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 24, 2006

the football is over and fencers return

After last week's sparse attendance, the hall was packed tonight. Fencers who last week couldn't drag themselves from their armchairs (it was, I heard, an excellent match) bounded with energy. Every space in the hall became a piste and even steam fencers had to wait.

My epee opponents seemed faster than before - and so did I. I'm still not hitting with sufficient accuracy, especially as my arm aches toward the end of the evening. Hitting the arm from below is still one of my most comfortable hits. I'm learning to retreat, shortening my steps as I go, before I move forward into attack. (I used to score points this way in foil - just occasionally - and occasionally it works in epee too.) What I need is more coaching and systematic practice - it looks as though it may be possible other fencers too hope to improve in epee.

As for the left-handed foilist, today I hardly hit her at all. I once had a couple of ideas about how to fence left-handers, but it's been a while and I seem to have forgotten all I knew. I'll have to ask the coaches to remind me. Our two main coaches are left-handed though for coaching they fence right-handed too.

Soon the bruises will ache. This sport hurts. But it's not scary like injections or going to the dentist. (Suppose I injected the doctor back? Combat with dental drills? - nasty idea.) It's not the anxious pain of uncertainty or grief. It's not the helplessness of watching someone suffer. It's not hatred and cruelty let loose in the world.

The pain of fencing is part of the sport. When we fence, we know we'll be hurt. Accepting that is a small conquest of fear. Fencers show off their bruises - badges of courage inscribed on the body. We cause pain. We fight. We win or lose. We do our best. We improve. And all the time we encourage one another. Kindness and comradeship are found.

It's half-term next week. There'll be fewer beginners, an emptier hall, more space on the pistes. Soon the World Cup will begin. How many matches are scheduled on Wednesdays?


Blogger Elizabeth McClung said...

Congrats on having a good fencing night. I hope you get some good coaching - the only thing that helps for me with lefties is don't let them go outside your right (hug the line), attack thier bell to keep thier tip back and bind into the body instead of away (bind left not right). Go Kathz!

6:10 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is your arm hurting for a medical reason? If not and the pain is in your biceps, perhaps you are to tense.

I will elaborate on the off chance I am correct. If I am wrong, no damage done. I fence with a French grip. I think it is more difficult to keep your arm in a good protective un guard (in epee) with this grip. As a result (while fencing) I glance to check my un guard position of my weapon arm. Sense I was doing this any way, I use the same glance to remind me to relax my arm. Maybe that could be of some help..or maybe I am off base.


2:51 pm  
Blogger kathz said...

Thanks for useful tips. I didn't get a chance to fence a left-hander tonight. However the tip about relaxing my arm is almost certainly right. I too use a French grip as I can't manage pistol grip at all (for foil or epee).

I've been away for a few days and have only occasionally glanced at blogs but will have fun catching up soon.

11:08 pm  

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