Sunday, November 16, 2008


It has been an interesting weekend.

Sunday I competed in the Touche Fencing Club event. It was well attended in foil, which is what they are known for, but there were only six people signed up for epee.

It was my intention to go to this tournament to have some fun and work on some things I had been studying. I did not expect to do well, as I thought that I was no match for some of the people there as they are rated higher than I am.

I never expected it to be such a learning experience.

I fenced in pools using my French grip and I was pretty bad.

When it came time for DE's, I switched to a pistol grip. My reasoning for this at the time was that there was a guy there who would often not relax his arm and I thought I needed more power in my "takes". The other reason was Keith Liggett. Keith is a "C" fencer. He and I fence some times in Chapel Hill. Keith is doing some work down there. Keith was our Divisional champion a year or two back. ( Correction: Keith finished 2nd place a couple times.) He is a good fencer and more importantly is a good person. Keith is a class act.

I found in Chapel Hill that I did better fencing Keith using my pistol grip. We generally do not fence each other and keep score, but you have a rough idea of how you are doing.

I beat Keith and then I beat Jaime Casper ( another nice guy and a lefty "D" fencer).

I took first place.

Now this was a tiny little tournament that means nothing, but I learned and realized so much.
( I should add that this was almost a veterans event.)

What I learned is as follows:

1. My days of fencing French are over. My finesse and pomeling tricks will only take me so far.
I have been using this grip because of my comfort with the old and fear of change. I have been training with Coach Miller using a pistol grip for over two years now and all my work on technical improvement has been with that type of weapon. I now have the confidence to move on and convert my hodge podge of weapons to small pistol grips. ( Except for "Mr. Pointy", who will always remain French.)

2. I allowed myself to be confident. I took blades....I attacked in opposition ....and I was a fleching fool! I owe the confidence to fleche in tournaments to Keith and Toomey ( because of a comment he made on my journal once)........and of course Coach Miller. I did not fear failure in these actions. I was confident.

3. I was there to fence and have fun. I did both and I think I found the right attitude for me. I said this was a tiny tournament and proof in my theories lies down the road in other tournaments. None the less, I feel like something finally clicked for me. I hope I am right.

On a not so happy note, there is trouble in Greensboro. The Downtown Fencing Club is a program of the YWCA in Greensboro, NC.

The head line of the Greensboro Daily News on Saturday read ( words to the effect of ) GREENSBORO YWCA FACES FINANCIAL CRISIS! They are having trouble meeting payroll and paying the utilities. If this is a case of mismanagement of funds or something else, the result is the same.

They say that they will not close the doors in January, but I think the DFC needs an exit strategy no matter what. They have not been upfront with us.

I have several concerns.

The coaches of the DFC are all volunteer. They do not get paid. However we pay Coach Miller to teach on Wednesday nights. It is not as much as he deserves, but it helps with gas money to see Susan. One of our leadership talked with one of the board members and she said that they will honor their commitment. I sure as hell hope that is the case.

I also have concerns for the kids and for the community.

If something happens to this club, I could loose contact with a lot of people I care about.

Perhaps everything will work out. I hope this is the case. I would like to be confident that that will be the result.


Keith said...

> Your fleche released like coiled springs at the best moments.
> Thanks for the kind words. When we encourage we gain.
> Though I've not won Div, I've finessed 2nd place a couple times.
> Keep it coming - I have lessons to learn from you and Ms. H.

kathz said...

You are a champion! Congratulations. I hope you have a medal.

(and I hope things work out at your club too.)

cobalt said...

As a coach, I'm always happy to see when advice works for someone :)

Congratulations on the win! And big congrats on finding that zone/zen of peak performance. That's bigger than anything.

If you're coaching, keep one french grip around. I prefer them. Good for finger exercises for yourself and to emulate certain types of opponents when coaching(AND become a lefty without a 2nd weapon :))

Bad news about DFC. Agree with you about needing an exit strategy, YWCA stuff sounds fishy. Though I think DFC's going to have to shift it's mindset/focus a bit and this might be the catalyst. Ever since Sally left, it hasn't been quite the same. A leader really does need to step up and push the group forward (More fencers and/or more training).

On a more positive note, you are getting Tommy back on a more regular basis. Now that he's got a little more structure to go with his enormous work ethic, he'll connect quickly w/ the younger ones. (i.e. They won't be so worried about their hair :P )