My Thoughts on Melee

Our Focus is on Melee

Every year, the Order of the Rose’s focus changes. Last year, we emphasized lessons and individual skills. This year, we’ll be returning to our roots and focusing on our Melee skills as a Company. I’m really excited for this emphasis because many of you expressed your excitement for Melees in your 2018 Fencing Season Surveys and I know that we make a great team out on the field.

Additionally, as part of the Melee focus, we’ll be running an ongoing theme of scenarios called Terrasylvae Missions.¬†This will be in place of things like extended games of Warlords and Pirates, which we will run in future seasons.¬†Terrasylvae Missions are scenarios based in the world of Terrasylvae. Everyone will have an opportunity to participate as their persona and affect the story/lore of Terrasylvae and the Order. Will you be able to foil the plans of Blackkoven, gain favor with the Spirits of Woodland, or help the people of Terrasylvae thrive in their refuge in the woods?

With that said, I wanted to share some of my thoughts about Melee. I’m not going to bother describing what a Melee is or how they work. I’m going to focus on what has helped me make the most of every battle and become a better soldier on the field.

Find How You Fit in the Army

My first thought about Melee is how everyone has a place in the army and if we can find how we fit into an army as a whole we can highlight our strengths for the benefit of the team.

From the Basics of Command lesson, we learn that there are four basic parts of an army, as follows:

  • Linesman
  • Cavalry
  • Harrier
  • Commander

Each one of these parts fills a specific role that helps make an army more effective. Do you know which type of unit you excel as? If not, do you know which one you would like to be?

For me, I always wanted to be a Harrier. It reminded me of playing hockey, and I always felt like I was more effective on my own. Because I knew which one I excelled at, I was able to focus my training and my efforts to become better. Every chance I got to be a Harrier I took it seriously. I thought about it afterwards and wrote down what I noticed in my fencing journal. Over time, my skills grew and I developed a reputation for my harriering. The same thing can happen to you.

Finding how you fit in the army should be your first priority if you want to improve your melee skills. If you already know where you fit in best, your goal should be to take every opportunity to fill that role and make sure people know what role you want to play. Learn the strategies, techniques, and mentality of your role from practice or from others. If you find out how you fit it, you can play to your strengths and help your team to the best of your abilities.

Remember to Fight as a Team

My next thought about Melee and becoming a better soldier is to remember that a Melee is a chance to fight as a team.

This is an important thing to remember because it can be easily forgotten. Teamwork is critical to a successful army on the Melee field and as soon as you step onto that field, you need to forget about yourself. Everything you do should be to support your team and help achieve the team’s objective. No amount of glory can make up for the honor earned through good teamwork.

I was lucky to have participated in team sports growing up and was taught this lesson over and over by my coaches. Every effort to support the team was something to be proud of. If we can all contribute to the team’s objective, then our team’s success will be that much greater. This is the mentality of a good soldier and something we should all work on this year.

If you struggle with teamwork, try to find out why and adjust your mentality to focus on the common good of the team. If you excel in teamwork, find ways to bring your team together and be the glue that pulls a team together.

Build Up Morale

Another thought about Melee is the concept of Morale and how we need to lift our teammates up as we head off to battle. Every person in a team or army is important. It doesn’t matter what your experience is or what your role is in the fight. You are an important part of the army.

Being a good soldier and your Melee skill is tied directly to how you feel during a melee. If you feel worthless and ineffective during a fight, you’re not going to do much good for the team. On the other hand, if you feel empowered and confident as you step onto the field, you’ll make a bigger impact in the fight.

I’ve already discussed how to build confidence, but I know many people struggle with their morale on the melee field. This comes from the lack of belief that your actions can have an influence on the outcome of the fight. If that is something you need to work on, then this would be a great year to do it. Maintaining a sense of morale and not losing hope in a fight is just as important in a Melee as it is in a Duel. As soon as you’re mentally defeated, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a reality.

Additionally, if you are in a position of command or leadership during a melee this is doubly important. A leader’s main responsibility is to build up their team and help the team win. Remember that every person is important and to act like it. The words you say and the way you interact with your team influences their morale more than you’ll ever know.

Challenges of Melee

My final thoughts about Melee are some of the challenges we all face during a battle. They also tie in directly with the Four Levels of Importance. If you can overcome each of these challenges, than you will be on your way to being a better solider and veteran on the melee field.

The Challenge of Safety

Melees can become chaotic and wild. Our emotions rise and our adrenaline is pumping, but that is no excuse to getting out of control. The Challenge of Safety is building a safe environment in the middle of a battlefield. One of the most valuable skills Fencing teaches is the ability to control yourself in any situation. On the Melee Field, a good soldier’s actions reflect their drive to keep themselves and others safe. If the Challenge of Safety is something you struggle with, then I would encourage you to practice control and find ways to overcome it.

The Challenge of Honor

There is a lot more gray area in a Melee than in a Duel. In a Duel, it is only you and your opponent. In a Melee, who knows what may be happening. The Challenge of Honor is upholding your honor, despite temptation. If there was ever a time to showcase your honor, it would be on the melee field. A good soldier should always strive to take the higher road, which means between two options take the more honorable one. If the Challenge of Honor is something you struggle with, then I would encourage you to develop a sense of honor that everyone can see, both on and off the field.

The Challenge of Attitude

Your attitude will be tested time and time again on the field. It may be in being positive despite defeat, being confident of your skills, or being forgiving when your temper flares. The Challenge of Attitude is maintaining a good attitude in the face of adversity. In the Order of the Rose, we fight each other because it’s fun. A good solider should be looking for ways to be positive and make sure others are having fun too. If the Challenge of Attitude is something you struggle with, then I would encourage you to discover what keeps you from having a good attitude and find ways to conquer those obstacles.

The Challenge of Skill

Finally, skill on the field is a hard thing to ignore in a melee. Every person, from Newcomers to Master Swordsmen, is participating in a single battle and you never know who you will come up against. The Challenge of Skill is to not get discouraged. Remind yourself that every person on the field has been a Newcomer and comparing your Chapter One to someone else’s Chapter Nine is an exercise in foolishness. A good solider does their best to help the team in any way they can and remembers that they can make a difference. If the Challenge of Skill is something you struggle with, then I would encourage you to be proud of how far you’ve come and set goals for ways to improve.