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Stickfight

Rat Scratching #7

I tell you that sometimes life is just too stressful for complete happiness, with all this contract stuff hanging over me at work I just don’t feel like fencing, It’s not the fencing itself, it’s all the traveling when all you want to be doing is going to sleep, (or in my case work on a load of work related stuff). This has been my third week of skiving and is going to be the last!, cant do fighting tomorrow as I am meeting my accountant, so in the last 3 weeks I will have been to 2 club nights and 1 lesson (as well as 2 games of squash). That is so poo it is untrue, I should have done 12 nights and 6 lessons (plus 3 games of squash) but we will sort it all out and get back on form.

In the mean time has anybody else noticed that if you fence a lot it has really strange effects on other sports you play, for this example take squash -

I used to like squash and be quite good at it at school but now I am totally bobbins!! and it’s all fencings fault, I lunge for every ball, when it gets too close to me I attempt to prime it ( which by the way does not work in any shape or form other than to make the person you are playing look at you in a funny way and point out that in hitting the ball it might help if you swing your arm not just flap at it ) also the unconscious desire to stab the person playing you with the racket rather than chase after the ball does not lead to what I would call a “good sense of fair play” in the court ( though it does help with the score as the other sod just ends up hiding in a corner). Even things like distance are all screwed up, I mean distance? It’s not exactly Mensa is it? You know you should be able to cope with more than one sport but noooo! If a ball flies over your head do you turn round and hit it properly, no you don’t, you shuffle backwards and crash into the back wall (the ball then hits you on the head, further proving that this is a dumb sport) and if you can hide the fact that you are a fencer in your movements you find that you make little slipups when talking about the game, these tend to make someone who does not know your sword-wielding alter ego a bit on the nervous side, as you describe each point won as a “hit”’ and the match as a “fight” (people end up saying “its only a game, its not serious” and you look at them as if they are potty [which all non-fencers are in my opinion] ) oh! And there is one final thing and that is, no matter how much you want too, no matter how much you think you need to. Do not fleche!! There is simple not enough room and even if you can finish the move before the wall finishes you, you will never ever stop in time; for proof just go to the squash courts in Harbor Exchange and have a look at the walls there are a number of Stickfight-shaped holes in them and the odd complaint of thunderous impacts. I have to say, though, that a fleche wins you the point if only for the fact that the person you are playing tends to stop and stare (or run to get medical help) and this means they miss their shot, but you can only do so many of the damn things in a match before you are dead to the world (take my word for it squash gives a fencer more bruises than actual fencing ever will.)

There is good news in the up-and-down side of fencing in the real world, and that is with the t-shirts, someone has finally got one of the t-shirts from Zazzle and I suddenly realized that I had hardly made it easy for people to jump straight to their favorite designs, so I started to put links next to each of the Zazz-able designs, this as it turns out looks completely crap and a thing to be ashamed of, so it’s back to web development and out comes the CSS book (cascading style sheet) but you would hardly credit the complete pain in the arse it was to get it looking how I wanted on all browsers and not use tables (sometimes I think that mankind takes a special joy in going backwards to go forwards, see the new foil timings for proof of this) but finally I have done it [with a little help from a very helpful site that detailed the oddities of Internet Explorer) so we should a nice and clear t-shirt page, if you disagree please tell me so I can sort it.

Jo Maynard is really coming on great guns with the digital drawing and hopefully she will soon have her own area on here for her art, but in the meantime you can see her other work at http://pwincess.deviantart.com

Leicester soon - oooo eeerrr, I will not muck it up, I will NOT muck it up!!, I will get a good poule so I do not meet some evil sod in the 64, mind you its not like I have a lot of points to defend ( try none!!) , Leicester is normally on my eldest Childs birthday, but this year they are all going to Euro Disney (the whole class plus mothers , that just sounds so like hell to me, trapped in a coach with 20 odd mothers and 30 odd screaming primary school kids, murder would be done by the time we got to Dover) so I have been given the weekend to go fencing (the real reason for existence ) all I have to remember is what my coaches have told me (promise that you won’t tell anybody but I have roughly worked out that if I get a good 32 then I might just make it into the top 50, but that kind of working out is sad and I should not do it ), talking of which have not given a progress on how Steve’s lessons are going for ages (like you care!!) ,

He is really starting to push it, and it is so much fun, he is making me think so much more, its not just a physical challenge anymore, its a mental one, more and more I can’t understand the way people go for coaches that do predictable things and the same lesson each week, and the thing is that its not as if Steve does the same lesson with everybody for that week and just changes it each week, he does different lessons with each person (sure each of the weeks lesson have some elements the same for everybody, but they are few and far between.) they really are good value for money, its just a shame that he has been ill recently, and that I might have to cut down on my lessons if I have to change my workplace ( but that is the life of a contractor, if I was a permanent I would not be able to afford so many lessons, so it all evens out)

Well, at the moment I am a hobo (Have sword, will travel); until “42” finally gets his new house, I am sharing a room with Jo and Marc’s pets (at least I will have a snack in the night!) and to be honest it has been a total revelation, I never realized how hard coaches work or how much mucking round goes into the whole thing (and I am not even going to start on the kit washing) each night there is a pile of office work, so just think of that when you think the swine’s in the black jackets are having it easy.

