Saturday, April 28, 2007

Weird


Last night was a weird night of fencing. Cam told the class about the merger. Everyone seemed pleased and excited about it.

We did some drills. I started my practice session with Henri, as she gave me grief about snubbing her at Coach Miller's class. ( Meaning I did not drill with her on Wednesday. Dames! Go figure.) As we worked on our drills I noticed that Sean and Ron W. (father and son) were not getting anywhere, so I suggested that Henri and I stop and switch out with Ron and Sean. Which we did. I experienced a bit of culture shock. Doing the drills with the group on Wednesday night and then doing it with other grown up people. ( Or at least people of the non-little-kid persuasion.)

As I work with Coach Miller to become technically better (That is my number one goal with him. I hope tactics come a bit later.) I often have wondered if any of this is having any positive effect on strip. I should have been asking myself if it was making me better technically, which was the goal. I did not see my improvement until last night. I could have corrected things in my partner for a long long time. ( This does not mean that my partner was a bad fencer or that I am sooooooo darn good....It just means I am learning and I am sure of it now.)

As for the effect this is having on strip, I think this is positive as well. However last night I lost in pools to Henri and Mark. This is the first real time I have lost to Henri and the second time I have lost to Mark. I had a rematch after my first loss in pools to Mark and redeemed my ego twice, when I was concentrating fully. Now I know that now and again this kind of thing happens. Henri is a good fencer and Mark has some real talent. I am proud of both of them, but I have to analyze myself. I must figure out if this is because I did not concentrate and take them seriously (until it was to late) or if it was my foot or if it was because I was working on my feint. I am not going to make to much of this unless it starts to happen regularly (Note: This is because when you are a Vet 50 fencer, you have to do a reality check every now and then to see if you are going through an "old spurt." That is like a "growing spurt " for kids....only different.)

(Editors Note: Yes, Tink...I know...I am a Lost Boy.)

I like our new member Mary. ( Former Penn State fencer.) She is a good fencer and just needs to get back in the grove for a while. I could tell in her eyes, that she was asking herself some of the same questions that I was asking myself. That makes her a sister-in-arms. Okay...a much younger sister....but a sister nonetheless.

I asked Cam if she needed any help with the CALL class today, as Woody is out of town. She said that Nicole would be there to earn some public service points. ( Girl Scouts.. I think. ) This was a relief as I have much to do today. However, I am sensing something sometimes when I ask Cam and Woody if they need help. It might be my imagination, but I get the impression that my help is not desired. That is fine, I just hope that I have not given them a reason/reasons to feel this way. Maybe I am coming across as arrogant or something. Maybe I am stepping on toes. If so, I am more than happy to drop my 'helper" status and just be a student. I need to figure this out. It could just be that all the things I have been through in the last couple of months are effecting me in some manner. Or it could be that things Woody and Cam have been going through have effected them. Or maybe it is the stress that is part of the changes that are coming? Or maybe ..it is all in my head.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Merger and Stuff


Last night was epee night at Mid-South. Jen and I had a brief talk about the merger. We both had thought about it so long and so hard, we really did not want to talk about it anymore. I think our thought process is similar. Both Matt and Jen have always seemed like very serious people to me. It is only lately that I have seen a more light hearted side. (Particularly with Jen.)

Coach Miller wanted to know all about the merger and had some things to share.

Coach Miller and I are not so far apart in years.  But for the life of me, I cannot call him Ron. It seems unnatural. I guess Coach will always fit better.

Matt had a good idea. We talked about having a tournament called the "Ron Miller Open." I am very much for this and will keep this conversation alive.

Our group lesson was good. ( As always) I seem to stumble more when I am the leader, rather than the student in our two man drills. Coach generally seems able to fix me quickly when I am doing things incorrectly.

Matt and Jen are trying to get Henri to fence sabre. Henri and I both seem to be limping around a lot the last few months. I wish we would heal up! If she takes a beginner class in sabre, perhaps I will take one with her. That way I get to dabble in sabre a bit and she gets a training dummy. She is never happier than when she is smacking me anyway. This is the same, but with a thin strip of metal.

