04 October 2012

Fencing update

So the SandCastle Son started fencing a couple months ago and I joined him a month later.  For me, it's great exercise mixed with a nice diversion to distract me from the fact that I am exercising.

The Doc ordered, "keep Fencing!" at the conclusion of a recent annual physical.  "Everything is trending in the right direction."  I'm down 15 lbs and holding but I think that's because fat-mass is being replaced by muscle-mass.

At this point, I am likely more enthusiastic than the SCSon.  Heck I'm more enthusiastic than most in the class.  Most are here because mum & dad signed them up and dropped them off.  To them it's just another afterschool activity like piano or violin lessons.  Only about 10% of the parents stick around to watch and some of those are in the "quiet" room pounding away on a laptop.  OTOH, the health benefits of getting my heart rate up and stressing the cardio system is what I am buying.

We start with 10-15 minutes of jogging, mixed with sidesteps, crossovers, skipping, high skipping, butt kicks, etc.  The SCSon caught up with me during the "sprint the back wall" section and we engaged in an impromptu footrace.  Apparently several others were nearby and joined in so we had a real race of 8-10.  Even given our headstart, a couple passed us.  Still great fun.  Then onto warmups.
Instructor "Joe" nominated me to lead warmups tonight.  I led with my best  RLeeErmy minus the personal attacks.  I announced each exercise and counted out loud enough for everyone in the cavernous gym to hear.  I hope to have set a new standard for others to follow.  (some nominated have very timid voices).

Warmups are followed by "reindeer games".  These are schoolyard games reaching back centuries.   We get caught up in the moment, myself included, but that is it's own problem...  Last week we played "sharks and minnows". I was a shark and a "young'n" minnow lazily jogged past me obviously dismissing me as a threat.   I decided even with my advanced mass, I could overtake said Young'n.  And I did but in the tagging process, said young'n ended up on the ground.   No I did not intend to push him down, I merely wanted to show him this 50YO, 50+lbs overweight OFWG can still get up and move.  They didn't call me "crazy legs" for nothing! The tag was part of the game, nothing personal and no harm done.  I was also the first on the scene to help him up and make sure he was OK but I still felt bad.  Still at my age, playing schoolyard games with kids is a little weird.  Instead now I spend gametime lifting weights in the gym.  I think this is better all around.

Unfortunately the SCSon has come down with a nasty skin rash and we don't know what is causing it.  One possible cause is the fencing jacket or lame'.  He's been to a dermatologist but all they do is attempt to treat the rash.  He has an appointment with an allergist looking for the root cause.

In the meantime we have stopped dressing to fence (jacket + lame).  That means "fencing" has become just an exercise program.  The DayJob(tm) offers a nicely equipped gym which I can use for free.  Also, without the payoff of actually sparring/bouting/swordfighting, the SCSon is losing interest. 

We learned tonight the detergent they use to launder the jackets is indeed something he reacted to before.  Ok, that's a problem easily solved by purchasing a jacket that we can launder our selves. And another one next year because he's grown out of it, and another 6 months later for the same reason.  He's at that age :-(

So we are taking a break from "fencing" until we can actually "fence"!  I expect to get back to it even if it's only me.  The "boot camp" program a friend got me into a couple years ago was about the same price, but this is more fun.  In the meantime, the plan is to workout at the DayJob(tm) gym.

It's the right kind of exercise for me.


Jon said...

I've had good luck buying equipment for my group (I run a western martial arts group here in the valley) from a company called Blue Gauntlet.

The quality you get for the price is pretty impressive, and their customer service is excellent.

I've spent probably close to a grand with them over the last 6-8 years and been satisfied every time.

danno said...

Thanks Jon -

Another fencer also recommended Blue Gauntlet. I checked the site at the time, but later I tried to find it again and forgot the link.

Thanks for refreshing my memory!

NotClauswitz said...

I remember the coat I checked-out (in college) when I was doing Foil always had that "gym" smell - but the three layers of padded canvas was not enough to prevent the rosettes you'd get from sparring, and the helmet was worse. ;-)
My teacher was this guy - oh dammit - God rest his funny, brilliant and quirky soul, suddenly I have a thing in my eye...