Monday, March 27, 2006

The Epee Blues and Strange Parries

I am going through one of those epee doldrums: nothing seems to gel, I’ve hit a plateau and I’m frustrated and tired. If it wasn’t for Gerald (and my sheer stubbornness), I would probably quit.

Gerald, a 40+ fencer who is coming up to 2 years of epee, is a sponge of observed technique. On Friday he kept encircling my blade, binding and then lunging to the shoulder. I stopped the bout to make him show me what he was doing. Every time I think I have all of Gerald’s tricks covered he pulls another one out; some of them are worth learning. Last week he pulled his hand behind his body and bent backwards to avoid my blade then he caught me as I froze, shocked by this example of incredibly bad fencing form. Fencing him is fun; we laugh a lot during matches.

On Friday I actually leapt into the air throwing my body over Gerald’s blade for a shoulder touch. One time he told me, “Anything works once” so the next match with him I screamed, fully faced him and did a second of “the robot dance” before lunging forward and getting the point while he stood slack jawed. “You’re right,” I told him, “Everything does work once.”

I think we have the same timing; slow. Gerald tries to engage the blade so he can get in close and stab you. During one bout we were almost hugging each other as I kept trying to get my blade back far enough to stab him in the head while Gerald was hunched over trying to stab my shoe. The judge said it looked like we were doing a Three Stooges skit on fencing.

I call him The Degenerator because no matter how clean your form Gerald manages to reduce everyone to wacky attacks, parry in four (his strongest move) and close body blind stabbing. But he is fun, and I need that now. 'Cause even the ping pong ball is harder to hit this week.



kathz said...

Gerald sounds great - there are some fencers that are always fun to fence because they have a sense of humour. There's one boy at our club (about 12 or so, I think) who dances and plays tricks while fencing foil and we have a hilarious time.

I like remembering that fencing is to be enjoyed.

We all have weeks when things don't seem to work (well, in my case that's most weeks) and then suddenly everything comes together and it's better than before.

Good luck!

Elizabeth McClung said...

Well, I haven't got to the "everything comes together" but still gave it my all - After losing to Gerald right off, the next bout I told him, "This is Revenge!"; then lost. Next bout; "This is Revenge, Part II!" - Gerald asks, "Should we not count points until you start winning" - "Now you understand Gerald". I lunge and slid off to the right, I lunge and he twists so I miss to the left; "Gerald" I ask him, "Why is it, you always seem so much thinner when I'm fencing you?"

Murray Pat said...

Good luck the next time you meet Gerald. He sounds like a real challenge


Keep him guessing!! pdm