On a typical Friday evening I would normally be at the fencing club, getting told to keep my hand up by my coach and fencing until my legs couldn’t pump out even a step anymore. When quarantine started, I didn’t actually realize for a while what that would mean for my fencing life. I first assumed that I wouldn’t be able to go to practice or fence anyone for a few weeks or 2 months max. I definitely wasn’t expecting to stay cooped up at home for 9 months and counting, hiding from the sun without having fenced a real person.
There’s always the weekly fencing/conditioning zooms but nothing like the real thing. I always tried to practice with my fencing dummy that I had built a couple of years ago, but it still didn’t fill that missing feeling. Looking into a wooden pole while doing parries was an interesting experience to say the least. In order to stay sane, I experimented for a little bit by trying to find a new routine. Early morning runs was hit or miss – a horrible idea, in fact, because I’m not a morning person. I later decided to just do simple one-hour workouts on my own, 3-4 times a week, which wasn’t much, but better than nothing. School eventually started, and I had classes starting from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM in front of a screen all day, or in my case, falling asleep and accidentally smacking my face against the keyboard each time. The workouts eventually started to become a nice release and really helped me get through the week. Inevitably, homework started piling up, and I was only able to work out whenever I had time after school or on the weekends. My life was caught in a grueling, boring, and overall unchanging cycle: Wake up, get in front of the computer, sit in a chair for who knows how long, eat dinner, do homework, and finally go to sleep. Thankfully, when Coach Miller offered to do private lessons at my house, I felt my prayers had finally been answered.
Although only on the weekends, starting up fencing lessons again was so liberating in the time of covid-19. I felt freer in my thick gear and mask than in my PJs in my cozy room. It is another Friday evening, but this time, I’m cleaning my fencing gear for tomorrow’s lesson. This is now my new routine.