Sunday, December 31, 2006

Food and Working Out

I have been working out very hard this week and I am proud of myself for sticking to it.

On, average I have spent about an hour to forty-five minutes on weights and machines and about a half hour on cardio each day. I have a hard time making myself do more cardio as it just bores the living hell out of me. For me to do cardio, I need to be outside. I need to be on a trail. I need to be in the woods. Or, I need to be running behind a girl with beautiful runner's legs and a nice tushie. (I use to run and I know that these things work for me.)

The last couple of days I have based my anaerobic work out on waking up in the morning.

I lie there and figure out what does not hurt, or what does not hurt much, and then base my work out on that. My chest never seems to hurt that much , no matter what I do to it. My legs and abs can not say the same things. As I stager and creak to the bathroom in the morning , things seem to aline themselves and then I am fine. There is pain, but mostly it is the kind of pain I like. It makes me feel healthy.

Now the trick is for me to move this to lunch during the work week. I can only get in around 45 minutes then. Hopefully I can get a good long workout or two on the weekend. I am shooting for  being in the gym at least three times a week. I have not figured out a routine that will give me time for cardio. I am going to have to wing that. I am done with cardio and anything pertaining to lower body until after I fence on Wednesday.

The diet part has gone okay during the day , but after about 6:00 at night I have some trouble. Last night I ate enough to feed two or three people. I was ravinous. It was mostly healthy stuff and I tried to fill up on asparagus (which I love) but to little avail. I have read in fitness magazines where working out hard actually can reduced your appetite. I suspect that they are lying little weasels that write those articles, because working out makes me really...really hungry. Almost like hiking and camping out hungry, which is my very worst hungry! Not that I am not ravinous for no apparent reason. I get that way about every other day. Just typing this made me hungry.

I must find a way to deal with this.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Mr. Pointy Chained

I am at a weird place. I am enjoying my break from fencing and at the same time I long for it to end. ( A prime example of "What you have got....You want it not." )

I am working out very hard during my week off. I must condition myself to be a gym rat again. When fencing starts, ( Mr. Pointy unleashed! ) I will only have work days at lunch to do the gym and non-tournament weekends.  I must get in that habit again.

I have been eating correctly for the last couple of days. It will take a while to see if this paying off. I hate my bathroom scale. It is a lying bastard and does not know it's peril!

The online fencing stuff is not very interesting of late. I do wish Beth would move to a place with affordable fencing. I hated to read that post. If I ever win Powerf Ball, I will sponsor you Tiger. ( Of course, I guess that means at some point I will need to buy a ticket.) I use to read Fencing Net everyday, but there is not much going on there, so I rarely read it. The DFC; NCF and Facebook (Forum parts....NCF is a good site!) boards are without much content. My own journal is not hitting on much either.

Then there is AskFred. Now why in the heck do people not preregister? What the heck is so hard about this? You either think you are coming or you don't.

I am in the process of putting some "practice fencing " music on my brand new shiny MP3 player. Yep....Jim takes a big lunge into this century. Naturally I either have loaned out or cannot find my three fave CDs for this. I believe this is around the sixth time I have changed technology for my music. It is something only Vet 50 people understand completely. Let me just tell the world......we are getting a little tired of it. Not that this does not beat the heck out a vinyl record.

It is early Thursday morning and I am about to stop and head to the gym. They have a great aerobic room with mirrors. I practice my lunge and footwork in there if no one is around. I wish fencing was a little more mainstream sometimes. I would love to take my epee in there and practice, but things that look like weapons tend to flip people out. Rightfully so, I guess.

Enough random and not fully caffeinated thoughts for now.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Time Off

Last night was the last night of fencing until after the Holidays. Only a couple of people showed up, so we all said the heck with it and went out and had some pizza. ( My last visit to a pizza place for a while.)

I can go a week and half without fencing. I think I might even need that. I need to practice some on my own anyway.

I am off work until after New Year's Day, so I hope to spend a lot of time in the gym.

The only thing that seems to bother me this time of year is that there is not much to read on-line about fencing. My six or seven web sites, blogs and boards that I visit each day or two do not have much going on.

I (like so many other people) have made a New Years resolution to drop some weight. I am starting today though. For some reason I feel like I will succeed.

It is very early Saturday morning. I need more life giving coffee.

