Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Back to Chapel Hill

I fenced in Chapel Hill last night at UNC. I am going to try and go there once a week during the summer. I am going to make this part of my summer improvement plan.

I will go there and fence better fencers than me. ( Which is pretty much all of them.) This is not good for the ego, but I have to do it.

It is a different crowd than I am use to at UNC. All clubs have personalities ( or lack there of ) just like people. DFC is friendly. MSF is friendly, but more focused and "business friendly". NCFDP is all some respects. ( Not business in the sense of money making.) The people are not very out going. It evidently takes a while for them to except you. Even Henri had trouble with this. Henri is short;cute and non-threatening. ( Okay...She is very threatening after you know her....but as a first impression, she is not.) Yet it took her a long time and she is extroverted.

I do not really know how I come across these days when people first see me. I remember at DFC it took a while for the kids to accept me. The truth is , that I am not concerned about being accepted at NCFDP. I am there for business and the business is fencing. As long as I am fencing and sweating, I am okay. ( Though a few more touches than I made last night would be nice.)

Matt Cox was there. I did a yoga warm up with his kids. I liked it. Let me qualify that. I have taken a yoga class with my daughter before. I did not get that much out of it, except that I spent time with her. Tai Chi is more my style. None-the-less, I like stretching warm ups. I have never really liked sitting on your feet. Even when I was younger and doing martial arts, it hurt a bit. ( There are things you loose as you age. Flexibility and balance are a couple of them. Not that I am is just a fact. ) I do think that the stretching helped my foot, which never bothered me much during or after fencing. It is not well, but it is MUCH improved.

Now..for something totally unrelated. I have noticed lately, that I use club bouts more and more to experiment and work on things that Coach Miller has shown us. I have noticed, however, that most people do not do that. They are fencing to win. Example: I know a person who is having trouble with angulated attacks. ( Not really...this is a factious example.) Does he ever practice them on strip? Nope! He knows he does not do them well and cannot do this because he might give up points...or dare I say it...loose a club match. Yep.....ego wins over smart. Sad really.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Scooby Gang

Left to Right: Trev; Henri; Me; Woody: Cam and Mario

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summer Fencing

Wednesday night was the last night for getting lessons from Coach Miller for the summer break. In the fall we will start again.

I made some goofy mistakes in lessons. I do not know about anyone else , but I seem to have times where I do great at lessons and then other nights were I feel sort of remedial.

I think that after Summer Nationals I will go down to Chapel Hill and fence once a week. I am still working on some project to help me improve over the summer, but I am not coming up with anything good.

Coach Miller said that they may have to cancel their summer camp if more people did not sign up. That really bothered me. It is such a wonderful opportunity and for people not to take advantage of it is akin to sinning. If I had enough vacation time I would have liked to have attended. He mentioned once that they may try some weekend camps. I would love to see that, but he has not mentioned it again and I do see it listed on their web site.

Perhaps later in the summer I will talk to Matt and take another shot at the epee ref exam. That would make me feel like I accomplished something special this summer. ( Or of course...depress me to no or  the other.)

I fenced some Wednesday night. In my last bout with Tommy, I felt like I moved well. I don't know. I have never seen video of myself fencing, but I felt like I was moving well. I was worried that my foot might never let me do that again. It is not perfect, but it is much better. Again, I was able to leave fencing and not limp. So...Yay!

July 14th I am fencing in a tournament at the coast.....outside. ( Outside in 90 degree+ weather. 38c or so) This out to be interesting. Hydration and methods of conserving energy and cooling off between bouts may be as important as a good lunge. This should be interesting.

Monday, June 18, 2007


I fenced epee tonight with Tommy. The scoring box was messed up so I do not know how I did score-wise. However my foot was much better and I was moving. Not pretty....but I was moving. I worked on my angulated attacks to the cuff, but with out much success. I did play with using the width of the strip. I had some good results there. After a couple of long bouts I walked to the car without pain or limping. I am using my super-dooper stretching boot as I write. There was some pain as I walked around the house, but nothing like it has been. I count this as a very positive sign.

I missed fencing on Friday, as I had to go to the coast and work on the house a bit.

Last Wednesday, we had our lesson with Coach Miller. It was ,for the most part, a verbal lesson. I enjoy those as well. We have one more class with him before the summer break. After that, if all works out, we can start on tactical training, which is what we all want. I understand why we worked on the technical and verbal aspects first. I am glad we did, but I am truly looking forward to taking a step up in tactics.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

My Foot and A Kindred Spirit

Well....I went to the doctor about my stupid foot. It had been getting a bit better now that I am not fencing in a tournament every weekend. My thought was to make an appointment and then if it was better by then....cancel the appointment.

