tempi ... and policeman's foot
I was fencing and losing again when an insight struck me. I was landing all my hits - when I landed them at all - fractionally too late and was being caught off-guard far too often. And I saw what I was doing. I was taking my tempo from my opponent and never trying to set my own speeds.
I'd like to report that I then won every hit. I didn't - I still lost most points. But I began to change the tempo and take control which disconcerted my opponent ... at least, I like to think so. Instead of being hit again and again with the consolation of a few doubles, I managed some hits of my own.
It wasn't a brilliant evening but I felt I'd solved a problem and realised that varying tempi might work for me, even though I lack the speed of my opponents. However, lack of speed and a nagging (allright, excruciating) pain in my left heel was deterring me. Towards the end of the evening I refused an offered bout - perhaps the first time I have ever done so. And I was ever so glad when a veteran sabreuse offered me a lift. She's a nurse in her everyday existence and enquired about the limp.
"Policeman's foot," she told me, and told me firmly to visit the doctor.
He agreed with he diagnosis and has prescribed anti-inflammatories, rest if possible and ice-packs three times a day. "But what about fencing?" I asked. He asked how I used the foot and I explained about lunges. As I'm right handed, lunges put pressure on my left heel. So does footwork. Lunges are not allowed. In theory I shouldn't move much. But he agreed I could stand still and practise bladework and point control. I don't know if I'll find a partner.
At least I didn't mention the fleche ... or the balestra.