Well that was fun. Asheville Celtic Festival 2022 was another smashing success, and the Warriors of Ash were proud to be a part of it. There were bagpipes galore, highlanders hucking bales of hay over a high bar, Irish wolfhounds, skilled craftspeople making my wallet considerably lighter, so much haggis, and fighters from all over the east coast proving that Asheville draws some of the most talented swordspeople around.
We could not have been blessed with a more perfect day for CelticFest. Our tournament started outdoors, and it felt so incredibly good to be out in the sun doing what I love best with some great friends old and new. The fighting was fierce, the victories were happy ones, but the thing that was most satisfying was seeing the crowd gather around our ring to cheer us on. There’s simply nothing like it–feeling the energy and excitement of on-lookers, hearing the cheers after a hard-fought win, and seeing the wide-eyed stares from kids watching a real live sword fight play out right in front of them.
Win or lose, that’s why I do this. Performing for a grateful crowd is by far the most rewarding experience one can achieve in HEMA. In the end, we’re here to share our love for our sport not only with each other, but with the entire world as well. I loved talking to you all, answering questions about who we are and what we do, getting to know you, meeting other HEMA enthusiasts, and handing out about a million cards to people eager to sign up with us. Thank you to everyone that watched our tournament, cheered us on, and stopped by our booth to say hello.
Also a very big, massive, huge thank you to the fighters who participated in our tournament. We’ve been fighting each other for two years, and it was a real treat to get hit by somebody else for a change. There were some really fun weapon systems there (anybody else ready to never go against dual-wielding sabers again?), and everybody’s unique styles and personalities made this one of the most fun and most challenging tournaments in recent memory. Everybody brought their A+++ game. It was truly an event to remember. I will never forget Sir Richard the Ridonkulous’ sword being knocked from his hands, only for him to catch it mid-flight and continue the battle. Visit our Warriors of Ash Facebook page for the video. It’s highly satisfying. Big thanks again, and I look forward to seeing you all again at the next tournament.
As much love as we all have for one another, it is a tournament, and there can be only one winner. And that winner was…drumrolldrumrolldrumroll…OUR VERY OWN DANE SKEGGOX OF THE WARRIORS OF ASH! He displayed his mastery of the two-handed Dane axe and came out on top of a pool of very talented fighters. It was a well-earned victory, and we’re incredibly proud to have this year’s champion among our ranks. Congratulations, Dane! I love you and can’t wait to challenge you for the crown again next year.
The night ended with a copious amount of Fae Nectar mead, lots of jumping around to the Kilmaine Saints, and me scarfing what can only be described as a devastating amount of Scotch eggs. CelticFest lived up to my hopes and more, and I can’t wait to do it again next year. You know it was a good time when you have to take a two-day recovery after.
Just a reminder that you too can challenge Dane for the title of CelticFest Champion. Go to warriorsofash.com/how-do-i-start to begin your very own HEMA journey. You, too, can be matched sword-to-sword in front of a cheering crowd of thousands, your banner waving in the breeze, as the drums urge you on. It’s a genuinely indescribable feeling until you’re there.
Until next time Warriors…Skål!