Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Happy Birthday To Me!

Today is my birthday. I am 54 years old. I am heading to sabre tonight, as I celebrated my birthday on Sunday with my family. Even though I am not pursuing sabre at this time, perhaps I can help out at drills....get some foot work in....and perhaps Kathy and I may get there early enough to do some epee.

I have been fencing for about two years and five months. Lets call it two and a half years. In that two and a half years I have learned a great deal. Some of it is learned and not able to be applied at this point, however. It is my hope that I can fence competitively (maintain or improve my physical condition) so that I can fence in open tournaments for another two and a half years. I will take a look at how things are going down the road.

Editors Note: Cam was sweet enough to pick me up a cake and a pirate present. Henri bought me a cool pirate card and a book, which I am almost finished reading. I was truly moved that these people thought about me. Cam even hugged me when I was sweaty. My wife and daughters will not even do that. Henri wisely stepped back and blew me a kiss.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Jen PL

Friday I started my beloved epee evening with a private lesson from Jen Cox.
It originally was to be a sabre lesson, but I pooped out before we got to it. As I am putting sabre on hold for a while, I got a PL in epee. I was really looking forward to it.

I thought going in that she would most likely work on some sort of foot work or attack. I feel like my strength in this weapon is reaction time and hand speed. I also felt like I had very good tip control. Not so fast...Jim! The first thing we work on is using the thumb and fore finger to finish the touch. My first thought is that this feels sabre like. ( WOULD feel sabre like if I had good cuts.) Then I think, okay I fence French grip, this is as it should be. I can't hit squat doing this, more exaggerated movement. I mention to Jen that I have good point control.  Her eyes are very expressive. I got a "If you say so look" and a smile.

This is the place were we have our "Gray Epee" moment: I thought about making reference to "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," " I need to make my move...can I move now?" ( The meaning being that if we are fencing, I will hit what I aim problem.) I do not know if everyone my age does this, or if only some of us do. Whenever I am about to say something to a person a couple decades younger than myself, I try to do a quick "time line " check. What is the age of the person? What is the time of my reference? How old was that person at the time of my reference? In this case, I did not make the reference. No point wasting valuable lesson time.

It was a good lesson. I enjoyed it. If we can work in another one some time, she said it would evolve infighting. I need some work on Yay! In the mean time I have got to work on the finger movement at the end of the touch.

From here I head to epee night. I had not been able to go to one in three weeks. I was mediocre. My four time winning streak against Tommy came to an end. I lost a bout to a young guy that I did not take serious enough.  I had a good time though.

No Foil on Monday. I guess I will set up the tennis ball and golf ball on a rope and work on what Jen showed me. I also need to do some lunge work.


Friday, May 26, 2006


After some correspondence with the Division Chair and Dana Brown, I find that I did not loose my rating. Yay!

It was not that much of a rating to begin with, but it gives me a little more confidence when I face the young fast ones.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Set Course South by Southeast. ( Maybe)

There have been a couple of bad things that have happened in fencing for me in the last month. There have been some good things as well. At the moment I am looking to the future. Short term.....future.

If we can find a place to stay and arrange things, a good sized group of us will head to the beach and fence in a tournament in early June. This sounds like a lot of fun.  We have not traveled in a pack like this in sometime. Mostly it is two or three of us, venturing out to a tournament together.

Another thing that makes me smile about that, is that we have a pirate theme in our club. Now we are heading to a pirate coast. Don't ask how it developed, but we all have fun with it. I have envisioned my yellow Nissan with a pirate the order to "run out.".( means lower the power windows) a broad side..." On the uproll if you please gunners mates"...(I was thinking some sort of tennis ball tube..with tennis ball sling shot.) wasn't thinking that at all. After all, our head coach referred to us as responsible adults. We have to look after the kids. Yep...We are going to have to fake it!

One of our coaches, who has not competed in a long time due to his health will compete. I am proud of him for doing this. Not so proud I will let him off the hook, however!

I am Jimus Maximus Epee Gladiator and I will have my this life or the next!
~ Strikes a defiant gladiator pose and sets his jaw in a determined and menacing manner ~

I hear Tink may be going with us as well. How can I not give a good account of myself when fairy dust will be in ready supply?

Another good thing is that I get to fence epee tomorrow. I have not been able to make a class in three weeks. I am soooo looking forward to it!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


I lost my rating. Basically it sounds like our Division is on probation, though no one is using the "P" word. I am not happy about it and I do not think anyone should be punished when they have committed no crime. These are the rules though, and if you want to stay in the game, you must play by them.

(Note: A club or two were negligent in checking to see if the people fencing in their tournaments were current USFA members. As a result of this…as I understand it…around 10 tournaments in out Division have had the ratings they awarded nullified. Naturally, one I did well in was one of them. This is the short version of the tale, but it is enough.)

