Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A Lady's Blade, Part 1

When a man lifts a sword, it is a mark of power and an expression of virility. The author assures her audience that the simple action of a sword being swung by a worthy man is enough to make her tingly all over. For the sword is a tool designed, crafted, and used by men. Of course, dear audience, we speak of the sword in the context of history at this point, leaving the modern sporting arena to for discussion another time. Thus the sword has been a tool for achieving whatever man desires: power, land, religious converts, and yes, even tingly women.

So we are used to seeing a sword in the hands of a man. It is natural and to be expected. (The author wishes to point out here that even if it is natural, it's still hot.) However, in the hands of a woman a sword becomes a whole other beast. The woman herself often becomes a beast, though in a cunning and fiercesome manner rather than hulking and grisly.

Women, for the most part, are not wired to claim power with the same forthright audacity as a man. If a woman picks up a sword, you can be assured that she too seeks her own kind of power. Though the sword be heavy, and bear a hilt not meant for fair hands, she will raise it with finesse. And though she may assume a defensive stance at first, there will be a certain light to her eyes that says, "Yes, I am going to kill you. But won't you be surprised when you find out how."

Monday, September 12, 2005

Two-Way Strip; One-Way Mind

I've been thinking I ought to rename this blog "Fencing is Hard," because just about every topic I think up is about that in some way or another. Every obstacle I come across in my training comes back to this one basic tenet of my inadequacy.

It is becoming increasingly apparent to me that one of my biggest problems is keeping track of everything that's going on at once. This problem manifests itself, for instance, when I am trying to work out a strategy in my head and, whoops, I forget about defense: 'Touch' to the other guy. This has happened more times than my pride will allow me to admit. It's frustrating, but worse, it makes you look sorta dumb.

So, yes, fencing is hard. Let us take as an example a fairly basic fencing attack:
Advance, lunge, disengage, hit

Sounds simple. Heck, it even looks simple from a distance, but let us now consider the actual workings of the mind necessary in order to properly execute such an attack.

Move forward while keeping careful track of the distance between you and your opponent. Execute your lunge making sure to that the stretch is not so long as to throw you off balance, but long enough to actually reach the target. (Special note to the author - make sure you toe is actually pointed in a useful direction). Make the attack with the blade, being aware all at once of: what part of the anatomy you want to hit, your opponent's expected reaction, your opponent's actual reaction or lack thereof, any parts of your anatomy you may accidently leave open to a counterattack, keeping movements of the hand and the blade small and precise movements and finally - contact (there's always hope right..and I'm pretty sure there are about 100 other things I should be thinking of). Oh yes, and in case this doesn't work out, you much be able and conscious of the best escape route should your stellar swordsmanship fail you. Or, you know, your shoe comes untied or something.

Now, for the sake of comparison let us consider also a fairly basic move in another sport. Sticking with what I know, let's say, cross-country running. Run run run, jump over a ditch, run run run. So here's how that goes:
Left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right, tighten ponytail, left, right, left, right, get ready.....LEAP....left, right, left, right, oooh...a bird, left, right.....

Well, you get the idea.