In January I will fence at three different clubs. DFC; NCFDP and Mid-South Fencers. I am not sure if I can fence four nights a week or not. I will try it for a while.

Mid-South has a " Point and Thrust " weapon class starting January 3rd. ( They are a great sabre club, but this is their frist journey into being a 3 weapon club.) Coach Miller and staff are supose to teach this most of the time. You can't ask for better instruction than that. My only concern is where will the foil and epee fencers come from.  I know that some will be like me and have duel or multi memberships. The only people I can think of to fill this class in Greensboro are the same people I have fenced for a long time or newbies. I could use a couple of new people to fence that are a good bit better than me. Maybe some will be there. Maybe some of the sabre fencers are looking to expand.

I guess the only thing to do is to see how this plays out. I will figure out in time how to work out the time; money and drive time as we go through January.

Merry Christmas folks!

Monday, December 18, 2006


I fenced epee Friday night at the club. It was a very small class due to the holidays. It should be the same next Friday. Then we are off until next year.

I have sort of been wanting some fencing "down time," but that now that it is here I am not all that happy about it. There is a winter fencing camp near by, but it is a lot of time and money. They have seven spots still open. I will need to come to some conclusion about this.

I fenced foil tonight. I was awful, but it did not bother me very much. I wonder if I am bad at foil because I don't care for it, or I don't care for I am bad at it.

I have thought about joining the United States Coaching Association and taking some classes they offer. There is one coming up in Columbia and one in Raleigh. I am not sure how I would feel about doing this.

Friday, December 15, 2006


 I went to UNC and fenced last night. There were not a lot of people there and it was the last class until after the holidays.

Jen Cox was there. She lead a group warm up and stretch. She made a "good" comment about my foot work. That made me feel good. But what I got of value was her instruction to use my rear leg to "pull" me back when I recover from a lunge.

I also had a great (and unexpected) private lesson from Coach Miller. It was on my lunge and the tempo of my lunge. It sounds like a simple thing, but requires a lot of concentration on my part to fix the things I am doing wrong and to follow my point, rather than punch. For the next couple of months my en guard will have the point 4 inches higher. I have to work on not moving my head, by keeping my eyes on the target and for my front foot to land around the same time as my point. ( Hard to explain in writing.)

As boring and simple as these couple of things sound, it is really exciting to me. It is part of my plan to make myself better technically. I am really happy about it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Monday night, I had a sweet thing happen. A high school senior with sparkling blue eyes brought me (and the rest of the coaches) a bunch of yummy cookies and some homemade cranberry bread. She brought me a Christmas card and a thank you note.

She was my mentee. I was her mentor for her senior project, which was to study fencing.
I got a couple of hugs as well. I will never pretend that I don't like hugs from pretty girls of any age.

I understand now why people coach. Everyone touches the future. Parents and teachers touch it daily. You never know where introducing a young (or OLD) person to fencing may lead. How many people will they influence in a positive manner toward the sport?

I doubt (in fact I know) that no one would have pointed to me at the "Introduction to Foil " CALL class at UNCG and said," See that guy with the silver temples. He is going to stay with it a good while. He might even influence and help a few people."

It boggles the mind.

Monday, December 11, 2006

One More Thing

It was truly amazing  for a person going to there first NAC to look around and see the "whose who" of American fencing. Which is pretty amazing in itself, as I don't know who many of those people are.

I passed by several National coaches. I talked to the National women's epee coach for a while. I know her. I turn around and there is an Olympic fencer. Over there is another one getting interviewed. I watched the final sabre bout with Keeth Smart.

Pretty Awesome.

I watched Vet 60 women fence foil. They could hardly move. It was hard for some of them to get up and stand on the boxes to get medals. They were out there doing it though.

Pretty Awesome.

North American Cup

I thought a great deal about making this post in my journal on my long drive back from Richmond. I have not looked forward to it.

I knew I was going to get beat badly going in to this NAC. The rational Jim knew this. The romantic Jim thought that maybe a miracle could happen. It was the most demoralizing tournament I have ever fenced in. My head was not right going in and I did fence badly, but it would have made little difference.

There were around 53 guys in my age bracket. There were that many registered, I do not remember how many showed up. There were 17 "A" fencers and then down to 28 were "B" fencers.

