Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Embrace the Bubble

Since starting our "new" epee program, I feel like I've learned so much; more than can be communicated here, even with italics. When we switched from drills to bouting last night I felt out of sorts, my head swimming with all the things we've been discussing and practicing these many weeks. So many things to be aware of, to remember, to do or not do; I was overwhelmed and started out by losing the majority of the touches in that first practice bout because I couldn't get a handle on everything at once.

But then we moved to more focused bouting with immediate feedback and direction and that really helped. The word of the night was bubble. This is the space where fencing actions which result in a touch can occur. Basically it's advance-lunge distance, but being aware of this distance actually pushed us even closer in many instances, uncomfortably so sometimes. My goal, both mentally and tactically, was to keep myself from relying solely on defense and attempt to be the one controlling the bout as much as possible. Whoa! This is so antithetical to my status quo that it was actually easier than I thought it would be. If I had been instructed to only change one aspect of my fencing, then it would have been too easy to lapse back into habit, but with this 180ยบ turn, it was all I could think about: I didn't have a chance to become reactionary like usual and I felt like I actually did pretty well.

Still, I am nervous about the tournament this weekend. My normal plan for tournaments is to let myself be ruled by instincts. I don't try to incorporate new or more complicated maneuvers in tournament play until they become instinct. But I think more is expected of me this time around and I hope I can pull it off. Also, everyone else preregistered so far is from our club and I never like fencing teammates in tournaments. Am I more scared of losing to them or winning? I know, but I'm scared to to tell you.

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