Women, Fencing and Love
I have been wondering a lot about women fencers. I used to think they are a little on the macho side as generally swords and fencing is a quality attributed to men. Another point that I remembered is that throughout history, there have been very few examples of women who handled the swords. Fencing is now considered a sport, but earlier it was a part of the art of soldiering. As women soldiers were hardly seen, the question of their learning the art of swordsmanship was minimal. The only tales about women who handled swords are found in mythology. Tales of the lost continent of Atlantis where women warriors ruled have come down from ancient times.In this place, they handled swords and men were just an appendage.
In India, the Goddess Kali dons the image of a warrior, but then this again is mythology. However a few women did excel in using swords and the foremost example is of Joan of Arc, who led the French against the English. Ultimately she was burnt at the stake as a witch by the English.
About 2 decades back I was asked by the government to proceed to France for a refresher course on the Jaguar( Supersonic interceptor/tactical bomber). I had a guide from the French Air Force. She was a Seargent and one day she mentioned if I was keen to see a fencing match. Now I had never seen a fencing match as the sport is not popular in India. But in the earlier times, many Sikh and Rajput women handled swords and went into battle as well.
She took me to an indoor stadium and I sat down to watch a fencing match. The protagonists wore armor and helmets and their faces were covered, so I couldn't see much. It was an exhilarating encounter and after it was over I was taken to meet the fencers. The swords used were the rapier, long and pointed at the end and definitely lethal. A pierce could cause grievous harm.
Both the fencers took off their helmets and one of them had long golden hair which she allowed flowing down. I realized both were girls and my interest in them was heightened. I shook hands and realized that though handling rapiers, they had soft feminine hands that seemed to melt in my grip. I was introduced as a fighter jet pilot and my guide suggested we retire for a cup of coffee.
After a long chat and two cups, we parted company, but the blonde remained transfixed in my memory and I resolved to meet her. A couple of days later I got her phone number and telephoned. She replied with alacrity and suggested I pick her up from her apartment. I agreed and drove in a hired car and parked outside her apartment. She soon came and I could make out she was lovely and yet I couldn't accept that such a girl was handling rapiers and fencing away to glory. She wore shorts that accentuated her lovely legs and I could see was fit as a fiddle.
On this date, we talked about swords and my job. She wanted to know about supersonic flying and that did thrill her. At the end, late at night, I dropped her outside her apartment. However, she suggested the last cup of coffee before I left. I accompanied her up the lift and entered her paid. It was the beginning of a tumultuous relationship.
The Love Bout
We entered and she asked me to sit and wait as would like to wash up and come.I looked around her room and saw a pair of epees hanging on the wall. I took one down and unsheathed it and swished the sword around me.I relished it as the weapon sliced the air around. The girl had proceeded to change and wash and I waited. the wait was getting tedious and after some time, I walked to a bar closet and opened it. I took out my favorite a bottle of Chivas regal about half full and poured a peg for me.I was wondering what was taking her so long. Was she preparing coffee?. after some time I heard a sound and turned around and saw my girl had worn the armor and the helmet and in her hand, she carried the epee.
I was surprised, to say the least, and though I was 20 years older to her I wondered what next. She mumbled " good you have the sword, so we can fight". this started a churning in my stomach and I blurted " hey, take it easy, I do not know how to fence"
There was no reply and the girl swished her sword in the air and charged me. I was aware that she may be serious and I jumped to one side. I thanked my training NCO at the academy, a Seargent named Thevar, who had made me do 100 chin ups and kept on shouting all the time "More cadet, more !". I handled the sword with a beating heart as the girl came again. I warded a few blows and then deliberately slipped over the sofa as a defensive measure. I tried to catch my breath and held back with my sword.
The girl came again and this time, I was getting scared. I held my sword in a firm grip and now I knew I had to beat her, not as a swordsman but by some other means. She lashed out with her sword and a couple of skillful blows and the sword fell out of my hands. It fell a few feet away and I wondered what to do.
" Look, "I said, " there is a man behind you ". This was just a ruse, thought of at the moment. She looked back and I was on her and with all my strength pinned her to the floor. Her sword flew away and I forced her helmet off her face.Her golden hair tumbled out. She did not resist as I held her. The soft touch of her body enthralled me and ended the way it was meant to end. We made ferocious love on the floor and then on the sofa and it lasted a long time.
I left afterward and I wondered what had happened. Before leaving, I asked her a question.
" Look, would you have killed me?"
" Oh no, "she said, " I was only playing with you"
"Well, " I said, " what if I had lost?"
"Oh, I would have shown you the door"
I stayed in France for another 2 months and did not get to see the girl again. I was busy as I got into the rigors of supersonic flight. One fine day I had a telephone call and my girl said she wanted to meet me. I agreed and went to her place. She came and she looked dazzling and I regretted having not met her for the last 2 months.
" You have time ?" she asked. I nodded and she gave the directions as we drove out. We headed for a small resort in the hills for two days of bliss. No weapons, nothing but the cool air and the lovely breeze. It was a most tranquil place and it was almost what it must be like to get to heaven and Eden.
I left soon after and when I was going to climb up the ramp of the mighty Illusian 76 a French airman came running and carried a long package.
"This, " he said" is for you from a lady"
I opened the package later and saw it was the epee she had used in the bout with me. There was a small note which said, " it was a great loss to you. God bless you". there was an enigmatic line at the end and it's something I deciphered later, it said" I have your gift with me and I hope to come to you back with it in the months to come "
What was the gift? That is my own private secret.