《擊劍大師》

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《擊劍大師》
作者:阿圖洛.貝雷茲-雷維特

世界盃剛過,一幕幕精彩畫面仍然記憶猶新之際,另一場體壇盛事的戰幔已準備揭開——第18屆亞運將於8月18日在印尼雅加達開幕。其中單車、羽毛球、游泳、壁球、劍擊等項目都是港隊的獎牌希望。

其實這些數年一度的大型綜合運動會,都是促使普羅市民對運動項目有更深認識的契機。有不少項目的名稱驟聽熟悉,但實質卻沒知道幾多。例如我們不少人懂得踏單車,卻不知道單車競賽可細分為公路、場地、登山等項目,至於甚麼「爭先賽」、「凱林賽」更不會知道是甚麼了。同樣地,劍擊運動我們在電視不時看見,卻通常都是置身其中的運動員才會明白當中項目及規則。

除了親身參與、接受正規訓練之外,我們還有甚麼方法認識一項陌生的運動項目呢?記得小時候頗喜歡玩「紅白機」一個棒球遊戲,日久自然對棒球規則知道了大概。圍繞某特定項目的書籍、電影相信也可以帶來同樣的功效。劍擊又稱擊劍,《擊劍大師》這部小說由有「西班牙國民作家」之稱的貝雷茲-雷維特所作,講述一位已屆中年的劍擊高手如何捲入一場政治漩渦之中。故事充滿恩怨情仇,讀者可以從曲折的情節中同時知道了不少劍擊運動的規則。當然,故事描述19世紀的劍擊與今天亞運的花劍、重劍等項目不盡相同,但至少故事的引人入勝,或會驅使大家對此運動有更多了解。

《擊劍大師》故事也關係到19世紀的西班牙政局,故讀這部30年前的暢銷小說除了認識劍擊之外,更可認識歷史,層次可謂豐富非常。
El Maestro de Esgrima (The Fencing Master)
Author: Arturo Perez-Reverte

While we are still replaying in our minds highlights of the recently completed World Cup, another major sports event will soon kick off on 18 August in Jakarta, Indonesia – the 18th Asian Games. Hong Kong’s teams are hopeful for medals especially in the cycling, badminton, swimming, squash and fencing categories.

Actually, all regular, large-scale integrated sporting events are opportunities for the general public to learn more about different sports categories, many of which sound familiar but what they really are is known to only a few. For example, many of us know how to cycle, but very few of us know that cycling races can be sub-categorized into road bicycle racing, track cycling and mountain bike racing – let alone the sprint and keirin categories. Fencing, likewise, is a sport we always see on TV but few really know much about its sub-categories and rules.

Apart from actually playing it and getting professional training, are there any other ways for us to learn more about an unfamiliar sport? When I was a kid, I used to enjoy playing a baseball video game through my Nintendo Entertainment System. That is how I gained some knowledge about the rules of this sport. Reading related books and watching related movies can also lead to the same result. El Maestro de Esgrima (The Fencing Master) is a novel written by Arturo Perez-Reverte, who is highly acclaimed as the national author of Spain. Filled with grievances, the novel tells the story of how a middle-aged fencing master struggled during his nation’s political turmoil. The book also helps readers learn about many fencing rules that relate to the intricate plot. The story takes place in the 19th century, when the fencing rules were quite different from the foil and épée categories in today’s Asian Games. Nonetheless, this fascinating story can definitely help you understand more about the sport of fencing.

El Maestro de Esgrima also provides a historic look at Spain’s political situation during the 19th century. So, this 30-year-old bestseller serves both as a sports book and cultural archive of Spain’s fascinating past.

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