Saturday, July 26, 2008

I have no idea what to name this entry.

I just got home from a week at the coast.

Fencing continued even on vacation. I fenced Tuesday and Thursday at Cape Fear Fencing. I always feel welcome there. I got to know Greg Sphar ( Our Divisional Chair ) a little better and he was a good host. We talked a bit about trying to have a veterans event next season. Of course I am all for this, but I wonder if we have the numbers to do this? I guess we will find out.

Greg had this posted in their forum in an effort to make sure I had people to fence. " Jim Kent, from the Downtown Fencing Club in Greensboro, will be in town next week and was hoping to get some practice.  Jim is an epeeist in that \"wily veteran\" category and would be an excellent person for the epeeists to bout with." Wily...I like it! Though I feel like I should be chasing the Road Runner.

I never got to fence the clubs better fencers, but I got a lot of strip time and worked on a number of things.

Friday evening I drove to Raleigh from the coast and attended a short workshop hosted by the Raleigh Fencers Club. Maestro Begunet (Alex) was instructing. It was a long drive to and back to the coast, but I had not had a chance to train with Alex in a long time and I wanted to make this event badly. It was time well spent.

Raleigh Fencers were good host and again I felt welcome and at home.

I always feel a little weird these days when I think about Coach Miller and Alex. I like and admire them both, but there is bad blood between them. I use to want to know what that was all about, but as time passed I really did not want to hear "junk" talked on either of them. As a result I never pursued the subject.

Their styles of teaching and what they teach are so different.

In general  (my opinion) there are basically two styles of epee fencing. I think I read this in a book by Beck as well. The two styles are technical and combative. Technical is not the word Beck used, but the word I am using. Of course people have some of both or a mixture, however I would describe what Coach Miller teaches as " aggressive technical" and what Alex teaches as " combative refined by technical ability". I am making these terms up as I go, as I know of no vocabulary to describe them.

We did drills that are not what is generally accepted. Alex knew this and commented as such. He said that if someone peaked in and saw us with our points at the ceiling they would say he did not know what he is doing. His thought is that if you know where your point is and you know WHY it is there then this okay. ( Words to that effect. I wish I could type it with a French accent.) We also used BIG actions and not tight little actions.

For example: We would approach our partner with a the tip down towards the floor. When we were in range we would do a STRONG cut under their blade to lift it. ( This is not a beat like in " Lift 7".) After you complete the action your tip is aimed at the ceiling. If your partner attacks you do a STRONG parry 2 and step in with the rear foot ( past their point) and swing your weapon arm up for the touch.

If their weapon  stays up you fleche.

Another alternative to the drill was to do the strong cut and then take their blade in eight and make the touch in any number of places.

I mention the above so I can remember the drills, but I also mention the last drill because this week I realized something. Are your ready for this?

I KNOW stuff. Who knew?????

I watched someone being taught to fleche and I knew that I could have taught it better. Not that I have a good one, I just know a better way to teach it.

I watched people who had been fencing a lot longer than me take the blade in eight and straighten their arms for the touch. I knew that this was not the best way. You should keep your arm bent and in contact with the blade and let the lunge carry your point to the target. If your arm is straight, you can make a remise without pulling your arm back.

Now those people that have been fencing a lot longer than me....most of them know a great deal more about a lot of areas of fencing than I do. I do not have the " big head".
It was just a small realization, that I am learning. I don't even feel proud or happy about it.
I am just aware of it now.

When you are doing these drills with people who do not know you, sometimes they will offer advice or corrections. Sometimes they are correct to do so....sometimes not. I never offer advice to anyone or corrections unless some one asks...or I know them well.
That is just me.

There is a tournament in Durham tomorrow morning. I am worn out and I have a lot of stuff to do around the house, so I am going to wake up in the morning and decide if I can make it or not. Mostly, I am thinking that I will not be able to go.

Even if I miss it, this has been a good fencing week for me and a good vacation.

One more thing..................................

Oh...This is an old video of Alex doing footwork. It has to be pretty old as he is a year younger than me.


rdautumnsage said...

A great way to spend your vacation doing what you love the most. Sounds like it was proactive for you. I've heard it said some of the best teachers don't know they're even teachers. (Hugs)Indigo

dbdacoba said...

This was fascinating.  I don't know anywhere near as much about it as you do.  I took some lessons in fencing for the stage  when I had to, but those fights were choreographed so there was no competition.  You have a great activity here.

                                                                     DB  -  Vagabond Journeys