I've always wanted to try fencing. I've thought about it for years, but one thing or another got in the way. I was too poor, too fat, too old. There was no convenient place to learn. I could never work it in around work.
A couple of weeks ago, though, I saw a flyer for a group called Coastside Academy of Fencing. They were starting beginning classes right here in Pacifica. I wrote down the information and emailed them almost immediately, and was given a friendly invite to come and take a class.
Now, normally, I would have found a million reasons not to go, and I did feel too old, fat and in too much pain (what with my feet) to be any good. But I showed up anyway. Fortunately for me (as it turns out), no one else showed up to the class, so I basically got a free hour and a half lesson in the basics.
The Maestro is an older Polish man with a bit of a paunch, but he's fast. He was a three-time national champion in Poland, but he wasn't the least bit intimidating at all. He was sweet and supportive and completely non-threatening. I was just going to "watch", but in no time I found myself masked and suited and trying to hit him.
Now, I sucked. I'll be honest. And my feet are going to make it hard for me to be as fast as I need to be. But I didn't suck nearly as badly as I could have, and I actually felt pretty good at times. He pointed out that we normally don't go from "This is what a sabre looks like" to a 5-touch bout in 90 minutes, but he thought I could handle it. So I must have done well for a raw beginner.
I signed up for lessons through the rest of August, and after that we'll see.