Getting back to the foil

By David Heinemeier Hansson on April 17, 2007

I used to fence in high school. It's such an elegant sport. Yes, stamina, agility, and even strength are elements, but fencing foil is so much more about technique. A small rotation of the wrist is all it takes to parry an attack and you're all set for riposte.

I relearned that last Wednesday when I went my first fencing class in more than a decade. Most of the footwork was still imprinted in my memory, but that was the easy part. The hard part was realizing just how much technique I had lost as I was getting schooled by a 7 year-old girl.

Which is of course also one of the wonders of fencing. It allows for such a wide range of physical attributes to enjoy it together. In the small group that was at the session that night, it ranged from Alexa, 7 to a 50-something Argentinean. With a few teenagers and me in between.

So lots of fun, but I'm also grateful that there's a full week between sessions on the beginner's team. It's taken at least half that to be able to walk without pain again. Nothing like exercising muscles that have laid dormant since Jurassic Park was a box office hit.