Fence Like a Girl

2013-04-07 20.21

The first rush comes when
the bout is announced.
The moment is upon you,
and there is no turning back.

The familiar sounds of metal on metal
echo in the gym,
snick-clack of foils
clangs of épée bellguards
crash of the sabres
all accompanied by rushed footsteps
and the roars of those
who wield the modern swords.

The world beyond
the piste, our field of play,
retreats to shadows and blurs.
Faceless souls hovering
in the near distance.

A last look at my foil
before the bout begins.
Nicks and scratches from bouts before
physical reminders of dues paid.
Proudly scarred metal.

My opponent like me
dressed in white
faces obscured by masks of mesh.
The differences are apparent:
his height and reach.

But strengths and weaknesses
are never static
and never guaranteed.

The pulse accelerates,
filling the ears with the thud-thud of
anticipation. A deep breath
to temper the flow.
A voice of authority floats in,
the words buzz around the head,
some arriving, some fading.

A nod and a salute,
legs and determination coiled,
and the tip of my weapon
seeking the spot
between the eyes hiding
behind the mask.

The feet respond
reflexively
immediately
to the sound of “Allez!”
The mind instantly comprehends
my opponent’s strengths and
in a flash calculates his dismantling.
Thought and movement
become one.

The mind never moves as quickly
as it does in conflict.
Perception and judgment
turbo charged by adrenaline.
A heady mix that intoxicates the will,
stimulates the muscles,
sharpens the perceptions.

I am more alive now
than I have ever been.
I have to stifle the urge
to laugh. The ego
believes it is invincible.

A change in tempo reveals
a weakness.
The soft spot calls to me,
its magnetic pull tugs at my foil,
adds spring to my step.
But not just yet.
I must lure my opponent closer,
just
a little
closer.

The perfect attack has no thought. Only action.
Volition powers the mechanism.
The arm leads the way,
thrusting the tip toward triumph.
The front foot kicks out
while the back leg propels and straightens.
Fingers work furiously, twisting metal in
angry and precise circles
as if scribbling
mystical runes in the air.

The world slows down
and I can see the outcome
before it has arrived.
Ha! You thought The Matrix was cool.
This is the real world of fantasy
where anything is possible
with the mind to conceive it.

In less than a blink the space between
my opponent and me has collapsed.
At last my will meets its destination.
Touché!

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