Fighting Inspirations

As you probably know from my various rantings, ravings, and ramblings here, I’m FtM transgender. I lived a good bulk of my life identifying as female and, despite identifying as male/masculine for a while, I still advocate for and understand the challenges of people who identify as female.

I also find it incredibly inspirational when there are badass female fighters who are highlighted in the SCA. Especially for heavy combat.

I’m lucky in that I personally know several female Knights and Masters of Defense in my Kingdom.

Our Queen currently has an all-female Shieldmaiden cadre of champions who stand with her in court and participate in battle with her, as well.

In fact, my most memorable thing from Pennsic this year was standing on the middle bridge waiting to advance with my unit as part of the shield wall, and looking to my right and seeing Her Majesty, the Dread Queen Katherine, take the field with her unit of heavy authorized shield maidens two bridges down from me. Knowing the ferocity of each fighter out there, that was a glorious thing. It was also incredible to have my girlfriend, Baronessa Petrona, on the shield wall with me. Like our Queen, she had authorized in heavy to take the field at Pennsic.

But, the point is, that representation matters. Especially in a game that is dominated by men, it’s always amazing to me to see any female-identified person match them and be their equal. Even more so for the young girls who are looking for their place in the world.

This hits me hard because I was, at one point, a little girl looking for their place in the world. I grew up in the era of Xena and Gabrielle, of watching old episodes of Wonder Woman, of playing Tomb Raider. All of these examples of strong, powerful female warriors. And I loved swords. Okay, any weapon, really, but really, really loved pointy-stabbies. I don’t think joining the SCA would have changed my desire to transition, but I have to admit that seeing such incredible living legends such as Countess Sir Fern and Duchess Sir Elina would have gestalted me into heavy fighting a lot sooner. They still serve as inspiration when I have moments of imposter syndrome, too. If they could put the time, energy, and effort in, so can I.

I’m hoping that these people serve as inspiration for the next generation of female fighters. That their stories and experiences perpetuate the magic that is embedded in the fabric of the Dream we weave. That we have a new generation of female SCAdians who know that they have an equal place at the table for whatever interests suit their fancy.

Stand Your Ground

A couple of weeks ago, Gareth (Devin) and I worked on polearm technique to help get me ready for my authorization test, and something he said clicked with me:

“You know Sir Ivan Shishov, right? You know he doesn’t move when fighting polearm? He just stands his ground.”

For me, that’s revolutionary. I’ve struggled with polearm auths because I was either too timid, couldn’t switch hands easily, or something else. This is a game-changer for me. That one bit of information changed how I think of my polearm fight (at least in tournament) and instilled a great deal of confidence in me for that weapons form. By standing my ground and only moving my feet when it’s completely necessary, I can control the fight in a much better way than trying to move around awkwardly with the polearm. I still need to practice with the polearm to ensure I can move it correctly when it comes time for my auth, but this is an improvement.

This is also proof that there are just as many ways to fight as there are people, and that someone else’s way may not be the best case for me. Only time, practice, and trial and error will let me know.