Friday, April 24, 2009

With the wardrobe of the Dread Pirate Roberts, and Jack Sparrow's eyeliner

So the return to fencing has been a great deal of fun. It has not, however, been without slight mishap.

I fence foil. Which means that my legs are not part of the target area. So I don't usually wear my knickers unless I'm competing. (Let me clarify that "knickers" is a technical term for fencing pants, not a Britishism for underwear.) And as it was 83 in Minneapolis yesterday, and I train in an un-airconditioned basement, I wore warm up pants last night.

Which is why the young man I was fencing against managed to get his foil underneath the hem of my jacket and open up a line along my flank. (Knickers would have overlapped with the jacket further. What happened was my fault. And not at all the usual sort of thing in modern fencing.) We both thought it was just a hard hit until we noticed that my weapon stopped registering touches, and realized he had sliced through my body cord. Then while swapping out body cords, my hand came away sticky, and he said, "Um, that's an awful lot of blood." At which point his eyes rolled back in his head, and I decided I was done with training for the evening.

I am going to have an awesome scar. However, being slashed open with a sword, even in a fairly minor manner, feels, well, about like you would expect it to. Not awesome.

But the best part was when I was walking the dog, and bent over to hug a little neighborhood girl. She saw the bandage and asked how I got the owie. I explained that it was from a sword. She paused, and then very seriously asked, "Are you a pirate?"


  1. Is it sad that the first thing I thought was, "Tis but a flesh wound!"?
    I hope that you are ok, and that you are afflicted by neither ridiculous Python-esque squirting blood, nor too much of the more likely pain.
    Also, I think you would make an excellent pirate captain.

  2. Nope, not sad. Perfectly appropriate, as any number of people in the club that night also made Monty Python references, and also pretty much accurate. I'm doing quite well, thanks.

  3. In Britain, breeches are compulsory when fencing electric for foil - and for all fencing with epee or sabre. I thought this a bit unnecessary when it came in a year or so ago but I begin to realise why the rule was introduced. As for hot weather, I fence epee, the coolest weapon in every sense (no lamé)

  4. Knickers are required in competition here, but not for practice. (Incidentally, I love that even our technical terms are different. Two people separated by a common language, indeed.) But I still maintain that one should not be able to score a touch by hitting the other person's toe unless one has a poisoned blade, so I will continue to believe in the superiority of the foil.

  5. I've been reading this a while ago, and I keep thinking of the little neighborhood girl and her "pirate" question. I want to write a story about what's going on in her her age, I would have loved to live next to sword-fighting people, but there was only the crazy guy who still lived with his mother and played with his remote-controlled airplane.

  6. This is the same little girl who was a princess for Hallowe'en, and borrowed my dog, dressed in a dragon costume, to trick-or-treat with, because "a princess should have a dragon." She's kind of amazing.