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, December 20, 2007

chocolate santa

We agreed it was a fine trophy. The club president had, as usual, brought a chocolate santa as the prize for the one-hit epee contest. It lay in a basket of miniature santas, on the floor.

With the inducement of chocolate, foilists and sabreurs prepared to join in. Their epee technique may be unconventional but with only one hit to count, it can be deadly. Usually the trick against foilistsor sabreurs is to look for that split second in which they try to establish right of way. In one-hit epee that's a risky strategy since a double hit means a double defeat.

I think there were ten or eleven of us in the pool unique and, for once, I wasn't the only woman. The Polish epeeist had borrowed breeches so that she could join in. She'd brought a friend, another epeeist, who was sadly left to fence foil with beginners and intermediates as he didn't have epee kit.

One-hit epee usually means more time is spent attaching body wires and testing blades than actually fencing. However, inspired by the thought of that chocolate santa, bouts were so slow that a stopwatch might have come in handy. Fencers advanced for a moment, then withdrew, keeping out of range of their opponents' blades rather than risk the hit that would defeat them.

On-hit epee can be wonderfully unpredictable. I achieved two hits, one against the eventual runner-up, though that my have been kindness on his part. There was a happy moment when the women fencing other weapons cheered me, and I managed my second hit.

At the end of the pool, two fencers tied for first place with seven hits each. The final duel was again cautious but won, I'm pleased to say, by a regular epeeist. His Oscar-style speech, thanking his mother, father, grandmother, great aunts, etc. was drowned out as he wiped away a pretend tear. He lifted his large santa for photos as the rest of us ate the miniatures.

I think the Polish fencers were surprised by our lack of seriousness and the amount of laughter between fencers. I think that was something they enjoyed - I hope so.

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