Fencing class today was all about not working so hard: about how my movements need to be smaller and less energetic and way more controlled–a small flick of the wrist, not a large arc of the arm and half of the rest of me that lands my point nowhere near my opponent.
This is a lesson I learn over and over again, with pretty much everything I try–I want to put too much energy and movement and effort into things, large stomping strides across a room when lighter smaller steps will do the trick and save me shoe leather besides. A small controlled stroke is worth many large uncontrolled ones, especially in a sport like fencing, when there literally is a target one is trying to hit. (Who knew an opponents entire chest was the sort of target one could miss so easily?)
With writing, revision for me is often partly about deleting repetitions, which sort of amounts to the same thing: no need to hit the reader hard over the head when a single gentle well-placed “ping” will do. It’s a balancing act, of course, and the well-placed part is not easy or trivial–the ping needs to hit home, or else the reader will miss it entirely–much as getting my point within the target area doesn’t mean anything much if I can’t also lunge forward and connect. (Still working on that, too.)
Even so: small movements. Controlled strokes. Controlled and directed energy. One day I’ll learn these things–in fencing, in writing, in life.
All of which means that yes, I finally got to try to hit people today. Which is way fun, even when I mostly did miss. 🙂
Now, if only my stories also had the ability to stab back when I fail to land my words properly, I’m sure my writerly self would learn and grow much faster!