We start each class with an intensive warm up: jumping, running, kicking, etc. After the warm up we go on to practice our foot work. Every movement is done from an on guard position which consists of standing with your feet at a 90 degree angle about shoulder width apart and bending your knees slightly so your knees are right above your ankles. If you are right-handed you face right; if you are left-handed you face left. On guard gets tiring pretty fast especially when you are advancing and retrieving and lunging into an attack over and over again for about 30 minutes. But it is exciting! My favorite part of practice is when the instructor makes us react to his movements without telling us what he is gonna do. Every time he advances, we retrieve and visa versa. When he lunges, we retrieve and then retaliate with a lunge right away. It is fast and intense and currently I suck, but oh it is so much fun!

After practice we go put on all the gear which, if you are a woman, includes a plastic boob mold. I am ashamed to admit that, even though our class has a lot of middle schoolers, I was the only one laughing when we put on the plastic boobs. At first I felt really ridiculous, but as it turns out those plastic boobs are gold when you’re getting stabbed with a sword. You feel nothing! We also put on some extra padding, a long-sleeved uniform top, gloves, a head mask, and of course the sword. Once we are suited up we practice sword movements with a partner which currently means an attack, blocking, and avoiding a block. I’ve got the attack down.

If we still have time left before the end of the class, we fence. My heart was pounding really hard the first time we fenced, not because I thought I would get hurt but because I thought I would make a fool of myself… which I did, but everybody does. I have fenced with a guy my size, a guy much taller, and a nine-year old boy. I’ve lost every time, but I’ve gotten some good shots here and there :).

June has been amazing! Between silks and fencing I have something to look forward to all week-long plus I get home feeling really energized. I am moving and exercising, but beyond that I’m learning really cool stuff. I’m in love with both of these classes. If I had to pick, I really wouldn’t be able to do so. They are both so different, but they both make me feel very powerful and hopeful from all I could and will learn. I feel my whole demeanor is changing. When before I got home feeling like a zombie after work, now I still feel like a zombie after work, BUT then I go to class (silks or fencing) and I’m cured!

Sorry about the lack of pictures from the actual class. I need to start getting creative with picture-taking!