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Introduction to Fencing 112
Fencing at age 23 - NYTV
I just turned 66 years old this month. It is a momentous occasion for me. I qualified for social security for one and I decided to get back to fencing for another. I don't plan to compete in tournaments any more but just fence for fun and exercise.
- Sept. 2017
Background and TimeIine
I started fencing in college back in 1969. I continued after college at the NY Turn Verein club in NYC. I competed in the US Open nearly every year till I was 30 years old. I decided to quit after getting married and starting a family. In 2006, after a 24 year hiatus, I returned to competitive fencing in the veteran's age group. I joined the FAW club in Westchester. After about 3 years, my knee and ankle started to bother me. I could not continue in competition. However, in 2017, a series of events lead me back to fencing, this time for fun and excercise. I joined the Fencers club in NYC and will be going once a week to practice and get in shape. In the process, I hope to help my alma mater, CCNY Womens fencing team.
My Latest Venture...
I am getting back to fencing after a nine year pause. I never thought it would happen. It was a miracle of sort. I found a natural supplement that helped with my joints. It alleviated my stiffness in my knee and ankle. It allowed me to get back to fencing. I plan to take it slow and just have fun. Fencing for the sake of exercise and fun is very different than competition. For me, I always took competition seriously. I wanted to give it as much as possible and win. I took lessons and went to regular practice to hone my skills. I trained to be in better shape physically. It was a more serious undertaking that invloved discipline. Now, the pressure is off. I have no desire to compete any more. I can just enjoy the sport. Getting back together with some old friends and teammates. Teaching and sharing with others about my knowledge of the sport. I have nothing to proof but just have fun.
Age 66 - Fencers Club
Live Fencing Experience
In all these lectures, even if you study and memorize all of them, it will not prepare you for a live fencing experience. When you walk onto that strip, hook up to the machine, exchange testing of the guards, salute the opponent and Director, and put on your mask, and the Director say "ready...fence".
Your adrenalin is flowing, you are focused on your opponent, and you start to move forward. You try to engage his blade and you look for an opening. All your senses are firing while you remind yourself to breath. You try a few false attacks and wait for a reaction. Your opponent is doing something similar, especially if this is the first time you fence each other. Then, all of a sudden, one will initiate a full attack and within a split of a second, a touch is scored. The light comes on and all action stopped. The director calls "halt".
You are in a haze. If you land the touch, you feel an exhilaration, while if your opponent's light comes on, you feel a disappointment. This is repeated a few more times or until one fencer reaches 5 touches to win the bout. You walk over to shake hands with your opponent.
By this time, you are tired and sweating under the mask and you need to get a drink of water as you unhook and slowly bring the cord back to the reel. Another bout for the history books.
For a non fencer, or a spectator, you ask what is the attraction? Speaking for myself, it is the unpredictability of each touch. There are so many ways a touch could occur. Sometimes it is the result of a well executed move. Other times it was a lucky shot. Another may be the result of a back and forth parry reposte and remise. Which every way it went, the reward of winning is the "high" that everyone seeks. For me, I get satisfaction from a quick precise touch to the arm or wrist. It stops the opponent dead in his track.
I needed to get some equipment. I donated all my stuff after I quit the last time. I went to Blue Gauntlet Fencing in NJ and bought a starter set. It included everything I needed for about $300. This 8 piece set included mask, jacket, pant, plastron, glove, weapon, body cord and a bag. The only optional item I added was a body protector.
I went down to the Fencers club as a guest of my friend. I met some old fencers that I knew from FAW, a club I joined that was closer to my home in Westchester. After warming up and having a few bouts, I felt good. The best thing was, the next day. When I woke up, I was not sore or in pain. This tells me I am good to go.
I signed up for the over 65 membership at the Fencers club. It is $700 annually.
A Touch to the Wrist - A Random Photo found on the Web...
I intend to write about my experience over the next year. I am not sure what the future holds. I have re-connected with some of my old teammates and I am trying to get a few to take up fencing again. Once a fencer, always a fencer. It is in our blood.
9-7-2017 - Practiced at the Fencers Club - I fenced seven 5 touch bouts. Won 5 lost 2. Not too shabby for 2nd night back.
© 2017 Jack Lee