Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Powerful Clip

Rules of Engagement

Provided you can employ a bit of symbolism.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Week of No Fencing and Thanksgiving

I was reading a forum this week and it made me think of a ref seminar I attended.

The lecturer stated that it was against the rules for fencers not to have their knickers cover their socks. ( No skin on the legs showing) It is a minor rule and I have never seen it strictly enforced at local tournaments.

According to the speaker, what makes it worth enforcing is that all those other people made sure that their legs were covered. Not enforcing the rules on the person who socks show skin is therefor unfair to them.

Evidently, ( after reading this forum) this may not be a universal truth. I will think on this for a while.

Editors Note: The forum post had nothing to do with socks, but it is the same thing in my mind.

Now....................back to the subject of my

I am not fencing any this week. I did do a light warm up with Jen Cox's class on Monday, but no blade work. I am having trouble getting strip time. I am not sure what to do about this. Looking at the long range weather forecast, Henri and I had talked about taking a box to the park and fencing outdoors. We did this last Thanksgiving. It looks like the weather will be to cold this weekend and no one else seemed very interested in the prospect.

Last year when we did this , we stopped and talked to some people in between bouts that had an interest in fencing. It would seem to me, if a couple of people would go to the park and fence on occasion ( not unlike going to the park and throw a Frisbee or something) it might be a way to generate an interest in fencing. ( In a small way...though a small way is better than no way.)

I have been somewhat successful at making myself go to the gym and work on endurance based exercises. Sadly, cardio just bores the living hell out of me. BUT...I am making myself do some. I use to love to run trails ( not a Hasher), but an injury has taken that away from me. Going to the gym and working with free weights is where I am more at home. It has been a part of my life for a long time. My workouts are a lot lighter than the old days and no longer "body part " ordinated, Still, except for my big old tummy, I don't feel totally "mushy". At my age it is more of a maintenance thing. I try to think "fencing" as a vary my routine and encompass things with a full range of motion. I have also started doing lower body again, though much lighter weights.

On the downside, yesterday I ate like a pig. I do not think I will weigh for a couple of days.

Now....time to head to the gym and buy some tires.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Last night I had a group lesson with Coach Miller. I enjoyed it. The majority of
the time it was like a lecture. I like all his lessons, but I think I enjoy
these types most of all. I would love to just sit around and eat and have a beer
and just listen to him talk about fencing.

This lecture was on a subject near and dear to every fencer. It was about our
weapon. What to look for. How the grip and tang should be set. What he buys for
his team and why? We did a drill using his weapon and then our own. He was
trying to make a point. You often hear fencers talk about equipment, but I think
when I hear someone that has been fencing for 50 years talk about it, I am going
to pay attention.

Editors Note: In my career, I have often heard people tell me how long they have
been doing something. ( They are trying to indicate that because they have done
something a long time, they are knowledgeable about it. I have often countered
with, " You have probably been making love for a long, long time, but that
doesn't mean you are any good at it." What I am saying by this is that I do not
generally accept that someone knows what they are talking about JUST because
they have been doing it a long time. However, in Coach Millers case....I take it
as gospel.

Another subject that fascinated me was about when he was in Germany. He said
that when someone on the German team messed up they had to spend ten minutes in
"the closet". The closet was s small photography dark room with a black light.
Inside, hanging on a black string was a small yellow ball. They are draped in a
black tunic and given an epee that is painted totally black. The drill is to
always know were your point is, without looking at it. This sounds like a really
good drill to me. I would love to spend some time doing that. If I ever get an
epee I feel like I can waste by painting all black, I may set something up like
that, just to check it out.

We did do some drills and they were simple and useful. It was another great

Prior to this I had gone to the gym. I am trying to increase my endurance by
making myself do cardio. I have done pretty good this week in keeping my self
focused on that. Sadly , my weight after a few days in Pittsburgh is actually up
a bit. DAMN IT!!! Stupid 55 year old metabolism!!! Next week I will not fence at
all, so I will concentrate on this.

Tonight ( Thursday ) I went down to UNC fenced a bit and had a private lesson.
I worked on a new " take".

Friday, November 9, 2007

Learning from Kids

Over the course of the week, I have reflected on "people who taught me things in
fencing". Mostly (for some unknown reason) I have thought about kids who have
taught me things. (Kids being people under 21 or so.)

Hunter (blond KOS fencer) ...I think of him often when I get down on myself
about fencing. Three years ago, when he was just a little kid and was fencing
epee for the first time at the first Titanic Open. He was getting the crud
kicked out of him, but he was having the most fun and the best time of anyone
there. I talked to him at last years Divisional about his influence on me. I
thought he should know. As always, he seemed happy about it.

