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23 December 2006

Fencing with the master

Prof. Erez Yardeni
Prof. Erez Yardeni

Fencing with the master

To Archway yesterday for a lesson with fencing master Prof. Erez Yardeni at his Salle d’Armes. Miki’s interest has been touched by fencing, and we went last week to observe a class at a local fencing club, Salle Paul. The Salle d’Armes is a quite different business. Yardeni teaches fencing as a martial art, claiming direct descent in a line of teaching from an 18th-century master, St George.

He reminds me somewhat of the army major who taught fencing and boxing at Canford School in the 60s, turning up in his sports car with a bag of blades in the back. There was no question there of it being a whit less martial than boxing, or the unarmed combat he was said to teach commandos, and we were drilled weaponless for what seemed like hours in the stance he wanted, thighs burning, our buttocks, it seemed, brushing the floor. The major told us to master the basics with speed and accuracy; we should defeat any number of opponents. My later experiences of sport fencing, with its electrical equipment and lamé jackets have all felt degraded from the simplicity of that first experience; and Prof. Yardeni’s salle a bracing return to it. Its dedication seems more than Miki’s interest will bear at this point, but perhaps I shall find my way back to it, with or without her.

Posted by SJT at December 23, 2006 09:58 AM

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