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

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Life in the medium lane

The chef opted out of fencing this week. She'd intended to go but the lure of gin and The Apprentice on TV lured her away from the salle (OK,. the leisure centre). I haven't watched The Apprentice but feel I'm in a minority. It's discussed on Facebook, in all the papers and at fencing.

The hall was still crowded and there were eight other epeeists - all male - as well as sabreurs, foilists and a large number of beginners and intermediates. I was tired from work, worry and insomnia and didn't have the energy to seek out bouts. I did my best, accepting three offers, trying to keep my guard up. "Remember your elbow," a fencer hissed," as I attached my body wire.

I remembered my elbow and noticed the way it crookedly evaded the protection of the guard. I took a few hits, though not on my elbow, and also managed a few - I'm not sure how. A couple of hits to the forearm pleased me but too much of the evening passed in a blur of exhaustion.

For the past two weeks, fencers have been plagued by technical problems. Last week, the foilists and sabreurs were having problems with an electric box which decided it would work only for epeeists. A small group of fencers stood around making helpful suggestions about further tests that would locate the fault. This week, an epeeist was affected as two tiny screws flew out of the button at the end of his blade. After ten minutes in which several of us stared and patted the floor, both were located and the attempt began to re-attach the button. "This needs small hands," the epee's owner groaned, so I found a small intermediate fencer and asked him to help. I suspect it's the fencing equivalent of finding a child to go up a chimney.

Eventually the blade was restored to health, I had another bout and decided to leave in daylight. My arm was hurting - it still is, though there aren't many bruises. I think I must have been holding it at an awkward angle. Cycling was slightly tricky and at one point I swerved as I approached one of the sleeping policemen. (Note: "sleeping policeman" is a name given to a bump in the road that slows down the traffic.)

I think I'm moving as well as before the fall now but I still need opportunities for exercise without putting too much pressure on my foot - the "policeman's foot" continues. Today I had the chance to go swimming - a friend offered me a lift to the pool. I'm even more out of practice at swimming than fencing and decided beforehand that I'd set myself a limit of 30 lengths (750 metres).

I was tired at first but the tiredness receded as I swam alternate lengths of breast stroke and back stroke. It wasn't exciting like fencing - and I carry on worrying as I go up and down. There were fewer people in the pool than at a usual fencing session. My friend - also out of practice - headed, as usual, to the slow lane. Before I took up fencing I'd have been there too.

These days, I swim in the medium lane. Sometimes people overtake me - today two girls discussing their social lives easily overtook without pausing in their conversation. The medium lane makes its own demands. Sometimes I have to struggle to keep up. Swimming in the medium lane may not see much of an achievement but I'm pleased to be there.

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