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

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

stabbing children

The arrival of two young epéeists - evenly matched and enthusiastic 11-year-olds - has cheered me at least.

In all the time I've been a member of the fencing club, younger fencers have tended to stick with foil or move to sabre. I can see why that is. The epée is the heaviest weapon. Even lighter versions will cause a young arm to ache after five or ten minutes of practice. And then there's a lot of practice involved before it's possible to achieve a hit while moving - at least if you hit with a sabre there's a good chance the blade will land roughly where you want it. Moving from foil to epée involves feeling like a beginner again: missing what seem to be easy hits and getting rid of the slight pause that characterises fencers who need to establish right of way.

I think the youngsters started with epée. They've been fencing for a while and are good.

I had some advantages. Because there aren't any club epées below size 5 - and because I can't hold or fence with a pistol grip - the young fencers had to use a heavier weapon than usual to fence me. (Other fencers used borrowed a smaller, lighter, shorter weapon from one of the youngsters.) Then there was my greater height and weight. However it seemed to me that I had one disadvantage at least - I would be trying to hit a smaller (and probably faster) target area.

If I were a better fencer, I'd have started off lightly, giving the young fencers a chance. As a pretty weak fencer, hampered by a back injury, I decided to try to win. I'd watched the boys for long enough to reckon that, if I beat them once, they'd be busy working out ways to defeat me. So I used everything I had - strength, weight and, quite possibly, the boys' awareness that they were stabbing someone old enough to be their grandmother.

In the first bout I was quickly two points ahead and held the advantage as we fenced, with several doubles, to 10-8. I won the second bout 10-2. Then I wondered if I'd been mean. "No," I thought. "I learn a lot by fencing people who beat me - and it's probably the same for them."

They were back next week. I fenced only one of them and he beat me 10-8. Time for me to try even harder.

This all happened a couple of weeks ago. I'm trying to catch up on blogposts. More shortly, I hope.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home