Thursday, March 29, 2007

Mid-South Class

I fenced epee last night at Mid-South. I actually only fenced one bout with Cam. I have a physical for my new job on Friday and I didn't want to limp in.

I did a tiny bit of foot work with the sabre kids and learned a new advance to practice, if I can just remember to do so.

Note: slow/small/lean forward/drop tip/check it out/excellerate maybe

We had a good lesson with Coach Miller. The lessons was his first on tactics. It was (to some degree) a tactical wheel sort of thing, but with invitations; feints and a feint deceive sort of mashed into the progression.

Note: Invitation/drop point and advance

There is an invitation I am going to work on. Not only do I think I can make it work, but it will aid me in my quest to make a parry every now and then rather than just counter. This is hard to explain. but something I am working on. It is also something I can work on Friday night or at a CALL class. It is best to try new things there before doing so under fire.

I have noted that Mid-South has three summer camps in Durham and one in Greensboro. I wonder if they are moving again or if this just reflects the base of their membership.

I often wonder as well, what Coach Miller thinks about his little epee group in Greensboro?
It is not the kind of question you can ask really, as the reply almost would have to be sugar coated a bit. I just want an honest evaluation. I think it is such a good little group. Everyone is courteous; tries hard and listens. What more could a coach ask for?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007




I wanted you to know that I read your entries, but have been un able to post comments for some reason.

Perhaps it is my aging computer and dial up connection. I hope to be able to remedy both soon.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Chain..Chain ..Chain...Chain of Fools

Monday, Cam called me and asked me if I wanted to go to Mid-South and fence some epee. Keep in mind that after Sundays tournament I had to limp around to find a place to eat and ice my foot. The ride home was somewhat painful.

My response...." Heck yeah!!!"

What makes a person want to fence epee so bad that he will cause himself pain. I have no idea. Even though I am a low level fencer all I can think of is an old saying. "Pros play hurt." I forgot what coach from my youth use to say that. The reality of it is it has nothing to do with why I would go fence. I don't get paid to fence. I have no idea what makes people do this. I can however guarantee that if you go to a tournament around here with thirty people, there will be at least three wearing some sort of brace. There are no doubt others with something wrong that you can't see. Some of my friends and their conditions come to mind. It is an amazing thing and something that warrants some study and thought. The answer will not come in this post, but I will think on it.

I fenced okay Monday night, but I could not move much because of my foot and my foot work was clumsy. I also had a bad hand cramp. This happens sometimes to me after tournaments. Perhaps an electrolyte imbalance.

My pal Henri went down in a dodge ball game yesterday. I think her foot is injured. I called her today and what she told me did not sound good. I will wait to hear from her later tonight. Cam's knees; Woody's illness, Kathy's back...yet they fence. Henri may not fence, but she will find a way to work out and practice blade work.

Is there something wrong with us or is there something right with us? I would bet even money either way.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Good News

Good. News! I have a job. There will be adjustments and things to learn, but soon...I will attempt to turn my mind back to the important stuff......fencing!

Raleigh and Ref

I went to Raleigh to a Ref clinic this weekend. I learned a lot. ( Not enough evidently...but a lot.) I only decided I could do it two days before it started and that was not enough time to study. In truth, I do not think if I had studied for a week, I would have done much better.
I passed the General part of the test and only missed one answer. I missed passing the epee part of the written test by one answer. I took the foil and sabre parts per Matt's suggestion, but I pretty much sucked there. The lecture and study part before the test lasted eight hours and was well done. Like I said, I learned a lot. However, after eight hours of that and what seemed like an eternity taking the test, I was "Refed out"! That was enough for me. Matt may be able to give me the test. I will talk to him about it. My goal is to be a rated ref in epee for an "E" tournament. I know it is not a big goal. Perhaps my goals will change later. As for now...little by little...step by step.

