quaker fencer

kathz isn't quite my name. I may be a Quaker. If I'm a fencer I'm a bad one and I don't do sabre. If I'm a Quaker I'm a bad one - but you've worked that out already. Read on. Comment if you like. Don't expect a reply.

Location: United Kingdom

Monday, May 15, 2006

Cyrano, d'Artagnan and the rest

Swinging from the chandeliers is beyond me - they don't teach it at my fencing club.

Nor is there a convenient high window - so I can't summon my horse, leap onto its back and gallop, ventre a terre, to a loyal village or nearby greenwood. I live in Robin Hood country but I don't have a horse, just the next door neighbour's cat who is somnolent, ovoid and unco-operative. No. I could ask her, but it wouldn't work.

I dream of dressing up in seventeenth-century (male) attire and, with loyal companions, holding the road against the Cardinal's men.

I'd love to leap on stage during a bad performance and fight a duel while improvising a ballade. Poetry, fencing, theatre - there's a grand combination.

Does anyone know what I'm talking about? Did you too grow up on swashbuckling films and books with fencing episodes?. Did you read Stanley J. Weyman - or the early Georgette Heyers. These Old Shades has its duels while The Masqueraders has cross-dressing AND fencing - a magical combination, even if the man dressed as a girl is a better fencer than the woman in male dress - but not in my private version.

It's a long way from books and films to the fencing club. But somehow I've got there - and, once in a while, I take my foil or epee in hand, and feel that at last I'm Cyrano, - or d'Artagnan.

I know - I'm 51, I'm going grey, and I started fencing less than two years ago. I'll never be very good.

But I have my dreams.

Douglas Fairbanks (Senior, of course), eat your heart out!


Blogger Elizabeth McClung said...

I think the really critical move is the stepping on to a chair and riding it as it falls over backwards while fencing move - that's always handy in the movies. I know what you mean about needing to gallop to the rescue of, say anyone or anything, as long as I get to use my sword. Sadly, my frustration with all the fencing/swashbuckling films is that one never sees anyone in the films ever practice - they all just talk about thier years of practice but you never see them actually rubbing salve on the bruises.

6:58 pm  
Blogger kathz said...

You must see the recent(ish) French re-make of Le Bossu (The Hunchback) in that case. It begins in a fencing school with people training and the characters (including one girl) are taught to fence. My brother in Canada (other side - an hour's drive north of Ottawa) sent it to me as a birthday present last year and it is one of the all-time great fencing movies.

On the other hand, Le Capitan with Jean Marais is great because it has every single fencing cliche.

Being in Canada, I imagine you can get hold of French movies fairly easily.

8:06 pm  

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