Two posts in one day, Gentle Reader? I was surprised, too. Don’t worry, this one’s short.
At any rate, you may remember J. from Post the Thirteenth. In our hey-day, we’d boffer-fight all the time. For those of you not in the know, or who have lives, boffer-fighting involves padded swords, as practice for fighting with rattan ( a sort of bamboo – not padded) or live steel (absolutely no padding. Quite the opposite, in fact). J. was into it, and not only was I a little in love with him, I hero worshipped him. Therefore, for absolute ages, I begged him to teach me how to fight.
Eventually, he gave in. He introduced me to like-minded friends, and we’d practice constantly. The trouble was that I wasn’t very good at it.
J. tried everything. Most frequently, we’d climb out his bedroom window onto his mother’s roof, and we’d fight there. I’d have to get more aggressive if I didn’t want to be backed off the edge. Eventually, he took to swinging at me with live steel, in the hopes that that would shock me into defending myself. It worked, to an extent – I began to improve.
Improvement was slow, however. During one particular session, in which I had not only telegraphed my intentions, but also moved directly into the path of J.’s blade repeatedly, he threw his sword down in disgust and gave me one of the best pieces of advice that I’ve ever gotten. To wit, “Even dogs know to move away from what’s causing them pain, Tyler.” That is to say, if something pains you, either prevent it from happening or avoid it. Or, of course, to counter-attack.
I don’t always remember or apply this little gem, but after a statement given by our surprise company this afternoon, I thought it might be time to pass this wisdom along. It’s also time to bring it back into my life.