A Gen Ficlet that Could Be Interpreted Otherwise
Featuring Characters Not Owned by Me
The protective jacket is thick and unwieldy, his gloved hand shaking in the grip. Part of it is the strain of holding a lunge with sword extended, which Sulu has been making him do over and over so he can practice correct form. The other part of it is the excitement of something new.
"I am not sure I kin do zis," he mumbles.
"You're doing great, Pavel. Now redouble."
He lunges again without returning to en garde. Sulu clicks his tongue, his eyes having fallen upon Chekov's hand. "You're holding the sabre wrong. There are different ways to grip it: the English, the Russian…"
"Vell, the Russians inwented –"
"No, the French invented sabre fencing. Sorry."
The Russian sounds mildly miffed. "Ve can look it up later."
Sulu smiles and takes Chekov's hand in his, moving the guard on the hilt so it is aligned in the Russian way. "All right. Recover. Now show me your parry one…no, that's parry two…that's six…"
Chekov waves his sword in frustration. "Perhaps I should stick to my mazhematics."
"No way. Pythagoras was a fencer, you know."
Sulu draws his sword and demonstrates. "Parry three, parry four, parry five."
For a second Chekov doesn't get it, and then he sees how the parries make a right-angled triangle in midair.
Though it is a silly joke – or perhaps because it is a silly joke – the two friends laugh until Chekov can no longer hold his pose.
In case this isn't clear to anyone, a "parry" is when you move your sword to block the other person's sword. There are six parries for sabre, each one designed to protect a strike from a different angle.
A newbie fencer has to spend several lessons practicing form and footwork before they even think about doing a bout (a play-duel). This is to keep him from injuring himself. Sulu would not teach actual combat fencing to his friend right off the bat, so Chekov's real perils lie in twisting an ankle or throwing out a knee.
I am in the fencing club at my college, and we're all unashamed geeks. One of the members told me about how she and a bunch of other fencers went to see the Star Trek movie in the theater. When Sulu mentioned that his hand-to-hand combat training was fencing, they all cheered.
I do not apologize for the joke. It was taught to me when I learned my parries. A 3-4-5 triangle is one of the simplest triangles that conform to the
Sabre rules, foil drools. Epee originated in wimpy duels that were only to first blood. Sabre you can attack people on horseback. And it's what they use in Pirates of the Caribbean. Though one of my friends is in agony when she watches because she sees Jack Sparrow use the same two parries over and over and over.