Sunday, August 31, 2008

Not the Version I am Looking for...But Close...and Sweet.

It can't all be fencing.

Many years ago, I borrowed a cassette tape from a friend. It was a collection of different female Celtic singers. My friend (who was BEYOND blonde) said the name of the tape was "Celtic Women".  I have found several albums by that name, but never one with this tune listed on it. I have found several variations of it on line, but not the one I want. The title is
Fear a'bhàta (The Boatman)

Fear A Bhata (The Boatman) <~~~ Note different spelling.

How often haunting the highest hilltop
I scan the ocean, your boat to see
Will it come tonight love, will it come tomorrow
Or ever come love to comfort me

Fear a bhata sna hóro éale
Fear a bhata sna hóro éale
Fear a bhata sna hóro éale
So fare thee well love where ever thou be

There's not a hamlet, too well I know it
Where you go wandering or rest a while
But only it's old folk you win with talking
And charm its maidens with song and smile

Fear a bhata sna hóro éale
Fear a bhata sna hóro éale
Fear a bhata sna hóro éale
So fare thee well love where ever thou be

There are so many different spellings of the name of this tune and the lyrics vary as well. It speaks to it's age..

It was without a doubt the most feminine voice I have ever heard. I still "climb the highest hill top" sometimes to look for it, but I know it is all in vain.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Theodore Roosevelt

I just saw this quote on

Originally Posted by Theodore Roosevelt
It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Motrin: The Vet's Good Friend

Today I went to Raleigh and fenced in the RFC Open and "D" and Under tournament.

There was a small turn out of around 14 people for the Open. The format was unusual, but good I think.

If you fenced in the open, but did not make the cut ( I think it was 50%) you automatically fence in the "D" and Under. This allows us lesser mortals to get in some strip time. I did not make the cut and fenced in the  "D" and Under.

I took second place. This is not a big deal, but I have another medal for my small collection.

Nicole tied for 3rd. She did great in DE's. Henri ( while she was unhappy with her performance ) was valiant and determined and I was proud of her. We all have some things in to work on now.

I looked at this as beginning of season training , more than a tournament.

Note to self: Never mess with Sharon ( Nicole's Mom ) when she is dieting. She gets a bit feral.

The venue was hotter than Georgia asphalt and I figure I fenced in some manner around 16  times. ( I think ) I am tired and I hurt. I have had a hot shower and handful of Vitamin "I" ( meaning Motrin
). I cannot express verbally how worn out I am.

Another note to self: I did some things in this tournament I do not generally do, like toe touches and such. However, as I think back, I never did a "take" and attacks in opposition were very infrequent. I practice this sort of thing all the time with Coach Miller, but I did not use it. Fear of failure perhaps. I need to work on this and make it a standard part of my game.

There is much to write about, but I just don't have it in me at the moment. Though I am aching and tired, it was a day well spent.

"Spent"....that is an appropriate word.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Lazarus Long

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

 Lazarus Long

I have always liked this  quote from Lazarus Long. In fact ( though not on purpose/ or knowingly ) I have to some degree based my life on this.

Last night at foil, I found that I might be better off as an insect and just stay with epee.

I lead with my gut. I don't even extend....the whole thing  does not work correctly in my mind.

I use to beat myself up over the fact that I could not fence this weapon. Now a days, it make me curious as to why.

I am going to dabble in it for a while.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Fencing Springtime

This was an interesting week in fencing. Not because there was so much of it or because of the bouting, but because of the little things.

Wednesday night I was at DFC for epee. Woody was there with his niece and I got to watch the interplay and continuing saga of Woody's temporary journey into parenthood.

Nicole drove herself to fencing. She is growing up. I also worry that we may not see as much of Sharon as we once did.

Jordan is heading to college and some of our kids that have been with us during the summer will be heading back to their other or new lives.

As some doors close, others open. There  are some new kids that I have a fondness for at the club. One of my favorites is Claire and her grandmother (Sylvia). Claire fences three nights a week and is really improving in her foot work. She is around ten. While she is improving in her foot work, she still does not seem to grasp the idea of extending her arm and lunging. ( Claire is around ten years in age, but mentally she is 40.) I think part of the problem is that she is just not strong enough to hold the weapon out straight due to a lack of arm strength. I have decided I will give her one of my dry foils and tell her that if she can show me that she can extend her arm and lunge by September, that she can have the weapon. Dangling a carrot often helped me with my own kids. I choose a foil for it's lighter weight and because I had an extra weapon that I have absolutely no need for.

