Saturday, December 31, 2005

Weekend Sabre Workout

I just attended a Weekend Sabre Workout at a Greensboro recreation center.

As I have only been fencing sabre sense this summer, I have no expectations in sabre as yet. I am only just beginning to understand it. I have some clearer understanding of en guard and doing a head cut. Now to just do it until it becomes a natural reaction.

I am glad that Jen and Matt have moved to Greensboro. They are nice people and I hope to have an opportunity to learn more about sabre from them.

We fenced for three hours. I am "whupped". The good news is my leg does not hurt at all.

I am suffering from a puzzlement. Often in fencing, coaches will tell me to relax my shoulders. Well...I think the darn things are relaxed! On the other hand, part of my biceps hurts a tiny bit. This could be the result of tension...in the shoulders. How the heck do I figure this out?

The best thing (other than my leg feels fine) about the work out is the after feeling. Gosh, it felt good to fence after a couple of weeks. Even more so after being sick for few weeks. It also took away all the holiday stress. Just like a long run through the woods use to do.

Even after gaining weight over the holidays, I just feel great! After I take a shower, I will feel like a new man.

A short time latter: I am sore. I had forgotten that with the holidays and being sick and injured, I have not fenced much in a month or so. There are different kinds of sore. This is the good kind. It mostly makes you feel kind of healthy. I have no idea when fencing starts. I hope my legs will loosen up a bit before then.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Reflection

This year of fencing draws to an end. It was celebrated at the Downtown Fencing Club with an" Epee Fest." This was a club epee tournament, with food. We are talking SERIOUS sweet stuff!

For a sick old guy with a bad leg, I did okay. That may be a rationalization. I am sticking with that opinion. Rationalizations are more important than sex. If you think differently, see how long you can go without sex and then see how long you can go without a rationalization.

For me this begins a period of reflection on fencing. January 12th I will have been fencing two years.

I wonder about a lot of things. I wonder if after a couple of weeks, will our coaches miss it. I know that they will enjoy the rest and the time with their significant others. They certainly earned this down time. I hope after a couple of weeks they do find themselves missing it. For in my mind at least................ we are family. Students and coaches, new and old faces.......we are family. I tried to think on the ride home how I would categorize each person, from the weird old uncle to the young geeky nephew. That didn't work. Somehow ,I think it is more like brothers and sisters.

There is a warm feeling in the club sometimes. It goes beyond a sweaty under arm protector.

I saw Mario and Henri show up, just to spend a little time with the group. I saw the sparkle in Noah's eyes when we shook hands and wished each other Merry Christmas. I saw Jordan smile a BIG smile when I told her what a good touch she made. I was mothered by Sharon (Nicole's Mom) concerning my leg and I was father to Henri for wearing stupid shoes with a bad ankle. I got a hug from Cam (without breast protector). I learned some things about Kathy as we worked together. I saw Woody rush to my aid and try to fix something wrong that I was doing with my hand during a bout. ( I have got to film myself someday, so I can see what I am doing wrong.) There where a hundred little things like that this Saturday.

We are family.

Merry Christmas to all..

                                                                                                                                                      I

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A Man;A Hamstring: A Plan

Today...being Sunday is not a fencing day and thus not a general entry day for my journel.

Coach Woody gave me instructions on using a practice epee to accomplish one of my goals. I have worked on it today and I think it has potential.

I have a plan now for my injured leg. My friend Dave posted a suggestion and I have done a lot of reading about it on line.

If I can just not get excited and foolishly do a long or dynamic lunge next week, I think I will be okay. Often my lunges are to long anyway, so this is a good opportunity to work on a shorter lunge.

Anne and I are spending the night in a local bed and breakfast tonight. There is a hot tub in the room, so that will be an aid. I am heading now to look for something I can rap my big' ole thigh in.

Friday, December 9, 2005

Advance Advance Lunge......Hobble

 I fenced epee tonight. I debated back and forth about going as I am still under the weather.
I won one bought and lost the rest. That is okay. At least I was moving. I will take stock of myself at our "Epee Fest" next Saturday.

I have a problem. A month or two ago, I hurt my hamstring...or a muscle in the back of my thigh....(who knows)....fencing sabre. Last week it was hurting me again when I fenced.
Tonight during our warm up, I did a long lunge and it hurt like hell. I don't know what to do about this. What would a doctor tell me? The "Smart Jim" knows that if I keep fencing, I could really screw myself up. The "What-the-hell Jim" says tape it up...fence light next week and then you can heal up over the Christmas break.

This has the potential to take me out of fencing. I will try to read up on it and figure some things out.

This is what every 50 veteran fencer knows is a possibility. Something can take you out of the game. Illness or injury.

I want to make it to our little Veteran Tournament. I would like to give a good account of myself there.  Not win , just fence well.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Fear

I am sick.  I blame this on my youngest daughter's boyfriend. When I feel better, I think I will hurt him.  Missed foil...missing sabre this week.

I hope to rally before epee. 

One thing a fencer with a nose like mine fears, is sneezing in a fencing mask.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Flow

 Someone posted this on the USFA boards. ( Sorry...I forgot who it was.) It is one of the things I love most about epee. I don't have it all the time...but on those occasions when it surfaces, it is what fencing is all about.

"Fencing tends to create this experience much stronger than most other activities. I assume it is because of the extreme complication, and attention. "


Quote:
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Psychology professor at the University of Chicago, is noted for his work in the study of happiness, creativity, subjective wellbeing, and fun.

In his seminal work, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Csikszentmihalyi outlines his theory that people are the most happy when they are in a state of flow--a Zen-like state of total oneness with the activity at hand and the situation (see Flow (psychology)). The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in the zone or in the groove. The flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing. This is a feeling everyone has at different times, characterized by a feeling of great freedom, enjoyment, fulfillment, and skill--and during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego-self, etc.) are typically ignored.

Quoted from [1]: "Mr. Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced chick-sent-me-high-ee)... describes flow as 'being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost.'"

To achieve a flow state, a balance must be struck between the challenge of the task and the skill of the performer. If the task is too easy or too difficult, flow cannot occur.

Also, the flow state also implies a kind of focused attention, and indeed, it has been noted that mindfulness meditation, yoga, and martial arts seem to improve a person's capacity for flow. Among other benefits, all of these activities train and improve attention.

In short; flow could be described as a state where attention, motivation, and the situation meet, resulting in a kind of productive harmony or feedback.