Page fourteen of the RhyDin Post saw the following story, November the twelfth, 2009.
Losses over Losses: Dueling for the Non-Dueler
[size=9]Senior Columnist: Darien Fenner[/size]
By now the majority of RhyDin has no doubt heard of, if not seen the famous Rings of Honor matches going down in the Outback, Arena, and Isle every few days. Bloodthirsty competitors frequent warded rings on any day of the week to enthusiastically pummel the heck out of each other. Meanwhile, refs stand cheerily by as those combatants bloody each other up for? what exactly?
Reasons for dueling vary, according to whom you speak to. Some duelists crave the recognition that a rank brings. Some use it as some kind of outlet to out some pent-up aggression. Others claim it is merely for practice. The majority employs all three.
"What inspires me to duel... in many ways, the duels are a test of one's skills, or lack thereof, in a particular area. I choose to test my skills in all three sports? I do not participate for the glory of titles, or prizes to be won. I participate, as I said, to test my skills against the best of the best, and hone them to the best of my ability,? Dr. Maranya Valkonan, current Talon holder and frequenter of the matches, said.
Blatant denial aside, those titles do not stop a handful of duelers from brandishing the fruits of their labors on their hips or around their necks. And they should; prizes are only awarded after vigorous challenges and tournaments. No way someone survives something like that without tireless effort and determination? or just an extraordinary amount of luck.
An Opal after just sixteen wins? An Overlord at just twenty-one? How about a Tower at only magician?
In an effort to ascertain just how much luck had to do with it, this reporter braved the dueling clique and underwent multiple beatings in both Swords and Fists (No magic, thank you. I?d like to keep my eyebrows.)
Let me begin by saying that I absolutely do not take this sport seriously. So it was an entertaining exhibition to see just how much interest, or even self-esteem duelers stake in these five-point matches. Things like rank and title weren?t necessarily a concern for me, so I was more than happy to breeze through the rules and get right to being a human punching bag slash pincushion. Not that I would want to read them in-depth anyway; a word to the wise: the rules and ranking system in Swords are dizzyingly complicated. Unless you are prepared for a headache, blow off the idea of rank until you are truly concerned with it.
On a warm September evening, I was arguably blessed to be beaten on by one of the kinder, albeit more seasoned duelers. For those who are unfamiliar with the format of the match, it proceeds as thus: competitors exchange blows for points until one or the other reaches 5.0 points, or the fifteenth round. Ties and prolonged matches not included, that?s about all there is to it.
After admission to a generic ring, we engaged in a heated tussle comprised of flips, jabs, kicks, blocks, and ducks. Within an hour, the duel concluded in my favor.
That?s right, ladies and gents. My first match against a Sapphire-- my first match in about nine years-- was won.
In an effort to retest this theory, I went back to the Outback the next week, and partnered with a different dueling veteran. This time I lost by only a slim margin of 1.5 points.
A pattern was certainly not presenting itself. So for the past month or so I have sporadically attended matches, and lost. And lost. And lost.
I did indeed find a pattern during my frequenting of the Outback and the Arena. When a competitor becomes arguably predictable in his attacks, the competitor is out-thought. Duels, therefore, are not only for the thickheaded and pummel-proof, but the mathematical-minded as well. More than once, smarter opponents have conducted a strategy based on a fight style I kept repeating. My advice for the dueling novice is to be unpredictable, while still being smart about your style. Or, you know? be lucky.
The cynical side of this reporter is still moderately inclined to attribute Lady Luck?s influence to a significant portion of matches. I will not thumb my nose at a consistent Win-Over-Loss streak, but some ratios seem to be just all over the place. And then there is the occasional challenge by underlings with unimpressive records who manage to unjustifiably earn themselves a title.
Dueling is a shaky balance between luck and logic. It doesn?t take a pro-wrestling champ to win against an Opal, or a master swordsman to win against an Overlord. What it takes is careful deduction, unpredictability, and the random hope that you're reading your opponent correctly. It is no wonder, then, that kinds from all professions and ways of life frequent the dueling venues. The trial of strength and finesse is oddly empowering. And while some over-competitiveness exhibited by some of the fighters can be deflecting, a night of watching impressive athletic display and referees in scant uniforms is pleasing enough to be had by all.
I?ll give only thumb up to the dueling crowd, but two up for the dueling idea. I know I?ll be back to try my luck next week.