Monday, August 22, 2011

Vet Clinic...It Turned Out Great!

Well, the first in what may be a series of vet clinics is over and was a huge success.

I did not know what to expect. Coach was organized; had notebooks for everyone and it just went really great. I think part of what made it great was the fact that Coach is just so charismatic.

People applauded for me for organizing the event and I heard there was some discussion about it at the Division meeting. I would not be telling the truth if I did not say it made me feel good.

The Vet community has been something Coach has discussed many times with other Coaches and Vets as one that gets swept under the carpet because it is complicated? Vets are a diverse group of varied levels of age, body parts that work and don't work, commitment, time / travel / money concerns and various understandings of the sport.

I came to a realization during the clinic, that had never occurred to me in any large degree. I know a few things things that a lot of people in the Division do not know relative to fencing. Okay....that sounds sort of snotty and cocky and the truth of the matter is that not much of it makes me a better fencer. For example: Fencing vocabulary. This is a hard subject to feel competent in. The reason is that it is like a language that has many different dialects. The first two things Coach works on you with are (and mostly at the same time) are being technically correct and fencing vocabulary. I would say the vocabulary is his dialect. He has to teach you his language, so he can communicate with you about fencing. I worked/trained with Coach for four years, so I speak his language, though I am not totally fluent. Some of his language I do not use often. I will never reach a level of fencing where I use Feint in Tempo. In Coaches College, I learned different definition's than Coach uses for simple things like remise and reprise, so when I talk to Coach I must translate some of the language of fencing in to the Coach dialect...or vice versa.

Two of the the new things that learned from the clinic were rather simple, but they stay hanging in my mind. No one ever explained to me that in the simple version of the tactical wheel, that if you draw a line across the wheel, they are the same actions. For example: You start with a simple attack. If you draw a line across it to the six o'clock area on the wheel (to feint deceive) that is also a simple attack. Why the heck didn't somebody point this out to me long ago?

I also need to get serious about stretching. It is one of those things I do even less than cardio. I am all about doing anaerobic training. I know I must change my gym routine. I am going to do this.

Coach was generous in his giving of time for this event. I sing his praises. However, I hope many that attended will think of his wife (Sususn) and all that she did behind the scenes. Shopping;cleaning; cooking and planning. Also she was "communications central" for me in organizing this event. She is a incredibly interesting woman and I am glad that she now feels accepted in Coach's fencing family. I know how important it is to feel that. Yay Susun!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Vet Clinic

Sunday I am heading to vet clinic. Yep...a clinic just for vets.

How this came about: A couple of weeks ago I saw on Facebook that Coach Ron Miller (Known to most everyone simply as "Coach".) was heading to a clinic somewhere in North Carolina. It was unannounced and as it turns out, a spur of the moment sort of thing. I asked his wife (Again via Facebook) where the clinic was. She responded later in the day and Coach (Out of the goodness of his heart) decided he wanted to have a vet clinic....for free. I am often surprised by the kindness of others. He said he wanted to "connect with my training partner and I".

Any knowledge concerning vet fencing is near and dear to my heart. It is a hard subject to broach. In some ways we are just like younger fencers and in some ways we are not. It becomes an even more complex subject when you think of three weapons; different age categories; training and physical strengths and weaknesses.

When I was in my forties, I ran and could bench press over 300 pounds. (The guys I worked out with were much stronger than me.) My point is that that a forty vet is going to be a lot different than a sixty vet. (I will be able to fence vet 60 this year, should I attend any National events.) My legs are still strong, but I have a bad knee and my flexibility is all but gone. Plus I am carrying a lot more weight. (I could say that I am going to loose the weight, but I doubt I would loose enough to make much of difference and it would not stay off long.) The point I am trying to make is that there are vet sixty fencers that are physically like vet forty fencers and vet fifty fencers that are like thirty year old fencers. Then look at a group of vet fencers and see were they compete. Is it mostly local events against younger fencers or are they at every national event? NOW....If you were having a clinic for vet fencers, how in the world could you make it meaningful to all the different kinds of vets that will be there. I do not see how it is possible, but I am about to find out.

I don't think there is an expert in the needs of vet fencers. I could be wrong. I am often amazed that my young coach (Brian Toomey) notes tactics used by vet fencers and pays such attention to them. He has a gift for tactics and sees things that are invisible to me.

(Odd off topic note: I remember my coach and I having a beer in a bar in Virgina. He told the waitress that he was my fencing coach. I saw a glimmer of doubt in her eyes when she looked at the two of us together. Between the two of us, I look like the gray haired fencing master. Never judge a book.... Okay....back to topic.)

Coach Miller has a doctorate in Exercise Science, Higher Education, Guidance and Psychology. Coach is "Maitre d' Armes," and is 66 years old. (A vet himself.) If anyone can deal with a vet fencer clinic of mixed fencers, it should be him. But what a hard topic!