A review of Study in Steel:
I’m not a great writer of event reviews. I’m usually far too invested in having fun, learning about fighting or myself, or distracted by being around all the great people in the HEMA community. However, I would be doing this event a disservice if I didn’t review it for the larger community to see.
First off, a little about the event in general terms. The event was held by the Youtube darlings from Sword Carolina. Aaron Shober and Josh Lucas are literally two of the nicest guys in HEMA. That’s saying a lot since I really know a huge number of folks in the community, but maybe I’m biased because I’m also from South Carolina. The event itself was geared towards being a regional tournament which was intended to bring together folks from the local area and raise the collective bar in everyone’s training (yes, I consider tournaments training). This was the first event they’ve put on, and you would expect some errors in execution given that. I’ll say the planning and execution of the tournament went extremely closely to what they anticipated. The events were on time, tournaments and classes. One couldn’t ask for more there. The tournaments themselves were all held using synthetic weapons from Purpleheart Armoury (you guys are great!). I believe this was a choice geared towards allowing as many fencers in the area to compete as possible. Next year the inclusion of steel weapons may happen, especially if you give them feedback saying you’ll show up and want it! 😛
I met familiar faces from the Atlanta Freifechters (AFF), but for the most part, everyone I met there was a new face which was nice. Outside of the more experienced guys travelling in, like the AFF and Walter Skaggs from the Virginia Academy of Fencing, the majority of the fighters were a lot newer than many other tournaments I’ve attended. This is awesome. Regional tournaments are a great way to increase the ambition, motivation, and collective skill levels of a local scene, and because HEMA is still relatively small, a region is 6-8 hours driving distance. Being able to fence students from outside of your school is, in my opinion, an incredibly important part of becoming a better fencer and martial artist. I can’t really state this enough times. If you only ever fence within the confines of your school, you’re hamstringing your development. It doesn’t have to be tournament fighting, but often times that is the harshest environment to see how far your skill can be pushed before breaking. That is a useful bit of knowledge all by itself.
The venue was a large gym with plenty of room. It will be easily scalable into a larger tournament next year. That’s nice because it better be! 😉 The atmosphere of the event was definitely very relaxed and focused on fun and community building. I’m confident that was accomplished in spades. HEMA people doing HEMA things is always a good time, especially when the organizers go out of their way to set the mood and tone in the beginning.
I don’t really need to critique the fighting itself because a lot of it’s already on YouTube by the fighters, and the rest of it may be posted by the organizers if Youtube, or the guy running the camera, captured the video streams. That’s assuming the streams didn’t cross……. The judging was primarily done by participants, and much of it was surprisingly good given the limited judging experience of some of the regional fighters who helped run things. There were definitely bad calls made, I made a number myself I’m sure, but I don’t think it detracted from the general experience at all. The overall judging quality was definitely within the realm of other events I’ve attended.
To conclude what’s ended up being a very rambling review, I think that the Sword Carolina crew deserves for you to come to the next big event they throw. While this was their first time, they pulled it off really well. The only glaring problem with the tournament was that someone didn’t know how to tap a keg 🙁 … which by the way, there was an after party. Said after party easily had the best overall spread of food I’ve seen at a HEMA party, compliments of Tracy Torres Shober.
2017 Study In Steel
Full Registration (CLOSED)
This is for full registration to Study in Steel 2017. It includes participation in Saturday and Sunday tournaments, classes, and free sparring. It also includes the event T-shirt and lunches both days. To guarantee the correct size of your shirt, the order must be placed no later than Saturday, April 8. This is the total package! $100
One Day Registration (CLOSED)
This is for one day’s attendance at Study in Steel 2017. It includes the tournaments, classes, and free sparring on one day, either Saturday or Sunday. It also includes an event T-shirt and lunch that day. Order by Saturday, April 8 to guarantee your shirt size. $65
Your registration comes with a t-shirt. This is if you would like an extra Study in Steel 2017 T-shirt. Please select the size you would like. To guarantee the correct size of your shirt, the order must be placed no later than Saturday, April 8. $15
Saturday Night Dinner
We will be enjoying ourselves at Local Cue, a sports bar very close to the hotel and venue. There is no cost: just order your own food and drinks. We have our own private room, complete with pool table, dart board, and tabletop games. This is also the location of our Secret Tournament, which is sure to be a life-changing experience. You must be 21 or older and must bring your ID!
Previous Study in Steels
The La Quinta Inn, one of the best-reviewed hotels in the area, will be our hosts. Call the front desk directly to book your room at the SiS rate of $95/nt.+tax and to set up shuttle service from the airport. 864-233-8018, option 5.