Monday 4 September 2023

One day one photo - 4: Medal Monday....for a fencing tournament!

Swordswomen and man - my finalist opponent is second on the right

Today was the final day of my beginners' fencing course, run by the London Fencing Club in Islington. To mark the occasion the instructors had organised a mini fencing tournament between the trainees. I should have done this at my regular class last Friday, but problems with my motorbike meant I was unable to attend. Very kindly, Tim the manager allowed me to attend today instead. It was good to be able to do that, but I ended up fencing with different set of people from those who I had been training with over the last six weeks. 

I certainly felt the sense of occasion because we had to attach a lead to our clothing and our weapons (foil) to the electronic sensors that would do the scoring during our fencing matches. Also we didn't do any skills training. We were straight into a Round Robin set of matches with each of the different trainees. I just swished my sword around like I was playing at swordfighting, having totally forgotten about the skills that we had been shown for parry and riposte etc. Somehow I won two matches. I also lost two matches, though one of them was a narrow defeat. This earned me the right to proceed to the "final" to determine the women's fencing champion. (The men's champion was easily sorted because there was only one man present in the tournament!) My opponent was a women I had played against earlier, who beat me during the initial Round Robin. Since then, I had developed a bit more of a competitive grrrr and began to think about a couple of moves I could do. One move I tried to do was to suddenly go low and strike from there. I have no idea if I did the move correctly, and I can't imagine that it looked pretty, but it worked as this match was a lot tighter and we ended up at 4-4, and whoever gained the next point would be the champion. This was definitely a harder fought point and we ended up almost going off the piste, and I ended up somehow catching the woman on the side of her shoulder. I can't say that I had the elegance of a fencer in a James Bond movie - it was more like a glorified handbag fight, albeit an energetic one as I was pretty cooked afterwards! Each point won is very intense and it works your legs and arm more than you realise. It's a different kind of work to say, running at a steady pace for three miles. It felt great to have won, and I was pleasantly surprised to be presented with a medal.

It's been ages since I won anything, so I was beaming from ear to ear and almost felt like making a speech like you see at the end of a Grand Slam tennis tournament! We did do a mini photo opportunity though. Maybe I should have tidied my hair beforehand!

I've actually got a taste for fencing, and look forward to doing more of it.

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