Stage Fright and Combat Don't Mix

I wanted to tell my story of how I became confident in my combat. I’m sure some of you can relate to this, and if you’re struggling maybe something I’ve done will help you make a change!

When I first heard about larping I imagined myself being very combat capable. The idea of being this cool strong character was fascinating because being 5’2 ½” and too small to even donate blood, I never felt like that was possible. This was the perfect opportunity to try that out. I was excited to try out my first game and jump into the fights.

Once I got to my first game, I realized it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. There were a few problems that began to hold me back. I’ve never used a weapon before, real or fake. How would I be any good if I didn’t even know how to fight? Those thoughts made me nervous about fighting. I wanted to be seen as a good fighter.

I decided that I would need to learn to fight in game if I wanted to ever be good, but I couldn’t play that good fighter character I had imagined because they should already know how to fight. Instead, I played a character that was very weak that needed help learning. And that did help me learn. Sort of. There’s only so much you can learn with a character never meant to fight.

Photo by Side-kick Kris

Photo by Side-kick Kris

At this point I still didn’t feel comfortable with fighting and I thought if I made that fighter character, maybe it would push me to be that fighter. Instead, I started making excuses why not to fight to avoid breaking the image of this character being a good fighter. It seemed like I wasn’t going to ever learn, but then I found myself hanging out with characters that were really good with combat. I started training with them between games, but I was still too nervous to try and fight in game.

Then I was assigned to do combat, and a lot of it for Utopia Descending. I can’t tell you guys how nervous I was for this. I pushed that nervousness aside and started to work on hyping myself and everyone else. This was my chance to play an NPC for an extended period and just fight. It gave me a chance to get comfortable fighting others because I spent long enough as that NPC to feel comfortable with the weapon and the fighting style.

The following Utopia event later that month I was assigned combat again. This time I wasn’t as nervous. I fought people I didn’t know, and I fought people I knew. I fought for around 10 hours that day. I can remember the exact moment I lost my fears of fighting. I was fighting a friend, I was an NPC, they were playing their Utopia character. They were someone I knew of as a good fighter, a lot of people do. I was able to fight them. I wasn’t destroying them or anything, but I was able to keep up. I realized I was what I had imagined myself as when I first started.

I’m not amazing at combat. I’ll still lose a good chunk of my fights. I sparred this past DRNJ game and I lost, but it didn’t feel like a loss because it was a damn good spar session. Everything really just seemed like stage fright. I was capable, but I was so nervous that I held myself back. Once you put some confidence in your fighting you’ll be very pleased with your results. Don’t be afraid to fight. Involve yourself in combat. Volunteer for combat mods while on NPC, it’s the best time to practice. Ask a few friends to teach you at home. Go be that awesome fighter you first imagined.