Foiled Again This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   "Lunge,lunge, lunge!" Ed cried as my opponent thrust her weapon into my chestrepeatedly. I remained perfectly still, my foil pointing outward, leaving mytorso unprotected.

"No, Christina, you have to remember to keep yourarm down as you make a lunge," explained Ed, the fencing instructor. Ismiled through my mask at Christina, my opponent. We were always goofing up onone thing or another, whether it was the position of our feet, or how we held ourweapons.

Tonight Ed was having us practice our moves on actual peopleinstead of the dummies, which may have been because of last week's incident. Myfriend and I had been training on a dummy that was not very stable and tippedover frequently, which made both of us feel mighty every time we lunged at it.After picking up the fallen dummy from the floor for the third or fourth time, Inoticed a pool of water surrounding its base. Oh, the memories I have gained inthe short period of practicing this sport.

Starting a fencing club atschool was the work of Christina and her mother. It was actually very sudden;Christina approached me one day with a piece of paper to sign and before I knewit, I was participating in an eight-week program.

My friends and Iimmediately fell in love with the foils and the way we looked in the mirrors whenwe held them. In the first lesson we learned how to hold the foil, a blunt,sword-like weapon specially used in fencing.

On that fateful night I alsodiscovered that making one's weapon create a whoosh sound is not as easy as itlooks. Keeping your feet at a perfect 90-degree angle at all times, necessary tomaintain good balance, also takes a great deal of practice. I also learned thatthe purpose of the en guarde position is to place my foil in such a way that itblocks any attack on my target area (the torso and fighting arm) made by myopponent.

Before that hour of instruction, I assumed that fencing wasan aggressive sport, but it is really a sport of self-defense; the main goal isto keep a safe distance from my adversary while remaining in a position fromwhich I can attack.

Another distinctive feature of fencing is the uniqueuniform, which is much more complicated, not to mention uncomfortable, than I hadthought. First you put on a plastic breastplate for protection. Next comes thecanvas "half shirt," which gives extra coverage (and heat) to yourbattling arm. Now comes the part that most people are familiar with: the heavywhite jacket (similar to a straitjacket, only less confining and not ascomfortable). After that comes the glove for your fighting arm, which gives extragrip on the foil. Last, but certainly not least, is the mask, which looks verymuch like half of a fly head.

Thinking about everything I have learned, Iprepare for another lunge from Christina, knowing it won't hurt. Sadly, at thatmoment Ed gives us the signal that we are done for the night. Christina and Isalute each other, and as I bring my foil to my side, I hear it whoosh for thefirst time. Life has new meaning!

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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FallenAngel1 said...
May 14, 2012 at 5:57 pm
Very informative and entertaining, planning to go into fencing this summer, any pointers and tips?
 
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