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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.


In early adulthood a friend excitedly told me about a fencing class that he was taking, and my curiosity was piqued.  It puzzled and challenged me to think that the art of fencing, with its historical mystic of deadly duals and violent thrusting with viciously sharp weapons, was still being taught.  I understand that I would be one of very few women, maybe the only woman, in that university class but I signed up anyway.


Like everyone else in the class I was issued a foil (a very slender sword) with what appeared to be a insufficiently protective ball on its tip, a mask which significantly impaired my vision and left my throat vulnerable, a heavy, padded cotton jacket, and I forget whatever else we might have been geared up with.


The very first class was immersive.  We immediately paired off and practiced the basic moves of lunge, parry, and riposte.  My opponents were masked, unknown targets to me, and they were most annoyingly dodging and lunging at me which made me instinctively aggressive and defensive.  Then I was appalled to realize that fencing aroused a blood lust in me that was exacerbated by my apparently keen hand-eye coordination which made "sticking" their padded vests relatively easy.  I could see why men in antiquity may have enjoyed dueling, at least those who lived.  Half-way through the class I quit, never to return.  I would not allow myself to train those savage emotions into me.


I did not plan on fighting any duals anyway.



by Annmarie Throckmorton, copyright 2024



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