[This week’s Discover Challenge from The Daily Post is on the topic of Learning.]

Pushing from a left leg too short and underdeveloped to propel his overweight body further than an inch, Butch lunged at Annie, the blade of his weapon pressing into her white-jacketed torso then sliding down to her waist.

“Halt.” Coach Dan stepped forward, from the large area of black tile on the cafeteria floor, to the longthick rectangle of white tile where his two students were sparring. “Annie, did he hit you?”

The athletic teen shook her head, brown pony-tail wagging behind her mask. “Flat.”

“Oh!” Butch lifted the mask off from his chin, exposing eyes wide. “Sorry!”

“Don’t tell me the apology.” Coach Dan extended his open right palm at Butch, his alternative to pointing a finger. “Being sorry helps in no way. Tell me instead what you did wrong, so that we can move to the correction.”

 “Oh!” Butch glanced anxiously between the fencing team coach and team captain. “What I did wrong — didn’t hit with the point, that’s it?”

Mask still concealing her face, Annie looked down, shaking her head. Coach Dan smiled, blinked — “Not hitting with the point was the result, my friend, of at least two mistakes made in the execution of your attack.” His left hand extended out to his side — “Annie, what was one?”

She lifted her mask, exposing her impatient face. “Too close. He started his attack a step closer to me than he should’ve, really.”

“Correct.” The thirty-four-year-old English teacher and volunteer fencing instructor for Bark Bay High School turned his attention towards Butch. “And — what goes first?”

“Oh!” Butch stared up at the high cafeteria ceiling, as if the answer to his coach’s question would suddenly appear. “The tip?”

Annie suppressed a groan, as Coach Dan shook his head, extending his right arm. “Hand. First. You’re lunging then extending — get that hand out first, let it pull your body forward, instead of your body pushing your hand.” He stepped back, nodding at Butch. “Watch your distance, get the hand out. Think you can show me those corrections, my friend?”

“Oh!” The force of Butch’s nodding response brought his mask down over his round face. “You mean, now?”

Annie hummed a laugh, pulled her mask down over her face. “Really no time like the present.”

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