Aug 192012
aristocratic students fencing. around 1590

aristocratic students fencing. around 1590

Getting There

Well I finally got around to taking a friend up on his fencing lessons. This was quite an adventure for me, even the ride to the fencing site was quite amusing. I was following the directions I got from mapquest and going down a road. As I rounded a corner I noticed off in the distance a very weird statue looking down at me. Not sure what it was or even if I was in the right place since I could see no one I decided to continue. As I got closer, and still not sure what I was looking at, I started seeing other statues. I am now remembering Medusa’s lair from Clash of the Titans. I finally pull up to the statue I am seeing, it was siting at a fork in the road and still see no one. So I sat around deciding if I should proceed and find my friends dueling or take a chance and be turned into stone. I decided to plow on and brave what was around the corner, when I finally noticed a group of people fencing. Victory, I finally found my destination.


Initial Thoughts

Now I am not sure what preconceived notions I had on fencing. Being a child of the modern era when I visualize people dueling I keep going to Star Wars or Pirates of the Caribbean. Well that notion of how people sword fight quickly went out the door. In those movies everything is so fluid in a basic series of strike and counter strike, nothing really seems hurried. Well when I watched a real duel it seemed more like series of car wrecks. Most of the action would come in 2 or 3 second burst where one opponent would strike at the other and then back out. When I asked my instructor, I was told that most of the sword fights in Hollywood are done for dramatics. Most people actually dueling would not add in all those spins and waving their swords all over. They would want to conserve their energy, after all it is their life they are fighting for.
The first part of the lesson was foot work. I learned how to advance, retreat, move to either side, the lunge and the pass. I also learned that I am not as agile as I perceived myself, and I probably looked like a 400lb baboon trying to do ballet. But, it was all in fun and I did enjoy myself. Toward the end of practice, I was able to try on some of the equipment. I think my favorite part was holding the swords (and really tempted to do some scene out of star wars.) I was given a brief introduction to the different types of dueling, you can use daggers, swords, shields, cloaks, and even canes. I was even given a story of someone who would use a teddy bear as a shield.

Next Step

When the day was over and I was heading home I asked about getting my own equipment, in order, to practice with. I was refered to Zen Warrior Armory where I could but a SCA Light Weapons Starter Set. It cost about $250 and would give you what you need to get started. I actually can not wait until my next lesson and when I can get my own fencing kit.

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