Salutations, folks. How’s your side of things, eh?
As we know, last Saturday (6 April) was my initial training with the New Ulster Steel Fighting Program. Last Saturday was also the day I decided to move to Waco so I could train every week. Yeah, it was that incredible.
I didn’t sleep a wink Friday night. I was far too excited about actually making the trip down there that sleep was entirely impossible. By the time my alarm started blaring at 5:40, I had already been awake for quite some time. I showered up, got into my uniform, then proceeded to make the trip to Waco in very good time. I had a lead foot that wasn’t slowed by anything. Nope, not even Texas-style road construction.
I pulled up to the place, and after a little confirmation about the address, made my way to the yard. I was very warmly greeted by Br. Jeff, the very same, in the flesh! What a treat to finally meet the guy in person! He was extremely polite and did everything he could to make me feel welcome at NUSF. He introduced me to the other members of the group, told me what to expect, and then led the group in prayer. Prayer is a great thing to have when you’re about to swing blades at one another. So far, I was completely captivated by the experience.
As the older members began sparring, Br. Jeff gave me a tour of the armament. Plenty of swords, shields, pole axes, and armor. Since it was my first day, and safety being the main concern for every training, Br. Jeff taught me the basics of blocking with a sword first. He wasn’t going to let a new guy jump into the fray without learning some things about defense! He lent me a sword and together we practiced various blocking moves. Ambidextrously. Yup, I had to block with my left hand. Time to pump more iron with my left side to match my right-side predominance.
And that’s where the title of this post comes from. We were going over parries, and how best to twist and position the blade to thwart an opponent’s thrust, when Br. Jeff remarked upon my “natural ability.” I felt like I was glowing, I did! I’ve always been fascinated by medieval warfare, and here I am, being complimented by an expert on my form and strength! Felt like a school boy, just beaming with pride. I really cannot wait to hone my skills at this place. At my first day, I really did feel like I could take on the world, even though I knew next to nothing about swordplay.
Whilst Br. Jeff was teaching me how to properly hold my arms and position the blade, I tried to watch the other guys sparring. They kept circling one another, and then, quite suddenly, one would make a move only to be countered immediately by the other. It was an intense game of attack and counter-attack, each move being met with equal force. Man oh man, I can’t wait to be a part of that. Watching them was intense; being a participant must be more so. Pretty much the song going through me head throughout the whole thing:
After about an hour or so, Br. Jeff had to leave to watch his boy’s baseball game. Before parting, he gave me a copy of his book, thanked me for making the drive, and wished me all the best. He left me in the capable hands of his assistant instructors. We spent the rest of the morning discussing the program, the finer points of combat, and what I could expect from the program. I was already sold, but now even more so. I really cannot wait for this coming Saturday to get back to Waco and participate again. And to become an official member, of course!
We closed in prayer. I helped the guys pack up, making small talk and doing my best to not sound like an annoying fanboy whilst doing so. After final farewells, I found myself headed back to Fort Worth, wishing I lived in Waco years ago. And after thinking about it, I realized that I could totally move to Waco with my current job. Since I’m purely online, as long as I have a connection, I can work. And now I am seriously considering making Waco my new home once I return from Switzerland. All remains to be seen, but I would love to rise through the ranks in this program and learn all I can.
I’ll leave it here folks. The training was great and the guys were greater. I learned much for my first outing, and really, I can’t wait to go back and train some more. I’m planning on officially joining this Saturday. Paying a membership fee, signing some papers, and taking on the status as a dedicated recruit. Really, I cannot wait!
Thanks for reading the Fyrd, and if you’re in the Waco area, you should look up the NUSF program. You may find their website here for more information: Steel Fighting