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, March 08, 2007

foiled again!

Perhaps I shouldn't have worn the club hoodie to work. I was short on sleep - writing administrative documents after midnight and before 7.00 is a bad idea - and not feeling too well. I didn't want to be cold and .... well, I like my hoodie.

What's more, I wanted to fence. I'd been watching friends compete at a tournament on Saturday. I shouldn't have been there as I'd so much to do but I took a little detour on the way to the supermarket. It was a big detour really - it involved a bus journey. But it was great to see so much fencing even if Saturday was devoted to foil and women's sabre. One of the young fencers at the club was doing his first adult (men's) competition - and getting on quite well.

I tried to watch everyone I knew but spent most of my time at women's sabre. I don't do sabre so had to ask about the rules. But there were two women from my club competing, and one started fencing when I did. She's rather good now and, once she'd got used to the competition, won a few bouts.

The sabreuses looked a great bunch, ranging from teenagers to women in their sixties. Lots of GBR and England lames too. I was particularly taken with the older women, who looked well able to defend themselves against attack. I wondered what people who met them casually would think, if they found out about the swordplay. My fantasy about Miss Marple with a sword is true.

After the tournament, club night was sadly empty - and I was the only epeeist. I'd been feeling ill enough to think I might stay home but once surrounded by fencers I wanted to join in. I even thought of trying sabre - but there wasn't a coach available. In the end I had a couple of bouts at foil. What a strange weapon it is - so small and light (like foilists) and these days I can't think my way through rules about right of way.

Then the foilists fenced me at epee. This was much easier than fencing the regular epeeists as it was the foilists' turn to think through the rules and they sometimes forgot to hit epee targets. I managed hits to the knee and jarred one opponent with a firm hit to her mask. (We were fencing steam so I had to be extra sure of landing the hits.) While it was still obvious that they were more experienced fencers, I was evidently the epeeist. But I missed my fellow epeeists (one, I hear, is injured - not by me) and the usual bouts.

So perhaps wearing the club hoodie to work came from a wish to dream about epee. The students noticed, of course.

Then a colleague (a fellow epeeist!) came in to pick up some papers he'd left behind. I was in the middle of talking to the students about poetry of the Spanish Civil War but I stopped, courteously. He couldn't resist a political joke and I immediately responded - who wouldn't? - "I challenge you to an epee contest."

"Go on," the students urged. "Show us ..."

Somehow we couldn't resist and assumed a fencing stance, going back and forth. He lunged and got me on the wrist. We resumed. I saw and opening and went straight for the mask - but there wasn't a mask. I knocked his glasses off. as I caught him on the cheekbone - and the students burst into applause. "I'm so sorry," I said. "One all," he said. And then I realised the students had their camera phones out.

"Do it again," one said. "I didn't catch that."

I was minutes away from being on youtube. My colleague and I agreed that masks were essential - and that epees and jackets would help. He left, and we had a great class on Auden's "Spain" and Edgell Rickword's "To the Wife of any Non-intervention Statesman." At some point in the discussion I remarked I was a pacifist but I'm not sure the students believed me. ("Fencing's different," I said. "It's consensual. Now, back to that phrase about "the necessary murder".")

Still, it was a neat point and appropriate for International Women's Day. And one of the students made me a lovely ASBO on a sheet of file-paper to put up on my office wall.

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Anonymous Jim said...

She'd a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at her chin,
A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin;
They fitted with never a wrinkle: her boots were up to the thigh!
And she rode with a jewelled twinkle,
His squirt gun butts a-twinkle, ( Quaker ...you know)
Her rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.

Go easy on your prey Highwaywoman Kathz!

11:28 pm  
Blogger kathz said...

someone else has read Alfred Noyes! That was my favourite poem when I was 7 years old.

10:16 am  
Anonymous Jim said...

~ laughs ~ That is most likely my level of knowledge of poetry, as it is still one of mine. It is also one of my favorite songs. Done by Loreena McKennitt on her" The Book of Secrets" album.

7:27 pm  
Blogger kathz said...

I still love it - marvellous stuff.

7:39 pm  
Blogger jez said...

a good hoodie is something to cherish. i love my green one to bits but really out to get another, or wash this one more...

10:28 pm  

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