More On Keeping It Together

And the shelter-in-place drags on. It’s a good thing no doubt, and it has doubtless saved a great many people some grief and heartache. But it sure makes it hard on a fencer. As some memes suggest, fencing should be the perfect sport during this time; we are already wearing masks and gloves, and if anyone gets too close, they get stabbed! But the truth is, fencers are a social bunch and the masks and gloves come off between bouts as we hive five each other on bouts well fought. And don’t get me started on that sign in tablet (ewww)! So, we do the responsible thing and stay away, no matter how much we want to get together.

Where does that leave us on improving? For me, I still read about fencing a lot, both sport and historical. I draw a lot of inspiration from fencers from history. They tend to be interesting people who led some exciting lives. It may provide you with some exciting imagery next time you pick up your weapon to practice! People who know me well can probably guess that I practice while imagining myself as the notorious Calico Jack boarding a prize!

I also watch fencing from previous Olympics on YouTube. Since I won’t get an Olympics this year, I can watch the Olympics from years gone by (or other high profile matches for that matter). The cool thing about watching on YouTube is that you can slow the action down. This helps me see what really happened and helps me understand the calls being made better.

And my new fun activity is “ask the coach”. Because I usually attend the Cutting-Edge Fencing online footwork class a couple of times a week, I have stumbled across some things that I did not get. Not being a Cutting-Edge student, I do not have the two-way interaction. But I still have my Forte coach, and I find that the occasional well-formed question will get answered. Now, I am not talking about incessantly badgering the coach, I reserve that activity for Lefty (I recommend that you all try that, he loves hearing from you guys). I am talking about the occasional clearly worded question, with an accompanying video, and the timestamp where the action occurred. Waiting patiently for my coach to get to it will usually yield an answer for me. It also lets my coach know that I am still practicing and engaged with the club.

Once again, I hope that all my friends are staying safe, but also finding ways to stay active and keep current with their fencing. I look forward to the time we can all meet again safely, enjoy a good laugh together, and cross swords on the strip.

-Jay Lefever