Today, I am utterly achy.
I know exactly why. Last night, for the first time in over a year, I attended a fencing practice.
For almost 30 years, I’ve been participating in a worldwide medieval reenactment society. My most favorite activity in this society — okay, second after socializing with friends — is medieval rapier combat (aka fencing).
Growing up, I was the short fat kid. I wasn’t very good at most of the sports other kids played. In college, I was introduced to this form of fencing — and fell in love with it.
When I fence, I get into what Miyamoto Musashi referred to as the “place of no mind.” This also has been called the void, the zone, and similar terms. You get so lost in the rhythm and motion of combat that time slows, and you relish every second of it.
The same happens with meditation. You just lose track of time and where you are. For me, this also applies to writing.
Anyhow, because I get into the zone, I push. Hard. I tend to fight everyone at a given practice. Frequently I am both first and last on the floor.
I am not athletically built. I’m presently about 80lbs overweight (I am 5’6” and 268lbs). But when I get into fencing the weight disappears and I flow like water.
Except, of course, I am not made of water. I am flesh and blood. And after my first night of intense fencing in over a year — I ache.
But damn, does this pain feel amazing.
The power of good pain
There is nothing that tells you that you’re more alive than the muscle soreness following a workout.
When I’ve lifted weights, there was a day or so of ache and soreness after. But then came the added strength weightlifting will produce.
Fencing is similar, in that the balance required puts pressure on the knees, back, and hips. Not dangerous pressure, especially when your stance and balance are good — but pressure, nonetheless.
I used to fence at least twice a week. While there was always a little achiness the next day, it is that good…