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, November 01, 2007

fencing foil - and starting sabre

"You're not going to wear those earrings," a fellow epeeist objected, "- not for fencing."

I had to admit they were unsuitable. "They've been admired," I explained. "I'll just wear them for the warm up."

"I like your earrings," said one of the coaches, and chuckled.

"But do they glow in the dark?" I asked my fellow epeeist.

She squinted helpfully, and concentrated on my left ear. "Not really," she said. "Perhaps if you left them under a strong light for hours ..."

But I'd kept them in my bag till evening. Only when night fell did I slip the pieces of wire into my ear-lobes. Two pale, articulated, plastic skeletons danced lightly as my head moved. The trick-or-treaters liked them ... at least, they said they did while I was doling out the loot. But I had to admit that long, dangling earring wouldn't go well with a fencing mask. After footwork, I slipped them back into my back and replaced them with grey, sparkly studs.

There were only three epeeists: two women and a man. We fenced each other in turns. The man's bladework was faster and more accurate than ever. He'd been off ill for a few weeks - I'm sure he spends periods of illness in bed, epee in hand, honing his accuracy. It's hard to score hits on an opponent with such deadly bladework. I managed one or two hits, and a handful of doubles.

Things were more even when I fenced the other woman. We could have gone on fencing one another for ages, but she suggested a break, then foil. We settled on steam foil and a coach agreed to ref - perhaps for a rest from our demands that he take us through the Academy gold medal syllabus. I'd quite like a gold medal, It would go well with my black winter coat. My foil level 4 fabric badge wouldn't work so well.

I was briefly ahead and even thought I was in with a chance. But after my opponent pulled ahead, my successful hits became less frequent. I think the final score was 15-8.

In the conversation afterwards, the coach reminded us about the club championship and repeated how few women would enter. I've got it in my diary but I'm not convinced it's a good idea - all that struggle and early waking at a weekend, just to come last. But I jokingly suggested we could both do sabre and insist on the title "woman master-at-arms." (I bet they'd make it mistress-at-arms").

Nobody had taught me sabre before, though I once picked up a weapon for a dare. We did the movernent quarte, quinte and tierce and then practised the hit to the head, followed by the hit to the cheekbone. I enjoyed it enough to remind myself "Epee is best." "Sabre-kir is expensive," and, most deadly of all, "Sabre - weapon of the Peterloo Massacre."

I'm still an epeeist, if rather short of opponents.

Incidentally, do you know any stories involving a fencer and a baker. There's a baker in Cyrano de Bergerac and a fencer pushed to suicide by contact with a baker in a Schnitzler short atory. How many are there - and is the baker ever the hero?

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Anonymous Jim said...

Sorry Kathz, the only baker I know of is Cyrano.

When I think of sabre, I always think of the series of books called " Sharpe's Rifles". ( Also a BBC television show.)

In the books Sharpe carried a big sabre, but he often said. " The point always beats the edge." I tend to agree.

1:19 am  
Blogger kathz said...

I don't think I'll succumb to sabre - apart from anything else, it has the most expensive kit. But it was fun to have a go at another weapon and much more enjoyable than I had expected. I may have another go, if I have the opportunity.

5:40 pm  

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