Just over a year ago, I began the fencing category on my blog with an entry titled The Return of the Fencer. With August (and much of July) being dead time during the domestic fencing season, it is a theme that will probably repeat itself ad nauseum.
Every September a new season begins. And every September I feel a bit of excitement as I try to get back into shape, and adjust my life around a fencing schedule.
Last year marked a return to fencing after a year off. Frequent travel and a developed distaste for British Fencing’s competition schedule meant that I didn’t practice as much as I would have liked, and competed even less than I practiced.
The practice front still looks dire. Travel for work looks less onerous in the coming months, but with a baby on the way there is simply no way I can dedicate one night a week to the sport, nevermind the three that I would prefer.
Competition is another matter. While I rationalized my absence from competition via my general disappointment in the quality of organzation and refereeing found at British Opens, I found I missed them. Because of this, my competition schedule is likely to be comparatively busy this year. Being spaced out and on weekends helps. So does the occasional attractive location that my partner might want to visit.
The competitive season began Saturday, with the Essex Open.
Not unexpectedly, the season did not start out well. Apparently, not doing anything athletic for four months is not a good preparatory plan for a fencing tournament. And the dearth of competition this past year meant that my seeding was low.
Low seedings lead to difficult pools, which lead to low seedings, which lead to early exits.
That said, with the exception of one bout in the pool, I comported myself fairly well through this first day back. Losses to all three top-50 fencers in my pool hastened a short day, but none of them ran over me — I had a chance to win every bout I fenced, there was just a bit too much rust there.
I’m hoping more competitions and occasional practice help to get rid of the rust. Because my usual method — regular practice — does not look likely to happen.
Of course, the baby’s delivery date likely mean another two months before I compete again.
The rust, it would appear, will remain for now.
The photo is not of Mr. Topp or the Essex Open. It is BY Mr. Topp, however, and can be seen larger here.