Monday, October 17, 2005

Tourney Reflection v. 1a

Last night I went to bed at 9:00. The truth is I wanted to go to bed at 8:30, but that seemed a little drastic. I was exhausted, but why? Does coming in third-to-last warrant going to bed two hours early? Could I have really expended so much effort in eight measley bouts to claim such a luxurious prize? The facts:

1) 16 fencers. 2 pools of eight, fought on double-strips. This is supposed to be harder as it gives you less time to rest between bouts. To me, I wished they had come faster. I found myself getting too cool between bouts and I never found myself working too hard physically. Mentally…I think I pulled my brain muscle.

2) One of my fears would be that there would be many small children. This was not the case. Most were high school kids, some adults around my age, and even one very elderly gentleman who beat me 5-3. However, in my defense, his arms were no less than six feet long.

3) I feel myself slowly cresting what I thought an insurmountable hill a few months ago. I can actually tell now what my opponent is doing. Yesterday I was losing two or three touches before I finally figured it out, but I did indeed figure it out. And of course, once you know what your opponent is doing, you can deftly foil his plans right? Hmm…

4) The answer to all life’s questions? Riposte. I apparently am failing miserably in life.

5) Soccer moms are not relegated to the realm of soccer. Unfortunately they have them in fencing too. Do you know how obnoxious the simple phrase, “C’mon! Disengage!” can get when it’s shouted EVERYTIME the action stops? Does this woman not realize that I have a sword and she has nothing with which to defend herself but a loud stripey shirt?

6) I did like the girl that I fought in the DE bout. She seemed like she would be nice to hang out with. We didn’t talk much but something about the way she said “Good bout” made me want to offer her half my power bar. Yeah…I really need some friends.

The verdict? I’ll call it a Pyrrhic victory. I took the first step. I went out and did the thing which I was fearing. But at what cost to my pride? Well, it was an early bed time, but I did get out of bed this morning, so I guess I will live to fight another day.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Fencing is a sport for gentlemen and gentlewomen. There is always the saluting, the shaking of hands, the prancing about in knickers. It all lends itself to this image of fencing being the undertaking of fine and upright citizens. I tell you now that it is a very clever ruse, though I can only speak for myself. Should any poor soul happen upon the thoughts in my head while I am bouting the last thing they will be thinking is "genteel".

While in a bout, all thoughts of what is decorous or lady-like go right out the window. There is a great deal of cursing and vague threats. Every touch is punctuated by a stern but silent epithet, very often involving the letter 'f'. When fighting someone better than I (usual), I ask myself burning questions like "How the hell do I hit this guy?". If the guy happens to be way better than I, and I know I am about to lose badly, I might scream like a little girl in the world of my head.

Likely none of this should be going on in my head of course. I know I should be concentrating wholly on what I am doing, where my point is at, maintaining proper distance, etc and etc. But sometimes a well placed curse is just good for the soul. I will always shake hands afterward, and be sincere in my congratulations, in the tradition of a true gentlefolk. But also, isn't it like a true gentlefolk to quietly wish a pox upon the house of thine enemies? Yeah, I thought so.