Editors note: I use to run trails. I loved it. I had this same problem with my heal, but on the other foot. The doctor gave me a shot in the heel and moved the needle up and down to try and break off the bone spur. It was in the top five most painful moments of my life. I will not go into detail, but suffice it to say that I have had a LOT of painful moments.

The Doc told me that this could last 9 months to a year. It is from use, so the more I fence and the more active I am, then the longer it takes. He gave me a cool boot that stretches my toes back toward my leg and some anti-inflammatory drugs. He told me that a shot may or may not help. I asked him if he could knock me out or restrain me to give me the shot? I thought it would be best and safer for all concerned. That was not an option.

Cutting to the chase, I have a plan to work on my foot, but it will take some time and there is no quick fix. ( I really hate it when there is NO quick fix.)

I was instructed to call our resident health care professional after my doctor visit and report. Wisely, I did that.

She filled me in on foil class and things. One of the most interesting things she shared was a conversation with Woody about what her goals would be after Coaches College. Her views mirrored my own. Our thoughts were as one. Neither of us have a lifetime to become better fencers. We want to compete. At our ages, injury or illness could take us out of the game any day. That is just a fact. I know that either of us would do anything to help our club, but right is about competing for as long and as well as we can. It is a true comfort to me. There are a some vet fencers out there, but not all that many start so late in life. It makes you feel alone. I have met some that are like me and I have watched some like me hang up their blades already. Right in my own back yard, there is a person I can relate with. I am blessed and I am grateful.

Tomorrow night I fence again. Hot damn!!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Las Vegas

I was almost silly enough to bring fencing gear out here and try to go to a club and fence.

I get up at 4:30 in the morning and then work in factory that is in the desert. I have NOTHING left for fencing at days end.

I am NOT a Vegas kind of person. I do not enjoy gambling. I need to be around trees and/or water.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

2 Masters

I spent Friday night and Saturday afternoon at a workshop with Maestro Beguinet. As usual it was a good event and I am glad I took part in it. This is the fourth one of these I have been involved in. I also studied with him in Foil 1 at Coaches College.

Henri got accepted at Coaches College for Foil 1. I am very eager to hear her tales after going there. She and Coaches College will never be the same. Saying something like that  is common……but in this case I mean it totally!

Mario is going as well for Epee 1.

I now have studied under two masters. I marvel at the differences in their teaching style and what they teach. There is no way that you could study under both of them at the same time. Your head would explode. 

I wonder to what extent their body types and personalities dictate what they teach. Coach Miller is a powerfully built person and in epee, often encourages you to hold your ground or advance into attacks. (That is a generalization on my part. It is difficult to describe verbally how Coach Miller would have you fence epee.) Alex is small and fast, he would have you stay in constant motion going in and out and firing attacks all over the body like a machine gun. (This two is a generalization. I can’t put it into words, but the differences are just so terribly noticeable if you ever get a chance to study with them both.)

I thought I would be a lot better in this workshop. I had hopes that Alex would note some improvement. I have been studying with Coach Miller for about eight months or so. However, the drills I do with Coach Miller do not seem to translate well into what Maestro Beguinet has you do. That…or I was just having a bad day. I always feel crappy when I do not do a drill well, though often it is your partner as much as it is you. I was comfortable drilling with Cam, but I only did that once.

I do not feel like I have been fencing well of late. I do not know why, but I am not going to dwell on it for now.

I am going to be in Las Vegas for the next week on business. (Yep…that sounds cool, until you find that I will in actuality be working in a factory in the DESERT. Yes..It will be hotter than hell.) I have never been to Vegas and I hope to get to the strip at least one night. I am going to miss fencing. I just checked on-line and there are at least five fencing clubs in Vegas. I do not know if I will do this or not. It would mean carrying hard case on the plane and I already have much to carry. I also canceled my rental car there, as I thought I would not need one

I need to get a check to MSF for fencing this month. I will only get two lessons with Coach Miller , but they are worth it. Henri is going there for sabre on Monday. Perhaps I can give her the check to take for me tomorrow. Henri if you read this….send me a PM if you can do this.

I wanted to start sabre as well, but I am not sure that this will be the best time. In actuality I would most likely be a practice dummy for Henri.