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Here's one student's impression of the first class:Fencing 101It starts as tag. The instructortapes off a strip in the room—the piste—and my son and I, confined by the long bounds, chase and reach for each other. But the person who’s itkeeps changing. “Left,”says the teacher, and I am it.I lunge for my son’s arm, and“Right,” says the teacher, and I retreat as fast as I can,my son now charging for me. “Left.” “Right.” “Left.” “Right.” We learn quickly to hold our weight low, to keepone foot forward, to allow distance enough to tag and not enough that we mightbe tagged back. The game is familiar. I flushwith young joy. Later we learn to extendour arms before we lunge,to advance, to retreat, to allow just the right distanceto strike, to not be struck. The instructor gives usa string to hold between us—our goal is to keep the curve in it,not to let it go too slack, too taut.My son and I danceforward and back, keepingstep with each other. both of us smiling, both of usserious as steel. When it’s done, we shake what would beour ungloved hands. We have learned just enoughto know there’s so much moreto learn. As we leave, I feelit still between us,an invisible string, linking us in this odd game of love,the world our piste, one hand always ready to battle, the other hand, ever vulnerable, ready to open, to reach, to meet the other with devastatingly effectivetenderness. --Rosemerry Trommer