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

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I gain a second epee

I'm a one-sword person. That is, I owned one of each of my two weapons: a foil and an epee. The foil was part of my first fencing purchase and a declaration that I was going to continue fencing after my year as a beginner. And while I couldn't run to a lame, I chose to buy an electric foil, though I've often fenced steam with it.

At the end of last year my parents bought me an electric epee as a joint birthday and Christmas present. They know I enjoy and comment favourably on how much fitter I am and, inevitably, how much weight I've lost and what a good thing this is.

Both foil and epee came from Leon Paul and were made to my specifications: the cheapest of everything and a French grip. I was thrilled by both purchases.

When my epee blade-wire snapped earlier this year, I was devastated. This is an over-reaction but I think fellow-fencers may understand the attachment a fencer has to a new weapon, especially if it is the only one. A kind coach offered to fit a new wire for me and lent me a blade of his own while he was doing this.

That happened months ago and I continued fencing happily with the borrowed blade.

Then, last week ... "I've mended your blade," the coach said, and smiled. He'd done more than that. He'd fitted the blade to a spare guard, pommel and grip that he "happened to have lying around" and said I could keep the blade he'd lent me as well. "You've got two weapons now."

Fencers may stab each other but, apart from that, many fencers I know are remarkable for their kindness.

I'd like to report that I fenced brilliantly after being given a second weapon. I fenced pretty badly. My shoulder tensed in a brief epee coaching session. That made my arm ache, and I was more aware than usual of what I was doing wrong in epee. After the club championship, I'm more aware than ever of all that I've forgotten in foil. But several people took the trouble to encourage me and offered really helpful and uncondescending advice.

There won't be much chance to fence epee next week as the club is having a foil handicap tournament. In theory this means anyone could win. In practice, the coach who gave me my second epee will probably start a number of poule matches at a handicap of 4-0 down, and rise to the challenge to win them all 5-4. But it will be another good opportunity to fence a number of opponents and encounter a variety of styles - not to be missed.


Blogger Elizabeth McClung said...

cool - you can never have too many blades - though I find I only am really comfortable with one - Monica Kwan, the foilest who won nationals three years running from our club used to fence people at a 5-1 ratio (if they get a touch they get 5 points) for 5, 10 and 15 point bouts when training.

7:14 pm  
Blogger kathz said...

I can't imagine having any more blades than this, unless one day I come across a cheap foil for steam.

Since you posted this - but before I managed to post a reply - I posted an account of the way the handicapping system worked at our club - and it really did get a lot of people fencing one another for the first time in a very friendly way. I'd recommend it to any club that wanted to encourage newish fencers and make them feel welcome.

10:56 pm  

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