I’ve had one of those months where the harder you work, the more you break yourself to pieces. This has been true for my fencing as much as for my work: I’d see a valid opening, go for it with all possible speed, and then lose the touch.
The other day, Mark, my coach, recommended I try fencing in slow motion.
At first the idea sounded strange. What would be the point of slowing down my movement in a sport that involves split-second timing and victory by millimeters? But last night, I tried it for the first time, and I realized: when I’m trying to be fast, I end up not being able to choose my moment. Chasing tiny opportunities, I miss large ones. I double down on bad ideas, and then when that doesn’t work, I try harder.
Last night, I slowed down. And when I slowed down, I saw my moments, and I fenced a handful of very clean bouts. Slowness transformed the experience, gave me space to dissect actions, and calm to take advantage of defects in my opponents’ attacks, and even press my own when the opportunity presented itself.
I wonder how many of my little frustrations are the result of working too fast…