Friday, December 26, 2008

Felt Like I Should Post

It has been a bit sense I posted.

I will use the standard "holidays" excuse. It's an old trick.....but it just might work. Not as well known is the " find something on You Tube and slap it on the blog " trick. You can do that when you feel like you should have posted.

Last Time I Fenced

The last time I fenced was over a week ago. It was Coach Miller's last group lesson of the year. As usual, it was a good lesson. We only had five people that night. Coach ended by noting how we had grasped the idea of small tight actions. ( Words to that effect.) I will not go into it, but it was complimentary. But what was more interesting to me was the comment he made about the ages of fencers. He noted the difference between young and adult ( He used the word adult rather than vet to be kind.) fencers and the time and way in which they learn. As you can imagine, it is a subject of interest for me.

I have often wondered about Coach and the way he teaches. Coach is in a very unique position. He has spent over forty years working with ( primarily) one age group. And while he works with children and vets as well, the main focus of his life is on the college age fencer. That is his primary job.

I had wondered if he took a "one size fits all" approach to teaching. Just a couple of sentences that Wednesday night let me know that he recognized the differences and most likely makes some adjustments. However, as becoming technically proficient and autonomic memory are a big part of the base for his instruction and something everyone needs regardless of IS also a "one size fits all" approach. It seems simple, but it is something I had thought often about. I think I understand now.

Sadly, The Lady of the Lake Did Not Hand It to Me.

I got a new epee for Christmas. It is an expensive one. The thing about it is, I am honest enough with myself to know that I somehow think that by getting a more expensive epee, I am going to magically fence better because of it. I know that is not true. I know it and yet I do it any way. Fencers do goofy things like this. I know people that if they did well in a tournament and they had a hot dog before they fenced, would swear by eating hot dogs before a tournament. It is not logical, but it is the way things often are.

One at a Time?

I had hoped that some of my fencing family could get together for lunch or dinner prior to the holidays, but it seemed impossible to get everyone together at one time. Maybe we can do something prior to New Years Day.

Not Trying to Fight with Matt......But I Don't Buy it

Over the holidays I read a post by Matt Cox concerning the state of the Division. (I am all but positive Matt wrote this. There was no name on the post.) There were things that I agree with wholeheartedly, like having fencer parents as Division officers. There were things I did not agree with. For example, those fencer parents being able to count on help to make up for their lack of knowledge....or help in general. I have seen nothing to make me think that is true. Just the opposite.

I think that the best Division officers would be a bunch of worker bees that know that they can count on each other to be worker bees. Where these people come from could be any where as far as I am concerned, but that would be the best prerequisite. I do not think there will not be much in the way of help forthcoming. Criticism... so much. Why someone would want to be a Divisional officer is beyond my understanding. On the other hand, I can't understand what makes a person want to be a ref either.

I also do not see it as a Divisional role to " create a sense of community". I think a sense of community is a a good goal, but if it can happen through a Divisional effort, I do not see how.
The Division is separated by a number of things, like all divisions. (Weapons, ability; age;gender and on and on.) There are people that compete on a National level and those that never compete outside of their own club. As an example, there are clubs that do not fence sabre or offer it in their club sponsored tournaments. It would be difficult for saberist to develop a sense of community with that club. There is nothing wrong with that. It is what it is.

My point is that a sense of community does not come from the Division. While there is hopefully a sense of community within every club, that does not help make a sense of community within the Division.

A fencer/fencer parent creates that " sense of community" within the Division for his/her self. You work a attend help with Divisional do your best to be courteous.... and no one can do it but you.

Quit Looking at Me!

There is a small pile of club epee body cords and a club weapon laying next to me as I write. They have been there a while and they are pleading with me to get off my lazy butt and work on them. I see images of small children having to stop bouting, while we change out their body cords and test ancient club weapons. They look up at me with big Japanamation eyes and I take the body cord over to my kit and tell myself I will quickly repair it and bring it back to club.

I have sworn to myself I will have it done before club starts back. Maybe if I write it here it will be more like an oath and thus more binding.

The only down side to epee is keeping your equipment working. I know that these things could be better engineered to not require so much constant attention. My son, Sam , is a mechanical engineer student ( junior) at UNC-C. Perhaps I can press him into service.

I am a really poor armorer.

I suspect it is like like the blues. You have to suffer to be able to sing the have to fix equipment ( suffer) to fence epee.


kathz said...

I hope you enjoy the holidays. How lovely to have a new epee - have you christened it yet (either in the sense of naming or using for the first time). I'm thinking of buying myself proper fencing socks instead of the football/rugby ones I use. By football I mean what you would call soccer - I don't know whether you know rugby although I've seen it played in Canada (a long time ago and only because I was visiting a cousin who was playing).

I am so incapable of fixing my epee that I live in dread of a problem with it.

cobalt said...


Best. Blog post. Ever.

Very insightful comments regarding Matt's post, and you're right in a lot of ways. I think that a lot of it is going to have to come from each individual and can't come from the organization itself. However, I do think the organization does need to try to be an aid to a certain point. But again, it can't make people understand everyone else.

And I agree with your comments on Coach Miller. From at least this vantage point anyways (so take this for what it is...). His fencers have always been technically good, but I think his situation has always forced a "one size fits all" technique. And part of me wants to say that doesn't work as well anymore. I think in the NCAA front that's beginning to become apparent, with less teams and more experienced fencers. I think that might explain some of the team's performance as of late IMO. I *think* they're underachieving, and that can happen if you stick with the lowest common denominator too long.

Then again, Max looked pretty good last time I saw him fence. And he was playing a great tactical game. Then again, he fits into that template student that Ron is great with (fast/athletic/average build). So I dunno.

Then again, I try to refrain making too many comments on that situation. Cause I'm on the outside looking in, so I'm about as useless as most sportswriters are with the NFL on that front.

It's also hard to talk negative about a man who still is responsible for a large segment of NC even getting involved in fencing.