Tuesday, 29 September 2009
I can't say I am unbiased about my first fencing lesson: I was *thoroughly* looking forward to it. I've wanted to taste what fencing is all about for years and this course only runs once a year which only highlighted the anticipation.
I turned up and met a few other beginners: a big class (not surprising given its infrequency) and after an initial introduction we set to practising footwork. This didn't surprise me at all as this seems (much like other martial arts) the basis of movement and by extension of fighting. Most of the two subsequent hours were given over to this moving forward and backward in basic forward lunging stance and fighting stance. These were very similar to a classic karate front and back stance which didn't come as much as a surprise. They did have some differences but as a family these stances used in fencing and classic karate are in the same family. Not the same but siblings certainly.
It was exciting to be learning and drilling within a completely new framework outside of my order of understanding. You could say that sparring is sparring whether it's with your fists or with a length of steel in your hand. The aim is to get the opponent: tag, touch, hit or strike. Movement seems much more restrained in fencing though with it's linear back and forth, to and froing. For example I only learned fighting stance in a right hand guard and our drills were in this format forward and then...backward! There's no deviation from that (at this stage at any rate!).
The following video shows much more than what we covered in our first lesson and is a great and deep study of body movement and weight distribution: