The Order Garrison

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Sorry I'm a little late posting. I don't know if it makes any difference now, but in addition to getting beat, the challenge could include defining success for yourself. If everyone is trying to get beat, no one will be fighting their best and it might be difficult to accomplish that challenge.

Posted : August 23, 2018 12:38 pm
Kane Driscol
Woodland Scout

Melee: A Different Kind of Fencing

Not many people realize that Melee and Dueling require very different skills, mindsets, and attitudes. The goal is be both a Duelist and a Melee-ist…Skirmisher…Soldier… I dunno

Melee: A Different Kind of Fencing​

Being such a versatile sport and having a large enough group, we are privileged to be able to focus both on Dueling and Melee. Our group has always been renowned for our skills on the Melee Field and in preparation for Woodland War, I wanted to discuss Melee a little more. I know I’ve talked about it before in My Thoughts on Melee, but I wanted to spin it a little differently this time. I want to point out some key attributes of Melees that may help those who are less confident when it comes to Melees. If nothing else, I hope to calm any nerves people may have going into Woodland War this year.

Dueling and Melee are Different

The first thing to realize is that Dueling and Melee are very different. One focuses on your own abilities and their interaction with a single person. The other focuses on the application of those skills in a group setting that is dynamically changing from moment to moment. Instead of responding to just one person’s actions, you’ll be responding to many people’s actions even if they aren’t in your immediate area.

In a Duel, the fight begins and ends one time. All you have to think about during the course of that duel is how are you going to proceed and, hopefully, be successful. In a melee, one person’s actions may influence the situation you find yourself in 5 minutes later. In a Duel the focus is very tight. In a Melee, it’s very broad.

Melees are More Forgiving

With an increase of stimuli and chaos, everyone is bound to make mistakes. But, luckily, this makes Melees more forgiving than Duels. In a Duel, you are in control of everything but your opponent. If something goes wrong, it’s probably your fault. That’s not the case in Melees. Yes, we need to increase our adherence to the Four Levels of Importance (Safety, Honor, Attitude, Skill), but if we make a mistake it’s not the end. The Melee will most likely continue and provide you another opportunity. I love that about Melees! Whenever I make a mistake, I’m excited to go back out and try again, but this time a little harder. Melees are fantastic opportunities to learn from our mistakes and try, try again.

Melee Mentality is Looser

While you’re out there trying new things, you’ll find that it’s much more difficult to set up and fight like you do in a Duel. In a Melee, there really isn’t a chance to square off with a single opponent and let your swords clash epically. Every time I’ve tried doing that, I get stabbed in the side of my face from my opponent’s friend. Instead, you’ve got stay loose and move from objective to objective smoothly.

Don’t give 100% of your attention to any one thing. Cast your attention all around you and try to be aware of opportunities forming nearby. Don’t commit to kill your opponent if all that’s really required is scaring him off or getting passed him. A loose mentality will let you adapt as the Melee progresses.

Melee is More a Game than a Fight

In a Duel, we fight each other to the “death.” This makes the fight much more visceral. In a Melee, because of how the scenarios are set up with their extra rules and everything, they become much more game-like. Being a good Melee-ist is learning how to navigate within the parameters of the Melee, reach your goals, and hopefully come out on top.

I really like board games and each one has different rules, strategies, and flavor. Sounds just like a Melee! To be good at board games, you’ve got to have a sound understanding of the rules, a basic strategy you can follow through with, and the ability to adapt to whatever happens throughout the game. The same applies to a Melee.

If you want to be good at Melees, become familiar with the basic/common rules and figure out how you can leverage them in your favor (Without breaking the game, of course!). Learn some basic strategies and how they can be applied effectively. After that, try to adapt as things progress. It’ll take some practice, but it’s much easier than it sounds.

Practice Being a Melee-ist

We spend a lot of time in lessons and working on individual skills. Those help us become better fencers and better swordsmen, but we forget that Melee is a skill too. There aren’t many Melee lessons in the Training Manual, because they require a different kind of training.

If you want to get better at Melee, dedicate some time to practicing them. Every time we go out into the woods, pick something to work on. Get some ideas from others who seem to do pretty well in Melees and get their advice. Everyone would do well to, occasionally, set aside the Duels and focus on their Melee skills. I challenge everyone to use Woodland War as an opportunity to try out new things, discover what you like about Melees, and figure out where you want to improve. There really is no better time for it than now!

What are you going to work on to become a better Melee-ist? Leave your ideas in the comments below!

