My Eyebrows Furrowed...

April 13, 2008
By Amelia Mueller, Keller, TX

My eyebrows furrowed in concentration, my hand tingling as the cold blade of my saber rested against my palm as I stared at my coach with a look close to absolute fury.
“One parry, Amelia,” Couch Sierra called, holding up his index finger.
“She’s left-handed,” I complained, as if that offered an excuse.
“You’ll thank me when you have to fence a lefty in a tournament,” Coach Kate called from behind her mask. I didn’t respond, only raised my weapon and adjusted my stance. I’d get her this time, no doubt about it.
I attacked her first and she parried easily, and then the drill began. She took slow, almost tentative steps, her blade angled toward my open chest. I didn’t fall for her small lunge-like steps, knowing they were simple tricks. The real attack was yet to come, and I’d be ready.
She lunged.
I took a quick step back, swinging my blade to the right where it collided with her bell-guard. I cursed under my breath.
“One parry!” Coach Sierra almost shouted. I sighed and had to resist stomping my foot in frustration. Why was this so hard? I didn’t even have to stop her attack! Just parry and allow her to swing her weapon over my blade and hit my other side. It shouldn’t be such a challenge; this was mostly to benefit her anyway.
“You’re parrying to the wrong side,” Coach Kate explained, demonstrating with her own saber. “Parry Four, not Parry Three.”
“Go where the blade is not,” Coach Sierra contributed.
I had to use every control in my being not to shout ‘duh’ at him.
We tried again. I concentrated on her blade, watching as slowly moved toward me, readying myself to reach out and stop it, to save myself from its sparkling decent. I parried to the left. She swung a wide arc over my saber and hit my right shoulder, precisely on target.
I danced for joy. I could do it.
For long after that particular fencing practice I pondered that drill; thought of its ironic place in my saber practices, and in life. When you think attack, you think to stop it, be that attack in fencing, words, or anything that can affect your day-to-day activities. We block out all attacks, all problems that could ruin our perfect life, but if we at times let that attack swing over our defenses we may just realize how much of a help it can be, help us understand that we may need to get a taste of pain to know that we’re really alive.

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