I once went to see a clairvoyant with a friend. She told me I had an old soul. That is the only thing she said that was true. Some days I feel like I was born in the wrong decade, but perhaps that is just what getting older feels like. Whatever it is, I feel like my body is catching up to my soul.
My tastes and interests have always been heavily influenced by my parents – from what I like to eat to what I watch on film and television, to the music I listen to and books I read. When I was a little girl (and when there was only one television set in the house!), I loved watching the old classic movies they would show on weekends. One of my favourite memories was of all the swashbuckling action: Stewart Granger in Scaramouche swinging from theatre balcony to stage, Danny Kaye under hypnosis in The Court Jester extinguishing candles with a flick of his sword, and I can never forgetting Richard Chamberlain in The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers, to name a few.
Back then, my parents mustn’t have seen me waving an imaginary sword around, jumping from couch to floor and pretending I was fighting off some bad guys. I was no Errol Flynn but I wanted to be. I was not born to be a damsel-in-distress waiting for a man to come rescue me from the pirates. I was going to be the one to swash the enemy’s buckler!
Decades later, I decided it was not too late to start my “musketeer” training. I know technically, a musketeer is someone who fights with a musket, but in my mind, Alexander Dumas’ legendary Musketeers tales involved a group of soldiers who fought equally bravely with their swords as with their muskets, and cinematically-speaking, it was more exciting to watch some sword-fighting than muskets that could only fire one ball. But I digress…
For many years, I have skimmed through the course catalogue of my local community college where I have taken some interesting courses (guitar, photography, creative writing) and seen “Fencing for Beginners” on the list, and every term, I think to myself “that sounds like fun” but then do nothing about it. Finally, in late 2015, I decided it was high time I did something about it. No more procrastinating and time to learn something completely new. Of course, I was also spurred on by my continuous binge-watching of BBC’s The Musketeers series – I am not kidding when I say I think I have worn out my DVDs and my DVD player.
The first class was a breeze by comparison to every class since. As an introduction, I learnt a little of the history and origins of fencing, the types of weapons used, and those damned competition rules that make my head spin. I learnt basic posture, the ready position, being en garde, how to move forward and back (hint: a little crab-like!) and the lunge which is as difficult as it looks!
After a term, I am no longer considered a beginner, and stepping up to the next level means lessons are tougher. Even when my more senior opponent is going “easy” on me, I still go home feeling like I’ve just fought an army. I am hoping that one day (this term!) I will actually be able to wake up the morning after a class and be able to get out of bed without all the aches and pains. But alas, the soreness makes me feel alive and know that I have given it my all. And fun was had by all.
Musketeer training shall resume on Monday.