had all been safer though. It wouldn’t have ruined the fun to move the fight 15 feet towards the volley ball pit. Everyone would have understood if one of our friends needed to step out for a fight to get a hold of their temper. I could have called a hold the moment I felt unsafe. If we had all valued safety just a bit more I would not have fallen.

As I have dealt with the consequences of that fall I have had a lot, and I mean a lot, of time to think about safety. All the hours on waiting on hold, waiting for appointments in doctors offices, lying awake at night because of the discomfort. And I really deeply feel that Safety is one of the most important things we should consider in life. It should always be a top priority. Not just on the field, but in everything we do. We should work to be safe inside our selves, to create safe environments, and to influence the world around us towards safety. This way we can all live happy and healthy. We can be there for one another. At my house we joke about the first rule being ‘don’t die.’ What that means to us is, as long as you’re alive we can do anything. We can make the world better.

I’m not advocating a boring life. I certainly haven’t had one, and I don’t recommend it. But while we are living life to its fullest, I am advocating that we live it in such a way that we can keep on living it. I was lucky that day. I easily could have died, or worse. Please, be aware of your surroundings. Be aware of situations, and people. If something doesn’t feel right, listen to that feeling, and make it right. Be thoughtful always, careful when necessary. In short, Be SHASy.

Shay’s Article on Safety.

1 thought on “Fencing Practice: July 23, 2021”

  1. Woah… that’s intense. I had no idea your injury was so bad. Not that I didn’t take safety seriously before now, but I’m going to take it even more seriously going forward. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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