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July 24th, 2005

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07:55 pm - Foiled again?
While poking around the internet today I ran into the website of some fencing clubs that aren't too far from me.

I used to fence a lot when I lived in Manhattan, close to a decade ago. I miss it. I fenced under Richard Rizk mainly, although I did go to Miklos Bartha's salle also a few times, since he taught saber and would SOMETIMES teach it to women. (When I used to fence, women were only allowed to use foils -- saber in particular was STRICTLY FORBIDDEN to those with an XX chromosome combination.)

I always wanted to learn saber, since it seemed so exciting. Now it seems as though I might be able to do so, since the rules have relaxed enough so that women are now allowed to use all three weapons, even in competition. (The 2004 Athens Olympics were the first to allow women into all three events.)

In looking at the staff of two of the places I'm considering, I see a lot of Eastern European names, which is a very good thing, since Eastern Europe has produced some of the finest fencers in the world -- Hungary in particular has a fine reputation in that respect.

The only thing I find dismaying is the membership fees these clubs are charging -- sometimes also with an initiation fee. The memberships for an adult are generally in the mid to high three figures and are more than twice what I pay for a year's membership at the gym I currently go to -- and the initiation fees are in the mid-three figures too, albeit less than the cost of one year's membership.

That's the negative.

The positive is that for at least one of these clubs I'd be fencing with some of the finest fencers in the US -- members of the US Olympic team, past and present. There are also apparently a significant number of older fencers at this particular club too, so I won't feel so out of place being surrounded by high-schoolers and college students as I might at other clubs. From what I read on their website, they have folks who fence well into their eighties! :)

It's a bit early for me to make a decision as yet -- I might decide to take a few private lessons first and/or observe some of the classes. I'm also not sure if I want to get involved in competition. The only folks I competed against in the past were my fellow classmates and we never used the electric scoring system, only the old-fashioned "standard" system.

I have some friends and friends-of-friends who are in the SCA too, and I've made noises in the past about maybe doing some fencing with them, but they do a very different style from that to which I am accustomed (classical foil) and often use a dagger in the opposing hand. It's very theatrical at times, but I'm not sure how well I would be able to do, especially since I'm not sure if they fight with the whole body as a target, as in epee, or with only the torso as a valid target, which is what I'm used to in foil. Their swords also tend to be heavier, although some offer better hand protection than is usually found in the "sport" fencing swords. (There have been several times when I was VERY happy I was wearing a pretty heavy glove!)

Since it's summer, I doubt I'll do very much at the present except maybe sit in on a class or two or have an instructor evaluate my now extremely rusty foil skills. It's really just too hot to fight now, even IF the salle has air-conditioning, which used to be a rarity at the salles that I used to frequent. I'd also like to find a salle that has an on-site locker room with shower, since I know from the past that I get very grotty very quickly when I fence and being able to get clean immediately would be great! One of the salles I mentioned seems to have that, but it's also the more expensive of the two I am seriously considering, and it's further away, but it also has the better quality fencers.

I'll probably make a decision sometime in the fall or later -- I'm in no particular rush at present.

It would be nice to fence again though -- I've missed it quite a bit. I fenced generally at least once a week for about 7 or 8 years while living in Manhattan -- it would be nice to be doing that again. Who knows? I might even decide to enter a REAL competition, sponsered by the USFA, since they apparently have them for older folks too, not just the kids and college students. I probably wouldn't do all that well, but it might be nice to try. After all, actress Geena Davis made it to the Olympics as an archer a few years back and she was older than I when she STARTED in archery -- I at least have a bit of a background in foil . . .

It's fun to daydream about being an Olympian . . .
Current Mood: nostalgicnostalgic
Current Music: "Flash of the Blade" by Iron Maiden

(2 seeds eaten | Eat a pomegranate)


[User Picture]
Date:July 25th, 2005 04:49 am (UTC)
Give in to the call of the Wire-Weenie!

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