Happy National Fencing Day!!! I kind of have to make my post today about fencing, since it’s an obscure little sport that means so very much to me. I feel obligated to celebrate this day by making a post dedicated to this sport. I hate sports. The fact that I hold any sport so near and dear to my heart is quite the impressive feat. The credit belongs more to my friends than to the sport itself. But I honestly love the sport too. Like…it’s really fun. And intense. And oftentimes painful. And so incredible.
I never, in a million years, thought I would ever be involved in any kind of sport’s club. Let alone an active member or a board member on the Sport’s Council. Like….what. That is so not me. But, my freshman year, my roommate and a few other friends dragged me to a practice. Then two older team members trained me and were so nice that I felt like I had to come back to prove myself. One member literally said “well, yeah. of course you’re not doing so well right now. you literally just learned this. this is why you have to practice”. I don’t know if I would have returned, had it not been for that one simple sentence. So I can blame all of the ensuing chaos on this one girl. Or thank her for it.
Fencing is a fun sport. The laps are hard, some of the beginning warmups are painful, and the sport itself can be immensely frustrating. You’d think whoever hit who first would just get the point. Nope. There’s all these complicated little rules determining who had the “right of way” and who gets the point. Fortunately, there is oftentimes a judge there to help you figure out who had the right of way. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to be the judge. And it’s not fun trying to figure out who pulled their arm back a fraction of an inch while two people are flying towards each other at hyper-speed. Then there is the footwork, which takes a lot of time to become muscle memory. Then there’s strategy and tricky moves you can use to your advantage. Not to mention the anxiety before practice the ego trips during.
Fortunately, being an analytical and observant person often worked in my favor. Fencing strengths and weaknesses directly correlate to personality strengths and weaknesses. You can be great against one member and then lose horribly against another. Oftentimes, it just depends on your skills, knowledge, and personality. Much like life itself. It was such an incredible feeling to improve though. To get a point. To win a match, or even just to put up a decent fight. To have witty banter against your opponent. To tease each other. To hang out while you catch your breaths. To play goofy games like you’re in a gym class made up only of your best friends. The whole experience was impossible to describe in the best of ways.
I miss it so much right now, but I don’t regret one second of it. I grew as a person in that smelly old gym. I grew physically, mentally, and socially stronger. I met some of the greatest people I have ever had the good fortune of knowing. I had magical fairytale nights twice a week every week. I learned how to sword fight. Like…that’s pretty epic. I’m a musician, actress, and sword fighter. How cool is that?!?! I would recommend this sport to anyone if the chance ever presents itself. It’s not easy by any means. I can remember sporting some nasty bruises and barely being able to get out of bed some days after practice. But it’s completely worth the pain. No pain, no gain. A few small bruises is hardly a hefty price for all of the great memories, amazing friends, and irreplaceable self-growth.