Ask Dr. Druid . day 32 . Fencing


Ask Dr. Druid . Day 32


the duel for deftness


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     Sam Breeze throttled back on his snazzy new HelioJetter, the latest two-seater sport jetabout. He settled the tiny craft on the rooftop jetter pad at Max Thorn's InnerSpace MindGym, ISMG. Sam's previous full-passage Earth Trip had been in a cruder era, but he had made his useful mark in that lifetime. He'd been a pretty good portrait artist and had invented the telegraph which had revolutionized outer-world communication at the time. He came out of each lifetime with a deeper conviction that art had an essential part in any constructive endeavor.

    Art, fencing, and invention all shared a creative quality or posture that Max coaxed into your body's and psyche's muscle memory by merrily hollering or hissing “Au point” at you for an hour every instant your body and mind lost the perfect deft balance good fencing requires. “Au point.” (Oh pwa-n. The 'a-n' sound is like the beginning of 'angle' just before you put the 'ng' sound on.) Poised. Equally ready to pounce or to retreat. Not relaxed, but not tense. It is this deft state that Max cajoled and bullied his fencers into maintaining. Properly performed, it became nearly effortless.

    Sam grimaced cheerfully at the memory of the early days when he'd all but collapsed from the effort to make no effort. Learning like a butterfly to let his attention alight on things, to hover like a hummingbird sipping nectar.

    “Breeze,” Max would hiss suddenly behind his left ear, “Are you a hummingbird? Do you skim like a swallow? Are you a zephyr?”

    'FarStars no,' Sam would think, 'I'm a waterlogged, weak-kneed, lily-livered lump.' At first, all these alertness exercises made him feel even less competent, kindergarten awkward. Perhaps it was not worth feeling this ridiculous?

    “Dogs waste effort, cats waste none,” Max would insist. “Purr. Cats are always balanced, au point, poised. Watch them and admire. Learn.” The thing Sam liked best about Max was his refusal to guru. “I'm just a technician, kid. A batting coach. Keep your eye on the ball. Everything is a ball,” he'd cackle. Wise guys always cackle.

    In fencing, your weight is not on either foot. It goes straight down from the top of your head through your spine down between your two widespread feet. Though this position is physically useful in fencing, the au point, poised attitude is also always required in order to live vividly. Alert.

    With his white canvas fencing jacket open, Sam waited for his turn on the piste, the arm-span-wide special fencing strip laid out on the Gym floor. He recalled when he had learned to fly in his own body in the less-dense Realms of Experience and the first time he had levitated in his own room at home. What both adventures had in common was an un-gravity, a not-grasping, a not-clenching.

    Levitating, he had floated up like some large Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon and bounced gently off the ceiling, feeling at once delighted, incredulous, and entirely a fool. He was like a baby in this action. He couldn't control his motion yet. When he flew in dreams, he had careened and hurtled, and when he was about to run into a wall or a mountainside, he would flinch, duck, but dream-crashing never hurt anything except his terran pride and expectations. He got grace when he stopped trying so hard.  


     ISMG, the InnerSpace MindGym, was for people who found samuraiing a tad belligerent. All the disciplines and arts sought the Zone. The monk who illuminated the manuscript, the baseball player who had to concentrate but must not squeeze the bat too tight, the fencer on guard. The Zone.

    ISMG with a certain glee disdained 'peak experiences,' that treasure hunt of the previous century. Max had put his huge ruddy hooked nose up to the end of Sam's aquiline one and gazed owlishly at him, “Bloody hell, kid,” he whispered, “I want a peak life.”

   ISMG made every client keep a journal to remind them that all action, all repose was equally a chance to practice or perfect being au point, lightly intent. “If you can't do it washing the dishes, y'ain't gonna suddenly do it here on the piste,” Max chided. Like photographs, each action has to become focused.

    Sam thought that perhaps our blessed eyes were too well-engineered for our own good. If we actually had to 'manually' focus our nifty dual full-color, 3-D bio-cameras on the front of our faces, we might better appreciate the infinite adjustments of attention required to really focus on each thing. Visually we are lazy because it is done for us so automatically.

    As Sam took his place on the piste, the special fencing strip on the Gym floor, drew up his fencing foil before his face, Max cried gleefully, “Au point, Mr. Breeze, au point! Deftly, please.”



     Samuel Finley Breese Morse was a portrait painter, inventor of the telegraph, and of Morse Code. In Fencing we find him incarnated in an unstuffed shirt, one of the greater joys of modernity – being unstuffed shirtwise, that is. He is a distant ancestor of mine, and I always have felt the wells of invention and of codes and languages and arts across the zephyry ethers – resonances, unexpected echoes.

    Your attention can be piercing or tender. It is the precious stuff whereat your life occurs, or neglected, fails to occur. An unfit attention doesn’t serve you well in either delicate work or more landscape, global work. A fabulous attention is the birthright, the untollable riches of each conscious creature. It needs to hie itself  to an InnerSpace MindGym for aerobic practice in extrospection and introspection, both fueled by wry, lest you take yourself too seriously. Levitas is the attitude of attention that will delight you whether you’re in your own cozy hovel or in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Paris, France. I’m more interested in what happens to you in your own cozy hovel because only a few of the denizens of the darling planet get to visit Paris, France and everyone would like to be able to decorate their cozy hovel with the glories of perceptioning delight. Druids are staunchly not to say stubbornly egalitarian in opportunitys to thrive in verve, to excel in élan vital.


Ask Dr. Druid, 66 Days from Lead to Gold, Secrets of  Alchemy You Can Use, a druid shaman’s playbook .. Intro; Prologue; Day 1; Days 2 & 3; Day 4; Day 5; Day 6; Day 7; Day 8; Day 9; Day 10; Day 11; Day 12; Day 13; Day 14; day 15 Review 2; Day 16; Day 17; Day 18; Day 19; Day 20; Day 21; Day 22; Day 23; Day 24; Day 25; Day 26; Day 27; Day 28; Day 29; Day 30; Day 31; Day 32;


If you know or are an agent, aspiring agent, editor, or publisher person who would handle this kind of druid material, please let me know at .. Please put ‘agent’ in the subject line.


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5 thoughts on “Ask Dr. Druid . day 32 . Fencing

  1. I do take my eyes for granted tho I just never quite thought of it like that before. I am practicing using them more deliberately. And appreciatively.

  2. IT's funny Samuel Morse kind of figured out binary or digital before we had anything like computers.
    Wonder what our world would be like if inner-space were as big as myspace.

  3. temps, the eyes do have it — tho in line with what cl says about *inner* space, the really hard thing to get one's comprehension around is that so-called 'outer space/reality' *is*, in fact, inner space — it just seems to be *out there.* That brilliant hallucination serves us well, but is as false as can be. Grokking that can give you the hebbie jeebies tho, so please don't fuss aobut it until you have an experience which proves it to yourself.

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