I’m at the fun part of the learning curve right now.

Every fencing practice I go to, my brain unearths another dusty piece of technique it used to know ten years ago. After a few incidents of walking straight onto somebody’s blade because I failed to clear the line before advancing, my brain remembered beats! Yeah, those work! And then I overuse them heavily, but oh yeah, there are feints and disengages, too. Today’s revelation was particularly funny; given how much I adored binding parries in high school, you would think I’d have remembered them sooner.

Of course, I didn’t remember them until I’d been playing for a good hour and a half, at which point my wrists were no longer up to the task. But we’ll try them next time.

I can watch myself improving, mostly in terms of my ability to keep thinking. If my first attack is blocked, I try another one. Or even plan ahead, my first attack a feint to set my opponent up for the follow-through. If I’m retreating, I don’t just parry; I parry and riposte (or try to). One of these days I’ll get draw-cuts and push-cuts into the mental programming, and then I might even stand a chance in close combat!

Dear Brain: while we’re at the cuts thing, please also recall that we’re no longer in the backyard with a dowel rod; it is not only okay, but desirable, to follow through on a lunge instead of pulling up half an inch short of connecting. kthxbye.

Also, today I let myself pick up a dagger for a little while. I’ve been fighting single-sword because it allows/forces me to pay attention to what I’m doing with that blade, but man, rapier and dagger just feels right. I don’t want a buckler; I don’t want a cloak — though I’ll be happy to play with those someday — a dagger in my off hand feels like the most natural thing in the world. (My real ambition, of course, is case. But the few times I played with that in high school, I invariably got my points tangled, so we’ll stick with a short secondary for now.)

<studies arms> I look like a battered wife. But that will improve as my skill does.

0 Responses to “stabbination!”

  1. arielstarshadow

    Where do you go for your classes? I ask because all I’ve been able to find around here are “clubs” and so I’ve been worried about going there for actual teaching/learning.

    • Marie Brennan

      For fencing? It isn’t a class; it’s the SCA rapier and dagger practice up in San Francisco.

      If you want modern fencing, don’t let the word “club” put you off; I’ve generally heard the phrase “fencing club” used in much the same way that one would say “karate dojo” or “ballet studio.”

  2. janni

    Now I’m curious what variety of fencing lets you have a dagger in your other hand!

    • Marie Brennan

      Period rapier-and-dagger. (Or rapier-and-buckler, or rapier-and-cloak, or rapier-and-stick, or even — when a guy in Bloomington was feeling whimsical — rapier-and-stale-baguette. <g>)

      I did modern sport fencing briefly in high school, but our teacher soon gave up on keeping us linear and started teaching us old styles instead.

      • janni

        I’m not sure I knew there was such a thing as period fencing, outside of the SCA. Very cool!

        • Marie Brennan

          I’m with the SCA practice now; our teacher back in high school was friends with that crowd, but I don’t think he went to events.

  3. lilifae

    I’ve probably said this before…but you totally are the coolest author!

    • Marie Brennan

      <lol> I’m hardly the only one who does this kind of thing. Fantasy authors have some of the oddest hobbies, and they can often be blamed on our books.

      • lilifae

        Give me a stick (bow) any time! Swords with pointy bits just freak me out a bit, she says, stroking her Hungarian recurve.

        • Marie Brennan

          Nice icon. 🙂

          I’d love to pick up archery at some point, but I figure starting karate and re-starting fencing are enough for the time being . . . .

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