Sunday, September 10, 2017
I need an opinion. Or maybe if I just write it down and look at it, the answer will come to me.
I generally train two nights a week. Occasionally some practice bouting or a local tournament on weekends. The two nights of training are at 2 different clubs. Travel time to one club is around 4 hours round trip. 2 hours and 40 minutes to the other. I am a 65 year old man. I have been fencing for 13 years.
My training at present goes like this. 3 private lessons a week. 1 group lesson. Bout around 6 times a week. ( More if I work in some weekend training.)1 private lesson is technical. (Note: You will not find a better person to give a pure technical lesson.) The other two vary in emphasis. Both great coaches. The closer club I travel to, I very rarely bout. I take two private lessons there. The reason I do not bout is a time issue. By the time my private lessons are done, the strips are full. More to it than that, but that is the "biggie".
If I cut out one of the private lessons at the club where I take two, I could work in maybe 3 extra bouts. Most of these would be with people that are greatly superior to me. (I prefer people who are better, but not by a huge margin.) Is that better than what I am doing?
I have always thought that the way I am doing it is best for the following reasons. While more bouts would be better for me as far as improving endurance, I feel like I just be playing my same old game and reinforcing the things I do wrong . By taking private lessons, I feel I am trying to improve my game. Sadly, at my age correcting things and picking up new things becomes incredibility hard. Not sure to what extent, if any, I am succeeding. (Also, I really enjoy the the two private lessons and some of why you fence is to have fun. Or it should be.)
( Note: A lot of times,when I record in my journal, I am just trying to figure things out or come to some sort of conclusion. I did not do that by writing this post. However, I did see that there is a third possibility. That is that it just doesn't make any appreciably difference which option I take. That might be the answer I am looking for. )
Sunday, July 30, 2017
The other day, I threw up a meaningless entry into my journal. It was just because I don't seem to be posting often.
Today, I have something to record.
Yesterday, I fenced in a practice team tournament. Good practice. I did not fence well, but I fenced.
The teams were picked by our coach. It was an effort to make things fair.
As fate would have it, I was anchor for our second team bout and had to fence the other teams best fencer. The score was 40 to 37 in our favor. The guy I was fencing was in his 20s, taller, obviously faster than my heavy set, 65 year old body. He is a better fencer than me. By that I mean if I was having a really good day, and he was having a really bad day, there is a possibility I could win a 15 touch bout. However, that would not be the way to bet.
Okay. I set up the situation and some facts as I see them. The reason I recorded this is I think it interesting to see how a coach sees the situation and how the fencers sees the situation.
My coach (Not being this blunt and choosing other words) told me I was a dumb ass because I attacked even though our team had the lead. Well maybe. In my mind, I did not have a good shot at taking this guy and I thought I might try and rack up some doubles. Didn't work. I also did not have confidence in scoring with a counter as his reach and mobility were so much better than mine and his hand was never open.
Eventually, the score was something like 41 or 42 to 40 for my opponent. I do not remember exactly. At any rate, after figuring out attacking was not going to work or not going to work often enough I switched it up. The score became 44-44. I scored the last touch in an good bout. I was happy. But me getting that win is not why I record this. I do not mean this to be a "Yay for Jim" entry. This is about how a fencer sees something and how his coach sees something. Generally it is just black and white. The coach is right and you are not.
Like I said earlier, I did not fence well the whole day. But I was happy that I was out there fencing.
There was a time, in the not to distant past, when if I had been in the situation of the bout I described above, I would have not been patient and I would have continued to attack out of desperation. So...progress....Yay!
There was another time when I THINK I saw things differently than my coach. Not sure about this, I just saw it in his eyes. We did not discuss it. As I said before, the teams were picked in such a way as to try and make them fair. My coach had a team. Obviously, the best fencer between the five teams. To help balance this out, he had a small 10 year old boy on his team. I had to fence the little guy first. There were points that needed to be gained back and this was an easy chance to do so. I gained back some points, but I could not just beat the crud out of a 10 year old newbie. I let him have a point. The look in my coaches eyes, said to me he was NOT in favor of this. I think I read that right. I could be wrong. Collusion! Black card offence! What ever reasons coaches have for seeing it this way. This was not the first time this has happened to me. I had a professional coach get huffy with me for me letting a tiny young girl score some touches. Didn't care then. Don't care now. In my opinion, the only thing beating the crap out of someone teaches them is.....well.....nothing. I guess you could say, it teaches them that there are people that are going to beat the crud out of them. I don't see that as a valuable lesson.
