madcurry (madcurry) wrote,

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Maestra Jeanne Thompson

This past weekend I attended the Memorial service of my first and only fencing coach. Memorial services have a way of causing you to reflect on your own life as much as that of the person being celebrated. I owe Jeanne for a lot more than a few fencing lessons.

Jeanne was everything you could ever want in a fencing Maestra. She was wise beyond normal human capacities. Her technique was simple direct and sublime. Despite being much smaller than most of her students she was nearly untouchable. Even with an ailing leg and eventually in a wheelchair she was a formidable opponent. Jeanne held her students to the same standards to which she held herself.

Jeanne taught me to never take the easy road. Doing things properly may be harder at first but in the end you will be stronger for it. The fencing she taught was of the classical variety. She shunned performance crippling ergonomic foil handles and brash attack styles in favor subtlety and the precise control of the french grip. This has effected my approach to other aspects of my life including my cartoons.

Most of her real teaching was by example. Jeanne truly lived life on her own terms. I will miss her but I know that her ideals live on within all of her students.

Maestra Jeanne Thompson 1924-2006
Tags: personal

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