Saturday, July 28, 2007

Ode to an Old Friend

Weathered and worn,
scared and torn.
Each scratch an opponent tried,
each mark a touch denied.



Sense I started fencing, I have always loved old battle scared bell guards and weapons. I love them like I love antique furniture that has been polished so often that the once sharp edges are now rounded and soft. I love them like I love stone stone streets in Paris that have been made smooth by centuries of rain and steps of countless leather soled boots.

It is some how different when I look at a weapon though. You can hear the solid "THUNK" of the hit blocked by the bell guard and you will find remnants of those sounds recorded there in almost perfect circles.

I have a goodly number of weapons, but I have one I love above all the others. It is a Leon Paul epee. Nothing expensive about it, except perhaps a bit more for the leather grip. It is the first Leon Paul weapon I ever owned.

The orange colored leather of the French grip that was once monotone is now burnished black on the edges, like the leather on a 18th century gentleman's writing desk top. Even the tip is scared and dented from it's own attempts to breach walls of bell guards.

The cant on this weapon is perfection. It is severe, but legal. People often comment on it and most like it.

This weapon has a name. I remember giving him the name when talking to a small boy on strip. It was a joke to put him at ease and make the blade ( and me ) seem less threatening. My blades  name is "Mr. Pointy". When you say the name, you need to have the slight sound of a Muppet character in your voice......or perhaps Kermit the frog. ( Just slightly )

Sense that time, several people in the club have come to know the name of this weapon and when I say the name or make comments about Mr. Pointy, it tends to bring a smile.....even to me.

That weapon and I fenced a lot of people last season. I would say we are brothers-in-arms , though in actuality, he IS the arm.

When I look at him, I see myself. Weathered....not in the best shape....but still functional and eager to go to the strip.

I fenced a little last night. I have a more expensive Leon Paul weapon with a pistol grip I used to practice. After pools we did " King of the Mountain " on strip. It was then I placed the pistol grip back in the bag and invited my old friend to join me.

Mr. Pointy needs some work. His tip needs to be replaced. It might even be time to replace the bell guard, though I would loath to do so. I have even thought of buying a new one, just like him and praying that I could adjust the cant on it, without breaking the tang. They seem to be welded on to the blade these days. I think about doing this and I feel like I would be betraying a friend. I know how silly that sounds, yet I can not help but feel that way. Perhaps, I could view it as semi-retirement and bring out Mr. Pointy for special occasions.

For now though......for now..... I will replace his tip and steel wool his blade ( perhaps with a drop of oil....he likes that).

1 comment:

fencerkath said...

Those four lines must carry a familiar meaning to every fencer