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I went out to practice yesterday afternoon to field test my new breastplate, kidney belt and gorget. Unfortunately, my new gambeson isn’t ready to go, so I couldn’t test the gorget (my old gambeson doesn’t have a high collar, and I didn’t want to tape foam padding to the new one) but the kidney belt and breastplate work together very nicely. It’s much lighter than The Big Green Brigantine; I figure it makes a good “lightweight” kit for tournaments and Big Green can get saved for wars and melee events. Certainly the reduced weight made a big difference in my energy level: I was tired, but not exhausted (although some of that might be a result of my change in diet.) I was rather gratified that my sword-and-board seems to be improving; apparently the improvement is enough that one of my opponents noticed it, and complemented me on it.

There are a couple of minor mods which need to happen before Pikeman’s Pleasure next weekend, such as flaring out the cuff on my left vambrace a bit (I have a nasty pressure contusion just below my wrist today) and probably rolling the edge of the new gorget a bit for safety’s sake. I also think I lost a rivet on the suspension buckle holding up my left leg armour, but that’s easily replaceable in a few minutes. The straps of my new breastplate got roughly trimmed to the appropriate length, but the ends need to be neatened up. I should also fix the grip on my favourite arming sword and I may also raid the loaner kit (two suits of loaner gear are living with me for the summer) for a demigauntlet to wear on my left hand when fighting sword-and-board; You can get away with stuff like not having a demi-gauntlet under the cage on your shield at practices but the marshals at an event won’t let that sort of thing slide.

We have one more practice before Pikeman’s; this Wednesday, which is out last indoor practice of the summer. Starting next week we’ll be doing our pick-a-park-and-fight-outdoors routine on Wednesday nights. It’s a good habit to be in during the summer; I can think of a couple of people who joined the group because they happened to be walking past one of our practices of an evening and stopped to talk.

I may also try my Great Weapons authorization again — I almost had it last summer but then let it fall by the wayside during the excitement around the move to the new house. I’ll definitely try it with bastard- or great-sword; my polearm fighting isn’t the best because — frankly — I’m not fond of fighting polearm. We’ll see how it goes, and then once that’s done I may think about trying out the “two weapons form” despite the fact that I’ve been warned that two-stick makes Baby Jesus cry.

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