Master Lot is probably one of the first faces many new Caidan rapier fighters remember. Always teaching, always a wealth of historical knowledge. You may also have seen him at the fireside with his drum, songs, and poetry. But what else is there? Turns out, there’s a lot to Master Lot!
What is your registered SCA name? I have 2 registered names, Lot Ramirez and Juceff ben Miguel. Lot was registered first as that is the name that I commonly go by, but my persona was conceived as a secret Jew hiding from the Spanish Inquisition. So, when I was elevated to Peerage as a Companion of the Laurel, I registered the name that is my persona’s ‘real name’ and was elevated and dubbed with it.
Do people usually call you something different? If so, what? Most people call me Lot. Some call me “Captain” in reference to my position as Captain of the ship, The White Star, though I am on sabbatical and have passed the Captain’s duties to Commander Marcos de la Cruz.
How many years have you been playing? My first event was Oct 1996, so over 20 years.
Did you start by playing rapier? If not, in what area of SCA combat/study did you first start? The first thing I actually ever did in the SCA was shoot archery, as they had archery at the fighter practice I first attended before the fighting. But, I really wanted to be a Heavy Weapons fighter. At the practice I attended they’d fight and then do lessons, especially for beginners who didn’t have armor, at the end. So, while I was working to get my armor together, I jumped into the ‘one size fits all’ rapier loaner gear. By the time I actually got on the Heavies field, I was already hooked on rapier.
Did you start playing in Caid? If not, where are you from? I originally started in the Barony of Jararvellir (Madison, WI), which at the time was a part of the Principality of Northshield, in the Kingdom of the Middle. Northshield is now its own kingdom. I moved to Caid 2 years later in Aug 1998.
Outside of rapier, what is your favorite SCA activity? I fight all combat forms (Rapier, Armored, Unarmored). I also do a good amount of Bardic (singing/storytelling) and enjoy Court Heraldry. You can often find me around a good baubling table, or just drinking and enjoying time with friends and loved ones.
Why did you decide to pick up rapier fighting? See above – It was easier to get into. I had done a little foil fencing in high school, so I was much more prepared to jump in and get going. (Especially as we were using epees at the time, as heavy rapier wasn’t a big thing yet)
What is your preferred weapon form? Oh boy… that’s a toughie. I don’t really distinguish my form by the weapons I use. Though, I often default to Rapier and walking stick as I enjoy it both strategically and aesthetically. But, my favorite secondary was the “parrying rose” my wife once made for me.
Who is your favorite historical sword master and why? Well, my favorite right now is Bondi di Mazo, but he’s a little post SCA period (1696). His text is really simple, but covers some very intricate uses of time, distance, and footwork.
As far as SCA specific masters, I have read a good number and love all of them. I generally fight in the style of Nicoletto Giganti when doing Italian Rapier (di Mazo and Giganti are both Venetian and their styles are not mutually exclusive), and Joachim Meyer when doing German Rapier and Longsword.
How would you describe your fighting style? I try to learn and present fighting styles advocated by specific masters from the time period. I hope that someone will look at my fights and see the application of style and system that they could understand from the historical texts. If I were to go back in time and fight in front of the masters of the age, I would hope that they would see their teaching in my fight.
What was your favorite fight EVER and why (either tournament, melee, or pick-up)?Before either of us were White Scarves, I had a fight with Andre Rodriguez de la Rosa in a tourney where the conversation of blades and the intensity of the fight were so real that when I was struck I thought for an instant that I had actually been hit by a real rapier. My mind flashed and I froze and fell, and in the passing moment when I realized that I wasn’t actually stabbed, my relief and joy were overwhelming. That fight was AMAZING!
What is the single best piece of advice that you would like to give to new fighters? Be patient and understanding, both with yourself and the others around you. It’s a long journey, and no one is perfect.
What does being a Master of Defense mean to you? Being a Master of Defense is an honor, but also a duty. Having been recognized, I need to make sure that I present myself according to the standard set. But also, that I take it upon myself to give back to the community that I am a part of. Helping others grow, taking on projects when I am available, being a reasonable voice within the community and helping other people be heard and seen.
The Master of Defense is also a little unique in that it is such a new thing. The identity of the Order has really yet to be set, and it’s up to us, the members of the Order and the populace as a whole, to start to establish what that will be.
What does being a peer of Caid mean to you? I’ll answer a little differently. Being a Peer in general is much like I described above. But, being a double Peer, both a MoD and a Laurel especially, often puts me in the position of representing one group amongst the others. It is important to me, when on the rapier field to also represent myself as a researched and knowledgeable artist. And often amongst the Order of the Laurel, I represent the voice of the rapier community, whether I want to or not.
Are there any questions or feedback you’d like from the rapier populace? I LOVE and welcome feedback from the community! Please, don’t be afraid to ask if you would like to strike up a feedback session or ask questions. I can’t always guarantee I will be available right at that moment, but I will try to find time to accommodate.
My main question for the populace is “What do YOU want to see or do?” This community is a place where we all pool our dreams together. Don’t be afraid to put your own stamp on the community.
What is one SCA-related thing most rapier fighters in Caid probably don’t know about you? (can be fighting related or not– i.e. ‘I really hate fighting cloak’ or ‘my persona as originally constructed is actually Byzantine) I have close to a literal TON of Students (Imperial not Metric, if you don’t include armor, though Zhivana blows the curve). Though I have only made 4 Provosts, at this point in time, I have 5 other Students in addition to that. We call ourselves the Vineyard School of Fence, but more often than not you can find us goofing on each other with Kung Fu Panda references. Apparently, there is something about a little red panda, voiced by Dustin Hoffman, and searching for inner peace that reminds them of their teacher. Coincidentally enough, most of the students have found their own analog in the world (or it’s been found for them) and it makes an interesting window into our own lives, strengths, and weaknesses.