Another interesting thing that happened Wednesday was that I had an overwhelming desire to coach part of the lesson. I thought I could do it and do a good job. I also thought that it might help the kids. The more I think about it, my way of coaching this may have ended in the kids not getting anything out of it. I wonder if you have to be at a certain level to understand this drill and some of the kids are so new and so young, that it would have done no good. I also wonder if I just wanted to do it to show off this drill. Hey look at me! I look so "coachy" when I teach this. The more I think about it, the more uncertain I am of my motives.

I like to help people in the class ( one on one ) when I can. I am a good helper. I have no desire to be THE coach. I like being a coaches helper. Working and helping IS my way of contributing.

I am attending a FOC referee seminar in September. It is not because I want to ref, though I might at low level tournaments if it was needed. To me, developing ref skills is a lot like learning CPR. It is a good thing to know, but you don't want to use it unless there is no other choice. I have been involved in giving CPR twice in my life. Once a young boy lived and once a middle age man who had a massive heart attack died.

When I first started this journal I had certain goals that I thought I need to obtain to be a fencer. My view (at that time) of what a fencer should be was ever changing. Fencing skill of course, but also ref skills, coaching skills, armory skills were needed to be what I wanted to be. I think all those goals still linger. I still go where ever I can to learn what ever I can. I look at the people signed up for the Ref Clinic and I think while the reasons for each one being there are different, that there is at least one similar thread that connects them all. As weird as fencers are collectively, I find that comforting.

Friday night I attended a foil lesson given by
Maestro Beguinet (Alex) at RFC. Yep.....foil. Oddly enough, I blame Coach Miller for me being there. Coach has told me more than once that fencing a little foil is a good thing to do to improve your epee game. That of course is where my heart lies. But I also have those old ideas of what a fencer should be and having a better understanding of foil is one of those goals. When ever I have these thoughts, I see a good young coach telling me that I should just devote myself to one weapon. None the less, this is something I feel compelled to do. If I can find some small low level foil events this season, I am going to try and make myself compete in them. I am preparing myself for some of those looooong depressing rides home from tournaments.

Maestro Beguinet's lesson centered around the remise. In essence, it focused on not parrying and using the remise to time your opponent out. Maybe this is common knowledge for foilist, the whole concept was news to me. Suddenly, it just seemed like epee with deep target goals. We worked on preparation and false attacks to draw the parry. After that is was different ways to set up the remise. Sadly, one of the ways was were you lunge and then drop in to a squat position and do a " drop and dig" sort of remise. Well, I am going to have to mark that off the fencing goal list. I have always admired those skinny young kids that can do that move, but unless I find a way to modify it into some sort of tripod "passado sotto" thing, I am well beyond the point were this is going to work for me. My legs are very strong and my knees are in fair shape, but all the stuff holding the legs together is tight as hell and inflexible. I try to comfort myself by the fact that I cannot remember ever being hit by some kid doing this to me, though I do remember hitting a lot of kids that tried. Hey...I am memory may be selective.

While I was at RFC, I saw a sign they had which stated that they would be having a tournament later this month and to watch for it on Ask Fred. I assume these things are waiting for the Divisional meeting on August 16th. This time of year is like the early part of spring in the fencing world. The new season is just around the corner and rumors of tournaments are starting to bud.

Next weekend there are choices to make. I could go to a Divisional meeting. I have never been to one and it might be educational. There is a a tournament in Charlottesville and I have never fenced there. Both things are about two and half hours drive away and a costly amount of gas and time. The third option is to hang around the house and take care of some chores. That might be a good thing to do as well.

I hope I can make it through another season and feel that I am making progress.

The Olympics are in full swing and I have found it more interesting this time than ever before.  Partly, because I have spent so much time in China. The US took gold, silver and bronze in Women's sabre. It is my hope that that may fuel an interest in fencing in the US. We could use a shot in the arm here.

It will be an interesting season coming up.

Monday, August 4, 2008

US Fencer Parent Blog

I think this should be interesting.

Tracey Hurley is doing a blog from Beijing in case you're interested in a first hand view of the Olympics from a fencing parent's viewpoint.