So the story here is that Laertes is so good at fencing that anyone who steps into the “ring” with him becomes a clumsy fool.
This makes me think of an incredibly cool French woman I know. And I actually know quite a few incredibly cool French women – but this one, for some reason, always triggers incredibly clutzy behavior in me. I spill drinks, drop food, lose the ability to bring my fork to my mouth. She is somehow grace personified and I become ineptitude. But it is curious that I feel not the slightest bit of judgment from her when this happens. She’ll just hand me a napkin and continue asking me respectful interesting questions.