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.