true_edges (true_edges) wrote,

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Fencing Post

Inspired by sidelong I will now make a post about my fencing and it's progress.

I went to class last night and we got to the rapier practice part of class.  We are encouraged to work on something specific each time and I had notes from last week so I was ready.  This week's exercise: Taking smaller steps, making irregular steps.

This may seem like an easy task but it works against a lot of my instincts since I have spent so much time in a drilling environment where "random" is not one of the things we work on.  At first it was a lot of getting hit while I was working hard on thinking of changing up my foot steps but I finally got into a comfortable rhythm (ragtime).  I then looked up and noticed that in making my footsteps smaller I was making much more subtle movements and I was in a strong position but my opponent had no idea.  I then proceeded to strike over and over in a clean line right up my opponent's center.  This was a definite change to my style leaving me plenty of time to think of the next action.  In short, I calmly kicked some butt!

The next challenge came when I faced an opponent who had a heavy hand like me.  I have a bad habit of pressing a little too hard on my opponent's sword to muscle them out of the way so I have the center line.  This is what gets me into a lot of trouble with experienced fencers and even gets me hit hard to boot.  My teacher was watching me have a lot of trouble that even with my subtle footsteps I was no match for someone bigger and stronger.  He gave me a challenge... don't touch his sword...ever.

It was like having to erase my entire concept of fencing and rewrite it all over again.  I did remember however that there were methods I could use such as disengages and using my opponent's desire to touch my sword against them by not being there.  I began by taking my guard and attempting to constrain.  When my opponent went for my sword I quickly disengaged to the other side not allowing them to touch.  I made the disengage tight at first and then threw wide then I came up on the other side.  When he went for that wide shot I did the tightest disengage I could manage and trust home.  Only when my opponent had sprouted my sword from his chest did I allow the swords to meet.  It was a tough assignment but I overcame the challenge of having to turn my fencing style on it's head and going in a different direction.

In short, it has been a good week and I look forward to where I will go from here.
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