I had my first ever political situation in a tournament on Sunday. Some of the people who took the written part of the test were directing foil." I was there to support my friend Henri and to help Henri stand up for her self. Nora was the ref and it was one of her club members fencing Henri. He was covering target. Henri even hit him in his off weapon hand once. It went 4-4.  Okay...I am not going to go into it all that much. Surfice it to say, one of the things I learned was that if you are in attack distance and someone covers target, it stops the action. I have no desire to fight with people from other clubs or to hold grudges. I did my best to handle it in a courteous and diplomatic manner. We have enough whining babies in this sport that can't let go of grudges; take blame for their actions and make an ass out of themselves. I hope I stood up for my friend, but did it in decent way. For my part, what happened is over. These two fencers faced each other in DEs. There was a lot of friction on strip, to say the least.

I fenced epee. It was an A2 event. (I think) There were around 29 or 30 people fencing. I finished 15th out of pools with a plus three indicator. I know it does not sound all that good, but I felt like I had some good bouts. I won 2 and lost 3 as I remember. I need to look at Ask Fred when the results come out. I got to fence John Rea who I use as a measuring stick sometimes. ( He has been fencing a LOT longer than me.) We tied and it went to priority. He won, but I did not feel bad about it. I fenced another kid and we went 4-4. On the last touch, he said he went by me, before the touch to the ref, but the ref gave him the point. I don't know, I couldn't see, but it was a close bout. I went 5-3 with the "B' in the pools. I went out in my second DE fencing Toomy (B rating). Score (I think) was 15-9 Toomy. 15-9 is a beat pretty bad in my book, but if you factor in 55 year old E rated fencer fencing younger B rated fencer.....I did not have to hang my head on the drive home.
I had fun fencing and my foot did not hurt bad while I was fencing. The drive home was painful, but did okay while fencing. It was a good day.

Oh....My man Tommy got his "C" rating this weekend at the "Sword and the Stone Tournament." I am proud of you Tommy!!!!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Change is in the Wind

Last night I fenced at Mid-South. We had a nice (fun) lesson with Jen, as Matt and Coach Miller are away at the NCAA tournament. Jerry was back and it was good to see him. He is a part of the epee family now.

I moved some during the lessons and had one bout. It is the next morning and my foot hurts, but not God-awful. I will not fence again until the tournament on Sunday and let it rest. I will go to class on Friday, but I will not fence or do foot work.

I am going to the Ref seminar on Saturday. Anne encouraged me to do so. Sadly, I doubt I will have the time to study like I should prior to going. So, if I take the test, I am unlikely to pass. This has to be a good thing at any rate. Developing ref skills is a part of my goal in becoming a fencer. If I am to make progress there then I have to make the first steps, even though I will falter. Matt can give the test to me now anyway.

I have no expectations for the tournament on Sunday. I just hope I can make it through it.

It has been a good couple of days for me. Tuesday I had two calls from people that wanted to interview me for employment. Yesterday I had another call. One of the calls was THEM seeking ME out and is a company that wants me to do something like I was doing before, though for Kitchen Cabinets. I have an interview with them on Friday at 2:00. This is the job I want of the three. I so hope I get it. I know the career stuff is not part of fencing, but it is a part of the total package and effects my fencing in so many ways that I must include it.

Cam filled Henri and I in on some points of the meeting yesterday. It looks like the possible changes in the club/clubs are moving along well. As for me, I am good with all that was mentioned and if Coach Miller is a part of the equation, then I have no problem at all. He is what I need to make me better technically.

I have a few moments left in my morning "free time" so I best go study the rules a bit.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Random Thoughts

I fenced last a fool. My foot was not hurting much and I thought I could pull it off. It is now the next morning and can hardly walk.   I am all but persuaded it is time to go to the doctor. I am not going to like this!

I helped with blade work drills last night. I am not sure that my help was wanted or needed. I saw things that people were doing wrong and tried to fix them. I think I will wait to be asked to help. You just never know if someone will think you are one of those know-it-all people or if they like for you to help. I will wait for a cue next time and make sure I am not crossing a line.

The parallel bars are moved out of the gym and mats are easier to move now. More room for us. It is a good thing.

There may be changes coming for the club, but it is to early to talk about or speculate on. I see them for the best in all respects.

I asked Woody how long it took me to relax when fencing, as a guide to figuring out when some new students might relax a bit more. He told me that I had not relaxed yet. I thought about this on the way home. I believe he is mistaken.

