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

Thursday, September 21, 2006

once-a-week fencing

I watch the people who started fencing when I did with admiration. A couple have started to collect trophies and medals while all are lithe and fit. Then there's me - more lithe and fit than when I began, but clearly bottom of the class. (Mind you, most left, dropped out or moved to another sport.)

Age is part of it - or so I console myself. The others are (mostly) younger.

Then there's general fitness. Most people who start fencing have some previous experience of sport. They've jogged, swum regularly, still work out at the gym and previously tried a martial art or four. I avoided sports at school and most of my adult life followed the same track. I just watched the films on the telly. The only sporting experience I brought was a little bit of walking (I don't drive and the Peak District can't be explored properly by train or bus), occasional cycling to the shops and - from time to time - swimming (a lot of lounging around and chatting with friends in public pools, with the occasional ride on the flume). When I started fencing, I didn't think I'd make it through the warm-up and reckoned a term's taster and grade 1 certificate would be great proof of achievement.

Most people who've fenced as long as me practise twice a week - at least.

I wish I could. But I haven't time and the second session is at a leisure centre two longish bus journeys away.

Obviously I could practise alone. If I were a serious epeeist like
Elizabeth McClung or the Gray Epee, I'd not flinch at the time, the journey or bus fare involved. But I'm a once-a-week fencer, wishing I could fence more often.

I could get a TARDIS, of course, or some floo powder.

Or perhaps I could get kitted up and challenge likely shoppers in the High Road. One at least would be bound to draw a sword and give me a bout.

Or I could imitate Hamlet. In the fifth act, when he's been challenged to a duel by Laertes, he declares, "Since he went into France (that's back in Act 1, at the start of the play), I have been in continual practice." Why don't productions shows this? Plainly every scene and soliloquy should be accompanied by a series of fencing moves.

Something like this:

Alas, poor Yorick [balestra]. I knew him [lunge], Horatio [recover]: a fellow [reprise] of infinite jest [recover], of excellent fancy [high-low from septime leading to simple attack]; he hath borne me [circular parry] on his back a thousand times [fleche attack] ... and so on... No wonder Ophelia's terrified into madness.

Actors and directors never take that line seriously. I would.

Would anyone notice if I started a regime of "continual practice". That long corridor between the seats in my regular commuter train - it would make a lovely piste .... And everyone knows older women are inconspicuous.

I could get away with it, I reckon.


Anonymous Jim said...

"Or perhaps I could get kitted up and challenge likely shoppers in the High Road. One at least would be bound to draw a sword and give me a bout."

I think this is the best one!
" The Highwayman" is one of my favorite poems (and songs ).

"Kathz epee hilt a twinkle, under a jeweled sky." I like it!

What if you just took the bus ride once in a while, not every week?

What if you stared a stretching or work out program (nothing big... a half an hour) twice a week to start. Besides general fitness, it could be tailored for fencing.

You know what is best and most practical for you. I just know that you enjoy it so much. It is a martial art for romantics after all. And that is you Kathz!

1:49 am  
Blogger Elizabeth McClung said...

I think there is always a balance one has to weight for commitment - For myself, while I may have wanted to fence 3 nights a week six months ago, I didn't becuase being with Linda was more important. Now that she is doing overtime at work however, I can add that extra day (for a few months anyway).

For me, now, the balance is between finances and desire - so I may soon be joining you in a few months on the once a week thing.

6:59 pm  
Blogger kathz said...

Thanks for the encouragement/understanding. At the moment my main exercise apart from fencing is dashing upstairs to tell the teenagers to get up in the mornings! Of course, if I dashed upstairs, sword in hand, and woke each with a lunge, that might be much better exercise.

6:34 pm  
Blogger LeperColony said...

We used to use golfballs. Get a nail or even just tape, attach to sting and hang from wall. Stab at leisure.

Rinse and repeat.

5:58 am  
Blogger kathz said...

I've thought of the golf balls or table tennis balls idea to practise lungeing and stabbing - but North American houses are more spacious than British ones. The best lungeing is in the kitchen and I couldn't lunge, epee in hand, without hitting saucepans or jars of herbs of something else that shouldn't be hit. Mind you, there's always that corridor outside my office ... would anyone worry if I accidentally stabbed a few students? (And that might be a really good way of getting an extra bout or three)

7:28 am  

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