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, October 06, 2007


The epeeists returned. This week several sabreurs and foilists stayed away. Tall and tiny beginners took up much of the space. They're improving and I'm still out of condition (as usual). I found it hard to focus and keep up in footwork practice. My day had started at 3.00 in the morning. That might have had something to do with it. But as a fellow epeeist said sternly, "There's always an excuse."

There's always helpful advice too. This time I got some coaching too. "Lunge." "Don't step - lunge. It adds a foot to your reach." "Faster." "Parry" "Follow through." "Don't pause - you're missing a hit." "You should sweat - if you don't sweat, you're not trying."

It felt brutal at times. I began to ache. But I knew he was right. I needed to work harder. And as I tried, feeling the ache and exhaustion, I knew I was fencing better. When I landed good hits on my opponent, he cheered. And at the end of the session, he praised my progress enthusiastically and made me feel I could fence better - something I'd begun to doubt.

If this were a story, I'd have gone on to win a bout against the club's star fencer. I didn't. I fenced someone better than me, who wasn't as tall as my previous opponent and a right-hander when I'd been working with a left-hander. I noticed I was falling into my old mistakes. I tried harder. Mostly I missed. But this opponent too was encouraging. I should practise more, he said, and suggested a ping pong ball strung from the ceiling at home to gain accuracy.

It would be good. But I don't have space. I don't have time. I have work, children, obligations. I just have to do the best I can as a once-a-week fencer.

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