”I think about intuition in the context of fencing as the sum of all of your experiences taking the form of a feeling that something is going to happen even if you don’t necessarily have the evidence to support it.” – Sada Jacobson

Posted : August 29, 2018 3:22 pm Shayen Locke liked
Kane Driscol
Woodland Scout

What It Means to Be an Officer

Many of us have or will have the opportunity to serve the group as an Officer. As you consider officership, I’d like to discuss what I think it means to be one.

What It Means to Be an Officer

Every season, new officers are called by the Captain to help serve the group. These willing swordsmen volunteer their time, practice, and energy to help the group. They even take an oath in addition to their Swordsman’s Oath to show the added layer of commitment they’ve accepted. Being an Officer is answering the call to help the group grow, love the people, and take the initiative beyond what a Swordsman is expected to do.

In this week’s Woodland Watch, I wanted to talk about what it means to be an Officer and encourage everyone to set a goal to one day serve as an Officer in some capacity.

“I pledge my word to strengthen the company honor and assist in company dealings. I will teach those in the company, lead both on & off field and justly deal with others till I can no longer fulfill my duties.”

An Officer Loves the Group

Everyone has the potential to be an Officer, but with limited positions choices must be made. When I consider members for Officership, one of the biggest determining factors is how much the person loves the group. Is this more than just a hobby for them? How much does the group mean to them? I look for people whose souls burn with a fiery passion for Terrasylvae and the Order of the Rose because without that passion, they won’t be willing to carry the burden of responsibility that comes with Officership.

The group is founded on principles of acceptance, camaraderie, adventure, and honor. An officer who loves the group will promote those ideals and make them a part of their lives even when they are away from practice. I can tell when this group is important to a person and I want each Officer to feel that this group is important and worth fighting for.

An Officer Loves the People

The ideals this group is founded on attract a certain kind of person. Adventurous souls who may be outcasts, misfits, or vagabonds in one way or another. We’re not a perfect bunch and many of us have our own challenges we face whether they be social, physical, financial, etc… An Officer in the Order of the Rose loves these people. Every person has the potential to become a great swordsman and a great person. An Officer should be willing to see the potential of each member and help them achieve it or at least see it for themselves.

I do not expect everyone in the group to be best friends and see eye-to-eye on everything, but an Officer should be willing to set aside their personal feelings in favor of camaraderie and the good of the group. By striving to see passed our differences, Officers can make a bigger impact on the lives of our members and realize that our commonalities are more important than our differences.

An Officer Takes the Initiative

Finally, being an Officer gives a person a larger opportunity to benefit the group in many ways. Officers teach lessons and therefore become a well of knowledge that others can draw upon. They assist in making group decisions which can influence the direction the group takes as whole and therefore get to apply the wisdom and perspective they uniquely possess. An Officer also has the right to take on projects and begin initiatives they personally feel can help improve the group.

As Captain, I get undeserved credit for things that other Officers have created or implemented. Tsyng, our quartermaster, is the Officer who suggested and encouraged the group orders of helmets and gorgets. Miren, our exchequer, is the Officer who organized the Bake Sale last week and raised funds for the group. Evanlyn was the original source for the Four Levels of Importance scarves. Ul’vade encouraged the emphasis on Lore this season. Even I begun this website as a project while I was a Lieutenant to benefit the group.

An Officer is someone who is willing to take the initiative to help the group grow. Many of the best additions to our group have come from Officers willing to use their time and talents in ways that only they could. This initiative is baked into the responsibilities of Officership and one of the best ways to lighten the heavy burden that comes with those responsibilities. I know, for me, that my love for the group, the people, and the projects I focus on help me feel a sense of purpose and accomplishment that is worth more than what I sacrifice for this group. I know that an Officer who dedicates themselves to a project they came up with, the love of the group and the people will only grow.

A Challenge to Current & Future Officers

As we all continue to understand and define what being an Officer means, I would like to challenge all current and future officers in two ways. If you are currently serving as an Officer, consider a personal project that you can take on. Consider ways that you personally would like to benefit the group. What problem could you solve? What does the group need and how can you fill that need? If you already have a project, consider way to expand it and develop it further.

For those not currently serving as an Officer, my challenge to you is join a project. Learn about what the Officers are doing and join an initiative that you connect with. As you help with these projects, you’ll be deepening your commitment to the group, learning from the experience of others, and preparing for the eventual day you yourself could become an Officer.

What projects are you working on or would like to help with?

”I think about intuition in the context of fencing as the sum of all of your experiences taking the form of a feeling that something is going to happen even if you don’t necessarily have the evidence to support it.” – Sada Jacobson

Posted : September 4, 2018 11:46 am
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