One moment to bitch: I simply cannot believe that all those ratings earned did not affect the results of other tournaments! (Not only in our division, but perhaps in others.) Nobody wanted to do the work involved to look. I do not get the fairness in that.

In a week I will be 54 years old. Tink has told me I am no longer allowed to mention the age thing……BUT …if I were able to… I would mention how difficult is to gain a rating in open tournaments when you are more than half the age of your opponent. That being said ( or in this case…"unsaid") I believe that good fencing is repeatable. You scored with a beat attack…do it again. ( Tactical wheel and all that.) I suspect there will be fewer tournaments in NC next season, but I will need to do it again.

I think I can.



Sunday, May 21, 2006

Boring Post

Tomorow I fence again after taking a week off. I hope that goes well.

Not only have I not fenced, but I have not worked out for over a week and a half. Time constraints and laziness combined I guess. Also a lack of carbs. I will hit the gym tomorrow.

On the positive side, I will have come close to dropping ten pounds in one week. I am on a diet with my wife. This is my first time following a REAL diet. Prior to this, when I was younger, I would just eat less and work out more. I am on the South Beach Diet. The first two weeks is a lot like Atkins. Meat...vegatbles....not much else. No fruit sucks! No bread, no pasta! I am planing to stick with this for two weeks. After that point I am going to take a hard look at it.

A diet that does not include Chinese and Mexican food as choices is not going to be my friend for very long. I had only planed to use this as jump start anyway. I have to find a way to make life style changes. More to the point, my wife needs to make lifestyle changes. I think this diet is showing her the error of her ways. She has been an insulin dependent diabetic sense she was 15. Without the carbs and sugar her blood sugar has been super!

I have found a way to stay in town this weekend. This means I will get to fence epee.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I am not sure if beleive in fate or not. However, there seems to a be a lot of it going on in my life envolving fencing and people in fencing Though there seems to be many a strange and unerving  thing going on , it all seems to be working out. HOLD the fate thoughts and let me write about what I intended.

Jim's Book Review:

This week at our RYC tournament, I bought "One Touch at a Time" by Aladar Kogler PHD.

This book is about developing the ability to reach a state of flow in fencing. Basically, it is designed to help with the mental aspects of the game. I love this type of subject matter and finished reading it today. Of course reading it is step one. Now I have to use it as a text book and try and put it into use. I believe in this and I know this book will help me to some degree.

Gosh, Aladar would be proud of me for that last sentence!

Now a word from Jim the Realist: It will help, but if you don't have some good skills to go with the words of my Grandfather..."Your gonna get beat like a rented mule." Traditionally my grandfather followed this statement with leaning over and spitting grossly on to the grass. I think it was some form of punctuation.

Now back to the fate thing. I swear it is popping up all over fencing of late for me. I wish I could play spooky music in my journal while you read this.

There was a coach at the RYC who looked a heck of lot like Aladar. But one chapter they mention tons of research done at UNCG. Where did I buy the book....UNCG.

Editors Note: I am NOT totally serious about fate or the spooky parts. It is however.....strange. I did enjoy the book as well.

The book is published by SKA Sword Play Books. Staten Island, New York.



 I just bought my round trip ticket to fly to Coaches College. With my Frequent flyer miles, the $640.00 ticket was $25.00.

This really helps me in not feeling guilty for the amount of time and money that I am spending on fencing this summer. It has really been bothering me and this is like a weight lifted from my shoulders.

Ken at United was a big help. rock!!!


Tuesday, May 16, 2006



Just came home from a meeting with Jen and Mat Cox and the DFC ( a bunch of us anyway). We talked about how we could work together. Sounds exciting to me. Vet fencers do not have a life time to progress, so I am all for getting the show on the what ever level we take it.

Mat asked me as I was leaving," Does this mean you are staying?"

I realized at that moment, that I guess it does.

I am back. Time to find a cheap ticket to Colorado.

PS. Kathz...should you read this...and if you feel comfortable doing so....would you please e-mail me at from an e-mail address that you use often.

Beth: If you read this, I hope to have time to drop you a line in a day or two.





Sunday, May 14, 2006

The End

I cannot write about it, as it is to personal and to difficult to explain.

I did write a little about it....then deleted the whole thing.

Yesterday evening, I was sure that I was quitting fencing.

Today in the mail I find my acceptance into Coaches College. There is a time limit on getting your money back from that.

So....I hang it up...or I hang in there. I do not see a happy ending either way, but I have to decide quickly.

I write this in vague answer to the questions of a couple of my friends.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Vengeance Shall Be Mine!

Foil was a good class.

