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, August 13, 2009

a hole in my hoodie

My fencing hoodie is falling to bits. That ought to be a metaphor for something, but it's not. I have simply worn it out.

I noticed a problem with the cuffs months ago. Perhaps I should have found time to darn them then but I didn't. And the holes around the cuffs multiplies. I know darning is based on weaving but by now I'd almost be weaving more cuffs.

And now there a hole in the pocket - not the sort of hole where coins fall out but a hole through which anyone can look to see the too-large bundle of keys I shove in my pocket for convenience when going out. It's the usual bundle that has acquired all sorts of extras that aren't keys at all: the remains of a Paris key-ring my daughter gave me after a school trip, a picture of the children when they were both under 5 and - most usefully - an old-fashioned bottle opener. What with all the keys, it's not surprising there's a hole in the fabric. The key rings have worn there way through to the outside world.

Perhaps I could force a metaphor out of the hoodie, saying that I too am wearing out. But that would suggest I was once glamorous and effective as a fencer and I was neither. I'm continuing with my once-a-week attendance, unless something else crops up, and, for the first time, we're fencing through August. There's just two hours of free fencing and, at the moment, a serious shortage of epeeists. I mostly fenced foil this week.

There's not much new to say about my experience of foil fencing. I tend to attack like an epeeist, without the little pause foilists use as they take right of way from an opponent. This gives me a slight advantage at times, but not enough to compensate for lack of speed. But the foilists, who included a few visitors or new members, were a cheerful bunch and I enjoyed myself.

Watching was good too - not just seeing the skill of others but enjoying the splendid moment when an energetic fencer attempted a fleche, tripped over the box and tangled in the curtain that separates fencers from badminton players. For a wonderful moment I thought there was, at last, a chance for the sword v. racquet meeting of which I've been dreaming. However no badminton players or fencers were hurt in the making of this blog and the fencer, like his audience, was caught in the hilarity of his over-enthusiastic fleche. (He was a good fencer enjoying his sport who won the bout.)

I managed a little epee at the end against the architect - a woman who is smaller than me. Since the chef's departure for Paris I've mostly fenced men who are taller than me so have developed a tactic of moving in close so that they lose the advantage of reach. At the beginning of our bout, I scored two points, using the advantage of reach. Then habit took over and I got too close. Every so often I corrected myself and stayed away, working on parry ripostes. But I must have lost five points by reverting to my custom of seeking a close encounter. The architect, who is young and fast, won 10-7. She'd probably have won if I hadn't made the mistake of getting too close, but the bout would have taxed her more. However I enjoyed the bout for all my mistakes - the architect enjoys her fencing in a way that's irresistibly infectious.

The architect is back in town for a while. She doesn't usually fence epee but can handle all three weapons so I hope for further bouts. Meanwhile the chef, who is spending summer in the Antipodes, has not yet encountered - let alone fenced - any kangaroos.

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Blogger Littlefair said...

I heard the start of woman's hour today and part of the contents of the show focused on a septagenarian fencer. Unfortunately I had to go out before hearing it but I'll listen again here:

and thought you'd be interested.

6:21 pm  
Blogger Littlefair said...

PS, I'm not suggesting you're a septagenarian!

6:25 pm  

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