The Reason for Eight

Having finished with his instructions to Annie and Rex, Coach Dan intruded himself on the conversation between Rune and The Bird.

“Sandy here was asking about the eight parries.” Rune hadn’t become familiar with the petite teen’s new nickname.

“And I saw you demonstrate the four and six.” Coach Dan sounded pleased. “And five, if I’m not mistaken.”

“Only to show how four got to six. Didn’t you say there was like, a progression?”

Coach Dan’s bearded face lit with enthusiasm. “Precisely, my friend! Your position at the end of each parry is the start position of the next.”

But why are there eight, asked The Bird. She explained that Rune had told her she only needed to know the four and six, but she wanted to know why there were a total of eight.

“En garde.” It took a moment for Rune to recognize his coach was giving him a command; he then shifted his body a quarter turn, his right foot and arm in front and pointed at his coach. A few more curt commands — get your back foot in line, you can bend those knees more, get that arm back, stop leaning — and the greasy haired teen looked ready, if not quite comfortable. Coach Dan motioned for The Bird to stand in front oof Rune, and stood over her shoulders.

“You see how he has a left side — and a right side.” She nodded. “He also has a high and low side, at the waist. Think of two lines, a vertical going down the length of his body, a horizontal intersecting it at the waist. You with me?”

The Bird said she could see. Rune smiled and nodded, but still looked uncomfortable.

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