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.

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