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, February 07, 2009

epee classes

After swimming, I looked forward to fencing and the new, fitter me. I made up my mind. I would swim every weekend and join the beginners' epee course for regular coaching. Sadly the Saturday-morning fencing has ended for now and is moving further away. I may be able to get a lift occasionally but not every week. So the best I can do is fencing once a week plus swimming and a lot of running up and downstairs at work.

That was the theory, anyway. It's been complicated lately.

I had to plan carefully. For four weeks in a row, fencing day is the busiest of my working week. I have to get up as soon after 5 as I can to drink coffee, eat breakfast, make my packed lunch and get ready. I move slowly in the early morning
. I leave before daylight and return long after dark. But it seemed just possible that, if I caught the right train, I could get changed quickly and cycle to fencing. I'd just be a little late. I tried not to think too much about the following morning, when I'd be up at 5.00 again.

The first week was tricky. There was an event at work that I probably should have attended. But not only did I want to fence, I also didn't think I could face a working day lasting more than 12 hours with a minimal chance of a break. I decided not to go. Instead I would rush home, rush out and stab people.

It didn't work like that.

The train arrived in the station on time and I caught it. It departed only five minutes late. Then, ten minutes into the journey, it halted, vast fields of dark on either side. It was some time before any announcement. Then we were told that there had been a "fatality on the line" and the pause turned into a long wait.

Eventually the train took a detour and deposited us all at the town that was its ultimate destination. Unfortunately it had bypassed my stop. The train staff said there would be a bus. The station staff said they didn't know anything about that but that there might be a train. There were quite a few of us on the platform, not wanting to complain about minor inconvenience when we knew others must be struck by grief, but still wanting to get home.

The trains started running again sooner than we'd feared but my 25-minute journey had taken two hours. It was too late for fencing.

I joined the epee class the following week. It wasn't full of beginners but included a couple of people who regularly beat me on the epee piste. Like me, they wanted more coaching - and going back to basics is a good way to begin.

By this time my plans for fitness were beginning to unravel. My laptop was playing up and I started carrying it everywhere with me, hoping someone could solve the problem. The extra weight tired me and I began taking the lift at work. I didn't blog either. The invasion of malware made me uneasy and it was almost a week till I was given useful advice about the free version of malware bytes (and how to open the computer in safe mode to download it). What with the tiredness, I didn't have much to inspire a blogpost either.

Then my daughter came home for the weekend. Most of her time was spent seeing friends, of course, and I missed Meeting to see her off. I didn't go swimming either. And, as my computer slowly convalesced, I began to feel bad about the gap in blogposts. I started a couple of posts but whenever I started the phone would ring or I'd be overcome by tiredness.

But I'm back now. And I managed to fence again last week - just for the epee class as I was too tired to do more. Yet I managed a series of accurate hits and reasonable counter-attacks. I may have been the slowest there - and was certainly the most exhausted - but I managed a little fencing at the end of a long day. And that was some sort of achievement. (And I got into work by 8.15 the following morning, despite snow and ice and blocked roads and railway lines. But that's another story.)

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Anonymous Katie said...

I think that sounds positively heroic. And I have thought of a timesaving solution: you could simply wear your fencing kit to work.

9:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are so brave to put up with all the disruption and drains on your time and energy. It seems I hardly know I'm born. kllrchrd

9:41 pm  
Blogger Kathz said...

Thanks, but I've decided against wearing fencing kit to work. I fear it might scare my colleagues, if i weren't arrested en route. And since I choose to fence, I think I'd call my determination to persevere sheer bloody-mindedness, especially since I'm not that good at it - just better than I expected (in other words, I hit people occasionally - just not so often as they hit me).

But I'm glad to find time to blog again .

10:57 pm  
Blogger The Gray Epee said...

I have always thought it was heroic as well.

How did the swimming work out for you in regards to increasing stamina?

I have injured my knee (fencing)and am wondering if this might be something I want to try until it heals.

12:09 pm  
Blogger Kathz said...

That's a real nuisance about your knee, Jim. I hope it heals rapidly.

I find swimming is pretty good for stamina. The pool I visit has 25 metre lengths so I set myself a target and I don't go so far beyond it that I'm exhausted the next day. Then I try to build up week by week.

Having said that, it looks as though my weekend swimming is on hold for now. I usually go with a couple I know. Last week one of them slipped on the ice and broke her wrist badly, so I don't suppose they'll be swimming for a while. If the weather improves, I may try cycling to the pool. Mind you, my friend's plight is much worse than mine as she's a professional musician and has had to postpone a number of concerts - and this affects her fellow-performers as well.

2:35 pm  

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