I knew, the very first time I picked up a sabre, I’d been searching for it my entire life.
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 that, 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.
So my story is different. I fenced some sabre, sure. But then in 2011, I founded Sydney Sabre with my wife Frances. At its pre-Covid height, the club was the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, had more than 500 people come through its doors in any given week, and has taught more than 10,000 people how to play the sport.
All this because of our radical idea: to focus on teaching adults how to fence sabre, properly, rather than just using them as cannon-fodder for little children who might one day become champions.
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 about the sabre and me.
For various obvious reasons, I agreed not to release the book before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Then COVID-19 hit and gave me an extra year to fix up the typos.
New agreement. I’ll get the smallest possible print run done — 50 fancy folios for friends and 450 paperbacks, to fill out the minimum order size — and release it in July 2021. Then we can all move on with our lives. Those in the running will have time to read their copies, win their comp, then retire. Their competitors will have time to read their copies (I made lots of friends!) but won’t have enough time for it to make a difference.
The rest I’ll sell to recoup printing costs.
If you would like a copy, the case folios are AUD$89, and paperbacks AUD$29. I’ll autograph and stamp them if you like. Happy to ship them anywhere in the world, provided you pay for shipping. It’s about ~$10 anywhere in Australia, ~$20 to New Zealand, ~$25 to Singapore, ~$30 to Europe, and ~$35 to the States. I can pack maybe 3 paperbacks or a hardback and a paperback in each parcel, methinks. Order more and I’ll suck up the difference. Within reason. 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!
Update: books have arrived and pre-orders dispatched. Any remaining copies will be made available for purchase until stocks run out.