“OK, Butch,” Annie called. “Take a look at your legs.”
Butch looked down at his front leg, angled straight out in front of his body, then at his back, pointing straight out and bent at the knee. He looked back up at Annie.
“Now take a look at Kassie,” she said, glancing quickly in the direction of the teen girl, legs and arm beginning to shake as she held the position which Annie had put her in. She turned back to Butch, saw him nodding slowly.
“What’s different?” Annie asked.
Butch looked at Kassie, and a moment later it became evident he was not seeing the difference. “She’s lunging forward — see how her front leg’s bent, back leg’s straight? You’re lunging backwards — your front leg’s straight, back leg’s bent.”
“But isn’t that better defense?”
“Well yes, it would probably greatly reduce your chance of getting hit. But — stick out your arm.”
Butch extended his arm. “Where’s your hand now?”
“Here,” Butch said, waving his right hand. Bernie and Kassie laughed.
“No, I mean in relation to your body,” Annie said impatiently, coming forward and grabbing Butch’s hand. “Look down — see how your hand is just over your foot?” Butch nodded. “Your foil’s a little over three and a half feet long.” Annie continued as she stepped in front of Butch, got down into en garde position. “If I’m coming at you like I normally would, I’m going to be about — this far away,” she said, stepping back, then stopping. “How far away from each other now?”
Butch shrugged. “About — five, six feet.”
“Exactly. That means there will be about two feet between the tip of your weapon, and my target area. That’s a lot of ground to make up in an attack.”
“But,” Butch protested — “you’re the same distance away, from me. You’ve got the same problem.”
“But I’ve got an advantage. Watch this,” she said, her arm extending and body coming forward, front leg landing several inches in front of her. “I was already coming forward by the time you noticed my intent. If you weren’t paying attention, I’d hit you easily, even if you were leaning back.” She went back into en garde, and commanded, “Now you, do the same thing.”
Butch shifted his weight to his front, right leg bending at left leg straightening, but before he could lunge Annie held up her hands. “Stop! You’ve started your motion forward so I know what your intent is, but you’re still not close enough to hit me. By leaning back, you’re giving me too much time to react to your attack. It’s just not going to work.”