A Hole In My Left Shoe by Christopher Brown
I have a hole in my left shoe. It’s on the inside of my left shoe, and it’s been there since the first week I had these shoes. It doesn’t grow or change, because the circumstances that begot it do not grow or change. It’s there because when I sword fight I drag that foot as part of my footwork. This hole in my shoe is a constant thing in my life. Even when I get a new pair of shoes it will still be back there within a week. Look closely at this hole and you can see into it, into me. You can see a story that begins several years ago.
I can see him coming from a distance; we stand in a wide expanse of grassy field in the upper reaches of the North Carolina mountains. The boy is a friend of mine; his name is Lucuse, and I’ve known him for a week and already we have the makings of life long friends. But right now we are enemies of the most mortal kind. We circle each other, a stick in each hand, our sabers, and weapons of choice. We size one another up. He is much bigger than me in all aspects except our height, which I take him by scant inches. I’m faster, and he knows it, but if we should get into a lock and are forced to rely on force he knows he will win. Our plans formulated we begin, a slash, a stab. The world around us blurs; it’s still there, but only as a memory. All that exists is a fog, a fog and my opponent. I see him in his entirety, I see the way his body moves, how each piece of him works to form his bid for my demise. I’m aware of myself; I can sense every movement that would at one time have been taken for granted. Now each step is a chapter in a novel that I can’t put down till the end. The adrenalin pounds in my mind as my opponent strikes at me trying to find a hole in my defense. It is in this feeling that I find true happiness for the first time in my young life.
That was then and this is now, and I’m a different person now than I was then. But some things stay constant from my young life. I still go up to the mountains to stand in the fields, I’m still good friends with Lucuse, and I still find ultimate joy in the sport of running men through with sticks. The love of swordplay was introduced to me that day, in that field, in a simple game of sticks that lasted until the sun set. From that one day, I have grown into an avid enthusiast of both the history of swordplay, and it’s modern techniques and applications. Beyond that even I’ve found myself engrained with the romance of the sword. This fascination, if you will, has influenced the way I am today in the most dramatic way anything ever has before. Now I find I identify with the ideals that have been linked to the sword throughout the ages. Ideals like chivalry, honor, and the concept of the duel. All these ideas have led me to embrace an idea of self-betterment that has driven me to feats I could not have achieved before. The class I am now writing this paper for is a good example of just that achievement.
The love of the sword is actually what brought me to FSU in the first place. I am as you may have guessed an avid competitive sport fencer, and I really wanted to join and fence with the FSU club. I had taken some lessons from a leading figure in the club, a one Ben Jacobson, and was very eager to expand on that knowledge. I am now a member of the club and I go to practice twice a week. The times I have there a pure joy, all the people share my passion for the
game so we get on rather well. But it was not easy to get there. As a non-student and a minor I couldn’t join up until I either turned eighteen, or became a student. Being somewhat impatient, I determined to find a faster way. So in duel enrolment, something I would have never before considered, I found my speedy way in. it was my ticket to becoming an FSU student, and thus being able to fence despite my age. This will also help me in my academic career in the near years to come, and all the benefits of this would not have been possible without that drive to be able to fence.
My writing and speech is also affected by fencing. The art of the sword is an old one, so naturally I read a lot of older texts. I’ve taken somewhat to a more archaic and deranged form of old English in some of my speech. My writing is also effected by this, as I’m sure has been noted already by the reader. It’s just another part of my individuality. I think that people are not a product of themselves, but a product of those around them. They are naturally there for made of many things; most of them small, but sometimes they have one large undercurrent that leads to the source. For me I’m thankful that I can trace that undercurrent in the form of swordplay. Along with my mannerisms, mindset, and philosophies, I can find traces of sword play influencing me in all perceivable ways. In short this one event has laid the groundwork for what I am today, and that to me is a truly remarkable thing to observe. It’s all worked together to put that hole in my left shoe.