Friday, May 25, 2012

Laying down my arms

Some of you know that I have long been a member of the SCA -- for about as long as I have been studying the real Middle Ages, 40 years and more. One of the main activities I took part it was fighting in the lists and on the  mock battlefield. I loved fighting, and once upon a time I was pretty good, back in the pioneering days of the sport.  I have been doing it a lot less recently because of health problems and the reduced energy of older age, which combined to make me less enthusiastic about being hit with sticks by large, unsympathetic men.  I just lacked  the faith that I would bounce back from an injury.

This week I found I have another health problem -- blood clots in both lungs. I was actually admitted to hospital where I was started on a course of anticoagulants, some of which I may be on for the rest of my life. So that is it for being hit, at least on purpose, by large unsympathetic men (not to mention the women).

Things could be worse. I was the least ill person in the crucial care unit of my hospital, where I was stuck because there were no beds in ordinary wards. At those times that I wasn't tied down too much by wires and IV tubes I could get around perfectly well, which is more than can be said about everybody else.


  1. Steve - thank you. Not *just* for having been an inspiration for many, many years - but also for your intelligence and humanity in your use of arms. You were one of the first to ever help me understand that this sport did not have to be one of raw power, that grace and a certain wisdom were perhaps more important than just athleticism.

    I've long since given up participation - it is a game for a younger person than I. But I have never, ever, lost the insights that you helped me reach.

  2. I am saddened to hear of the blood clots but glad to hear you can still get around, you have inspired many people in your 40 years and I was one of them, maybe not to the battle field but history became an interest and a passion and you are uniquely involved with that. Gentle hugs good Sir, it is with fondness I remember our 'who gets the horse' discussions.

  3. You've been an inspiration for multiple generations, Your Grace. Your presence on the field will be sorely missed, but your reasoning is respected and sound. I look forward to that same presence everywhere else.

  4. You've given it quite a run and I'm glad that it wasn't a worse affliction that inspired the decision.

  5. There could be no more well earned retirement from the field of combat than yours.

    Your presence on the field will surely be missed, but all those who stand by the side to watch and to learn will be as greatly enlightened by your insight and perspective as they will be graced by your presence.

    Sad as it may be, it is the right choice. Thank you for not hurting yourself; for that would have been far sadder.

  6. Laying down arms indeed. Just please do remember that you're treasured in the SCA for a whole lot more than fighting.

  7. Just please remember, you're treasured in the SCA for a whole lot more than fighting.

  8. Sad to hear, but could have been much worse. Richard says it was an honour to have met you, and to have crossed arms with you, and you reamin an inspiration to all your SCA lineage. Keep well!

  9. Anonymous7:43 am

    While I am saddened to hear about the blood clots, I am glad to hear you are otherwise well. Being a selfish person, your decision makes me happy as it means more time for conversations with you and your wonderfully wicked sense of humour!

  10. Anonymous7:49 am

    During my military career, I often noted that my path in the Society ran a spiritual parallel to it. I told more than one junior officer that the term "warrior" was, in my opinion, misused and misunderstood.

    It is not what one does, rather what one is. And my vision of it, both modern and medieval, was that a true warrior was closer to our vision of a Renaissance man than to Conan. You have been a model for me throught my SCA journey, and many of those positive attributes spilled over into my military journey.

    You have nothing to prove, certainly not to the world at large. How many hundreds (thousands) have you touched? You can teach, even though you never buckle another vambrace onto your arm.

    It has been my honor stand beside you, and opposite you, on the battlefield. It has been my joy to stand by the side of it and talk of this marvelous journey we both have been a part of.

    And it is my hope that we share many more years, wondering at those large, unsympathetic young men and women, over a tankard of good drink.

    Arigato gosaimashita, Sensei.

    Viscount Sir Yoshina

  11. An era passes... but they always do.

    Thank you for the inspiration you've lived up to.

  12. Sir Emeric8:45 am

    My dear friend, colleague and Brother; this day comes for us all. A few times in recent years I have contemplated the laying down of arms, but that time for me is not come yet. But when I have sought counsel from the Brotherhood, I have constantly been reminded that Prowess is only a small part of what we are. You have provided me with stories that most were not even around for, and they will continue to be shared. You will always be an inspiration to many, as well as a loyal friend. Be well, and take care of yourself.

  13. Anonymous12:28 pm

    take care, get well soon & as many hugs as needed

  14. I'm sorry to hear about the health problems; glad it was diagnosed and is being treated.

    You know the literature. You get two choices: either you hang up your arms at some point, or you go out and get killed fighting a dragon. This way's better.

  15. You've long been and continue to be an inspiration and an example to tens of thousands within the SCA, both fighters and those who have never picked up a sword. Be well, and enjoy your "retirement" from the lists. You've certainly earned it.

  16. Steve: just get well. - Val

  17. I'm so sorry, and I hope you're feeling better soon.

  18. Even in retirement, you inspire and set a good example.
    Thank you