Fencing In New Mexico

With our apartment, we're getting a free subscription to the Los Alamos Monitor, which arrives in a clump in our mailbox. I brought a pile back when we were housesitting, and ran across an announcement in the sports section for the Los Alamos Fencing Club. It sounded interesting, but also sounded like an hour-long drive, but it reminded me that I needed to check in with the High Desert Fencing group to see about finding a club, which utimately led me to the New Mexico Fencing Foundation. I had an email exchange with the coach, and was encouraged to come out to visit.

So, last night I headed out to the Genoveva Chavez Community Center. It's off Rodeo Drive — as it turns out, by way of the same road that leads to the Santa Fe Rodeo, currently in progress. Accidentally, I got around the traffic, and into the Center. Which is a pretty amazing construct: huge pool area, skating rink, indoor basketball courts. Checking in, the staff was a little unsure if there was fencing that night, but was told that past the weight room, up on the mezzanine, "is where they play." Once I started along, the "ching ching" sound of blades was easy to follow; finding the stairs up was a different matter.

On the mezzanine, there was space for three strips. Two were set up with electric, the third for the coach. He noticed my arrival, and sent one of the club members over to welcome me. He explained that they pretty much only do electric, given the new "timing" used in competitiion. Luckily, they have gear to loan out; I have a lamé that I left at the apartment, but haven't had any other working electric equipment in about a decade.

After a couple months off, I figured I'd ease into it by starting with my normal warmup routine, some footwork then stretching.

Oh, my goodness, the altitude.

I was sucking wind, badly, after just a few minutes. By then, a few more foil fencers had arrived and started on one of the strips. I was invited over to join in. I fenced two of the guys, some sparring that moved on to bouting. In between gasps and buying time between hits, I managed to do pretty well, tying one bout (called on account of injury) and winning another — in addition to breathing, I just wanted to represent for Coach Jun and the rest of the gang at Olde Town. I had to take a break for a while, but got in about an hour or so of fencing. It felt good to be back; I really think (and hope) that my clouded judgement was due mostly to time off and oxygen deprivation.

Got to speak with the coach for a bit once I'd decided to wrap up for the evening. I owned up that, though I've been doing this for years, I do like fencing, just not enough to commit to regular competition and all the training that entails. Overall, seems like a good group, and they meet at pretty convenient times, Monday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings. The cost is more than I'm used to, but I plan on trying to make a habit of it for the next few weeks and seeing how it all goes.

1 comment:

andy said...

The Los Alamos guys had the coolest logo.