Woody and Mario seem to have some concerns about the merger. We have not heard from Sally yet. I know it is scary. Change always is.  However, I see this for the best. From what I hear, the main concerns are the name of our club in Greensboro and concern over what people in the fencing community would think. I have no concerns about a club name. That seems like such a small issue to me. As for people talking or taking a bad slant on the merger................who cares? Those same people would talk no matter what. I haven't much cared what other people thought sense I was in high school. The only thoughts that are important to me are friends and family. I already know (more or less) what my fencing friends and my fencing family think. So.......no problem.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

NC State

Today Henri, Steve, Kathy and I fenced at the NC State "D and Under" tournament. The host were nice people and there were some folks I had never seen fencing before.

I had hopes that it would be a bunch of "newbs" ripe for slaughter, but that was not the case in general.

The last two tournaments I fenced in (no matter what the results were) I felt like I had fenced better, or perhaps started on another (higher...but not very high) level of fencing.
I was almost positive that was the case. However, today I did not fence well. I did not do so well in pools and I went out on my second DE. I am really to tired at the time of this writing to analyze or process the event. I will look at it when the results are on Ask Fred.

I drove back to Greensboro after the tournament so, Woody, Cam Henri and I could meet with Jen Cox and talk in greater detail about Mid-South and the Down Town Fencing Club merging into one club with two locations. I liked what I heard.

I will think about all this stuff tomorrow. It has been a FULL day of fencing activity. I need some sleep!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Charlie's Mom and I Choked Wednesday

First....Thank you Deborah...for the kind words.

We had a good class with Coach Miller Wednesday. We reviewed Divisionals, talked about the pre tournament ritual and had a class on fleche defense. I enjoyed it and learned a lot, but I really stunk at the main part of the drill.

Your opponent prepares to fleche and takes your blade with circle six in opposition, then fleches for the center of the body. You relax your arm and pull back as he/she comes forward so that you move your blade into third position and your strong glides back to his/her weak. You are now in control and poke the poor buger.

Not so fast Jim! I just cannot make my arm relax and pull back when I am being fleched. I have a similar move but more strong armed. It is more my style, but so wrong.

Oh well, I will practice on some kids Friday and see if I can pull myself out of it. This is not going to be an easy one for me. But this is what I want so much to learn. Time to get cracking.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Better Than a "D"

It is vein of me to post this here. It is a comment from Sharon (Nicole's Mom) made in the proceeding post. But...Hey...it is my journal! Thank you Sharon. I really do not have the words to tell you how this comment made me feel.

I think you did wonderful this weekend!  First off, you fenced.  Given everything that's been going on the past few months it would have been easy to say I'm just not up to it.  But you didn't...you FENCED.  You finished first in your pools and 8th overall after pools.  I think that says something about your performance.  Of course it was bad luck getting John Rea for your first DE....but you ended up finishing in 17th place.  By my calculation that's in the top two thirds.  So you met your goal for the tournament.  John only finished one spot above you.  As a parent of a fencer I think I can safely say your dad would have been very proud of you and what you accomplished this weekend.  

Also I can't say enough about the support and encouragement you provide to your fellow teammates (and their parents).  It hasn't gone unnoticed or unappreciated.  Thanks for being there for all of us.  -- Sharon

 

Sunday, April 15, 2007

NC Divisionals


All in all, it ALMOST went better for me than anticipated. I had set a goal of being in the top two-thirds...or escaping the bottom third of Men's Epee fencers. Under normal circumstances I might have set a different goal. However, with my fathers death, my bad foot (which has kept me from fencing as much as I should ); my new job....you get the picture......I just did not see me doing very well. Plus the added factor that there were just a bunch of fencers that were better than me preregistered.

As fate would have it, only 27 fencers of the 37 fencers that preregistered showed up. I have rarely seen a tournament were there were less fencers than you expected. From what I could tell, the tournament seemed well run.

