Wednesday, January 24, 2007

For a change...

Usually my posts are very "woe is me" so since I actually had a few good things happen at practice last night I thought I ought to write about them before I return to my usual state of melodrama. In recognition of this rare occasion I have prepared the lovely piece of art you see here.Distance
I can recall two distinct times where I played the distance game like a pro. The first, I parried and took a step back and just as my opponent was starting to step back as well, I launched (literally) a super long lunge and riposted to his wrist. My immediate feeling was not one of excitement, or even surprise. No, my immediate thought was "Holy crap, it's a good thing I stretched first." Because otherwise, I'd still be feeling that lunge this morning.

My second gratifying use of distance came when I at last achieved a tactic that I've tried to use many times before. My opponent was steadily backing me down the strip and we had defined a definite rhythm that I could feel. So I kept the rhythm but faked the size of my retreat just a little so that I could take a quick short lunge and ping him on the forearm.

When something finally works after many failures, it's a good feeling. Is it one of those islands of perfection? Perhaps an experienced fencer would read this and just say "Pft! What's the big deal? You're supposed to be using distance." I hope that eventually it will become as natural for me too and I can treat it flippantly.

Speaking of experience, let me mention a patriarch of our club who, while in his 70s, still tidily dispatches just about every epeeist with minimal effort. I consider myself lucky to get a single touch on him. But last night, in a display of unusual self-discipline, I struggled for nearly the entire three minutes, concentrating on suppressing all unnecessary movements, keeping my point on target, and getting the hell out of the way. Thus, I had a long, incredibly mentally stressful bout (for me anyway) with him and still lost, but it was 5-4. Four points that, I think, are worthy of a sunny happy face.

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