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!

Butt Free Ice Skating

Last night, I finally, *finally* got to go ice skating!

I haven’t been in many years…at least 10 or more that I can recall, so there was no guarantee that I would a) like it and b) be able to do it.  But for the past year and a bit, I’ve been wanting to try again.

Some friends and I went down to Nathan Phillips Square, where you can rent skates.  Figured it made sense to try it out first and be sure I like skating before putting out money for a pair of skates that I may never use.

We arrived around 9:20PM.  The rental shop closed at 10PM and had a sign listing the rental prices.  Ten dollars for a pair of skates for 2hrs!  They must be making quite the profit since I’ve been told that the rink tends to be almost consistently packed with people!

When I approached the window, I asked the guy behind the counter what the cost would be since they closed in 40 minutes and he said $10.  I think I responded with something along the lines of  “Seriously?”  He shrugged and apologized and effectively said, “Yup, I have no choice in the matter…sorry.”

I almost didn’t rent a pair.  $10 for half an hour!!!  Ridiculous.

BUT, then I discussed it with HRH.  We were there.  *I* was there, finally!  So close to the skates, yet so far!  All I had to do was shell out the  money this once and I’d know whether I should buy my own skates or not.  So I eventually (after 30 seconds or so…it didn’t take much convincing! lol) thought “Screw it” and went ahead and paid the man.

I am SO glad I did!  I had forgotten how much fun skating could be!  Sure, I was stiff and my arms were flapping enough that I think I rose an inch or so off the ice a few times *wink*, but I enjoyed it.  The footwork came back (I’m pretty sure my attempt at rollerblading a few months ago helped out) and I managed to skate around the rink a number of times at a fair speed.

You’ll notice in the pictures that I have no snow on my clothing!  Thus the proof that ne’er once did I fall!  No butt skating for this stiff, flappy skater! (Hmmm….those adjectives just sound weird in the that sentence….)

It was also helpful that the rink was fairly empty.  I think the temperature was hovering around -20C or so, which I assume kept some people away, plus it was later at night.  Night skating seems to be the way to go!

Anyway, as a result of a 40 minute go round…I am going to buy myself some skates in the next week or two!  It was really fun and I can’t wait to go again!