Sunday, July 27, 2014

special occasion

Nationals 2014 was a landmark for me. Not only was it my first national veterans' competition, it was also the first Nationals where I was eligible for more than one event. With Div II, II, and Vet 40 women's foil lined up, I wanted to  commemorate it in some way.

Enter henna:

I got the idea from a friend of mine who had her back painted for her wedding. She first encountered henna at an Indian friend's wedding. Her friend told her that it was traditional in India to have henna decoration for special occasions.

I'm not all that traditional, but I liked the idea of marking an event with body art. I chose my back out of the idea of having something protective, "getting my back", as it were. It wasn't important to me to have it visible to other people - I just wanted to know it was there.

Choosing a design was simple. I've had this book about tattoos and body art for years, which included some abstract linear designs by Ed Hardy before he became known for his more "flash" type work. I'd always loved those, and wanted something similar.

Finding an artist wasn't difficult either. A club mate's daughter has her own henna and body art business, and was happy to look at the images I sent her and invent from there. I think she did a fantastic job!

Would I do it again? Absolutely - the process (laying down in a quiet, incense-scented room while she applied the henna) was quite relaxing, and I loved the results!

Turned out to be good luck in a way as well - I got my first national medal this year!

Does anyone else ever adorn themselves or engage in special rituals for big competitions?

Monday, July 7, 2014


Here is Paralympic athlete Cat Bouwkamp's saber tat:

Race Imboden has Olympian ink, too:

From Ginger Snaps Tumbler

But you don't have to be an Olympian to sport the rings

And fencer's tats don't have to be about the Olympics

Renee (epee) explains her ink this way:

"My first sci-fi/fantasy book was Dragonsdawn by Anne McCaffery...after reading that, I fell in love with dragons. I found a pic online of a dragon, but it wouldn't fit on my arm the way it was designed. My tattoo artist (without knowing how much I love the water) designed a new tail in the shape of a sea horse and put bubbles around it and colored it in blue. It was fate, and I've loved my tatt ever since. "

Dormouse (one of my teammates in Rockville Fencing Academy's Team Menagerie), doesn't really have to explain hers:
(Now that you've seen this, next time you see Team Menagerie in action you may understand why Tabby and I are yelling "Nap, Dormouse, nap! Whatever you do, DON'T WAKE UP!!!!")

Pam D. (vet women's foil) shares this story behind her tattoo:

"Nu Kua, or Nu Wa, as she is sometimes called, is the Chinese Godess of creation. First mentioned in text form the Xing Dynasty, she fashioned humans from clay. I chose her from a book of deities while looking through a book store in Philadelphia. My husband and I had come to get tattoos from a friend of a friend, who was visiting the states, from Amsterdam. We had originally planned to get wedding rings tattooed on our fingers. But on a coffee stop along the highway, we saw a magazine cover with movies stars holding up their newly tattooed wedding rings. Ugg. So we decided on arm bands. He has a dragon wound around his arm, and I picked my Chinese Goddess."

I've also collected some pics of fencing tattoos sans stories (not that they didn't have their own tales--I just didn't have time to ask. Middle of the competition, and all.)


This is the same young gentleman sporting the non-
Olympic rings, above. I assume he is/was indeed a Marine.
Heck, maybe he was an Olympian and I just
didn't recognize him. Oops.

I'm hoping you will send me or Allison a pic of your tattoo(s), ones we don't usually get to see, when you are all suited up for a competition. Especially if they have a story that goes with!