Well, that is about it for this Stickfight, I have put another couple of t-shirts up and the rest of the design should be sorted out dead soon…..

(long pause)

Ah its been a while, since I have had a good rant so lets set to it with avengence, Firstly Bristol, another comp and other cockup in the pool and another 64, its starting to get on my thungers, the only good part is that in my 128, I meet the bloke who beat me in the 128 at Bristol (or was it the welsh last year), sorry I cant remember the gentleman’s name or the comp, only the fight, and in hind sight it was a bad idea of him to mention the fact ( especially as he beat me 15-14), it turned a fight I was nervous about in to a killing session with a happy result of 15-8 to me, ah!! revenge is sweet (and none fattening), I then got slapped by Tristan Parris, who broke one of my swords left me covered in bruises and bleeding in 3 places, but at least he had a run for his money, so out at 64, but at least it let me get some good footage for the movie I posted last ratscratchings, (I want to thank all my loyal readers and site rapers, for getting stickfight into the top 20 fencing websites in the world YAHHHHH!!!!), I have no new movie for you this time nor will i be able to get the Sussex for you as my son tearfully demanded that I was at home this weekend (does this boy not realise that fencing is life!!), but I do have new t-shirts for you bringing the total to 54 (nearly half way to my goal), these t-shirts also contain a first for stick fight, its first submission! this one comes from “Tarmac” he can be found on http://www.fencingforum.com , i hope you like it. also Heriot-Watt Uni up in Scotland are going to use the stickfight movies in their sports union fair Wednesday 6th at October, so double cool.

have just heard about the fun people had a Sussex ( especially Ben measures who came in the L4, and am now moping!! (come out and play with the other fencers little stickfight, SHARNT!! :-< ) and I ended up sanding floors and more general home DIY, today is my first lesson with Steve for 2 weeks (the poor bloke has been off ill with back problems and I am dreading it as I have been a totally skiving swine and have only been fencing once in the last 2 weeks ( Do you have any last requests before are shot for being a skiving svine!!), so have to get back on form and ready for Lester in 2 weeks time, this in the middle of moving house, the terrible victimisation of the contracting professional by his main client and the fact that I had to deal with burnt toast today, Ohhh the terrible life I lead, the sufferance, the misery, and only 3 full means a day (pitiful snivelling), Ok that’s over!

I am sitting happily at work and just stretch my shoulders, my clothes feel funny on my right shoulder, I put my hand in and feel around (or..er..missis) and found a load of white paste covering my shoulder blade, in quite a bit of worry I grab a load of it and pull it out for examination, what could it be, its white with a blue and red stripe, surely not!!, I give a sniff and against all common sense a lick (most of my work colleges are starting to look a bit green at this point, there’s no dough of it, its tooth paste, now the million dollar question WHERE DID IT COME FROM!!, I’ve checked my shirt, my rucksack and when I got back to the flat I checked my bed and the bathroom for hidden tooth paste sprayers with out success, all my toothpaste was there (it was not hard , its not like I horde it or anything), I tried talking to the toothpaste its self, demanding of it the location of it hijacking confederates (it was at this point that my flat mate stopped helping me, and locked himself in his room), but it must have been specially trained as I did not get a word out of it (damn inscrutable devil!) so I am putting it down as one of those insolvable mysteries such as why I can’t do flick hits. Ah…we return to fencing with a thump. I have joined haverstock traitor!!!) and its fun, there are people there who can beat the hell out of me which is what I am after, and I have had my first lesson with Marek, there is a gentleman with a lot of voice, I had been warned to expect hell in his lesson and indeed it was hell (at least it was a dry heat) but at the same time very satisfying, what I most want in a coach is for them not to give up on me when I cock things up. to bear with me while I get it right (both Steve and Jo are like this thought in very different ways.) Alex is also a very good coach and is nearly as patent as Steve, (does anybody dare me to do comparisons of the coaches and risk being exiled to outer Mongolia). but the hall that haverstock “do their do” in really good, carpeted with enough room for about 8-10 boxes as well as a set of low steps to put your bags on, there is a stage that the coaches do their lessons on which means that you can tell at a glance if they are waiting for you, the rest of the facilities are OK, apart from the showers that although nice and hot and powerful enough, look as is they are designed for gang rape, I have started showering with my back to the wall even when their is no one in there.
Back to Bristol, its on Saturday and I am in the female foil and sabre hall and I can here this terrible noise, has anybody seem the Jane fonda file “Barbarela” well the black queen has these guards and when ever they appear their is this deathly scream, and I tell you its was exactly that noise, I almost ended up hiding behind the door, personally all foilist and people who do sabre should be locked up in a dark place.