I need to reenter rate, that I am not talking junk on my coach. He reads this sometimes. He is a a smart guy and a good coach. On the other hand, I am a smart guy too. (At least some of the time.) I think every once in a while (and after a certain point of study) a student and a coach may see things differently. Not that one is right and the other wrong. It is just seeing things from a different point of view.
Thursday, July 27, 2017
I think I am posting to my journal just to keep it alive. I have been keeping this journal since 2005. That is a long time. A lot of the early stuff is pretty goofy. Sorry. I didn't know any better. As time goes by, there is less and less discovered about the sport. Nothing really new to record. Most things would be redundant.
Trying to find something to record here.
I think I have been fencing a bit better. Not great, but better. I had been going down hill for what seems like a long time. So...if it is true....Yay!
I did not sign up for the "Coach Membership" in US Fencing. I did not pay 50 dollars to be listed as a coach in the USFCA. I don't coach any more, so it seems unnecessary. I don't see me working with kids until my grandchildren are a bit older. For some reason, I feel a tiny bit sad about not signing up for these things. I am not sure why.
Okay. I am just trying to hard to find something to record. Maybe I will just fill up this entry with a picture or two.
Pictures: Private lesson with Coach Miller. Tournament at Charlotte Fencing Academy. I am the guy doing the slow fleche. I just always liked that proverb. Me at 10 week intro course to long sword. Toomey and company at a Marx clinic. Random stuff.
Friday, June 16, 2017
Last night at practice, I had a parent stop to talk to me. He was talking about his daughter and the upcoming State Games. He asked if I was going. He laughed. He asked me if I even competed. He laughed again. He laughed at me.
I suppressed my natural tendencies for the sake of young teammates around and he moved on.
The grandfather of the fencer mentioned above used to make fun of my age and fencing for months and months. Every time I took a break, he commented on it. It was always some kind of reference to my age and being out there fencing. After six or seven months of that crap, I finally confronted him and told him I did not see the humor in his remarks. It stopped. ( Note: Grandfather is not the sharpest knife in the drawer and I knew he thought he was being funny. This is why I let it go on for so long.)
Okay. If you are my age, you are going to get some remarks about your age. Mostly it is good natured. And I am sure there are other less kind remarks made about your age, but by ones wise enough not to say it to your face. It is the way things are.
I also note that many fencers are short on social skills. Myself included sometimes. ( Note: Fortunately my friend and training partner more than makes up for my poor social skills. We are the Yin and the Yang.) It seems only natural that there are parents of fencers with poor social skills.
The father really got under my skin. I cannot seem to let it go. I always had trouble with letting things go. If it happens again, I am going off on him to what ever degree is needed. I will not be able to stop it. So...Is the problem the father or is it me. I wish I was the kind of person that could just shrug things off. Sadly, I have never been and I think it is bit late for any major personality changes.
Monday, June 5, 2017
I came to my journal today to use one of the links posted there. I ended up reading some really stupid stuff I had posted years back. Goofy stuff. Things I thought, but they were wrong. Pretty embarrassing really. It makes me want to cringe, or delete a bunch of stuff. Maybe the whole thing.
On the other hand, the whole darn thing was meant to record my fencing journey, so I would remember it. Now that I am further up the path, my opinions have changed. I can see how wrong I was concerning some things . I can see the thoughts I know to be true.
Maybe that is why I started this journal in the first place. To keep track of progress.
Sunday, April 9, 2017
Last night I attended a banquet for Coach Ron Miller. He is head coach for UNC fencing. It marked his 50th year of coaching. I felt honored to be invited, as this was for his alumni that had fenced on his teams over all these years. My training partner and I had the privilege of being the only "current" students I saw there. It was rather amazing at how many of his former team members that we knew.
There were good stories. There were plans announced. I got to see my friend, Mrs. Coach. I got to hear Coach speak.
At the end of Coach's speech (It really wasn't a speech, it was a request.) he said, " Go find jobs that you love. I am the luckiest man in the world."
Maybe he is, but I saw over a hundred members of his teams, and they all counted themselves pretty lucky for his influence. And I think they were.
This was really not a celebration of years or wins. It was a celebration of the man.