The group we are in insists that combatants must train prior to the actual reenactment season for safety and team-building reasons. A bill line is nothing unless it can work together as a team and follow commands without hesitation. Plus, a 12 foot pole with a bardbed chunk of metal on the end can do some pretty serious damage if mishandled - even through padding/armour, so it's imporatnt to know how to and how not to use them.
So every other week from Febuary until Easter, we all traipse up to Blaise Castle in Bristol and train. Today was my first session. I think i did OK:-) managed to carry the bill all the way to the top of the hill, stay in line, learn the major commands and advance on an enemy. It was much heavier then it looks when other people use it! And a tad unweildy - especialy with my short girlie arms and unused muscles! But i survived.
here's our bill line at Morimondo, italy, last year - so you can see what I'm talking about.
Then we did some sword fighting practise. I had watched Mstr A practise often enough so at least knew the concept fo the basic fives (head, L arm, r arm, L leg, R leg), but actually doing it was hard work too. those swords are heavy after a few swings - and they're not even half the weight the real things would have been! But after a few practises, I even managed to "kill" a couple of opponants - although I feel they may have being nice to me.
The we moved onto battle practise, a line of bills & swords against nother line of the smae. i died pretty quickly in all of those! But made it through the whole practise with only one major wack on the upper arm (I had borrowed Aggie's archer's padding which is armless - but will need to get my own full set soon i think), and one right in the sturnum which slipped between the buckles of my Jack.
Now I'm pretty achey and tired, but happily so. Hopefully there will be more recruits in two weeks time so we can have a really good fight:-)