Goch Winter Fight Cup. Our first Buhurt League tournament of 2018, the first time Swords of Cygnus gather to fight after officially registering on the Buhurt League, and the first women’s 5v5.
How can I explain the excitement? Since Women’s 5v5 Buhurt had been announced for the World Championships this year, we have been bubbling with anticipation of finally having the numbers in the list to work some real tactics. The prospect of a 5v5 fight compared to a 3v3 is a complete game-changer and more of an opportunity to fight as a team than ever before. The men of our UK clubs have been extremely supportive of this development, openly sharing their expertise and advice, encouraging the development of our skills and welcoming us to invaluable training sessions.
Travelling across France, I sat imagining what it would be like to finally face down 5 opponents, with 4 of my sisters-in-arms by my side. What tactics might we use? What tactics might we be faced with? What’s going to happen? How well prepared are the other teams? Have I drilled the right exercises in preparation?
I must admit, as I write this watching the snow drifting down from the feathery sky, I was not disappointed about the lack of snow upon arrival, as had been promised by the previous year. The wind bit through my clothes like ice while I walked from the truck to the venue. I prayed that we would not have brought the English rain with us and it would remain dry for us over the weekend.
Upon arrival, I bumped into so many friends, old and new. I recalled my experience of the world championships last year. Walking past groups of fighters, not knowing their names, what country they were from, barely even exchanging smiles. And now here I was, nearly a year later and although there were still many people I did not know, there were lots of fighters who greeted me with smiles and hugs, even if this was the first-time meeting face to face! The sense of community that develops within this sport always humbles and warms me.
Saturday morning rolls in, it is early, bright and icy. The men’s buhurt fights were first on the agenda, so we wrapped up warm in our medieval civilian clothes and moseyed down to the list to support our friends and watch the brutality ensue. Part of me thought I should be concentrating on how the teams worked together, analysing what works and what doesn’t work in these fights. Taking tips from the victors, but I was too excited. A few hours past, and it was time. We gathered the team and went through our warm up exercises.
Suit up. I always find armouring up somewhat a ritual. As each piece of armour goes on, I become less the modern girl with the comfort of a modern life, and more the strong warrior preparing for battle. Although I still banter, laugh and joke, a sense of calm and focus always falls upon me as I ready myself for the fight to come.
Naturally, we were kicking off the women’s buhurt fights against one of the strongest teams in Europe – the Blood Griffins. This was new territory for all of us, the first 5v5 women’s competition in western Europe. Hold the line, Stay strong, Hit hard. An internal monologue as we stared our opponents down in the list.
I don’t remember an awful lot during the fights. It always turns into a blur of clashing metal and thudding take downs. The Blood Griffins are nails I can tell you that much. We gave them a hard fight. In the end, they took their victory.
I would be lying if I said I was happy, of course I wasn’t happy. It is always in retrospect you see what you could have done that may have changed the outcome of something. However, I have managed to get a handle of these immediate post fight emotions. I regained steady control over my breathing and brought my heart rate back down. This was no time to lose my cool, we still had at least 4 more rounds to fight.
Next Kenau. Again, a blur of bodies, shields and weapons. Another two rounds of strong fights. Having warmed back up to buhurt and taking lessons from our first fight, listening intently to our dear ole Barnsley giving us advice and objectives to follow. This second fight we were more united as a team. Our minds were on task and the list felt like home again. We communicated with each other. We knew where our strengths and our weaknesses were. We utilised our whole team, swapping in fresh fighters for each round effectively. Working together to bring our opponents down, and it worked.
Finally, we faced Leoni Rhodani. A strong team of experienced and formidable fighters. It is with great pride that I tell you, none of the women who fought gave in easy. Least of all our very own Rosy Morton, whom I journeyed with to Goch. Rosy fought, despite suffering the effects of a chest infection, and valiantly withstood until the last moment against Leoni Rhodani. Only falling to the tune of a dislocated kneecap!
Swords of Cygnus emerged with silver. I couldn’t praise these girls more! All of them have been training hard and are simply amazing. I feel confident having each one of them by my side in the list.