Tuesday, October 30, 2007

And now, we rejoin our hero in the Swamp of Lassitude

So since the last tournament I've missed several other opportunities to compete. I even skipped a tournament at my own club. Partially, this has been due to other Saturday morning commitments, but partially it has been due to a sort of lethargy which I described out-loud to my coach as being burnt out. I just plain haven't felt like it.

If I wanted to get psychological and whatnot about it, I'd probably blame it on being worried about not being able to live up to unrealistic expectations after my recent first place finish. But I'm not giving myself that much credit.

I don't want to ever force myself to fence; I always want to look forward to a tournament, so I'm going to skip this weekend's tournament in Boone as well. The good news is, I still look forward to practice and last night's practice was awesome. Two hours of wall to wall fencing with a satisfying mix of wins and loss inspired lessons.

Best quote by yours truly, during an in-fighting exercise, after leaping out of the defined drilling space: But he was so SCARY!

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Titanic

Sweet monkey dumplings! I won a tournament. The Titanic Open (a women and children only event...get it?) was this past weekend so I took the short jaunt up to Greensboro to play. I knew it wouldn't be a big event, and at close of registration there were seven ladies lined up for the fight. I like seven person pools. More bang for the buck. Lots of fencing.

It was a nice pool and everyone was friendly and in good spirits throughout. I ended up winning all my pool bouts, but none were too easy. My entire purpose for attending this tournament rather than the much larger one in Columbia on the same day was to get as much experience fighting other women as possible. My few forays onto the National scene, where only other women are involved, has lead me to the realization that I need this experience if I ever want to break the top 16 at a NAC. Though it's been mentioned previously, I will just reiterate how different it is fighting women rather than men. And at practice, I mainly fence the latter.

Beyond the victories listed on the score sheet, I am most proud of my secret mental victories. Of not losing my head and giving up leads (as I did in the last tournament). Of having enough self-possession to take control of my mind and my body to come from a deficit in the gold medal bout and then maintain a lead.

That last bout was the hardest and I'm not above admitting that I was quite terrified during most of it. My opponent counter-attacked successfully nearly everything I did. Nearly everything was a double. And taking advantage of some foolish attacks I made in desperation, there were a few single lights on her side. So it is that we came to 12-11 in the third round, me with the 11. It took all my energies to remain collected. I carefully maintained my routine of walking back to the warning line after every touch of any kind and then calmly walking back to en garde. I find this ritual helps me to "reset" after any touch, good or bad. I muttered my mantra constantly: "one touch at a time...one touch at a time". And so that's how I managed to find myself at the final "Halt", with time expired at 14-12. I was trembling so bad, I could hardly shake hands, but I was happy too. Beyond beating my opponent, I had overcome that defeatist voice, and today that makes me happiest of all.

This weekend has me thinking a lot about the place of women in fencing and I mean to write more about it soon.

Blog Action Day

That it is. But since this is not really an action-taking type of blog, I'll just point you towards some that are.

Lighter Footstep
Ethicurean - probably my favorite