So, having been in the depths of Bohurt Blues for the past 3 weeks because I missed going to France with The Fed, I was aching to get myself back into armour! It’s a strange thing – Bohurt Blues, because HMB is so intense and while you’re at training or tournaments, it’s a completely different life compared to the every day drool of working too many hours to afford to live in a house you never spend any time in… I suppose you could liken it somewhat to the effects of addiction. Although I would dare to say #fedlife is much stronger than any drug!
Finally, a training session I can make arrives and I pack up and drive 3 and a half hours in the blinding rain and crawling rush hour traffic to find The Northern Lists. It’s in Sheffield, and I must say quite a lovely space too. They have practically everything you could wish for being an indoor training space including 2 ‘lists’, soft kit, punch bag, TOILETS AND A KITCHEN!! And if I drank coffee I’d be in heaven, however I hate the stuff, so just tea for me thanks.
I arrived on the Friday night knowing I would only be able to have the Saturday for training as I needed to be back to Bristol for my gig at harbourside festival on Sunday. I was greeted warmly as always by faces I knew as well as a few I didn’t. It took me a little while to realise that our Canadian friends we had met at St. George’s Day were also here! How exciting to have some fresh blood! We settled in waiting for late arrivals of the night with a few cheeky beverages and Cards Against Humanity, and finally nearing around midnight, or was it 1am? We tucked ourselves in for the night.
Saturday morning. As is my habit at the moment, I was one of the first up, having a beautiful lie in until about 6.30am. It felt to me like a slow start to the morning, but sure enough we had been fed and were ready for the mornings physical warm-up activities by 9. A few running games to get the blood pumping, wake up our brains with tasks and then focus on ensuring our joints were warmed up to minimise any potential damage from the battles that were yet to come. Now, I have noticed in my time with The Fed that there are always some who dislike doing the physical workouts so much that they will sometimes intentionally arrive late, so they can just kit up and jump straight in for the ‘important’ or ‘more interesting’ stuff. I’ve never been the biggest fan of running myself, but I think it is crucial to realise how important the morning warm up routines and workouts are. I personally have been growing more fit because of workouts I do outside of these training sessions, and I have seen many others improve in their levels of fitness as they have done likewise. NB: HMB is a full-contact sport that, if it is going to be taken seriously, must be treated like any other competitive sport and so you must be prepared to train for it as such.
No time to rest yet! Soft kit training was next, the full shabang! I’ve only ever done soft kit training with padded sword, shield and maybe a helmet if I’m lucky. This was the full armour experience in soft kit, but of course.. and those of you who have ever been in full soft kit will know, this becomes very hot and sticky very quickly. There’s no breathability through the kits material. So.. let the sweaty battle commence! We started off with the basic sword strikes, then attack and defend, and then counter attack. This was all very well and good, but next, the fun part. We split into 3 different teams, roughly 6, or was it 8, on each. That’s right, soft kit Bohurt time! No grappling allowed, the focus is on movement, being aware of everything that’s happening around you, and.. I’m pretty sure the main focus was to push yourself through exhaustion especially as my team was in the first fight… and then stayed in the list for the second!
After a few rounds each, we took a break for lunch. MAN did I need that break! However at the same time I felt great! I had a moment of confirmation that, even though I could be doing a whole lot more training at home, I had certainly achieved a much higher level of fitness than I had at the last event I went to.
After lunch, it was time to armour up. Now.. the kit I use had gone with the ladies to France and been used by our beautiful Blue. As I understand it, the weather was not in their favour and had proceeded to rain down on the company when they packed up to come home. Can you guess what pleasures I had waiting for me in my armour box?… You got it. MOULD. All the mould, everywhere! Long story short, Badger thankfully found some saddle soap and I spent a good half an hour or more cleaning my kit. Oh the joys of admin.
Unfortunately, with the time it took to clean my kit down to a wearable level, and then to armour myself up, I missed the chance for bohurt. BUT, I did have a chance to do some sword and board profights AND try my hand out at longsword for the first time ever! By the time it got to the longsword, I was drained, I was tired, and I felt weak. Just as Dan and Kurgan had planned.. It took everything out of me to keep going. But I did, and I don’t think I did too badly if I say so myself.
So finally the day is rolling to an end, armour is off and packed away, bar my padding which is hanging up to dry. We’ve had food, and I’m quietly nursing a headache that has arisen now the adrenaline has stopped pumping through my veins. BUT WAIT! It’s not over yet!
Sofie arrives with her mum, and slowly but surely we all end up joining in a spontaneous yoga session to stretch out those tight achy muscles. My goodness it was hilarious watching the guys struggle to bend!
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. I love my club. Joining this sport has given me a focus and drive that before I couldn’t quite grasp hold of. It saddens me that I will be once again missing the next event – Castlefest. However I’m keeping my focus and training hard to meet many warriors at Kening Striid!
Together, we prevail