12 May

It’s now become part of my daily routine to practice fencing for fifteen minutes, thirty on weekends.

Start with basic advance / retreat, ten steps forward then ten back. Watch myself in the full-length mirror I installed in the basement — keep the front foot low to ground, lift the toes and push from the heel. Keep the shoulders consistently level as well. (Mind you, this is what I look for, not necessarily what I always do.)

Then footwork variations. Two advances, one retreat; three advances, two retreats; then four and three. Repeat until I run out of room, then reverse the patten to get back where I started.

Another variation — four advances, two retreats. Reverse the pattern on the way back.

Then a couple drills that emphasize straightening the back. Surrender footwork — both arms fully extended above me, as if I’m signalling a touchdown. Do the two-one, three-two, four-three pattern, forward and back. Next, fold the arms behind the back, same footwork pattern.

Pick up the blade and work on lunges. Snap lunge — full arm extenstion, small step forward, no push from the back leg. Medium lunge — full extension, push from the back leg, keep the front heel down. Large lunge — full exension, then push off the back foot, propelling the whole body forward. Look at the feet as much as the arm position in the mirror. Three sets.

Advance lunges. Start with a medium lunge. Then advance, arm coming forward until fully extended when back leg lands, push off the back leg and lunge. Then two advances, arm slowly coming forward each step, full extension on completion of second step, then lunge. Three sets.

That takes around 11 to 12 minutes. Do about a minute of simple disengages (fingers, no wrist), as many as my strength will allow. Then speed variations — two slow advances, two quick, two slow. Work in some other variations (one slow two quick, two slow one quick etc.).

Time permitting, work on the attack that if I can successfully execute, I’ll start to make some noise in tournaments. Advance, arm coming forward — when the parry comes, disengage, lunge and extend. Coach wants me to start my lunge, then disengage. Haven’t begun to land this even in practice bouts, but I’m eager to keep trying.

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