I like Mike. ( Jordan's Dad.) He is an intelligent and sensitive person. The world could use more of them.

I fixed Max's weapon for him last night. I was happy that worked. Now if I can figure Cam's out, that would be even better.

I am concerned that I may not heal up in time to fence in the Raleigh tournament. I hate that! It is 6:00 in the evening and my foot does not hurt as badly. I can walk without limping. It is always worse in the morning, so I will see how it is then.

There is a Ref seminar in Raleigh next weekend. I could do that, but It would cost around $60.00 (plus gas and stuff) . I am unsure if I could do that without major guilt. I should watch my money closer these days. I am still thinking about it.

I talked with Ryan and Evan's father. He is a good guy as well. He is an expert in diabetic diets and perhaps more. Maybe I can find a way to use his knowledge to help Anne. We talked about that for a good bit last night.

I free fenced a bit last night, hence my screwed up foot. There was one guy that was relaxed enough (meaning not to much tension in his arm) for me to actually work on my traps and circle six in opposition. I can do it and I am happy that I just did not fence him and actually worked on something I needed to work on.



Thursday, March 15, 2007

March 14, 2007

I fenced last night. In truth, I did not fence but took a group lesson. It was a good one. I did not free fence as I am giving my heel a bit more time to heal. It is only a bit stiff from the lunging. Matt recommended I try and find a heel cup and I hope to do that today. ( Or at least try to look for one.)

I learned a new move last night. I have seen something like it done many times...or elements of it...but I never do it.  In truth I don't think I can make it work often.

Sorry...I need to leave myself a cryptic reminder or two:

Strong beat...semi circular beat could work...or normal...just stronger.
Over the bell jar and the rose.
Move past the point.
Lay blade in the hand behind your mask.

I need to work on traps. I almost never do it. I get caught up in just fencing, rather than working on things I should practice.

Due to injury and unemployment I am not fencing as much as I would like or need. It cannot be helped, so I will try not to worry about it. I have enough to worry about to keep my plate full.


Saturday, March 10, 2007


I can't say much about my week in fencing. I did not do that much. Wednesday I went to Mid-South. I can't free fence as my foot is messed up and I need to give it a break for a week or so. I am hoping that will take care of the problem. Please..oh .. please let it get better this way! The last time this happened I had a shot in my heel and I would rank it in the top three most painful moments in my life. And buddy...I have had some painful moments!

I had written fencing homework for Coach Miller. He took it back with him to grade. NOT looking forward to that. On the bright side, I was the only one that turned any in. I figure I am ahead on the curve. There were a few remarks made about brown noising. Mostly the brown noising remarks were made by a little woman that tried to copy my homework.

The group lesson went pretty good, though I told the coach I could not lunge. ( It hurts the foot.)  My PL was a sort of a disaster. I have not done that kind of attack/blade work with just an advance (no lunge) and I was messing up big time!  Hey..It is harder than it sounds!

Friday I went to DFC to help with epee. Cam was out of town and it is generally a big class. We only had around 14 fencers so it was not that bad. Things went pretty well and I did not even dress out. I left an hour early, so I could meet a group of young friends and see if we could get into see "300." Sadly, I did not call them to get me a ticket (It was sold out) and they got in to see it and I went home....which was really okay with me.

Maybe next week I can fence. perhaps I will even go to Chapel Hill.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Henri's Blog

This is a strange entry into my journal. It is not mine. It is from my friend Henri, who does not have a journal. She felt compelled to write down some of her thoughts after a recent tournament. ( Okay...I might have helped compel her.) She mentions me as being a coach. I do not see myself as one. I do not know enough. I am just a helper. I am honored that she sees me like that though. Here are her thoughts:


Random thoughts, firing at will, BEYOND all control~~~

The best part of last weekend’s tournament, "Spring is in the Air-2007" was spending time with my fencing family--big brothers who give hugs for encouragement---little sisters for sharing girl secrets---supportive cousins who cheer for all of us!!! The worst part is driving back without benefit of a shower!!!

