The blade lunged toward my chest, but I was ready. My opponent didn’t have a chance. I parried, striking his foil aside . . .
At least, that’s what I meant to do. With a deft flick of his wrist, his foil circled my heavier rapier, never allowing my blade to touch his. I had time to think, “Uh-oh, I’m dead,” as the tip of his foil flashed toward my heart.
In my dreams, right? Think again. Last night, this reporter was lucky enough to take part in an impromptu fencing demonstration by guest author Mitchell Graham, who also happens to be a swordsman extraordinaire. Wow. What a rush!
During the panel “Fightin’ n’ Writin’,” Graham admitted with a mischievous smile that he has fenced for over twenty years and was not only a two-time national champion, but also a member of the U.S. Olympic team in 1984 and 1988. According to Graham, “fencing is a physical game of chess played at 150 mph.” As one who’s been on the other end of his lunge, I’d say that was giving a conservative estimate.
Graham used his expertise in his first novel, The Fifth Ring, which begins with a fencing scene. He has also written a sequel, The Emerald Cavern, due out in December 2003.