Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Research is Where You Find It

A scene in my novel The War of the Worlds and Fairies involves a fairy and a pixie demonstrating épée practice—épées are thicker than foils, with a triangular cross section.  Then I remembered a girl in the youth group at my church who wore a shirt indicating she was part of a local fencing group. 


public domain

So I asked the assistant pastor if he could point me in the direction of that girl.  He knew who she was, but added that a young woman who spent time with the youth group was actually more involved with fencing.  So I asked the woman if she fenced, and she said no. 

Seeing the puzzled look on my face, she added that she had fenced a few years ago.  But she said her father knew more about it. 

I know her father better than I know her, so I went and asked him about it.  He immediately brought up the subject of épées, and added the story of how a Russian fencing master was at the place where he practiced.  This Russian master would barely move his torso, just move around with his feet as he fended off attacks, then get in a hit with a quick, short move. 


So I was within one degree of separation of some surprisingly handy knowledge, but it just took a few steps to find it.  Although I gave him a few pages describing the scene, I don’t know if anything will come of it since the fairy and pixie are flying during their practice, no footwork involved.  But if you need to do some research, ask around.  

5 comments:

Connie Keller said...

I love watching fencing--they call it physical chess for good reason. My sons used to fence. In fact, one was a fencing instructor for a while, but that was before grad school.

Mark Murata said...

That's impressive. I understand what you mean by "physical chess." The friend I talked to about it said not all hits count -- a person has to be on offense for the hit to count.

Pk Hrezo said...

Great point! Isn't it funny how when one little facet of our story like that is ever present in our minds, suddenly we find that nugget of wisdom around us when we least expect it to make the facet work.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I took fencing for a short time in university. It's tough. You need amazing reflexes.

Mark Murata said...

Here's a link to Captain Picard fencing while discussing a Borg who was rescued.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eZrgUC8ixA

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