Wednesday, June 28, 2006

My Week....So Far.

Week in Review:

Foil: I sucked.

Sabre: I met Kathy (early) and we fenced epee 25 minutes straight. ( not keeping score). We got some water and went again for a little while. I think my endurance is improving, though I still sweat like a pig. I believe that to be genetic. Also I believe that sweating is an efficient way to lower your body temperature. Boy!...My body is efficient!

There were some interesting things happening as we fenced. I was working on NOT leaning and keeping my body centered and my legs under me. I was also working on keeping my actions relaxed. Okay...I started out that way, but as time went on I did not pay attention to that. Kathy is practicing for Nationals.

After we began to get tired some really interesting things happened. We seemed to score against each other in groups of three touches. I believe that three touches was enough to motivate the other fencer to say," Okay...blankety blank blank...that is not going to happen again...YOUR TURN!." It was interesting.

Another thing that I became focused on is you see a "target of opportunity." I have been aware of this many times as I fence, but never allowed myself to think about it while I was fencing. Sometimes it was distracting, but mostly it made things light; relaxed and playful.
That is a good state of mine for me to fence in. What I am talking about is not when you plan your attack. Examples: I will take the blade and go in. She scored on the last touch to my hand, so I will pommel (God loves a French grip!) and hold my arm out of distance and wait for her to close. That is NOT what I am talking about. I am talking about when a target SUDDENLY presents itself and your body moves on it's on accord. There is no' " Okay.....NOW>>>>GO!" It is the coolest of things! What in the heck tells your body to do this?

There were only a couple of kids at class tonight, so when they left Woody. Cam and myself got to fence epee again. I would brag on Woody here for his blade work in pools against me, but I don't want him to get a big head and he is still on my "Marked for Vengeance" list. I will brag on me instead. I fenced two 15 point DE's back to back and did okay. My leaning came back as I fatigued. I blame it on this at any rate. What is better is my endurance. I am happy about that.

Sally told me that my distance has improved greatly. She asked me how. I attributed it to fencing epee on Wednesdays with Kathy. I thought about that on the way home. That is true, but there may be another factor. Kathy's arm does not present much of a target, so I will often go deep. (Dangerous and requires better use of distance.)

Editors Note: You don't want to tick off the armorer. So before she rides me and puts her hands on her hips and ask me if I am calling her "boney."  No, Mam! The words I would use are slender, beautiful and the blade of a rapier.

Yes...I AM a sweet talker!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Jim is a Big Baby!

Epee, for some reason, was disappointing. I have a problem with my forward check. Cam showed me and I got it right in the end, though this morning I know I cannot do it. I have forgotten. I will try to get Woody to show me again on Monday. I was embarrassed to have to be shown this in front of the class. This is something I should have mastered in the second month of fencing. I do not ever use it, hence I have forgotten it. I use a reverse check once in a while. There was something wrong with my lunge, I did our jump rope drill like a spas. ( I was corrected on that by a person who has not been fencing a year.) I was corrected for grunting (making a loud noise) before a touch. I was at the same class with Maestro Beguinet and what I heard was different. Screaming as a distraction is not legal. making my "Rambo Grunt" is not a violation...I think. I need to review the rules. Woody talked to me about my hand movement and jerky footwork when I am about to attack. I was unaware of it.

I was in a pool of six and I won every bout, even though I know I did not fence well.

There is a problem with me....I think. I rarely take criticism well. I know this and I know that I am stupid for this fault. The fact remains that it is true. my epee class....was this coaching I got...or criticism? Was I being coached or picked on? Is coaching not in essence a critique? Why is it that sometimes I am grateful for it and other times I want to "bow up?"

I need to think on this a bit and try and put my mind in the place it should be. This post is a sad commentary on me.

I need to get to foil early Monday, and see if I repaired my weapons correctly. I doubt it.



Thursday, June 22, 2006

Hot Week

Monday/Foil: I am back to sucking at this weapon. There is something/somethings I am just not getting about it. I keep praying that some light will come on and I will get it. It was an interesting class though. I finally got to see myself fencing on video. I had no idea I looked THAT fat. Another huge BUMMER for foil night. I move pretty well, though I am not fluid. There was a leaning thing going on in an attack. I need to review the tape with more time and less fat shock. I will try to make that happen. Within our group, I got to know a person better and found out we are similar. I also found that one of my friends and I communicate on different wave lengths. I need to turn that knob and try and clear the signal up.

I have decided that I need to head to Chapel Hill with Kathy, if that is cool with all concerned. Or I need to work with Matt and Jen in a non-sabre way. I need some extra help to improve.

Wednesday: Tommy; Jeff and I skipped sabre and went to watch Nicole play softball. It was very enjoyable. Nicole's team, the Lizards, played some pretty beefy girls. The Lizards were made of primarily wispy girls, some of which had a beautiful feminine grace in their athletic activities. I did not get to see the end of the game, but my daughter Jaime taught me that in all activities, extra points should be awarded to the cute ones. Following Jaime rules, the Lizards crushed their opponents

Tommy was correct. Nicole is a pirate, I watched her steal second; third and home. She is fencing a half day at UNC as well and in god awful heat.. A 14 year old girl with enough endurance to do that then play softball in the evening. Pretty amazing!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Workshop Epee

Today was the epee part of Maestro Beguinet's works shop. It was something like four and half to five hours long. To say we worked on in fighting and fleching is not really enough words on the subject. You would have had to been there and you would have had to done foil last night. I can't say I learned something about in fighting, but I have a wealth of things I can now work on mastering.