Peter, Gilbert (out sick last weekend with pneumonia), Keith, Bryan and others in the Touche Club always make me feel welcome!!! Their club is a favorite of mine!!! I hope that the young fencers and parents from the Touche Club will feel as welcome at our club’s sponsored RYC this weekend!!

Being the only DFC fencer at last Saturday’s E and under Foil event, I was adopted for the day by members from other clubs who offered suggestions, support and even repaired weapons for me!!! And, forced me to learn how to reassemble a foil tip---Kathy and Trevor would be proud!! "It'll be good foryou"---WHATEVER----that is why I chose a predominantly guy sport---I'm NOT supposed to have to do that!!!

The only thing that I did, to become the "new best friend" to some members of the ASU Fencing Club, was to offer medical assistance---something that comes easy for me!!! In helping them, I gained new friends, receiving more than I gave--how cool is that???!!! Please note: Several members of that club shared that they are working hard to overcome the "bad name" that has been associated with their club---I so admire their determination and wish them the best!!!

It was great to renew friendships with people I have fenced in the past several months!!!

And, such an unexpected surprise when Hunter Yeaton and Ryan Bean advised me and hoped I would win my first (and only) DE bout in Sunday’s E and Under Mixed Epee!!!

Lucien Stevens should be advised---I plan to beat him yet! Actually, I did beat him 5-3 in pools in Touche’s "Lunge into ‘07". However, he won our DE bout in that tournament, 15-11. As luck would have it, on Sunday my DE bout was also against Lucien. However, although Lucien won, the score was only 14-11 at the end of the third bout. If I continue to narrow the score, soon I’ll win!!!

When I first started fencing, I didn’t have any goals or expectations and, other than the Olympics, wasn’t aware that competitions were available. I didn’t even know any fencers!! After my very first foil class, I knew that I loved fencing!!!

Jim has a saying, "Anything worth doing is worth doing to obsession." Well, I must be obsessed!!! I have been fencing foil for almost 18 months, and epee for five months, have been taking private lessons with Coach Miller for five or six months, group lessons with Coach Miller for two months, am in three different clubs, and fence three nights a week!!! And, I have benefited from instruction from two fencing maestros!!!

My favorite coaches, however, are still the ones from my very own club---Sally, Cameron, Woody, Jim and Mario. They share their love for fencing in so many ways. They volunteer unselfishly, giving of time and personal resources, too often without the appreciation they deserve. They encourage, correct, tease, laugh with me, cry with me, and even loan me their personal gear!!! They’ve seen me at my best and at my worst, and seem to love me in spite of "me being me"!!! Ya’ll are the best EVER---I love all of you!!!

DFC doesn’t just happen spontaneously!!! On club nights, coaches are the first to arrive and the last to leave. However, that’s not all that they do!!! They take home equipment needing repair, answer club e-mail, work with the Y staff, plan and staff club sponsored tournaments, etc. DFC coaches and fencers have become my fencing family, and I have fencer friends from Wilmington to Boone!!!

Reminder for all of us: Say "thank you" in both words and actions!!! Look for practical ways to demonstrate appreciation for our coaches by helping them whenever and wherever you see a need. In doing this, we can help them andhelp each other!!!

Goals and expectations are in my thoughts, on my mind, and fill my heart. I recently achieved a small goal that I had set for myself nearly a year ago--that I would beat all the "big guys" in our club at least once. Well, within the past two weeks, I finally beat the last of the "big guys" in practice bouts!!! It will probably never happen again, but it was sweet!!! Two of them were beat in their primary weapon--epee!!! One of you I have yet to beat in your primary weapon, but someday it willhappen!!! I continue to work toward other goals. For example, no longer do I always attack, attack, attack, attack, ATTACK!!! As, I reflect back on last weekend’s tournament, I have identified several mistakes and some slight improvements, realized some goals accomplished and some expectations changed, and continue with hope. I’m certain that still others will come to mind.

I listen for these words from encouraging voices in my thoughts and while on piste: "Henri, RELAX!!!", "Don’t forget to BREATHE!!!", "Take your time---be PATIENT!!!, "Henri, go PSYCHO!!!, "Nice touchĂ©!!!" I look for familiar faces in my mind and through my mask, showing me expressions and gestures of instruction, encouragement, scolding, exasperation, and, sometimes, pride.

