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

Friday, December 18, 2009

continuing (with injuries)

The club competition was never going to be easy. If it hadn't been for a comment on this blog, I'd have given up. I had plenty of excuses: my calf hurt and my workload was huge. I took some with me on the Sunday - I wasn't the only one. It's sad to see how, in a time of high unemployment, those with jobs work absurdly long hours. It would be better to share the work around.

I registered for foil and epée, looked at the people in my poule and fenced without conviction. "Where's the aggression?" a fellow fencer asked and added, correctly, "You've lost it."

He was right. I wasn't expecting to win and I wasn't trying to win. I attempted to pull myself together. I still didn't win any bouts but began to perform a little better - at least, I began to feel more satisfied with the attempts I was making. But my footwork was more a shuffle than anything else - I didn't want to risk worse damage with the epée still to come.

Every so often I felt an urge to win but never for more than a point or two. Needless to say I was ranked low, fenced a strong fencer in the Direct Elimination, and was eliminated (15-5). Somehow I didn't come last overall - just bottom from last. But in the competition for the lower ranked fencers I did come last.

Still, I was fencing which seemed like some sort of achievement.

In the epée once again I made occasional attempts to win but didn't sustain them. My best poule bout went to 4-4 - I was briefly ahead before that. Then I looked at my opponent and my aggression ebbed away. She's a foilist who I can beat on occasion but I lost that last point before the ref. said "Fence."

All I had left was the D.E. I was against the fencer who had beaten me in foil. This time I had nothing to lose - there was no longer any point in trying to look after my injured calf. I attacked, parried and did my best. It wasn't that good but it felt more like fencing than anything I'd done before. We were at 14-6 (to him of course) when the ref. called for a minute's halt. I took off my mask and tried to muster my determination. I was going to go for that next point. As soon as the ref. said "Play," I attacked and drove my opponent back. He was disconcerted and in danger of going off piste when I took the point. And I took the next with similar tactics. It wasn't pretty but it was more like fencing than anything I'd done in the preceding six hours.

It couldn't last. My opponent took the next point and I was eliminated. But 15-8 seemed a respectable score. I still came last but didn't feel too bad about it.

I stayed to watch the final and applauded the victors. Then I headed home for more work.

My calf didn't seem any worse for the fencing so I was back for more after only three days. Early in the evening I found myself against a visiting 13-year-old, very highly ranked in his age group. He's a swift, elegant left-hander and much smaller than me. I watched him getting annoyed with himself as he failed to beat the club champion. He had an easier task fencing me.

We agreed to fence to 10. He took some points easily, I managed one and then he caught me from below in the ribcage. I must have advanced at speed onto his lunge. It hurt so much I cried out. The boy was devastated and apologetic. I insisted it wasn't that bad but it hurt enough to affect me for the rest of that bout (the boy won 10-2) and in the rest of my fencing that evening. I was glad I hadn't cycled and accepted a lift home. For a couple of weeks the pain didn't get better and even, on occasion, woke me at night.

It's a torn muscle, I think. I considered going to the doctor but work was too busy and, in any case, he wouldn't have been able to offer more than strong pain-killers. I fenced the following week but only against a couple of very experienced fencers who were unlikely to cause much pain. I was nervous, forcing myself to fence.

I departed early. But before I left people started to remind me, "One-hit epée next week."

"You're taking part, aren't you?" asked a coach.

"Yes," I replied.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am proud of you Kathy.

I have always wanted to try one touch epee....so far I have never gotten a chance to do so.

For what it is worth...I would try to keep your distance about 8 inches or so greater than your normal fencing and wait to counter to the cuff and arm.

Or you could do what you do best....I have never fenced it. : )


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