Holding One’s Nerve

August 13, 2015 at 8:55 am Leave a comment

I used to fence.  The sport with swords, not making wooden walls.  When I was at college (the first time round) one of my good friends went & suggested I go along as well.  He, I & a guy whose name I just realised I don’t remember any more although he had nice twinkly brown eyes went every Thursday evening to Bootle (Luke?).  After my initial concern at having to stab this old guy with an albeit bendy sword (its ok he had padding on) I took to it & really enjoyed it.  I can’t remember why I stopped going (exams maybe?) but it can’t have been anything terrible as I took it up again a few years later.  I’d moved to Halifax after Uni & there was a club there.  I enjoyed it again but decided it was too hot in summer with all that stuff on & stopped going.  I think by the time it had cooled down again I was involved in something else & forgot about it.

I’ve been meaning to start back fencing for a few years – I looked up the one at Bradford Uni but didn’t get round to hoofing it over to the other side of Bradford.  So when we moved out towards Skipton I looked up what was there as well & found Skipton Fencing Club.  As Monkey was nearly 6 I figured I could take him (when he turned 6 as they have a minimum age when you can start them off fighting with swords, apparently) and we could both do it.  Not together maybe as I’m a bit bigger than he is.  But I’d probably be pretty good – I mean I must be reasonably good as I often take a fencing stance (although not with the arms or any of the kit) when I need to balance on public transport.

I emailed the club who invited us along to a beginners session.  As Monkey often takes a while to get into the swing of things, I’d hoped to sit with him for the first session maybe, like we did at gym class (which he now loves).  But when we got there I couldn’t resist joining in, just to show Monkey that it was fine.  He watched but wasn’t interested in joining in.

We couldn’t go for the next couple of weeks but the week following we went again.  Monkey just watched again.  I did the warm up (which I always find completely hilarious as I am somewhat out of shape), got kitted up, then found out we were using epée.  I’d always used foils before – very bendy.  Although my friend used to use epée from what I remember, I never had.  So that was a bit weird as it is a far less bendy blade.  It isn’t sharp of course & you aren’t going to get stabbed with it or anything – that’s what all the kit is for after all.  But when I started practicing with another new starter I completely freaked out.  It stopped being a sport & became me trying to stand still while someone attacked me with a big pointy piece of metal.

Whatever nerve I had when I was 18 & trying to impress my friends, and that which I had when I was maybe 22 and was making my own way in life, that has all changed.  Even the nerve I had a few weeks ago, trying to show off to my little boy & encourage him to take up a slightly aggressive sport has gone.

I planned to go back the next week but we were busy.  And now I find I’m not interested enough.  We’ll maybe go back after summer (when it isn’t quite so hot!) especially if Monkey shows any kind of interest, but I don’t think I’ll join in this time.

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