Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wait and Hope

It's been hard to have a mind turned towards anything except selling this stupid house. So far I've had two lessons this week and in both I've felt like I was stumbling around like a sedated rhino. I've been back and forth on going to the Kickoff this weekend; normally I think of fencing all the time, but it just seems like lately my heart hasn't been in it, hasn't been in anything. But I'm going to beg one more lesson on Friday and then go fight. There aren't many chances to fight only other women and I think it's important to test myself.

Last night I lost to my best sparring partner three times in a row 5-4. I don't often beat him at all, but three times (count 'em) it came to 4-4 and I couldn't pull it off. He is an excellent fencer, but I think I will fall back on blaming my defeats once again on my failure to analyze a bout DURING the bout.

When it comes to the strip, I live in the moment. There is no notion of past or future any more than there is a notion that we ought to stop the fighting and talk things over instead. My husband, who does not understand that his mental acuity far outstrips mine, explains to me rather simply that all you need to do is: Decide what you're going to do, decide what you'll do if that doesn't work, decide what you'll do if it works halfway, decide what you'll do if your opponent attacks first, know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, etc.,etc. Then you're ready for En Guarde.

But once the director calls Fence, I have a terrible time containing any information except for the action which I am executing at that very second. Bringing into play what has happened previously in the bout and what I will do should my execution not result in a touch happen only accidentally, if at all. My hope is that as executions become automated and I don't have to think about them specifically, there will be more room in my head for thinking about their causes and consequences.

Until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is summed up in these two words,--'Wait and hope'.
Alexandre Dumas (1802 - 1870), The Count of Monte Cristo

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Passing time..

These came from an email containing military quotes, but I found some of the applicable (and fun) for fencing too:

If the enemy is in range, so are you.
Infantry Journal

Bravery is being the only one who knows you're afraid.
David Hackworth

If your attack is going too well, you're walking into an ambush.
Infantry Journal

Never trade luck for skill.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Oh! I forgot to say. Sabre is fun! Hopping about and whacking people in the head is tops with me. Even if I couldn't break into the top five .

The Winding Stair

It's amazing to me that it's been nearly a month since I wrote. In my head, somewhere in the neighborhood of 8-9 minutes has passed. I recollect some catchy phrase about sands in an hourglass and days of our...well, you know.

The thing is, I was just starting to find my groove again; I felt like I'd just clambered up onto the next giant step on the stairway to competency. My lessons had suddenly become more difficult. Maitre called it "ratcheting down" to another degree of detail. But now I'm dangling off that step by my fingertips, praying that I don't tumble all the way back to the bottom.

The ringing of the division bell has begun...
(Pink Floyd)

North Carolina? Really? Oh.

Let me be clear. I'm not good with change. I'm not good at meeting new people. It was hard enough to start at the Salle, small as it is. The thought has actually crossed my mind that perhaps I could continue my training without a club to practice at, but that's silly. The thing is, I have this desire and unfortunately that desire depends on outside forces: training help, practice partners, structured practice. I hate it when I can't do something on my own. And, there's always the biggie: What if they don't like me?? Sorry, couldn't suppress my inner 12 year old.

Fencing is supposed to fill my well of bravery so that I can draw on it elsewhere in my life. I
guess I need to build up some stores while I'm here, fill a few jugs, the bathtub maybe.

I just hope they don't make me start from the bottom.