Sunday, November 14, 2010

This and That

So Far This Season

I think I have fenced in 6 or 7 tournaments so far this season. One good result; one poor result and the others were about what you would expect given the field and my ability. Over all, I think my results are actually declining a bit.

Vet Fencer Clinic

At JO Qualifiers this weekend, a coach talked to me about the possibility of having a weekend clinic for vet fencers. As usual, his ideas were good ones as far as parts of the program for the clinic.

It seemed interesting to me, that the coach or the coaches who would hold this clinic are all in their thirties. They have fenced sense they were young. It seems to me that it would be extremely difficult to know what it is like or what the needs of a person who started fencing in their 50's would be like. Each decade would hold different needs. (A vet 40 fencers is going to be a heck of a lot different than a Vet 70 fencer.) Each individual would be entirely different from another.
I think what I wonder about most is… it futile? At some point in time, even though you are learning, your bodies’ abilities are declining. At some point there must come a point where the lines on a graph intersect. You are learning, but the decline in your body and mind will not allow you to apply what you are learning. If you cannot apply what you learn, then your ability to progress is at an end. I am mostly talking about fencing in open local competitions. Generally when you bring something like this up, someone will tell you that you must fence smarter. I buy that. I also buy that everyone is trying to fence smarter and there are a lot of people out there smarter than me.

Blade Work

I have come to a couple of conclusions about blade work this week. (Right or wrong....and my thoughts on the matter are subject to change and /or revision.)

I studied with Coach for a long time in an effort to become technically proficient. It was time well spent. While my blade work is not great, in some regards it is better than a number of people that I fence. (That sounds immodest, but I think it may be true.) However, there was an unforeseen side effect of this study. I think that I try to use it at the wrong time and often against the wrong people. You are armed with what you know. I know this. If you have concentrated on blade work, then you will want to use that weapon. You will look for the any opportunity to use it, even if the opportunity is not there or the wisest course of action. However, I have found of late that I score more on people with simple direct actions or counters. For a while, (except for the feint action I am working on.) I am going to focus on trying to experiment with some other types of actions. This is hard to explain verbally, but I know what I mean.

Last Tuesday I was in Durham, as my wife was at Duke having eye surgery. I took the opportunity to go fence at Chapel Hill. I fenced some different people and had a private lesson with Coach. My actions in the PL were often not good, but for not having done this in many months, it was not all that terrible. Coach teaches drills that are somewhat static and designed for being technically correct. (I have heard it referred to as "Hungarian Style". I have NO idea if that is true or correct.)

Coach Toomey subscribes to the philosophy that drills should be done in a more bout like environment, with a bit of "Open Eyes" thrown in. He has been very successful in this approach.(I agree with this as well. I even think it would be better to dress out in full gear at practice,just so it would be like a tournament.)

I think, that if there was enough time for coaches and students (And there never is.) it would be best if you could do both.


This problem of my en guard drifting into four is worrying the heck out of me. I am trying to work on correcting it again. It is going to be hard. I had an idea concerning this. I think I know why it happens. I am fencing another right handed fencer and I am wanting to reach across to get to his weapon or arm which is in my four.

I think besides working on my hand position in the regular way, I may look to changing my fighting line a bit and see if that can help.

Jim the Division Officer

I have been asked by three people now to be a Division officer next season or to Chair the Division. My friend, Grace suggested I be in charge of youth development.

This is a teeny tiny bit of an honor, but mostly it is a plea from people who want you to take it so they don't get stuck with it.

I like to think that I make a big effort to pay back those who have helped me. I feel like I have paid back the people and club that helped me get started in fencing.
I feel like I have always been active in helping with Divisional events. I feel like I have done more than many for the Division. I think my account is paid up in that regard. Of course there are people who have helped me in fencing that I have no idea how to pay back as well. But I digress.

I have some personal problems that I think might inhibit me from being able to do a good job as a Division officer. It is a thankless job and people will whine and complain about whatever you do.

Oddly enough, I am still thinking about it.

Dancing Bear

I saw a couple of clips of me fencing not too long ago. I thought I was moving like a dancing bear.

Tommy tells me I am moving smoother, but I can't tell it. I am never going to have the foot work of a young person and I (like other Vet 50 men) are never going to bounce more than about 15 seconds in a bout. I want to give this more thought. I am not sure what I can do about it.

Sabre Kid Moms

This weekend I went to watch JO Qualifiers. It was a good event and I got to see some of my favorite young people and not so young people.

I watched a lot of sabre for some reason.

One of the interesting things about youth events are sabre moms.

Almost always, you will see a sabre mom rush to her child at the eight point break with a water bottle in their first DE. It always makes me smile. The kid has not been fencing thirty seconds, but she is not going to be outdone by those foil and epee moms.


cobalt said...

I'd argue against the concept that your results are declining. Maintaining maybe...

Kind of agree with your comment about a vet fencer clinic. I could think of a few names that would be important to have there (#1: Colleen)

I seem to be slowly adapting to full gear during footwork. Masks are definitely a must though. That started with Sid. It does provide a mindset switch...

P. Rashid, Fencer/Artist said...

I say hang in there.

One of the things I love about the USFA is that there are age categories so fencers can fence among their peers at high level competitions. Locals are a free-for-all but if your Big Picture is nationals, NAC's and/or world competitions then you are training for the Vet 50 event in those. Everyone will be in the same boat so to speak.

I would see the local tournament, especially the opens and D& under as just warm up tools training you for the events that are your 50's.

I don't want to miss the point, so I will just end a female athlete, I have always trained with males...I believed it has made me a stronger female athlete...
especially in fencing. I have to adjust when I fence women...because of style issues but I still fence confident and aggressive because of my experience on the strip with the guys. For you, I would think training with younger fencers would give you an advantage when fencing your peers in vet 50.

Do you feel that way?

It is obvious that you love this like I said before: Hang in there!

deb said...

I know why they want you to become a division officer, Jim. People trust you. I was furious at James for his willingness to do this, but also understood that he felt like it was important, because he cares about the sport and the division. It was not suppose to be a difficult year, but then all of the hullabaloo came up about splitting the division and everything that has gone along with it. The only way to make it work is not to try and do everything yourself but to reach out and ask others to help. Can you do that? I think that you would be great in youth development.