Our series of 5 questions for members of the Æthelmearc Order of Defense continues this week with Master Illadore de Bedagrayne.
1. Of all the things you could have done in the Society , why did you choose fencing?
I had been in the SCA for about 13 years when I first started and was a cook and did other A&S activities. However, I decided I wanted to try some more physical activity. At first, I was vaguely interested in fencing – a number of friends of mine had started fencing, and I thought it looked like fun. So, I went to a practice in the BMDL.
The first time I went, it was okay and I did some drills with the marshals because they didn’t have loaner equipment that fit me. The next week, I came back and they had found a doublet my size – and I got to actually stab someone for the first time. Then, they did melee practice, and I was *hooked* from that moment on.
2. Why do you still fence?
I deeply love it. I love the people, I love the history of it, I love that there is always something new to learn, and I deeply love competition. All of Æthelmearc is amazing and its rapier community doubly so. I also love the game of fencing. It is a physical game, sure, but it is also a deeply mental one. I also greatly enjoy talking about the mental aspect of fencing with people too.
3. If you could go back in time and give the “new” you advice what would it be?
Don’t buy your first sword just because it’s pretty. I still have it. It’s practically a piece of rebar and I never use it.
4. What is your most memorable moment as a fencer?
One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given was “fight the fight in front of you.” Not only was it the perfect advice in the moment (i.e., don’t worry about winning the tourney, just focus on winning against your current opponent), it was great life advice too. I used it, practically daily, as a mantra when I was working on my master’s thesis.
5. If you were to start all over again would you do anything different?
No. Other than win the lottery so I could go fence more. Even the dumb things I have done were good learning experiences for me.