En Garde!

Earlier in January, I attended an Intro to Fencing course with B in Hamilton.  I had seen it listed in the college’s Continuing Education catalogue over a number of years and had always thought it would be fun to try.

The intro class did it’s job.  It piqued my curiosity in the sport and made me want to continue into the Level 1 course.  The instructor gave us a lovely review of fencing history, a rough idea what is involved in learning to fence properly, and taught us some basic footwork….I was hooked!

I will admit, after my first 3 classes in the Level 1 course, it is much more complex than I ever would have guessed!

There is so much to remember in terms of movement and focus.  You have to be aware of your foot position, your arm position, your hips that must face forward at all times…not to mention keeping all other parts still when you’re about to strike.  Oh, and let’s not forget the addition of an opponent (which I haven’t gotten to yet) that requires you focus on them and their body language, rather than simply focusing on controlling your own.

So far the most challenging aspect of the course has been the footwork.  Keeping my feet in their proper position and maintaining the space between as I step forward or back….Oh, and did I mention I need to do this while not looking down? 🙂  It’s interesting how distanced we are from parts of our own body, even though we use them constantly throughout a regular day.

Our feet take us to the grocery store, to the post office.  Our hands control our utensils, arrange papers on our desk, poke our loved ones….followed by our arms that hug them.  We just do these things, day after day, and take for granted that we can.

So then, to have to be fully aware of one part, in this case my feet (again, without looking!), or even my hips…my shoulders and whether they’re remaining still as I need them to…it’s all quite complex and difficult.  It’s a challenge.  And I think that’s why I like it.

I went onto Youtube the other day to watch some fencing videos and was blown away.  Our instructor has said many, many times that fencing is fast…extremely fast…I didn’t realize how quick until I saw these videos.  Their footwork?  I can barely see their feet!  Body language?  There must be some in that white blur that I *think* is a fencer but I can’t be sure!

There are eight classes in level 1 so I’m just about to reach the halfway mark.  So far, I’m loving it and it’s getting more challenging as we progress!  Sadly, there is no level 2 offered at the college.  I would have to move to another venue to continue training.

Ah well…as it is, I have five weeks to focus on perfecting my en garde position and learning how to put on my mask one-handed while not stabbing anyone in the process!

Level 2 considerations can wait!