Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Tourney Reflection v. 3

Or, How life does not imitate art.

Or, Lost in Translation.

In practice I feel so fluid, graceful even. I feel confident in drills. I feel like I must look good to whoever happens by. Why then, when it comes to competition, do I feel like a flailing madwoman? Why is it so hard to translate movement - executed repeatedly week after week with confidence - to a three minute bout?

I hear myself saying in one of these bouts, "Disengage, you must disengage!". But it seems near impossible. The distance between myself and my opponent is suddenly a chasm and my arm suddenly disobedient and useless. I can't disengage. He's moving too fast, too unpredictably.

I guess I would have never made it in the military. As smart as I like to think I am, I forget what I know under pressure. Parries, which at practice are tight and controlled, suddenly fly way off course. And footwork - well...

Regardless of all these realized inadequacies and great hurdles before I even reach the rank of mediocre - I was not wholly unpleased by how I did. 3 out of 5 in the pools isn't awful is it? I like to think about that, my shiny badge of slightly-above-average and leave the thoughts of the DE for a day when my pride is running a little too high.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Tourney Reflection v. 2

Reflection...how about we forget it happened?

No, it wasn't really that bad. I'm alternately competitive and self-pitying, we know that - bad mix sometimes. Okay, all the time.

Really though, normally I have a nice neat entry all prepared in my head before I sit down to write. Now - I got nothing. But I've started this thing - I might as well see it through. So, random thoughts...after three days of stewing.


The guy, the C rated fencer who ended up so well in the end. The one (okay one of the ones) that beat the pants off me. He was unusual looking, but he was so nice. So gracious at the end of the bout when he reached down to where I was cowering on the floor and smiled sincerely and shook my hand and I whimpered and squeaked, "Is it over yet?". I'm glad he placed so well.


I've always hated crowds, that should be no surprise to anyone. Usually I can only muddle through them by blending in and doing my damnedest not to be noticed. This is not possible when most of the people in the crowd are out to get you, as - you must admit - fencers are at a fencing tournament. The smaller tournament was better on my psyche but I can adjust. I've run in races which were hundreds en masse, and I wasn't even wearing protective gear.


It's nice to have your sister there because then you have someone to bring you water between bouts.


Overall, this entry has said nothing of any weight. Trust that I did actually learn some useful things. I identified a vast new array of deficiencies that need to be worked out. I saw some really great fencing. I survived - and isn't that the most important factor of all where swords are involved?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A Lady's Blade, Part 2: Nature vs. Nurture

Upon admitting my reluctance to bout with children, I have been told that these reservations are unfounded. The fact that "Well, they want to beat you" seems to be provided as carte blanche to whip the little ankle-biters into submission. And, while in a tournament you can be assured I would (do my best to) whip them all heartily, I just can't bring myself to be merciless at a practice.

I have noticed the look of frustration when they find they can gain no ground. This is especially apparent with boys who cannot bear the thought of being beat by a girl - even if she is twice his size. And so, we come to an area of great contention for madam fencer. That is that battle between herself and her foe in so many pursuits: the mothering instinct. It is a battle which isn't meant to be won, but a game of careful balancing. For me, it goes something like this:

Score a couple touches. Then, respond a little too slowly and let them land a solid attack. "Oh! You got me that time for sure." (It is not condescending, but matter-of-fact.) Another touch for me. Another for them. "Okay, here we go." Of course, I must win in the end, but I find for them a look of sincere relief when I pull off my mask: it was close all along, I assure them silently.

In the vast reaches of my experience, I have found false hope to be a faithless teacher; losses will pay for themselves in time.

Coaches aside, do men have this same sort of struggle? I suppose it depends on the man. And the child for that matter. I admit I have come across some that certainly deserved a right and proper beating. For those, the nurture trigger is dampened. Let nature take her course.