Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I haven't done it for a while but boy I really love fencing. Thought I might write a little informational piece on it, just in case somebody wandering onto my blog might not be educated on the sport. It's basically playing with swords, but there's more to it than that my friend.

I've never liked sports, I found them boring. Kicking a ball around a field, tennis, or well, the rest, they just never clicked with me. When I first tried fencing in college though, I knew I had found something special. There is an art to it, an undefined art. It's got some kind of simple grace, a game of poking the other guy first and amazingly fun.

Sometimes fencing feels like writing, if that makes sense, just making things up as I go along and yet constructing something at the same time. The movement of the blade and knowing that the other guy is so focused on it, this danger, this weapon. Well, it's blunt of course, the damage it does isn't physical. The fencing weapon pierces egos and strikes down confidence. It feels real in that context, that it could be real.

Anyway, that's a look into why I love it but let's learn a little more about it.

This is my weapon of choice, the Epee. The game is this, hit the other guy before he hits you. Anywhere on the body counts and hits within a few milliseconds of each other count as a draw. There are more rules of course but that's the basis of the game and essentially all there is to it.

It's a game of catching the other guy out, you see, your hand is covered by that guard thing and anywhere on the body is vulnerable so the attacker is at a bit of a disadvantage. If you are predictable or too slow and that could be the end of you. This is also the best weapon for just messing around and having fun with, I've had plenty of swash buckling Errol Flynn moments with this weapon where the game is forgotten and it turns into a life or death duel complete with last minute evasions and the clash of steel. Well, it was like that in my head anyway.

Some days you can turn into some kind of unhittable beast as well, I love that. It could be something small that your opponents just can't figure out for some reason, but it's good fun when it happens.

It's one of these things that is just fun in its purest forms. If you don't take it too seriously, but people always will I guess. I've been guilty of it at times myself. Somebody once said to me "Having fun stops where taking it seriously begins." It's true. Almost destroyed the sport for myself with that carry on.

See, fencing is cool.

Irish fencing has been destroyed by the whole ego thing and it definitely puts me off it. It's essentially non-existent here, mostly practiced by students who give it up after they're done. I often joke about moving to another country just for a larger fencing community and well, it's not really all joke, I really would.

Fencing is fun, get's you fit and the rest. But it's a beautiful game so if you get a chance to try it out do me a favour and do. Main thing is, just have a good time.

Remember, a true warrior is always learning and the world is his teacher. And, if somebody doesn't ask for advice, keep your mouth shut!

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