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, November 27, 2006

why I fence

Sometimes I wonder why I fence.

I have no natural aptitude and no sporting ability. I am never going to be a good fencer.

There's no-one cheering me on or watching to see how I do.

But for two years I sat and watched the fencers while my son fenced and wished I could join in. I longed to try out the moves and hold a sword in my hand. I remembered all the swashbuckling films I had enjoyed and the fencing fantasies of my youth.

Then a friend pointed out that, as I was coming up to 50, I could try things out and no-one would expect me to do well. She had just taken up archery and sailing. So, with some nervousness, I aked one of the club coaches if I could have a go and joined the beginners' class. I had ambition - I wanted the grade 1 certificate and badge. The coach suggested I might even reach grade 2.

It was cheap, I didn't need to buy kit at that stage, and thought I could justify the cost.

Once started, I never wanted to stop. My son and daughter saw I enjoyed fencing and encouraged me to continue. They told me the cost of kit was worthwhile. (And the club let me borrow for quite some time.)

The coaches were patient and encouraging and better fencers slowed down to let me practise against them. I even took part in a friendly team event (women's foil) for beginners, though I was the weakest member of the team. Last year I picked up an epee and thought I'd have a go, even though there was no formal epee coaching then - just a couple of starter sessions.

At the beginning of this year, I was awarded the club trophy for most improved fencer!

Occasionally, when there's pressure on the pistes or a big competition coming up, I have to wait a while for a bout. But I've had a lot of coaching, tips and encouragement - nobody at the club has laughed at me for becoming a fencer. Coaches have shown amazing patience. Good fencers have offered to fence me, helped me work on technique (correcting the same errors again and again as my guard position slips), and yet not pushed me beyond what I can do. I'm never going to be very fast.

There's now regular epee coaching.

I fence because I love fencing.
I fence because the club is a good place to be - and I like the people there.
I fence because the coaches and members are kind, helpful and encouraging.
I fence because I enjoy bouts and can improve at my own rate (rather slowly).
I fence for me.


Blogger Elizabeth McClung said...

Thanks for the post - I enjoy the insight into different motivations - and congrats on the trophy for improved beginner, it sounds like your coaches have invested in the people and it paying off - kudos for you.

8:22 am  
Anonymous Jim said...

Sounds to me like your club enjoys you as well. This was a good post Kathz. When the same question pops into my mind (as it does some times) I will read it again.

As for, "there is no one cheering me on and watching how I do." There are at least two of us. We are just on the other side of the pond.

11:32 am  
Blogger kathz said...

Thanks for your support - I thought of you when fencing in the club championship today. Beth, I hope you're enjoying the Nationals and doing well there.

8:13 pm  
Anonymous brianh said...


Good post; it captures well the attraction of fencing. Some people simply enjoy fencing, while others 'have' to fence. It doesn't matter if others are watching or cheering you on, the compulsion is there to practice and compete. You're never too old to get hooked, and I'm glad you have been. Enjoy it as much as I have the past 27 years.


4:34 am  

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