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.

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