Tommy is another. I cannot put my finger on one thing he taught me, but we
shared a lot of tournaments together and on occasion some quite, thoughtful and
supportive conversations. ( I know what you are thinking.......Tommy?...."Quite
and thoughtful"????) Yes, on more than one occasion. Tommy has a lot of energy,
but he has his quite reflective times as well. In my book, we became "brothers"
when we went to a KOS tournament together two years ago or so ago. We were the
only non-KOS fencers there and it was the first time we earned a rating.

The young woman I fenced at the App tournament. (I have forgotten her name.)
That is a lesson in progress. It concerns rules vs. what is right. I am still
thinking on this.

I have had several 30-something coaches and instruction from people of various

Sharon (Nicole's mom) is my latest coach.

Coach Miller and Sally are the only coaches older than me I have ever worked
Even Alex is a year younger.

(Side note: Coach said some supportive things concerning my fencing last night.
I needed that.)

I am not in any way hung up on the age of anyone I learn from. I try to learn
what ever I can, from who ever I can. But ever sense the new lady that runs the
"Y" came in and looked around at the fencers......focused on me....the
oldest....and decided I must be THE has been weighing on my

Or it may be that it has something to do with Sally's retirement. I am not sure.

Sunday, November 4, 2007


Today ( Sunday) I fenced at an App State tournament. It was a good and well run tournament. The drive to and from the event was great as well. The changing of the leaves in the mountains was just beautiful.

I fenced in two events. ( back to back) In retrospect, that was a mistake, though I am glad I did.

I fenced in an E and Under event. After pools I was seeded first and had a bye. I had a +16 indicator in a pool of five. That was a personal indicator high.

I put that last bit of info in because it sounded cool. The truth is that I had an easier pool than the others. I would glance at other strips and think, " Damn I am glad I am not fencing that kid." Note: Kid = College Aged Person  Update: I ended up 5th.

After my bye, ( as luck would have it ) I fenced the kid that won. It was fairly tight up until touch 5 and then I got tired. He proceeded to beat me quite handily.

And I was done for a while.

Henri and I went over and did the epee stretch until the Open Event started.

Henri did great in foil. I think she finished 7th in a 20 something field and was the highest rated woman in the E and Under foil. I will review stats on all this stuff later, when it is posted. Memory must serve until that time. Update: There were 26 competitors.

I did not get to see Henri fence, as I did not come down for foil. Naturally, I was reprimanded for not being supportive.

Henri had a disappointing day in epee.

I sometimes wish that there could be a tournament with a height limit. Henri and Kerry Herrick ( others as well)  in my mind are some of the gutsiest fencers in the state. They fence these tall young kids all the time. They must get frustrated often. I have watched them fence many times and known that if only they were as tall as the person they were fencing, they would have destroyed them. I admire them.

Then there was the open. It had some of the big boys in it. Pools for me were okay. I won three ( though 2 were barely) and I got creamed in the two I lost. One was a "D" fencer and I went down 5-0. Man....I haven't got waxed in a long time. Yes...I still hate it.

The other was Kelly Herrick. I only got one point. I like watching this kid fence better than anyone in the state. He is not only good, but he has style. I generally prefer to counter, but I thought I would be more aggressive with him. I figured I had nothing to loose. Sadly , while interesting, the result was the same as if I had fenced him playing my game.

So out of 23 fencers, I finished my usual middle of the pack with the 12th seed. Update: I finished 13th. Some of the placements were interesting.

Onto DEs.

Now I want to point out, that I was trying to take advice and just fence. No goals, just fence the person in front of me.

My first bout was against a young woman. At some point, I was ahead 10-2. That sounds good, but I question myself because of this bout. I was killing her. It was clear that I was going to win. I did not let her have a couple of points, but there were a couple of times I made half hearted attacks. I think the score was 15-5 me. I know that no one would cut me any slack, but I question this. It would not have hurt me to ease up a bit and let this girl leave with her head up. There are rules that govern this type of action, but they are impossible to prove. I could have eased up on this kid and I didn't. I will think about this for a while.

My next DE was against a D fencer. ( Hite) I fenced him before in pools in another tournament. I won. In DEs I was ahead 4-1. Then by touch 8 or 9 I was really getting tired. He passed me then and and I lost. I am unsure of the final score. Update: Score was 15-12 Hite

So for me, I find that my endurance is hurting me. Part of that is that I am carrying around to much extra weight. I have tried to motivate myself to do something about this before. Perhaps, fencing better, might make me stick to it....but who knows?

So, while my efforts were not all that good, I had a pretty good time.

I do not think I will fence two events back to back anymore, Vet fencers must pace them selves.