I’ve found my rapier weakness (well, one of many).
I gotta watch my damn legs.
It sounds simple enough: keep the sword between you and the other guy and you won’t get bruised, right? Except most of the other guys/girls I fight against are wayyyyy more experienced than I am. And it seems others have found my weakness as well. Each week after Friday and Sunday practices I end up with more and more bruising on my legs from letting myself get struck. No, I’m not letting them hit me on purpose, but by not parrying or by getting in too close or by leaving openings in my defense I pretty much am giving them free reign to whack me in the legs.
At least now I know one of my focal areas of training: Legs. Gotta watch the legs. And head (but no bruising there, thanks to fencing masks). And arms, though I don’t get bruises on my arms as often. And, well, pretty much everything. I mean, I know it’s all important, but my Achilles heel seems to be my thighs at this point. I don’t know what has changed; when I first started fencing, I didn’t really get legged much. Now? Now I’m legged all the freakin’ time.
Am I discouraged by this? Nope. I’m still a newbie, so this just gives me more opportunity to hone in on areas where I need more practice. There’s also a rapier company that I plan on joining where learning and teaching are the main focal points, so that will help. I already have friends who help (most of whom are in the company), but I think that researching period fencing Masters–which is one of the requirements for advancement–will help me immensely. I’m a little apprehensive about it because I don’t necessarily do my best physical learning from pictures (and the Masters didn’t have YouTube in their time to document their styles). And written descriptions of what to do? Geez-o-Pete, it’s going to be tough. I’m still stumbling on the four basic parries. Is one down to the inside and two down to the outside? I know three is up, in, thrust and four is up, out, thrust…I think. So much to remember! And a lot of fencing terminology is Latin or Italian or some other foreign language that is not medical Spanish. So yeah. There’s that, too.
Still, despite all the hard work involved, I’m glad I found rapier fighting as a means of exercise and socialization. So far the local rapier community has welcomed me with open arms, which is refreshing, and I’m told that I’m doing really well for a newbie, which is surprising given my lack of coordination in all things sportsy in the past. Who would have thought that there would be any sport that I’d do well in, let alone one as technical as this.
Here’s to my continued training and growth in rapier fighting, and here’s to not letting myself get hit in the freakin’ legs! 😉