Saturday, July 17, 2010

Did you fence?

How is it going?

Sometimes you become so focused on where you are going, you forget where you were. In working with Tommy, I have increased the number of attacks in my arsenal quite a bit. Not too long ago, I felt very limited in my number of attacks. It is time to buy a nice notebook and record them all. I have been meaning to do this for over a year and am looking forward to this.

I am much happier with my ability to attack; though figuring out which ones work on different opponents seems to be eluding me.

I am making some progress in setting up attacks with footwork and tempo changes. There is still a long way to go though. My balance seems to be a bit better, but I am becoming increasingly unhappy with my footwork in general. It helps to be with Henri and Tommy. Tommy has strong athletic and threatening footwork. Henri is quick and very balanced. Her feet are always under her.

Tommy has a great yielding parry, and we are beginning to work on this. I will need to see how this goes, as stepping in with this action seems like such a foreign concept. On the other hand, I never got really good at stepping back when I parry, so nothing is ingrained.

I am working on relaxing and am making a small amount of progress there. Relaxing when out of distance is becoming a bit better, relaxing my shoulders when attacking is going to take a lot of work. I spent too many years punching people. Relaxing before the punch for speed and then tensing up at the point of impact has always been reflected in my fencing. It is hard to change.

Committing to an attack is a problem. (Not hesitating…actually “not hesitating” and “not committing” may be two separate issues.)

Another problem is being confident enough to draw an attack. I pretty much have nothing there.

Confidence is becoming a problem. I am feeling old, fat and not much of a threat to anyone on strip. My training partner's confidence seems to have improved somewhat. She has also made great progress. I feel like I am falling behind.

I feel like I am learning a great deal lately; however, having the ability to put it to good use is escaping me. I have some time before the season starts again. I will just continue to work hard and hope others are resting.


I just bought a new fencing jacket from Escrime. I bought some of their knickers a while back and really liked them. Partly because they are light; off white and a bit shiny. Mostly,I liked them because they do not have Velcro. I needed a jacket that matched those knickers.

My previous jackets had been PBT. (I tried to support vendors in North Carolina when ever I could.) They were good. They are also very heavy and this new one is so very, very light in weight. I would recommend it if you fence in a hot environment. Part of the cuffs have a elastic insert which allows the glove to slide on easily. The only thing I don't like is that the retaining clip is plastic. I am not sure how that will hold up. Time will tell.

My PBT jackets have lasted a long time. The products I have from PBT are "tanks". I have an epee I have had for 5 years and never done anything to the tip. Of course, being a "tank", that weapon is heavy and I don't often use it. The body cord is the same way. Of course, the bad thing about the PBT body cords is they don't fit well into other makes of weapons.

Being a Vet 50 Fencer

I dress in jeans and fencing T-shirts most of the time. (Partly because I am proud of being a fencer and partly to promote the sport.) From time to time, people will ask me about fencing.

Twice in the last few months,a person has asked me. "Did you fence?"

I wish I could capture verbally the look of disgust on my face when asked that. I will leave it to your imagination.

Thanks to my editor!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Epee Fable and The Off Season

There is rarely much of interest to read online about fencing. The lowest point for things to read in this country is during summer (the off season) and during Summer Nationals (which is this week). (Except for results of the tournament and interesting post on Facebook about the event.) Summer Nationals is the big national tournament with around 6,500 fencers in attendance. I am not attending this year, even though it is fairly close. I hate I missed it.
I decided to post something about fencing online. It will not be interesting either, but somehow it helps with the lack of fencing I am experiencing.

1. Broken epee blades make nice stakes for your tomato plants. They are easy to insert in the ground. I knew they were good for something!

2. A definition: Epeelysia or The Epeelysian Fields (PN) The place where the souls of virtuous epeeist find peace and a place to bounce in the afterlife.

(Note: I saw this some place on and really liked it. I tried to find the post again to give credit to the person who wrote it, but was unable to find the post again.) Further info: The Elysian Fields, or the Elysian Plains, were the final resting places of the souls of the heroic and the virtuous in Greek mythology.

3. An Epee Fable By Jim Kent

Once upon a time, a young epeeist wandered through his back yard. Like all good epeeist, he carried his beloved weapon in his gloved hand. In his frustration (Caused by lack of fencing….no doubt.) he whipped his blade back and forth making a Zorro- like sound as his blade cut through the air. He spotted the laundry his mother had hung out to dry in the warm sun and advanced and bounced toward it. He in engaged a damp shirt with his blade and poked a wet towel from extension distance. He turned and lunged into one of the poles holding up the rope on which his mother’s wash was hung. Sadly, a nest of wasps were living in that pole. They swarmed out and attacked the young epeeist. He dropped his weapon and fled the backyard screaming and peeling off his clothes as he ran.

Moral: The moral of the story is: “Never attack into a close line.”