Thursday, February 21

Mama Kat Thursday: A Sojourn Into Fencing

The Mama Kat Blog Prompt for today is :
"Tell the story of trying to learn a new talent or hobby that you only pursued briefly."
The duel between the Man in Black & Inigo Montoya from
Princess Bride: among the best stage
sword fighting scenes ever!
Believe it or not, fencing was my brief hobby.
A number of years ago, my husband and I participated in a 6-week beginners course I learned was being offered locally.

There are several levels of competitive style sword fighting:

  Foil,  which is your basic dueling level with a light, straight sword. The target zone is only the upper torso and one wins with a striking thrust to this zone.
Then Epee, which is still a thrusting combat, though the target zone is now the whole body.
And finally, there's Saber, which is a narrow, slightly curved blade with a rounded guard protecting the hand. Like, Epee, the target zone is anywhere.

There are also different styles of stance, which vary by country.
We learned the classic French style, which is the arm held up behind, as pictured, while the Spanish stance is to put that spare arm behind the back.
The whole idea of the stance, though, is to present as narrow a target area as possible to the opponent. Keep in mind this was originally a dueling stance for a fight to the death.

Fortunately, my 6- week course, didn't involve death.
It was basic foil fencing and, turns out, I was pretty good at it. Fencing, like so many martial arts, isn't about strength, but strategic thinking.
We were taught the basics, then had a class competition.
To win in fencing, you must gain 3 strikes on the opponents torso.
My last fight was with this huge 6 foot, 250 pound guy, but his size was his weakness and to my advantage. His bigness gave him an overly long reach when he took thrusts at me, so I easily stepped past them, moving closer to him and ended up beating him soundly.
 I actually won the little 1st place trophy for the beginners class, which made me pretty happy, since I'd never won anything in any sport my whole life. In fact, I was no good at sports and no one would even wanted to pick me for their teams.
So I found winning at this somehow redemptive.
Initially, I found fencing intriguing enough to imagine learning up to the Epee level, but something changed in our schedule so I was feeling too tired to be interested in the evening lessons.
Plus I think the glow of the initial adventure of learning the skill was gone, because it quickly turned into drudgery and we soon dropped out altogether.
Over-all, I think the success of just learning that skill was gratification enough.
Besides, I wasn't interested in competition fighting, which is the only place to go with the sport.
I still have that trophy, by the way and having it still gives me a great sense of satisfaction.



Karen and Gerard said...

Congrats on your trophy! I always thought fencing looked kind of fun. Remember the old show, The Addams Family? Gomez and Morticia used to sword fight on there a bit. I always thought that was pretty cool. Do you and your husband ever do it at home just for fun?

kelley jensen said...

what a great post! And what a fun skill to learn. kelley—the road goes ever ever on

Jerralea said...

How interesting! Thanks for sharing about this sport, and kudos to you for winning the trophy.

Post a Comment

Thanks for leaving a comment!