By Leslie Rose
I left the Danvers Indoor Sports Arena on Sunday late afternoon after three days of intense immersion in my HEMA world. I threw a wistful glance back towards the door. I was really ready to enjoy sunlight again and not have those weird little rubber balls and green Astroturf bits from the floor all over me, but I was already missing too many people. Many had already left to drive or fly home and now the rest of us were heading out to the Yard House for the final dinner together.
My impressions from the whirlwind that was IGX: Staffing the tables. Smiles. Laughter. HEMA hugs. Jeff Tsay smiling a lot. Interesting conversations. Good classes to attend. Cutting tournament and clinics. Light sabre fights. Scythes. Quick attacks. Slow motion replays. Swords, daggers, rapiers, sabres, bucklers. The “Ching ching” of weapons clashing. The bruises proudly shown. Some stitches, minimal bleeding. People speaking English, Russian, French, Slovokian and German and still being able to understand each other. The solidarity of it all.
The people who were responsible for this lovely long weekend, to name a few, were Jeff Tsay and the Forte crew (Don Kindsvater, John O’Connor, Paul Ilardi, Andrew Shultz) and also the Boston Armizare crew (Will del Solar, Karna K) and the Athena crew (Steven Hirsch, Julie Olsen, Andrew Kilgore et al). Rebecca Boyd did her organizational magic all year leading up to this point. Natasha Darce’ was there with her table of lovely wares for us to try out and purchase.
Wow. IGX is five years old already, and this is my fourth one. I took a class and half, staffed tables for two days as time keeper or scorer, got to try out some new stuff and cheer on a ton of friends I know in their bouts. I’m looking especially at Harold F Vance III, Sue Buzzard, Julie Olson, Sandra Coyne, Anton Kohutovic and John Morahn. I had to talk with some people who needed a shoulder to cry on or vent to, too, but that was seldom. Sometimes someone has to be the HEMA Mom at an event. I sat over on the side and took pictures a lot, but I am finally able to pick up the sword and train again.
Classes were offered that dealt with I.33, body mechanics and structure in fighting, Scythe fighting etc. I say etc. because I missed some things and also some instructors could not attend due to Swedish Flu and Matthew, the Hurricane. Two days later and I am still sore from Anton Kohutovic’s structure and mechanics class.
This year was the first year that the Wisdom League was introduced; this group is comprised of individuals who are 50 years or older and its founding was requested by Bradley Rangel. Frankly, us older people cannot keep up with those 10-30 years younger than we are and this gives us the chance to have a good chance of advancing through the pools! There were about 80 attendees this year, fewer than there were last year, but we did not run late in the pools and there was no live feed to hold us back, either.
This year a lot of Esfinges members attended. Marie, who was attending, asked me what Esfinges was after she saw my Esfinges tee shirt and I gladly explained to her the group that is ready to help with questions, advice, humor and hard work that is by women, for women. She was immediately interested. I told her “There are quite a few here this weekend, you should introduce yourself and talk to them!” I pointed them out and realized that since I started at IGX, the number of ladies attending IGX that I know from this group has grown. And that made me feel good. There could have potentially been more, but there is also a wealth of other events to attend nowadays and they were either busy with non-HEMA stuff or were at those other events.
Attending were Rebecca Boyd, Julie Olsen, Sue Buzzard, Sandy Coyne, Char Morgan, myself.
Six! Six Esfinges in one place! So Marie asked to join and then there were seven.
I really like IGX. It’s my “hometown” event and was the first one I ever went to. I don’t care for the venue much, as it is an indoor soccer arena, but there is plenty of space and Jeff is able to rent it for us. I have spent so many hours walking in the place and learning edge alignment, new techniques, old techniques rethought, new weapons. I’ve had wonderful conversations about everything from medieval stick fighting to how to babysit a HEMA baby. I didn’t compete but I was able to see so many good fights because I staffed tables. I saw bouts where people met in the ring as combatants and left the ring and went back to just being good friends. There were a lot of funny moments. The time Greg hit Harold’s metal codpiece and it went “TING!” and we all laughed, or the time both combatants went down in a throw and their swords went flying out in perfect arcs to land beside them. And there were also somber moments, but mostly the laughter won out. And the cries of “Hey! I did the thing! And it was fun!” and then everyone rallying around with congratulations.
I can’t wait for IGX 2017.
The views expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily the views of Esfinges.