I fenced at Nationals once. I had been fencing six months and I did not even understand what a rating was exactly. I never fenced in a tournament like this. Half way through pools, I just wanted it to be over. I did not win a single pool 5-1 5-3 5-1 5-4 5-4 5-1 I think it was this, but perhaps the order was different. I did tiny bit better in my DE. I was ranked 46th and I fenced the 19th or 17th guy. I do not remember. That bout went 10-7. I really did not want to post those numbers. But that is the way it went down.

I went for a learning experience. Sadly, I do not think I learned anything. All the things I am working on trying to master are things that the young and old DIV 1 fencers do not do. I am technically a poor fencer in epee. What I am working on mostly, is becoming better technically. Even at my age, I count a lot on my strength, hand speed and reaction time to help me through a bout. When I meet people who are better or equal in those regards I have nothing to fall back on.

Watching the young Div 1 fencers play, I cannot see what makes them Div 1. ( Division 1 is were the best....the A and B fencers play.) I do not see what A and B fencers are doing that is so different from what I am doing. This does not include "bouncing" foot work. I would say that 98% of the epee people at this level use that sort of foot work I would say that 99% of men in my age bracket do not. I saw two guys start fencing in pools this way. By touch 2 one had stopped and by touch 3 both had. I thought it was worth a smile. It is a very energetic method of foot work. I assume that one of the functions is to mask when you are going to make an attack. I know nothing about it. It must work, because the good fencers are doing it. It just seems wrong somehow. I guess it is because of the books I have read on economy of movement in fencing. That seemed so very logical.

Here is were I try to end on a positive note. Well,......I don't have one. I will just write about some of the good things. I had some really good Chinese food Saturday night. I drove through the area of the Fan I use to live in. I went to VCU. I had forgotten how cool an area that was.  I learned that the Atlanta Div has Vet events broken down into Div 1;2 and 3. Who knew?  I bought a new foil and got one of my old ones fixed. I could have gotten my best one fixed, but did not figure that out until I drove home. I got to hang out with Henri a lot. That is always fun. We have serious grown up conversations sometimes....but mostly...when we are together I feel like we both are 10 years old and we are on a play ground. We might explore the play ground or we might fight, but we have some fun. It is good to have a buddy your age.

I also got this cool T-shirt that I can put on when I don't want to have any self esteem at all.

I thought a lot about a number of pessimistic things on my loooonnng drive home. I will not go into them. I have only of lately started going to UNC and looking for ways to improve my epee game other than fencing it one night a week. The things I am doing take time to pay off. ( If they ever pay off.) I will give it a year and take another look at were I am then.

I decided on my drive home what my goal is. I want to move what people think when they see me in my Division. I want to move from, " least that old guy is out there trying" to "Yeah...He has some gray hair...but you have to watch him." That is my goal for this year.
Editors Note:


I had to use the "old" word. I did not mean it.


Friday, December 8, 2006

The Way of the Warrior

I fenced at UNC Thursday. There were very few people there and it is over next Thursday until January 9th. I had a very good private lesson with Coach Josh. I hope I can retain some of these things, but I will need them repeated over and over.

Henri had a good private lesson as well. I envy her. I wish that I could suck up some of this knowledge that she is getting in foil. I am knowledge greedy. We often talk about taking notes for each other, while we watch each others PL. We often talk about practicing with each other and reviewing the lessons. She would learn a bit of what I learned in epee and I would learn bit of what she learned in foil. So far, we have never found the time. Perhaps someday. I have some concerns anyway that at this stage we may have something wrong and just practice it wrong. Thus reinforcing it.

I fenced epee Friday night at the club. We tried to run two strips. The kids strip and "big" people who are competing one place or another this weekend. We took turns from our pool coaching and helping on the kids strip. The kid strip was much more tiring than fencing.

I got to fence "big" people. I worked on only a couple of things. I was relaxed and I did not have to hold back. It was a good night for me.

Tomorrow I leave to drive to Richmond for the NAC. Tomorrow is shopping, getting my mask and body cords checked. I have no expectations. I am just going to try and see what I can learn and try to have a good time.

I kind of have a Bushido philosophy going in. I am already dead. Hey...It worked for the Samurai!

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Main Reason

Monday I fenced foil. Actually, I just went to foil class and did some footwork, then I practiced epee. Woody is against mixing weapons, so it was kind of him to let me do this. This is the second foil class were I came but did not really participate in the class. ( Other than footwork.)

