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

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

defending my daughter's honour

"Mum, you mustn't hit him. Promise you won't hit him."

Thus, my daughter, whose boyfriend (6 feet 2, dark, good-looking, 35 years younger than me) is a fencer. Sabre is his preferred weapon so I rarely fence him, though we've bouted at foil once or twice. My son, two years younger and a foot shorter, takes him on from time to time - always at foil.

A few weeks back, the boyfriend was wielding an epee. "Want a bout?" I called. He smiled, I turned and, when I looked back, found he had melted away. The daughter's warnings restrained me - next time I didn't challenge him.

Today I was fencing badly. A new young woman faced me at foil - she's19 and a left-hander. I once had ideas for techniques against left-handers - no longer. She's quick too. Fencing epee, the remnants of my style fell away. Like one of the kids in the beginners' class I waved my sword at random and my point pierced the air.

Out of kilter, I couldn't judge anything: not distance nor conversation. All evening I hurled myself forward - metaphorically, literally - and had no sense of what I wanted to achieve. Then came a run when I hit without attaching; no points registered as my blade just scraped or touched my opponent's jacket, far too lightly to score.

What could I do but insist I fence the boyfriend?

In fantasies, I defend my daughter's honour. I've evil ideas too; if I need to win a point, I could suddenly shriek, "She's pregnant," and dash through his confusion to win. (No, I wouldn't Well, probably not. Thinking of my daughter, I wouldn't dare.)

The boyfriend is polite and well-brought up. He says "sorry" every time he hits - very lightly - and would plainly prefer not to hit me at all. I have no such scruples and happily hit him as often as I can. His reluctance reminds me of the opening of Under the Red Robe (does anyone else read Stanley J. Weyman?) in which the cynical and experienced anti-hero - a master fencer - takes on and kills a well-brought up young nobleman. In fantasy I stab the boyfriend with a brilliant hit and leave him dying on the road.

We move from practice to a bout. I win 5-3. He's so polite, I think he let me win.

Tomorrow he'll see my daughter. He's bound to tell her. When she gets home, she'll kill me.


Blogger Elizabeth McClung said...

Wow, I didn't know epee could become a whole family drama:

"You've bruised him all along the ribs! They're already black." she accuses you.

"Wait a minute! How could know they're turning black? What's going on between you two exactly!" You retort.

Ahh the soap opera of epee.

I think I have fenced one lefty - disconcerting.

As for distracting the boyfriend, I recommend trying to pick him up DURING the bout - "Hey, you're pretty good looking, how do you feel about older women?" Should keep him very distracted.

12:34 am  
Blogger kathz said...

A sequel to yesterday night'a fencing. The daughter got a text message from her boyfriend reading "I'm afraid I may have seriously injured your mum."


That boy had better watch out. Next week the point will be "unbated and envenomed" - and I'll be reading lots more Staney J. Weyman for tips!

10:28 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home