What I will say is that I have small muscles in my legs that I never knew existed. I know they are there because they hurt beyond the telling of it. I was pretty cocky last night. The only thing that hurt from last night was my ankles. The fencing gods are punishing me now for my cockiness.

Editors Note: My legs do not hurt AS bad this morning. ( Sunday.) This is freakish. It is usually worse. Vitamin I; aspirin and horse liniment. It must work. My wife works at a animal hospital. Veterinarian medicine for the vet.

I briefly considered finding a way to go to the sabre part of the workshop. My legs feel like I have small boards nailed to them and I must see my Dad for Fathers Day. As little interest as I have in sabre at the moment, I feel like not spending time with Alex is such a HUGE waste. Sadly. being able to walk on Monday and my old man are going to have to take president.



Last night was an awesome foil class with Maestro Beguinet . He has such a great and humorous teaching style. We practiced for 4 hours and it was fun the entire time.

My "check" is not good, or it is not good for the blended movement that was used. I must fix this. Problems with my lunge includes how I extend my arm (It should be more like reaching to shake hands. ) and I need to kick out with my front foot more.

Today is epee at 1:30. I can't wait!

I must call Henri, should we go out after epee. She is feeling left out as she fences foil.  Besides, I feel that my diversity training will be paying off if we include a foilist. I personally feel that a beer will be in order.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Second or third Intention

Tomorrow evening I start a workshop with Maestro Beguinet of Duke University. He is also head Coach of the USFA's Coaches College.

I was just reviewing some of his video tapes. It reminds me once more that this activity....this sport... is violence refined to beauty.

I am also reminding myself to relax. Maestro Beguinet is a truly cool guy. I want to do as well as I can,but I have a tendency to tense up in these type of situations.  I generally feel very relaxed in tournament situations, but in drills in front of knowledgeable people I become rigid

Tomorrow is foil. Saturday is epee. I hope that something begins to click for me in foil this weekend. This workshop, coaches college foil one and an E and Under foil tournament next season are part of my goals for improvement. Perhaps I can visit some other clubs as well for foil classes. ( Maybe some epee for fun as well.)

An assistant foil coach is what our club needs. Mario and I will attempt to make one.

There will be many trials and tribulations in this undertaking. Even if moderately successful, it should help me with epee. This is second or third intention ; )



Monday, June 12, 2006

Quick Post...Late for Work!

The tournament did not turn out as I thought it would. Not the amount of "C"s and it was not mixed. It was split by gender. This is good and fair for the women. However, mixed tournaments tend to be an equalizer in you are a Vet 50. Out of 20 male competitors I placed 12 in pools. Won 3 lost 3 in pools. I drew the guy who finished second to fence my first DE and went down 11-15. Oh well....not that great.....but not entirely "Suck City." (More like a suburb of "Suck City.")

On a bad note, Tommy took third and we thought he had his "D" rating. I just found out that there was an error and he did not. Second time in a month he has gotten that rating and they did not stick. Poor guy! Damn!

The people that ran the tournament were really nice. This was balanced by one young punk fencer who was an incredible bad sport and needed at the very least a tongue lashing. His attitude got to me and I am ashamed of myself for letting it bother me. Moving on now.

On a more positive note our crew of pirates had a damn good time. Mario was in his first tournament and did well. Jordan learned some things and had a positive experience. Cam came in second in epee. Kathy came in third and got to see her family. Woody managed to make it through the absolute hottest tournament I have ever been to. I had to wring my jacket out before throwing the icky thing in the car. Warren did well even after his illness. Trevor handled things with his usual calm humor.  He is a really good guy.

Editors Note: Actually I was somewhat wrong concerning Woody. He actually became one of the undead.


As for me, my tournament results were not what I had hoped for, but I had a damn good time with our group. Kathy found us a kickin' 8th floor condo with a huge deck and ocean view. Loved it! I learned the basics of the game "Munchkin." I will buy that game. Cam and I were the first up Sunday and had a good and long conversation on the deck. I enjoyed that, I don't think we every had a looonng one on one conversation before. I was a part of interesting conversations with Tommy and Jordan on the ride to and from the beach. I found that whenever I ate, I was always at the kid's ('cept Trev...who is of course 18 and an ADULT kid). table. I felt honored to be with them. In fact I felt honored to be part of the group. We had some fun.

Thursday, June 8, 2006


Once, a few months back, Cameron talked about what kind of epeeist you are. You are either a "When";"Where" or "How" fencer. You move from being one or the other during the course of a bout. However, one is dominate. Example: Tommy was a "Where" fencer. He picks a target and hits you there. I was a "When" fencer. I waited until the time was right and then hit you.

I noticed last night, that I have changed. I am now a" How" fencer. I think Tommy is as well.

I have no idea what this means or if it is a bad thing or good thing.

I will ponder on this through out the day.

Friday, June 2, 2006

Bring Me Giants!

Epee was wonderful. We had a team competition. The score there was unimportant. However, I fenced a great deal of the time between team bouts. It was ungodly warm at the club. Tommy and I fenced without keeping score for a long long time. It was back and forth and it was beautiful to watch....most of the time. A bit sloppy but interesting at others. Kathy and I did the same.

 While I was red faced and sweating, I never once got tired. Just hot! I feel great. I f the club was open I would still love to be fencing. This was followed by a good meal and interesting conversation. What could be better?

Did I mention how great I feel?

Editors Note: "Bring me giants!" If I remember correctly,is a line from  Cyrano de Bergerac. The 1950 black and white version is one of my favorite movies.