I knew, the very first time I picked up a sabre, I’d been searching for it my entire life.
It is a strange feeling. With a sabre in hand, or even the idea of a sabre, I am a better man — more confident, more capable, more calm in the face of a crisis. I don’t understand the metaphysical hold that these inanimate hunks of metal and wood and leather have on me. But I know that I’m not alone.
Swords are special.
This is the classic starting point for any good sports autobiography. The way this is supposed to work is that I would then go on to describe my childhood adventures, my early competitive defeats, and my most hard-won victories. I would finish off with some kind of great success, ideally at the pinnacle of the sport, along with some pithy lessons about wielding a sabre that would translate well to life lessons for aspiring athletes and corporate weekend warriors. There are plenty of books like this, some of them good.
I can’t write that book. At least partly because the first time I picked up a sabre was when I was 23 years old.
My story is different. In 2011, I founded Sydney Sabre in Sydney, Australia. As I write this in 2020, it is the biggest fencing club in the Southern Hemisphere. At its pre-Covid height, the club had more than 500 people come through its doors in any given week, has taught more than 10,000 people how to play the sport.
This achievement, in and of itself, is not unusual. What made Sydney Sabre unique was this: it was the only fencing club in the world that focused on teaching adults how to fence sabre.
So this book is about how I learned to fence sabre as an adult, compete at the highest tiers of the sport, and teach other adults how to do so as well. I was never able to defeat the greatest fencers of my time, but I was always able to put up a fight against them. This I was able to do because of those who helped me along the way, people who were great fencers and coaches. This book is as much about them, and their lessons, as what I did myself.
For various obvious reasons, I agreed not to release the book before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Now it’s 2021.
New agreement: I’ll get the smallest possible print run done — 100 fabric-case folios and 400 paperbacks — and released in June, so I can move on with my life. Those concerned can read their copies, win their comp, then retire. The rest I’ll sell in the meantime to recoup printing costs.
If you would like a copy, the case folios are AUD$100, and paperbacks AUD$40. I’ll autograph and stamp them if you want. Happy to ship them anywhere in the world, provided you pay for shipping (~AUD$20 anywhere in Australia, NZ, China, Korea; ~AUD$30 to the UK/Europe; ~AUD$50 to the USA). First come first served; when I’m out, that’s it.
For those who’re asking for an ebook: sure, when I get around to it. Maybe if and when I find a publisher. Definitely not before July 2021, for reasons.
Still interested? Click here to pre-order and send me money.