on October 7, 2010 in Misc

Last night, hell almost froze over.

For the first time ever, I turned into an attacking animal.

Not out in public, since that would be slightly illegal.  Instead, for one brief fencing bout, I turned into a foaming-at-the-mouth crazy attacking bloodthirsty beast. 

How crazy was I?

I almost beat Jim in a bout.  I got eight points to his ten.

Jim is one of those fencers I dread going up against .  He’s scary good.  Been fencing for at least 15 years.  Goes to national tournaments.  Is like the Borg in Star Trek because, when someone gets a touch against him, he assimilates what his opponent has just done and instantly devises defense strategies to prevent it from happening again.  You can even see through his mask how his face is moving as calculations rush through his head.  His free left hand twitches as if counting off counterattacks.

About a year ago I got way up to six touches against him, but it’s been downhill ever since as he (with robotic efficiency) kept improving while I pretty much hit a plateau.  For a long time now I’ve been lucky to get two or three touches against his ten.

Then last night I finally, really, truly ATTACKED and never stopped ATTACKING.

I didn’t use sophisticated tactics.  I didn’t have second and third attacks planned should my first fail.  I just LUNGED and HIT, JUMPED and HIT, RETREATED and PUSHED BACK and HIT.

I realized afterwards that I’d stopped thinking.  Instead what I FELT pushed me the whole time.  It was like being controlled by an unleashed, wild desperation.  A screaming instinct kept telling me to ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK.

Which, by the way, you’re supposed to do in fencing.  Or pretty much in any martial art.

Afterwards, I was exhilarated (EIGHT POINTS!), but I also felt weird.  I’ve been fencing for about four years with months off here and there, yet for the first time I had experienced absolute unbridled aggression.  For the first time I successfully put myself in an attack mode and stayed there.  What I felt was a kind of unthinking dark place that was very un-nice, unfeminine, unpolite.  The conscious me vanished and a fierce subconscious took over.


Afterwards I was a bubbling sweetheart.  I was also kinda in awe.  At long last I personally understood that this is what James Bond is like when he fights.  Or Indiana Jones or Alias or Nikita.  Or Layla, for that matter.

Break on through to the other side, Jim Morrison sings.

I finally got to the other side.

6 Responses to “Breakthrough”

  1. Robert L. Read says:

    This is a great enlightenment, Helena, one I’m not sure I’ve ever had. One time I was fencing saber (I was a neophyte in saber, I was mostly foil) against this guy who was much better than me. For some reason I was in a state of hyperarousal. They guy couldn’t touch me. I hit him 10 times. He eventually told me to calm down. I’m not really sure what was hapenning—I definitely can’t do that on command, and the next day or the day before the guy could have crushed me. This was not ferocity on my part, but more like being “in the zone”, where time seems to slow down and its as if I’m operating at double speed.

    I’m not a self-defense expert, but I think its true that a desparate, if controlled ferocity, can even the odds between mismatched opponents. This is why sometime, for example, a mother badger can drive away a coyote, or some generally larger and fiercer animal.

    Anyway, keep up the good work. I can’t wait to learn if things like this happen to Layla—is she an invulnerable ice-queen? Or does she have moments of desparation and weakness?

  2. Hart says:

    YAY for YOU!!!! How exciting! I haven’t done it with any combat anything, but I’ve hit runners highs and writing highs like that, where suddenly I’M INVINCIBLE! (which of course seems an apt thing to yell with a sword in your hand, though i get fencing is not a sword EXACTLY… still…)

  3. Helena says:

    Robert — You know, I believe I was “in the zone,” except that time didn’t seem to slow down for me. But because of my desperation and controlled ferocity (as you accurately call it) I was able to see attack opportunities (get my blade over there before he hits me with his here) that I never had before seen. I just hope I can now learn to summon up this ability at will.

    As for Layla — she’s no ice queen. She can be impulsive and hot-headed, which gets her in trouble. But I do want to use this latest experience of mine for one fight scene she’s in.

    And just to prove that I’m willing to suffer for my art… Thanks to my fencing I have a huge, honking, painful bruise on my arm. What I won’t do for literature!

  4. Helena says:

    Hart – I didn’t shout anything afterwards, but I did go over to other fencers afterwards, hop up and down like an excited little kid and babble over and over, “I got eight points against Jim!”

    To hell with sophisticated reserve.

  5. Ketutar says:

    Your entry makes me want to cry :´) Congratulations!

    I play chess like that. :-D My husband refuses to play chess with me. He’s really kind and warm man, and he feels about me like you feel about Jim when I play chess. That’s not something you want to feel about your wife :-D

    Hugs, and thanks for visiting my blog :-)


  6. Helena says:

    Ket – So chess brings out his animal aggression? You definitely don’t want to play with swords with a man like that. But I hope you still have fun.