I finished first in my pool. That was a surprise! To be honest, I think it was one of the easier pools though. The results of the pools were that I was in 8th place. That was way beyond my expectations, so I was happy.

I was to fence the 25th (last placed) fencer.  I feel like I could have beat the last place person...no problem. To my surprise that was John Rae. There is absolutely no way that he should have been in last place. I lead most of the DE and he rallied at the end and beat me 13-15. I do not know if John was injured in pools; this was some sort of strategy; or this was just for dramatic flair. I do know one thing. The next time I fence him; I am going to win. It is that simple.

I finished 17th (I think).( Edited: 4-17-07. I found out there were 27 fencers.) That did meet my goal. Somehow it still did not seem like enough. I am not real unhappy about it, nor am I happy about it.

I would have liked to have done well enough to have Coach Miller say something positive. On the other hand, Cam told me I fenced well. That always means a lot to me. Also Paul (from the Wilmington club) told me how much I had improved and that made me feel good. That was kind of him.

I spent some time talking to Hunter from KOS. I told him how he had helped me by example when I wasbeating myself up over fencing one time. What a likeable kid.

I enjoyed watching and supporting our fencers. I felt like I shared their victories and their disappointments. The later is part of the game.

Despite the lack of a stellar performance at this event, I have this weird feeling that my fencing has improved. I mean this in the sense that as your learn to fence (other things as well) you hit plateaus.  You stay there a while and then you start going up again. I may be wrong, but I feel like I am moving up a notch. I try to be a realist when I judge myself in fencing. I hope I am right about this.

Sharon told me that my Dad would be watching me at this event. It was a reference to me having a fencer parent. ( A joke. ) He never got to see me fence. If he was watching today, I would not be totally ashamed. Keep watching Dad. I will tell you when I have done well.

 

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Thank You


 Thank you to my "Fencer Friends" who sent the beautiful flower arrangement to my family and I. It was truly elegant. It is my hope that it will be the last thing that made me tear up for a while. I was truly touched.

Friday, April 6, 2007

April 6th

Today ,my father, Reese Kent passed away.

Dad

I have not slept much in the last 24 hours. My dad is in the hospital and he has a 50-50 chance of making it.  I stayed with him last night. For some reason I thought about Cyrano de Bergerac and his duel with death.

In this type of duel, there are no "seconds." There are no champions and no substitutions. You are called to the strip and there are no "byes."

My dad would not think of flashing blades in this last fight. I am sure of that. He would think of blazing six guns in a dusty Western street. My Dad loves Louis L'Amour. He read other more relevant things, but the old West is where his heart lies.

My journal is supposed to be about fencing. References to flashing blades are not enough to make this entry a part of it. However sometimes you cannot separate fencing from life...or from death. One effects the other.

I am getting a little tired of bad things happening.  I start my new job Monday. What am I supposed to do? Am I to walk in and ask for time off?

The nurse sent me home to sleep, but I am not having any luck there. Perhaps I will try again.

 


 

Monday, April 2, 2007

Goals


I had goals. I don't think I had a time line, but I thought (hoped) that more of them would happen this season.

I wanted to be better technically in epee. I have been working on this by studying with Coach Miller. I have no real idea how I am doing in that regard and this is an on going process that will never end. I have no way to measure success in this regard. I think the fact that I am pursuing it is the success.

I wanted to develop some ref skills. Nothing big, maybe a level 9 in epee. I passed the General written part of the test, but will have to retake the written Epee part. I will try to do this by this summer, but much will depend on Matt's busy schedule. I went to two ref seminars this season. I learned quite a bit...not enough...but a good start, I am pursuing this goal, but it seems slow in coming. It is still possible I could complete this before Nationals, which I see as the end of the season.

I wanted to improve my armory skills. I have a tiny bit, but mostly because they were almost nonexistent prior to this season. Kathy is around and when she gets her life settled again, then perhaps she will have time for an Armory Clinic. This is a goal, but not a pressing one for me. It is however, part of the total package that I want to be.