I have thought about this a lot. It is no secret that I do not care much for foil. But I enjoy the people in that class and the pleasure of their company. That is not a bad MAIN reason for fencing foil. In fact, it is not a bad MAIN reason for fencing.

I want to dabble in foil. Try to learn a little here and there. Try to help a little here and there.

This may sound silly, but I think part of my problem with foil lately is my weapons are not working. I plan to get the things to fix or repair one or two of them at the NAC. That should help my attitude about fencing. I just have to have my own equipment and know that it is working. Weird...but true.

I have had second thoughts about going to this NAC. I started looking at the ratings of these guys. Most are A and B fencers that I looked at. I am no match for these guys and I am going to get creamed. I talked to my coaches/friends about this and they all suggested that I fence the NAC. There is a nice local epee tournament near by this weekend, but I am going to fence in the North American Cup. It is the whole standard "learning experience " dialog again. Anytime someone tells you it will be a learning experience in fencing. it means you are either going to get the crud beat out of you or sweat like a pig and have sore muscles. Sometimes it means both...with epee bruises.

I have a friend that I met over the Fencing Net Forum. He was going to come, but sadly his father has had some bad health problems. Dale and I started about the same age. It is not really unusual to find someone our age that just started fencing, but it is rare to find someone our age that started fencing and stayed with it. It comforts me to know that there is another guy like myself out there. Sometimes when you are a late bloomer, you feel sort of alone. I am sure we will get to meet someday.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Saturady Morning

It is Saturday morning. No one is stirring yet and I am attempting to become fully caffeinated so that I can start my chores. Caffeine is my very good friend!

Monday: I fenced foil. Not much to say about it. My foils are all sick and not working. I hope to make them well or replace parts on them by the first of the year. I think my best one just has something wrong with the tip. I will shop at the NAC for some parts I need.

Thursday: I fenced epee at UNC at the NCFDP. I paid for a private lesson when I came in (as always) but Coach Miller did not show until late and the UNC team is heading north to some sort of big tournament. The PL is the main reason I go to UNC, but it was okay because I got to leave a little earlier. It was a not after 11:00 when I got home and I was not as sleepy the next day. I felt weird during fencing. I checked my blood pressure the next morning and it was great.  When I fenced epee on Friday it seemed to make me feel right as rain.  The epee giveth and the epee taketh away.

Friday: I fenced epee. After footwork, we skipped group lessons and went right to fencing, We had two strips going and did pools. I was given a strip with kids and Henri. The other strip had the cluster of adults. I don't ever mind fencing with the kids, but I needed to fence some big people, so. that I did not have to hold back. I have noticed a trend like this when we fence epee and I am starting to get a complex. The big people are avoiding me when we fence!

The new park is open across the street in downtown Greensboro. When the weather is nice and the "new " has worn off the nice park with beautiful fountains, there is a nice place to fence there. That might be fun. It would be at the very least....interesting.

Sally had returned for a week and she took us all out to dinner for Christmas. I had a nice time and we had some good conversation. We bought her a digital picture frame for Christmas. I had never seen one before. Pretty nifty! I also found that Cam and I have the same taste in wine...or lack there of.

My first North American Cupis next weekend in Richmond, VA. I have no idea what to expect. Looking at the 53 fencers that I will be competing with, some of them spent a bunch of money to travel to get there. I assume that the vast majority of these guys are gods. I have no way to set a goal, as I  do not have enough knowledge to do so. I guess my goal is not to be last place.

There is another club in town (a very good sabre club) that is going to start offering a "Point and Thrust Weapons Class" I assume this means a foil and (most importantly) epee class. Initially, I do not know where these point weapon people will come from, but there will be a class. This means that I have the OPPORTUNITY to fence every day of the week but Tuesday. It is a fairly expense class for once a month. I am not sure that I can in good conscience allow myself to fence four times a week. Perhaps I could try it for a month. In January, I will try to figure out a plan for the best use of my time in regard to fencing. I will figure this out during the holidays.

I also need to get myself back on track at the gym.  After some of my house cleaning chores are done, I am heading there today. My plan is to make this the last day I do lower body until after the NAC. First of the week is the last time I will do chest or arms. I will do a light lower back later in the week. I need my legs and arms not to be tight for next weekend. A bit of light cardio today and then taper off on that by mid week for the same reasons.

Gray Epee....over and out!