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 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.


Anonymous said...

I finally received my copy of the new book titled Epee 2.0. Very interesting...

Epee Fencer said...

I've heard a couple of people mention that book. Is it worth getting? - c