By Cecily Arderne
Two Thamesreach fencers, myself and Lord Guy de Dinan, attended this year’s International Rapier Seminar in Godalming, in April, in order to improve and test our skill with the sword.
This weekend-long training event and tournament involved fencers from many different schools – and indeed countries – so it was a great opportunity to learn how rapier fencing works in a non-SCA context as well as to pick up lots of new drills and skills.
The SCA contingent present consisted of fencers from both Thamesreach and friends from Dun in Mara, including Master Cernac, who was one of the event’s instructors.
The classes I took were: “On being Lazy” (which naturally turns out to require a lot of hard practice), “Controlling the central line” and “Rapier and Dagger principles and tactics according to Giganti” (very timely, since my shiny new dagger had been wrangled from the hands of customs officers just one week earlier). By the end of the weekend I wasn’t sure whether my body or brain had worked the most, but both were exhausted.
The two tournaments – in single rapier and rapier & dagger – saw us divided into pools to contest a 60-bout king-of-the-hill competition. The fencers with the highest win ratios progressed to the semi finals.
Against some impressive competition from HEMA fencers, I was thrilled to score one win (and a handful of double-kills). Not calling blows, since the bout was watched by judges who did that for us instead, felt extremely strange. However it was a really interesting and enjoyable insight to a slightly different approach to fencing.
The skillful fencing in the final rounds of both tournaments was a pleasure to watch. Video footage of the final can be seen here: https://www.facebook.com/RichardOHughes/videos/vb.652211115/10153302689031116/?type=2&theatre
A big thank you to our hosts for the event, The School of the Sword, and to organiser Fran Terminiello.
Photo by Courtney Rice