Monday, June 6, 2011

Marx Clinic Review



CHFA crew and One SFA buddy rented the van behind us for the drive. Good road trip!


First of all, I have no idea why a friend of mind referred to Michael as arrogant. He is seems to me a very, very open and caring individual. I liked him very much.

It has been a couple of years (I think) sense I went to a two day clinic or camp. I don’t think I had a realistic view of what a camp like this would do for me. Somehow, I thought I would achieve enlightenment. That didn’t happen. If I had thought back to various camps, with Alex Beguinet, I would have not been so foolish in my expectations. What generally happens is you learn a couple of small things and you come away with some things to work on. This is what happened at this camp . An improvement in this regard was that my coach was with me and he will come away with some things for me to work on as well. This doubled the effectiveness of the clinic.

This was a clinic for coaches and students. I felt the first day of the camp was to heavily focused on coaches and less on students. This was a large camp with over 50 people present and it may be that this was the best approach, as there were so many students you had to involve/train the coaches there so the students would get more out of it on day two. I think this worked fairly well.

Some Thoughts on Coaches

Some of the coaches at the clinic were very good coaches. Some were mediocre and some were poor. (Note: It is more than just possible, that I may have misjudged some of the coaches, as I based my observations on what they did and did not do.) I have often wondered of late, is it bad for a poor coach to teach? The answer I have come up with (subject to change) is it depends on the location. If you are in an area that has a number of clubs with good coaching and you are taking those students away from someone that could really help them…then I am against this. However, if you are in an area where there is little to no quality fencing, the “poor” is better than nothing. It is just possible for a poor coach to awaken such a desire to learn in a student, that they will seek out camps and better coaching and become a decent fencer. I have thought of this more lately, as I am giving more and more thought to coaching in the area I live.

An interesting side note to this little entry into my journal is that Mr. Marx thinks that you should periodically change coaches. I think this is a good idea as well, but it has to be based on your reality. If you live in an area where you don’t have a decent coach to switch to, then you are in a bind. In the much of the South where I live, this doesn’t seem to be an option. (Thus, the importance of camps and clinics.)

Back to the Clinic

One of the things that blew my mind at the clinic was when Michael told us that it was not the best of ideas to straighten your arm and then lunge. It still makes my mind reel when I think about it. I was taught over and over to extend your arm and then lunge. In Mr. Marx view if you send your arm out fast AS you are lunging, it will make your lunge faster. It makes perfect sense. I experimented on a target during some free time and found that it did not affect my point control a great deal by doing this and my speed was a bit faster. Thinking for myself in the matter, I am not sure that it wise to teach new students this. Many new students have a tendency to “punch” when bouting. (They pull the weapon back and then go forward losing time in the process.) Would it be better to teach the old non-Marx way to new students and then let them change or just go with the Marx approach from the get go? I have no idea. I am still thinking about it.

Was the Clinic Worth It?

In a nutshell…yes. From my perspective, this was an expensive two day camp. Couple the cost with travel expenses and it was a bit hefty for my budget. I would however, recommend it for a number of reasons. (Too much in fact to list here.) Not the least is the charismatic Mr. Marx. I would have to say that it is multitude of small things that make the clinic so very worthwhile. There was no one BIG thing for me. The biggest negative I can think of was that I was expecting the clinic to include more/some on the mental game and it did not happen.

Side Note

During the first 15 minutes of the clinic, Coach Marx was getting coaches together to get them up to speed before the clinic began for students. He walked through a group of several people and up to me and asked me if I was a coach. I told him that I was there as a student and I just looked like coach. We both smiled. When I was at NCFDP, I would always get there early. During this time and at other times, people would often think I was Coach Miller. I am sure that it is mostly the gray hair, but it always makes me feel good for some reason when this happens.

1 comment:

Sacagawea a.k.a. Cobalt said...

I could believe it on him as a fencer. But again, to reiterate your other friend: an arrogant fencer on strip...NO WAY! Never happens :-P

[Related tangent: One of my favorite things to do during the drill during the camp -

Me: "So who's touch do you think that was?"
Student: "Well, I guess it was yours since your asking..."
Me: "Heck no, it was yours by a mile. Be more confident next time :) "

Every fencer has to have a little bit of arrogance when their competing IMO. Just got to be able to switch it off when you leave...(Except when talking to cute girls)]

Thinking back of a comment from him on the last camp(and this one too). I think like a lot of highly competitive fencers, he's had to work on turning off that switch a bit as a coach. If that's true, I'd say he's succeeded.

Road trip was hilarious.