Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Last Saturday, I had to withdraw from a low level tournament to teach a University of North Carolina at Greensboro continuing education class. I had looked forward to this tournament, but one of the coach's father had a heart attack and responsibility raised its ugly head. This is a beginner foil class and I feel qualified to teach it. I do not feel qualified to teach much more than that. I have never loved foil, like I love epee. I only fenced it in a tournament once when they needed an extra guy. I plan to correct that this weekend. I am not looking forward to fencing foil, even at this very low level part of the event.


The class I taught went well, due in fact to the 2 adults and 2 young people I had helping me. I was not looking forward to teaching the kid's class. This was lesson number two for the "younglings." In lesson number one the kid's foot work (and pretty much all their movement) was pure chaos! I hated it. This lesson a miracle happened and they made HUGE progress. Some lack the strength to hold their weapons for a long time, but they improved so much I could hardly believe it. I found it so very rewarding. The adult class went okay as well. I felt like we (the team) had done a good job. After class, I had a couple of beers with Kathy and Henri in celebration. It was a good day.

 I am spending so much time fencing lately, that I feel guilty about not doing the things around my house that need doing. I feel guilty about not spending enough time with my family. In a week or so, I need to figure out some sort of balance.

 On the other hand, I want to get better at what I am doing. (Both as a fencer and as a coach.)  I do not have much of a way to do that, without going to any workshop I can find, or fence in tournaments. Mat and Jen Cox are in our town, but I have no desire to fence sabre and that is all they do. UNC is a place where some of our club is going to get higher level coaching. I would like to do that, but I do not think I can spend yet another night fencing. It is too much now. Perhaps after the CALL classes are done in 7 more weeks. I will reevaluate. I do not know how to get better.

 (Note to the fairy :)


 I know that you say I am a Lost Boy and I do not get old and that I fence with pirates. However, once in a while, I need to talk about the age thing. So sprinkle a little pixie dust and allow me a brief time out from Neverland.

Lost Boy Jim

 Now......Where was I?

The clock is ticking for me. If I am going to develop any skills, I need to do so now, while I can still hang with the young ones. (To some extent.) I wish I knew what was realistic to expect at my age. Is this it? Is this as good as I can be, within my limitations?
If you are not in your mid fifties, you may not really understand this question.

Fencing is a strange thing. You love it, but you beat yourself up over it. It is an abusive relationship and you can't leave.

I hope I get one of those positive insights, that leaves me relaxed about where I am in the fencing world. January 12th I will have been fencing three years. I am not as far along as I hoped I would be, but I have gone a little ways down the path.

I fence this weekend in another tournament. I will fence three events.

On a bright note, my tall friend Beth did great in her first tournament and got her "E" in stiff competition. I am so proud of you Tiger!





shazna02 said...

Wow Jim, you are like a total tournament addict.  I hope you do well, though fencing 1 weapon is plenty exhausting for me, how do you manage to survive fencing three different events?

I have to say since reading your blog I have been thinking about coaching as an answer to the question: what next.  Of course, I would like to actually feel I KNOW at least one weapon first (and have linda stop calling me Epee Newbie).  

You've really stuck with it - How much has your life changed since fencing came into it?  More friends?  More accomplishment?  More muscle fatigue?

good luck at the tourney!


kentjamesr said...

You've really stuck with it - How much has your life changed since fencing came into it?  More friends?  More accomplishment?  More muscle fatigue?

Good point Beth. My life has changed a great deal due to fencing.  More accomplishments and more good friends. I even have a couple I have not met face to face. In all most all cases, it is for the better. Thanks for reminding me!

Oh..This weeknd tournament is a small one. Hence, three events. I hope it is small at anyrate.

fencerkath said...

Having just been one of a group being coached in epee, I realise how important a good coach can be.  He encouraged us and we all flourished and improved.  

A lot of fencing for me is about very small-scale improvements - and the satisfaction of doing something I never expected.

The two main coaches at our club are in their 60s and can beat most members as well as helping lots of people to improve.  They fence in veterans' events as well as open tournaments - and they're still trying out new strategies.  i don't think they'll ever stop.