I am ever challenged by this sport that I love so much. Perhaps my goals and expectations are still way beyond my abilities--perhaps they will always be. Regardless, I continue the challenge to give my best, with motivation to improve as much as possible--as soon as possible, preferably, NOW!!!!

So, I hold tightly to FENCING, for me a passion, as it holds tightly to me~~~



Monday, March 5, 2007

Regional Youth Tournament

This weekend the Downtown Fencing Club sponsored a Regional Youth Tournament. There was great deal of work that went into this from the DFC people, the Leadership Committee as well as parents and students. There were refs from Mid-South Fencing, Raleigh Fencers and Cape Fear, without whose efforts there would have been no tournament.

Friday night set up went great and it went quickly. It went so quickly that there was time left over to work with the kids. I worked as hard as any helping to set up, but afterward is were I did something wrong. Cam was working hard to help the kids prepare for fencing epee in the tournament (some had only been fencing two months) and all I did was sit there and socialize. I zoned out. I was purely decorative. It was as if all I had to do to help was show up. I was letting someone do a hard job and neither helping them or explaining to them why I could not help. Cam became miffed and rightly so. It was enough to spur me to action, but I should have not needed spurring. I am sorry Cam. I will never make that mistake again.

The tournament went fine. In fact I would say it was smooth and well run. No problems with parents or coaches. Everyone was well behaved.

Cam and Mike were dynamos of work ethic this weekend.  Kathy and Trev worked constantly as well.

I helped the Y10 epee kids this weekend. Lack of working Y10 weapons and the Y10 kids themselves about sent me over the edge a couple of times. ( was more than a couple of times.) When I did not think I could take anymore, Cam stepped in to save me. She is my hero.

I watched kids fence and I tried to remember when they develop good motor skills as they age. I use to know such things when my kids were little. It seems to me that many small kids that fence are well above were they should be in having control of their bodies (Okay there are some kids out there with some sort of medical problems that do not have this ability...mostly our kids for some reason...but even they seem to improve because of fencing. ) I think it would make an interesting study, if someone had the knowledge to do it properly.

I made a new friend this weekend. His name is Lewis. Ido not know how old Lewis is, but he is around 2 feet tall and can't talk. We/he had a magnetic extension tool, which sort of looked like an epee that was adjustable, but without a bell guard. I would place a tip screw on the floor or on other targets and he could use the tip to get that thing. POINT CONTROL! We both had the best time playing together. Once again I do not know when little kids are able to do such things with that sort of motor control, but it sees almost "freaky."

When it came to retrurning the gym to rights, Mike was again a power house. Even some of the kids from other clubs and parents helped tear up tape.

This is how we spent our weekend. I hope the kids enjoyed themselves. If they did, it was worth it.


Thursday, March 1, 2007

Just Felt I Should Post

I had a good lesson with Coach Miller last night. It was a good group lesson and a good private lesson. It will be better if I can practice and fix some of the things we worked on. I did not shine last night, but I did okay and I have things to work on.

I have something wrong with my foot. It is from when I use to run and it is called..Planti...something. I can never remember the name. I tried not to fence last night and hurt it more, but I just had to a little bit. It is hard to be suited up and stand there with weapon in your hand and not fence.

I wish my situation would improve (means find employment) so that I could go back to thinking about fencing all the time. It was a mental escape and I miss it. I have to sit it to the side for now.

I correspond a lot with Beth these days. I have recruited Henri to help with some of her medical questions. She is still part of my fencing family and always will be. I am grateful to Henri (as it seems I usually am) for giving of her time to help my friend.

This week we host a RYC event. We did this last year. I must say, I did not enjoy the one last year all that much. One of the reasons is the attitude that prevails in this type of tournament. When we host other kid events, the kids and parents do not take it (generally) all that seriously. It is good experience and fun for the kids. In this type of tournament, people are driving long distances and they are SERIOUS about those kids doing much so.

The good news is that I get to hang with a good bunch of people for part of the weekend. How cool is that?!