(10/09/04) Well lots of updates for you to play with this time, rants

here I sit at the first comp of the season, and am sick to my guts with my body evacuating every thing via one hole at speed and seriously considering using another hole as way to relieve to congestion, luckily it is not epee day, its when the whippy stick people are out, and although I entered for it, I was advised not to take part so, I have 24 hours to get a grip, although in my present state I would win tons of fights as no-one would let their nice white kit near me (the cleaning bill would be terrible).

It is now after the epee day and I have done pants (last 64), I am an embarrassment to my coaches, the pool was pants (3 up, 3 down) {did not have the normal warm up session with Ben Measures}, and was only memorable in the amount of embarrassment I suffered due to my habit of fighting at any club that will have me, this meant that my pool had, out of a total 7 clubs represented 4 clubs I am a member of, so I got told off my 3 other people who are team mates, for being in the same pool as them (the unfortunate fact that these 3 were the people that I beat did not help matters), happily made it through the 128, and then comes the 64, I was against the comp No 1 seed (some lad who was having a very good day {he had beat Mr Cadman in his pool, but as was proved by his victory in the final, beating Mr Cadman in a pool and knocking Mr Cadman out of the comp are very very different things [one day in my dreams i hope to be good enough to actually have a good fight with Mr Cardman]}), and I was 6-2 down at the end of the first period, at which point Chris Howser came up to me (which was rare as I don’t like being talked to during a fight, and anyway Jo Maynard is my official coach) but I have to say I liked his comment (coaches usually say nice constructive/helpful things) which was “your fighting like a fucking muppet, rocking back and forward, get a grip and fight properly”, now I know Chris is not like that normally with fighters he coaches, but it only shows how he is coming on as a coach that he adapts to individually people rather that using the same rote on them all. OK, so I think, this bloke is beating you, just do as you are told and get a grip, so i return to the mealie holding nothing back and thundering in and out, suddenly its next break and I’m 13-9 up and what happens!, what HAPPENS!!!, I just run out of energy, it was like some bugger had pulled the plug, I go all floppy and the bloke just takes me to bits (all credit to him), and it ends 15-13 to him, F***!!!!, ah well never mind, never mind!!! NEVER MIND!!, bugger that, I am cross as a ferret in a privet bush (that is being hit with a stick), and I have to explain my failure to Steve Paul with my tail between my legs. there is however a prize to be given, it is a joint prize of sense of humour and observation and it goes to Hugo from haverstock, how upon seeing me with a camera actually posses properly and maintains the pose while both his opponent and the judge look on in confusion, waiting for me to take the photo and unaware that I was doing a movie (the pose was so good that I put it at the beginning of the Essex movie).

As we all know the different fencing styles suit different personality types, but how do you spot this in a small child so that they don’t waste time with a weapon they won’t enjoy, thankfully this question has been answered in the case of my son, I will explain, here is family Stickfight out on in sunny Boston in the centre of town, finding a place to park, this we do in a none multi story pay and display near the shops, I nip out to get the ticket and return to find my whole family sticking their tongues out at me from inside the car, in the situation, I did the only thing possible which was to put the ticket between my teeth, turn round, drop my trousers and shorts and moon my unruly clan. had my son been of the sabre persuasion he would have mooned me straight back, if he was a born epeeist he would have got out and attempted to kick me, but Nooo!!!, he says “Eurgh! he’s got the ticket in his mouth”, I morosely pull my trousers back up and get into the car,

“whats up?” my wife says,

“Our son” I answer,

“what?” she replies,

“Foil!!” I say,

She turns to me in horror, “surely not??!?!” I nod mutely and hang my head. sweetness puts on a brave face “maybe he will grow out of it”, I sigh “we can only hope.

I am badgering 42 for another update but he’s having a blank spot, so we will all just have to wait (sigh!!)

I have a load of other rants but I wanted to get the media up for Friday so people could download it over the weekend, will up date the rants this weekend

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