I got an epee private lesson from Sally in taking the blade. This was great and highly unusual. We do not fence weapons other than foil on foil night. ( Barring some really big tournament coming up.) Perhaps I got the lesson because I am going to miss epee so much this month. I was booed and hissed by foilist. They worked on anti-Jim techniques while I was in another room with Sally.

I was soundly beaten by the bug lady....Tinkerbell. (If I was a bad sport I would say "Stinkerbell." Cheating fairy kept blinding me with fairy dust!) Actually, she just kicked my butt, fair and square. I was proud of her a grudging way.

Even with a defeat from the tiny creature, it was a good class. I measure myself lately, by how I fence Tommy.  I did well and I felt more like a foilist.

Sandy has really let her hair down. She is a lot of fun. I bruised her last time. I need to be more careful. She wants the over twenty-one crowd to go out and have a drink after fencing sometime. That is most of the class. Things have really changed, Two years ago it was mostly kids with a couple of adults. Now it is the opposite. If we go have a drink, I will bet Sandy is a hoot. I don't see many of the foilist doing that, other than me.

Woody is now on my "marked for vengeance list" thrice! He was already there for leaving me alone with little kids at the "Fence for Food" thing. Then he was part of the people who ragged me about when I fenced Kathy. Now he has brought this up again, given anti-Jim coaching and snickered WAY to much for a GOOD coach at my traumatic defeat at the hand of the small creature!

I am starting to have fantasies about bug collecting. You know those guys that have thousands of bugs and butterflies that are dry and mounted with a pin through them on a tiny board. So far my collection will have only two.......... the fairy and Woody!

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Ugly Head Raised

Week in Review: Foil was a good class. Keith missed the class were Woody went over the light grip. That guy is just way to tense when he fences.

I went in early to saber to fence epee with Kathy. We fenced for 15 minutes straight and then rested for twenty and fenced another 15 minutes. (masso menos) I was sweating like a pig and a little winded. She was fine. I was ragged by Woody and Cam about it. I was also ragged by Kathy. They are all marked for vengence! This is why I have the need for my cardio training. (Of course dropping 20 pounds or so would be of aid, but one battle at a time. Besides, the focus on cardio may help with the other.)I did not take the saber class. I am making no progress in saber and am no better now than eight months ago when I started dabbling in it. Admittedly, I started on it to get an extra night of foot work and to gain a general understanding of the weapon. I may keep going just for the footwork. I am undecided at this point.

I noticed when I fenced Kathy that I am having trouble letting go of scoring points, to work on the things I wish to work on. Ego is getting in the way of practice.

Looking ahead to summer, there is a lot going on. I have weekend workshop June 10 and 11. The next weekend Maestro Begunet is giving a workshop for us in Greensboro. There is coach’s collge in August. I am looking forward to them all. Good stuff!

Then there is Nationals. I am thinking about not going. In fact, I think I have decided that I am not going. Practicality and responsibility raise their ugly heads. I am spending a LOT of time and money on fencing this summer, at the expense of my family and doing much needed work around the house. I do not see me spending the money and the time to drive to Atlanta, get the crud kicked out of me and then drive back. I would miss the T-shirt though. With my son heading to collge in September, I need to cut back on my spending. I may need to cut back on my plans for summer improvement.

Monday, May 1, 2006

Pooh and On-line Relationship

I am bemoaning the fact that I am going to miss the next three epee nights. This weekend I must go to our beach house for the weekend and do half work and half fun.
Next weekend is the RYC tournament, I must help set up and help through the weekend. The weekend after that, my dad and brother must go to beach house to work all weekend. ( I will miss a tournament that weekend. The last one this season!) Crud!

Why the heck could this not be one of the LESSER weapons!!!  Woe is me!

Maybe I can work in some bouting with Kathy. I have to do something. I can't go three weeks without epee!

Couple this with a concern I have. When I started fencing epee, all I did was attack. Hand speed and power were my only allies. Then I learned patience. I waited to get people coming in. (I developed my French grip fade away and my leap up and back. There are other techniques but I do not have the desire to name them all.) People quickly became hip to me waiting to get them coming in, so I developed ways to MAKE them attack. Of late I have found that I cannot be purely defensive and I need to attack more, as well as take the blade and attack. I am working on those. The problem is that fear I am losing my old stuff and some of it is not as reflex as it once was.

In the words of Pooh, " Think Think....Think.  Oh bother!"

I also have a confession to make. I am having an on-line relationship. She is young. She is tall and slender. She is intelligent and ever so kinky. It started so very innocently. I posted. She posted. Then we began to write each other. She has not said as much, but I think I am her first. She is that young. All I know is that I end up sweating and panting for breath. Yes.....I have a cardio buddy.