Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Greater Composure

In The Art of the Foil, Luigi Barbasetti discusses a variety of techniques and tactics to use in a fencing bout. In the midst of these descriptions, he talks about the essence of championship fencing.

Here we reach the true "Art of Fencing," in which correct calculation and judgement, and greater composure, precision, rapidity and endurance - general superiority in swordsmanship - will and must turn the scale. (italics mine)

Greater composure was something that I lacked last night in practice. Frustrations over leaving my old job and starting a new one, finances, social life, and a host of other issues damaged my train of thought. I executed lunges and fleches on to someones point; habits and mistakes I thought I buried long ago crawled back to the surface.

It's for this reason I avoid inviting my friends to watch me fence. Not because having them there would be distracting - it's because if they are late or don't show up, it effects my concentration. The day I won my first individual gold medal, I had a rough going in the pools because I was expecting a "friend" to arrive any minute. Between pools and DEs I simply just accepted she wasn't coming, wrote her off in my mind, and then went on to win the whole damn thing. I never understood how much composure meant until that day.

Too often I let my mind and heart focus on things and issues that in the end do not matter. Keeping my thoughts clear and single-minded is the key to winning on and off the piste.

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