I wanted to get a "D" rating in epee. Yes, I know I am not supposed to think this way, but besides a personal goal it is something I told myself I would complete this before pursuing another goal. I know that there are guys my age that kick the crud out of every epee fencer in this state. These guys are the exception, not the rule. It is tougher for a 55 year old guy to compete in open competitions. That is the fact..Jack! I am not whining about it, it is just true. There are people like John Rae in this Division, but there are not even a hand full like him. There is a reason for this. Nonetheless, I think I can do it. It just will not happen this season. There is no way it can happen at Divisionals. There are to many fencers that are better than me. If I finish in the top two-thirds I will have done okay.

I mentioned the "D" rating being a prerequisite for another goal. I told myself that I would get a "D" rating before I contemplatedgetting certified as an epee coach. I truly do not even know why I want to do this. I will not have enough vacation time to go to Coaches College this summer. Next summer is the Olympics and they do not have coaches college on those years. This weekend, on a whim I joined the USFCA. I started thinking about a Moniteur level in epee. I blew the chance to attend some workshops this year, but perhaps they will happen again. The questions I need to ask myself are:

1. Should I pursue this?
2. Why in the heck do I want to pursue this?
3. Should I stick with my prerequisite for doing this or should I work on this with the certainty that I will achieve my rating goal next season?

I think part of the reason I want to do this is that you tend to want to immolate that which you admire. I do not have a coach that I do not admire.

I am not in a hurry for this last goal to happen. I will never be a great fencer or ref or coach. I may however become a good little intermediate fencer and ref and coach. I am not even sure that I would want to use the ref or coach parts of my goal. It may be that these are goals for me to become a "good little intermediate fencer." I think that all this time and with all these goals, that is all I want to be. I want to be what I envision a fencer should be.

Maybe I will review this entry in my journal around this time next year.


 

Sunday, April 1, 2007

The DFC


How can a person learn so much and yet know so little? That is a question I have been pondering.

Yesterday I went to a UNCG CALL class. It was a beginner class in epee and Cam and Woody were the coaches. They did not ask for any help, so I just went by to kill some time and watch. Henri was there so I had someone to talk to. It was nice to not have to do anything and just socialize and talk. Of course, Henri got me in trouble for her neglect in safety with the plastic beeper swords at the end, but other than that...we had fun. I have to say that it was an excellent beginner class and well done. I was proud of the instructors. I watched the adult class and thought about how much I had learned sense that time. Then I thought about how to an"A"or "B" fencer, I am most likely like those brand new people. It kind of boggles the brain. I guess it is true...this is a life time sport.

Friday night I did not fence and tried to stay off my foot. I directed. I practiced my hand signals a little bit at any rate. I watched people fence. Sometimes I wanted to tell them what they should do. I mostly resisted that, as there is little chance they would truly get what I mean as I utter a few words and instructions beside the strip. You learn things you simply cannot share......or at least share quickly. If you want to help someone, both people have to want it and both have to be patient. ( At least at this level. Perhaps it is different at higher levels.)

On the NC Division web page there is a point rating system. It means nothing, but is interesting to look at. While I browsed it the other day, I noticed that the young kids that fenced epee were mostly from the Downtown Fencing Club. It was very noticeable. Now the DFC is not a high level club. We know it. But if you wanted to fence epee (until recently) in Greensboro, we were the only game in town and they did the very best they could with what they had.Who can ask for more than that? A lot of our kids do not want to compete seriously and fencing once a week is all they want to do. ( That is hard for me to grasp, but to each his own.) What I am getting at in my rambling fashion is that I am proud of the Downtown Fencing Club and the effort they have made in bringing these kids along. Good job guys!

I came in 12th in the RFC Open (out of 29 fencers/an A2 tournament). I got my E again...but with a 2007. I was 2 places away from my elusive "D " rating.and I was taken out by the guy that won.He got his "A'.  Oh well...maybe next season.

This entry is mostly a pat on the back for some people. I do not see anything wrong with that.