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Fighting in the Rain
My Last Stick Fight, Halifax, PA, 5/21/2016
For my last fight, I had planned on dueling with machetes, stick fighting and boxing. In the end, only four fighters could make it, so we settled on a brutal, two-hour, round robin stick fighting session with Sean, Nick, Erique, and The Dinosaur, each getting an hour on the grass. The light, intermittent rain resulted in good footing on the grassy field, with all of us fighting barefoot.
The weapon sets were:
• Baton
• Stick
• Baton and Stick
• Baton and Shield
• Double Baton
• Double Stick
We will have a highlight video. All three of the guys acquitted themselves well. With the end of my first bout, I was already out of breath. Erique and I contented ourselves to trying to score clean kills on each other and essentially fought to a draw. Nick is new to weaponry, and what he and I did amounted to hard sparring. Last year, Sean asked me if he could start a modern agonistics chapter in the Lancaster area. Noting his training dedication and his sharp learning curve, I was glad to say yes. But, before I stopped fighting competitively, I wanted to find out just how tough the young paleface was.
Sean began by outpointing me in the early going. In the midpoint rounds, I generally outpointed him, but I was getting tired. For our last five rounds, I amped up the intensity in an attempt to disable him. I was no longer content with hitting him in the head hard enough for him to acknowledge that it would have stopped him if he didn’t have the fencing mask on. I wanted to hit him so hard and so often, that he’d surrender, making me feel like the caveman in Arthur C. Clark’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The rational side of me wanted him to prevent this from happening, while the Neanderthal in me wanted to stand on his chest and howl.
At this point, I discovered a symbiosis between these two divergent parts of my ongoing freight train psychosis, for the reasonable part of me said, ‘If this kid can survive full blown Neanderthal aggression, it will be more meaningful to him,’ [shrieks of laughter from my editor], and the Neanderthal in me responded by thinking, ‘You mean, I can feel good about whooping that young ass?’ whereupon the reasonable aspect of my construct answered, ‘Why of course, Godfried.’
Sean submitted in a couple of rounds, and he stopped me in a double baton fight in which he put two knots in my head through the fencing mask. For our double stick fight, I ripped into his body ridiculously. I could see how bad it hurt, and I could see him suck it up, so I decided to punish him some more, dig into that muscular torso as far as I could and see what I found. The dark look in his eyes told the tale. Just as I knew I had about 30 seconds of gas in this old rusty tank, I hit him as hard as I could in the flank, ripping through shirt and skin, and when I felt my trapezius muscle bunch up in a spasm, I realized that I had sent the very last hundred-mile-per-hour stroke his way. From there, the down side of the fight was pretty steep. Realizing that his ribs were made of rubber—or is that youth—I think I got in touch with one of my naked Irish ancestors who broke his spear point on an English cuirass. I tried sacrificing my left hand, and he landed two vertical power shots on my shoulder, which lit the nerves up and caused me to lose control of my right hand, so I gave up the grey ghost.
I am henceforth demoted to sparring partner for the ascendant fighters. When we clinched up in our last bout, I knew I was right to check out of stick fighting at this point, when I felt the strain on both sides of my abdomen. I no longer have the requisite conditioning for stick fighting or boxing. I did not get to do my last machete duels, which I wanted to do with Sean. Damien and I already had our last go around without bringing any new fighters up to the steel weapon platform. I will engage in machete duels in the future as it’s mostly an issue of time and measure, and there’s not a high conditioning requisite, and I still have something to impart in that category of experience.
Below is a list of all the bruising that I have from Saturday, inventoried 24 hours after, on Sunday. During the fights, whether it was with one or two weapons, I used my left hand for defense and my right hand for offense. I wore batting gloves and the lightest stick fighting mitts available with one quarter-inch foam padding. I have had both of my hands broken in these and heavier gloves. My personal, technical goal, was to take no shots to my weapon hand [right hand], and I did not.
Left side bruises:
• middle toe
• third rib
• arm pit
• thumb times three
• forefinger times five
• 2nd knuckle
• 3rd knuckle
• pinky time two
• 4th knuckle
• wrist radial side
• wrist ulna side times two
• forearm radial side
• forearm ulna side
• crown
22 Total
Right side bruises:
• thigh below hip
• bottom rib
• nipple
• forearm radial side
• forearm radial side elbow attachment
• upper arm tricep
• upper arm deltoid attachment
• pectoral attachment
• ball of shoulder
• shoulder trapezius attachment times two
• ear times two, still ringing a day later
• crown
14 Total
It turns out, I do have a use injury on either side of the body. Despite having lace-up ankle braces on, my left ankle is sprained from driving off of the left foot. The inside of my right hand below the forefinger is bruised from the vibrations of my stick WHOOPING THAT YOUNG ASS!
Stick-Fighting Record
673 bouts
449 wins
171 losses
53 draws
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