It happens to all of us. Sometimes life intervenes. Sometimes we step up to a position that takes up a lot of the time we used to spend fighting. And sometimes we just get tired of practicing. However it happened…we fell out of practice. It’s not new. It happens to everyone at least once, sometimes more than once. It’s ok. You can reclaim your old skill level. You can even excel beyond it. You just have to want it; you have to work for it. 

Sunday saw me at practice working on my fencing. I’m glad I went. I had a great time and it has been far too long since I was able to fence seriously and really push myself in an effort to work on my own skill. 

Every fighter is different. Some people can take a break from fighting and come back like they never stopped while others might just miss a couple months of practices and have to start all over. Truthfully that might be heavily related to the number of years one has been fighting. I retain more of my skill now than I used too but I’ve also been fighting for nearly 12 years. Most of the people I know who can come back after an extended break like they never stopped have been fighting for significantly longer than I have.  

At this point I have some rust. My defense is a little wide and some of my movements are a little slower. My skill with rapier and dagger is significantly better than my skill with other weapons forms but it always has been my favorite form and I’ve spent far more time on it than any other. Now that I have time to focus on my fighting again my skill will come back and my style will change slightly. It always does. It happens faster now than it used to. 

Coming back after an extended break is lesson in humility. It’s the same for almost everyone; none of us are particularly special in that regard. But if you want to stay in for the long haul you need to be prepared to either take your medicine when the time comes or never let yourself fall out of practice. It’s hard. You know where you were. You know where you want to be. But the road back and beyond is long and can be daunting. But you can’t let yourself get caught up in focusing on that. If you let yourself get pulled down into that vortex you might never be able to pull yourself out of it. Remember when you first started fighting. Think about how much further along from there you are now. Think about where you want to go with your fighting. Set goals for yourself and focus on them. Measure your progress against yourself, not someone else. You’ll get where you want to go.

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