I’m currently ‘training’ for Swordfish. By which I mean I’m slowly racking up a series of minor but frustrating injuries that are hampering my ability to keep pushing through. Without boring you I’ve had aggravated nerves, ligament strains, hyper-extensions and muscle locks.

However, every time I feel a little annoyed or down about it I look at this photo and think happy thoughts.

It’s less than three weeks to Swordfish now, the flights are booked (God bless Avios points that made it pretty much free), the hotel’s all done and I’m considering buying some breeches if only because Josh Davies and Adrian Faulkner have done the same. (I think I’ll end up with some slim fit tracksuit pants). We’re into the final stretch and I think I can make four more training sessions before it arrives.

Last night I fenced even though I am/was nursing an injury to my ankle – so at less than full speed, but Pim, a two time winner of the rapier and dagger at Swordfish, was taking us through competitive stress situations in preparation. The main learning point for me was about demonstrating clear hits. We were only half judging the bouts last night (as in the scores weren’t really important) but there were several occasions where hits were called that neither fencer felt were given/received and then occasions where there were definite hits but no one called them. For me it wasn’t about the frustration of not having hits called but actually about finding a way to ensure that the hits I’m delivering successfully are clear and obvious. It means no thrusts to the wrist above the hilt (because even though it’s good fencing NO ONE EVER SEES THEM) and several other factors. It also means moving quickly to take advantage in the fight but not giving up your sense of your own style.

This year is the first year in which I’ve been fighting competitively and I’ve still got a lot to learn. As it stands I’d be happy to get out of the pools stage but we’ll have to see.