One of the great pleasures of my current job is that Jared and I get to meet incredible people for his column about ancient arts in the modern world. The column is called “Made New” and the most recent one is about fencing.
In order to understand fencing, one must become comfortable with paradox. Fencing is one of the safest Olympic sports—with an origin that lies in murder. Fencers have some of the most powerful legs of any athlete—which they use to move around a narrow strip barely 15 yards long. It is a sport that requires an intimacy between opponents—while being unable to see one another’s face. Fencing demands that you move as fast as you possibly can into extremely precise positions; it is chess and ballet, poker and line-dancing, pool and jeet kune do, and it is none of those things at all.