Wednesday, September 16, 2009

En Garde!

One of the new things I wanted to do last year was to try fencing. Actually, I've wanted to try it for a long time.

One of the local clubs opens up the first class of the session to anyone who is interested. I had intended to try it last year, but it didn't work out for a bunch of reasons. Today, I finally tried a fencing class.

I'm glad I tried it, but I don't think I'll be signing up for the full class.

We started by running around the room ... a lot. We probably ran around the room 10 or 15 times.

Unfortunately, I'm not a runner. In fact, running a lot makes me cough. Repeatedly. For hours.

That means that I was coughing through the whole class.

After we finished running, we started learning the footwork. The first step (feet in an extended L-shape, stepping forward and back) was similar to boxing footwork, so I didn't find that too hard. (This would have been easier on Monday, when my foot was naturally turned out.) After that, we learned the lunge - extend your arm, then step into a lunge position with your forward foot.

We repeated both of those steps a lot of times, then it was time to put on the fencing jacket, glove, and mask and grab our foils.

There were two styles of fencing jackets - some zipped in the back, some zipped on the side of the front. The one I grabbed zipped in the back. I put the jacket on, then found a helmet that fit. After that, I got a glove and tucked the sleeve of the jacket into the glove. The last step was to get a fencing foil.

We split into pairs, and practiced hitting each other with the foils (so that we'd know it doesn't hurt). Next we practiced stepping forward and hitting our partner. The last step was to lunge forward and hit our partner. We repeated each of these many times. (Too many in a row, in my opinion - I would have preferred we do 10 of 1, then 10 of another. It was very repetitive.)

After we were done with that, we learned a couple of blocks and practiced them with our partner.

The last part of the class involved sparring with our partners. That was definitely the best part of the class.


  1. Joseph used to fence competitively when he was in boarding school. I've always wanted to try it, but haven't been able to find any classes here...of course I haven't looked in a while. But the whole running thing is a bit of a turn-off for me - I am not a runner.

  2. It has been something I've wanted to try for a long time as well. I'm not sure if all clubs would have the running - there was really no reason for it. In general, I think I would have enjoyed the class more if it had been structured differently.