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

Friday, April 13, 2007


"fopee" is the new word to describe foilists who fence epee without changing their style. (It began with the sabreurs inventing "soil" to describe the way foilists fence sabre - and further new words will follow).

"fopee" fencers aren't always easy to beat, as I discovered this week. It was a treat to fence. The session was reinstated at short notice and many people (and most of the coaches) were away. However that meant plenty of turns on the electric piste, though the experience was enlivened by a silent box, which meant we needed a referee for epee. The referee was a foilist and she found it a puzzling experience: no description of the fencing phrase, no account of who established right of way - just "stop! the red light came on" and "fence!"

My opponents were two foilists (with a little epee experience) and we agreed to fence each other first at epee and then at foil - bouts to ten points. Fencing a slightly shorter woman with a foil technique (lots of elegant parries and considerable speed) was tricky after all the tall male epeeists and I lost the first bout badly. In the second, against a male opponent, I was ahead at 6-4 but lost confidence as my opponent improved and finally lost 10-7. Still, being ahead for a while has increased my confidence.

I lost at foil, of course, but not as badly as I'd feared and found I was beginning to remember techniques and enjoy foil again, though it was strange to be holding a weapon so light it seemed it might float away. My final bout was against an epeeist, who had been coaching. We fenced foil, which amused the onlookers. I imagine we both used epee techniques while trying to remember about target areas and right of way.

I was tired at the end. The greater speed of foil was draining and a warm evening added to the tiredness. (I imagine the few spectators could smell the difference.) I set out for the mile and a half walk home - in the dark, along a main road - feeling slightly depressed at the thought of six days without fencing, when, unexpectedly, two fencers driving past, turned the car round and came back to offer me a lift - with no idea of where I lived. Fortunately for them I was on their route. I was quickly home - and soon to bed, my spirits lifted by the unexpected kindness.

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Blogger Elizabeth McClung said...

I found that fopee are very good at knowing when to do short lunges by very slight blade contact - a lesson I will never forget.

I tried going back once to foil and ended up getting so frustrated with the parries and right of ways I just looked for opportunistic lunges. I lost, but I lost like a epeeist!

11:48 pm  

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