A Bluffers Guide to Fencing

A Bluffers Guide to Fencing – by a fencer’s flatmate.
(or how I learnt to stop worrying and love the balestra)

Fencing, as the name suggests, is territorial. In the same way that the West is
currently struggling with the distinctions between Sunni + Shi-ite Muslims
(stickfight, please take care with spellings), I struggle to comprehend the
intense 3 way civil war between Sabre,Epee & Foil.

As best as I can make out from stickfight’s descriptions, it can be
characterised as follows:
Foil = Cowardly Psychotics
Sabre = Foolhardy Psychotics
Epee = “The Psychotic’s Psychotic”
(NB guess which stickfight is)

Fencing can be broken down into 2 categories of action:
1) Trying to impale someone
2) Pretendingto try to impale someone.

All fencers can do 1, but only expert fencers manage 2.

Stickfight boy, being an I.T.-Type, would of course rather label these “1” and
“0” so he could fight in binary. If, indeed, you do enact this conversion, and
send the resulting 1’s and 0’s to a fax machine, the pictorial results are
fascinating; it turns out that when converted in reverse Mondrian’s otherwise
eclectic artistic style is actually a visual representation of the plot of “The
Count of Monte Cristo” (for foil fighters read same sentence with “Zorro”)

Useful Phrases to irritate fencers:
1) So you weren’t any good at football?
2) Ah-HA, but I have a gun!.
3) Battle of Agincourt, mate. Arrows. That’s the way forward
4) So do Epeeists ever actually attack? (use innocent tone for maximum effect)
5) It’s not exactly sharp is it?
6) My tuba v your epee, i win with one throw
7) So do you roll a D12 to see who moves next?
8) I bet your wife loves you talking her through the fights.
9) So can you download new ringtones into Leon Paul Boxes?
10) How come everyone else realises this went out of date at least 200 years

How to win fencing (for dummies)
1) ensure absence of referee
2) ensure far end sharp and pointy

Uncanny similarities between fencing and ballet
1) Lightness on feet (allegedly)
2) Obscure French terms
3) Frequency of opening of east European can of whup-ass
4) Strange cultish behaviour of followers, and frequency of fans called Crispin.
5) Protective clothing (shoes/kevlar)
6) “No we aren’t camp. It’s actually very physically demanding”

I rest my case.

Before I get any hate-mail, I should point out that my own obsessive pastime is

1) My orchestra is bigger than your fencing club.
2) The cello spikes don’t have buttons on the end.
3) The brass section can drink you into the floor
4) You do, however, have our unreserved apologies for Wagner.

Notes on living with a fencer.
1) Do not startle, or make rapid movements
2) Only uses 2m wide strip of the house
3) Plugged into mains at all times.
4) When you are winning an argument he insists on a new argument. First to 15
5) Cannot do housework without wearing protective kevlar (actually fair point
if you’ve seen our bathroom)

If you’ve made it this far
In his infinite wisdom stick-fight boy has promised (OK he was drunk, but I
have it on Dictaphone) that I can expand this area for my wider deranged views.

It should be noted that the evidently warped mind is not entirely my own fault,
and i would like the court to take into account 5 years of public school
education, a Cambridge degree and farther who is a C of E vicar as mitigating
circumstances. Nobody could remain rational in these circumstances.

Read at your own risk, and ensure regular breaks for methylated spirits. It
makes more sense that way.

**Editor’s note: I would like to point out that the above was written when I
was very drunk tired and emotional. In block capitals on a notepad. It really
doesn’t make any sense does it? Ah well, never mind. Nor does expending huge
amounts of otherwise useful violent fury trying to turn on a lightbulb fifteen
times (or make a box go “ping”).

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