Thursday, May 01, 2008

No Sprechen Fechtsport

Last night practice was solely a preparation for Sectionals. We fenced a lot of bouts, mimicking both pool bouts and DEs not so much to practice fencing, but moreso to practice mindsets. And maintaining a proper mindset, for me, is at least as challenging as maintaining proper form. It was a great, well-timed practice but it is the practices that challenge me the most that usually leave me the most frustrated. My frustration actually came to a head last night and I swallowed my pride and I just said to our coach, "I don't get it. I can't see what you say I should be seeing." Of course he was kind and reexplained things to me but I felt a bit deflated for the rest of the night.

Something that he's been drilling into us, me especially, for a while now is that the way to fence is to move in and out of the bubble. You move in the bubble, look for opportunities and move back out. In and out. When you move in and see an opportunity for attack, you take it - quickly! - and then get right back out, whether or not you were successful. So I'm in there looking for these opportunities but I don't really know what it is I'm looking for. I'm trying to create reactions in my opponents, but I don't really know how to identify these reactions or what to do with them when I get them. So I get in the bubble and I look for...something...and I forget to get out. I enter the sacred bubble temple sending prayers to the fencing heavens that they may grace me with a sign of exactly what it is I'm supposed to be doing in there. But the heavens are silent, or the devotee is blind and deaf; either way, I'm just not getting it.

I resign myself to the fact that this must be a function of time and experience and that slowly the great Truth will be revealed to me. The funny thing is, some of my most successful attacks are when I quit thinking about this most important tenet and fall back upon my animal instincts (rabid bunny mostly). At the Sword in the Stone, my single lights against the A fencer in my DEs came when I just went after him, throwing in a few beats and double disengages when they seemed appropriate. Maybe I do see the opportunities - sort of subconsciously - and it's only when allowing my brain to get in the way that I botch it up. Wouldn't be the first time my brain has let me down.

I guess the important point for the day is that I'm looking forward to Sectionals this weekend; I'm going to exercise my mindsets and just try to have fun. I finished the practice last night with one of my most fun touches ever - a fleche disengage. Fear the bunny!

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