Saturday, April 01, 2006

Faking Epee is harder than Faking Orgasms

I have found what type of fencer I wish to be: Perfect. I want my fencing to be so pure and with such grace and movement that as I fence I begin to glow, like Moses returning from the Mount. I want people to walk away from my bouts going, “It’s strange but I think I was fencing Jesus...with boobs.”

Last night was not perfect fencing. Last night I felt like I had an On Switch/Off Switch, one which I couldn’t control. For the first hour I was off, horribly off. I was Zombie fencer; making slow grinding, lumbering movements accompanied by “uuuuuuuhhhhhhhhh” sounds.

By the third bout of Zombie fencing I was getting frustrated. Steve said after our match: “Don’t worry, you’re not warmed up.” Amanda wanted to know what was going on. I told her that I can handle practicing, but I can’t handle working hard to improve and instead getting worse.
“Are you going to quit?” She asked.
“No! I don’t quit.”
She looked a little surprised at my vehemence. I guess she isn’t yet aware of the whole prideful, arrogant, and never give in to the laws of nature, age, and physics thing yet.

Gerald tried to cheer me up by telling me that all fencers have times and weeks when they are just off and that’s the way it is.
“Even if they train and practice at home?” I asked.
“Oh yes.”
“Gerald, are you trying to tell me that ALL epeeists have periods? That they get cranky and bloaty and besides a craving for chocolate are just unable to connect?”
Gerald laughs, “Am I?”

I got Amanda to show me what I was doing wrong with my arm. People were hitting my arm, a lot. My problem: I was extending from a covered position INTO a covered attack instead of being covered AS I extended my arm to attack. Okay, two weeks of practicing the wrong way. Better than two years.

Suddenly, going into a 10 point bout with William, I was On. He has a long outside guard, who cares! He can throw his body back to jump out of harms way, well take this bucko! I hit his wrist, I hit on a high extended guard, I hit his thigh. I was there, really there, not just fencing my own bad form but seeing the openings, making the opening and HITTING the openings. Plus at 8-6 I started feel bad for William; started getting a little soft and I CRUSHED that feeling down. Willam shook my hand with a grimace. That might of been from the thigh hit.

Gerald came next and I was still ON: I took the arm, did bindings and then, for no reason at 6-5, the switch went off. And there I was standing there with this epee blade in my hand with NO idea what I was supposed to do. I was literally out there asking myself, “What would Beth do?” So I started faking it, I tried to speed up the pace, I started doing lunges, why? Because it seemed like something a person who did epee would do. Did I see a target, or even have an idea of hitting something? Not at all. Gerald quickly dispensed with me as I leapt, cavorted and found that while faking an orgasm can be quickly learned on a high school bus trip (the seats on the bus go up and down, up and down), faking being a fencer with a clue is an entirely different matter.

I stumbled through the next hour, faking it for all I was worth, but that was it; I was imitation Beth. Gerald had me on my knees, literally. He parried my blade in a long lunge and no matter what I did, I couldn’t get it back. After 20 seconds I just wanted my blade back; give it back you meanie! It finally came free and did a Hail-Mary thrust to his side. Gerald squirmed and it missed. He slowly planted his tip on my foot: point Gerald. I drop down to my knees and start pounding the floor in frustration. I look like a child? Oh well maybe that’s because I haven’t felt this frustrated since 1st grade when Jimmy McKrew stole my light-blue crayola and I couldn’t finishing colouring in the sky. Gerald’s finishes the bout by somehow getting a point while 2/3rds of his blade is trapped between my closed thighs (yes we are upright, you gutter minds).

There is still 30 minutes left and Mr. Ho has finished Monica and Amanda’s lessons. Will he give me one? I ask Amanda. She’s not sure; he might be tired, or cranky. I decide to ask him “Can you show me that epee lunge again?” 15 minutes later I am covered in glow (SWEAT!) from advance-lunge, lunge-retreat, step back-lunge. He notices that I overlean my lunge, and that I sometimes expose my arm when recovering from a lunge. I do it again, perfect; arm perfect, body perfect, leg at 90 degree perfect. He asks, “Why are you so tense?” as I lunge and recover. Then continues, “No, no, why you expose your arm, that’s dumb.” I don’t care, I have four new lunges and maybe, after I practice them a week or two and show them to him, I will get another 15 minutes; maybe.

I come back just in time for the last bout of the night, with Amanda, who has already cracked one of my toenails in a foot strike. Mmmmm blood. I ask her, “Am I getting alpha-Amanda or beta-Amanda?” Definitely beta she tells me; she’s tired. Well my switch is back to On and I open with a clean hit to her thigh. I try out my new lunges and she catches my body just before my blade hits. I’m getting inside her guard, just not quite fast enough. The bout ends 5-3 for Amanda. It’s the best I’ve ever done against her, and I did it with good form. That means I should be able to do it again sometime, right? Earlier I told Amanda she should get one foot strike in every bout against Steve and me. “Why?”

“Because the Provincials are next week and you need the practice.”
She grimaces and puts on her helmet.

She’s being lazy. “You just don’t want to do those lunges do you?”

She gives me a guilty smile. All night she gets one foot touch during every bout with Steve, and most with me.

I want to motivate her, because the way she fences motivates me.

Jpeg1 -


B.V. Brus said...

(Imagine silly grin here) The bad days? -- they pass. The hard part is remembering that when you're smack dab in the middle of one.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the grimace was from the thigh hit. ;)

I find that Amanda eventually "starts fencing" me if I can drag out the bout for 10 minutes or so. I think, by that point, she just wants to finish up. Which usually ends up bad for me.

Oh, yeah, remember - Amanda has extremely good close-quarters fighting from fencing Brian. (Odd, considering Brian is tall...)

See you tomorrow. Well, today in a couple minutes... Hope the bruising/aching wasn't bad.


Wendryn said...

I was at a Divisionals this weekend and there was one bout which included 7 red cards (!), two yellow cards, a lot of yelling, and some very ugly footwork. In a bout later in the day, one fencer got completely off balance and ended up landing on top of another fencer.

Even your bad days don't sound as bad as these two were!

Elizabeth McClung said...

"Even your bad days don't sound as bad as these two were!"

I'll take you up on that challange! Actually my last point with amanda was a lunge under her point which I then stretched into an ankle touch before falling over (I made sure the touch hit before totally losing balance) - Next week - Flying Squirrel attacks!

I'm just proud that I went a whole week WITHOUT lunging a guy in the groin - woo hoo! New Record!

NOTHING said...

lol that cartoon was hilarius(i cant spell)

kathz said...

Sounds like some really good fencing in the end. I've not worked out any response when the men take control of my blade in a parry. They have stronger wrists than mine and once any of them has taken my blade like that, they control my whole arm as though I were a rag doll - and then just wait until they're ready to hit. I try to work out what I've done to get into that position so that it doesn't happen again but I've not yet found a way out - if there is one.

Elizabeth McClung said...


Veronica, the veteren fencer told me that by stepping back, I could free the blade - however I have never been able to remember that advise while actually in a face to face grunting match.

Sadly, on Monday, I did a prolonged lunge which ended up in the groin of a guy (but! But, he was lowering his blade down to waist level - that might work in foil to avoid a point but not in epee).