Monday, September 5, 2011

No Game. No Plan.

This weekend I fenced in two tournaments. One on Saturday and one on Sunday. It was a full weekend of fencing.

I will not go into detail about them. What I will go into detail is something I am trying to figure out.

Saturday in my DE I fenced a young man and I just had no clue what to do......or almost no clue. He wasn't what I call a good fencer, though he beat me. That is part of what I need to figure out.

Can you fence well and loose?
Can you be the better fencer and loose?
Can a good fencer(Good fencer being a relative term.)loose to a poor fencer.

They say that "The sword is truth." and in the end it must be so. So if that IS the truth, then being beat by a poorer fencer means in actuality, you are NOT the better fencer. If that is true, it is disheartening in the extreme.

Here is an example of what I faced in the Saturday DE.

I fenced a young man about my height or a bit more. He was in good shape. He fenced with his arm almost straight out and stiff as a board. This took away my whole game...almost. Near target was closed out. Deep target was closed out as his arm was to stiff for me to move and even if I did, his deep target was to far back for me to score. I could not beat his blade up and go under the cuff and going under the cuff without beating up was suicide. The only plan I had left was to counter. I beat his blade to make him mad enough to attack me. He was young and it worked to some degree. But basically, I had no plan...no game. (I also thought about binding his blade and using my superior upper body strength to hold it and close in on him. Sadly, it has been so long sense I have done a bind, I have forgotten how.) There were others (kind of new) and like him at the tournament and a couple of them were hard to fence as well. Mainly because they were not seasoned enough to do predictable actions. No telling where that point was going.

No Plan...no game. Sunday, I fenced much better fencers than I will ever be, For the most part I made good touches on all of them. They fenced in the manner I would call "correct". (I know...it is so hard to say what correct is.) Even though they beat me like rented mule (My grandfather's saying.), I was still setting things up and making touches on these fencers. I was okay with that.

One the other hand I fenced a left hander, whose movement was terrible, his arm was stiff as a board and all he did was a bad fleche, yet he beat me. It was an awful feeling.

I just do know what to think. I would like to think that I am becoming a decent fencer. I can't know this. I suspect I will always have a bit higher opinion of myself than is warranted.

I also thought about this. When you train with a coach...any coach, they train you in a manner that is correct. (I know....that "correct" word....just isn't the best word....but I am going to guess you know what I mean.) They have you respond in a manner that is correct....they respond in a manner that is correct....and so it goes on back in forth. When I fenced someone with an arm as stiff as a board or someone who fences in some other "wrongish" fashion, it just freaks me out....takes away my game (such as it is) and kills me.

I have thought about having a coach train you to fence weird awkward fencers. However, I am not sure that makes much sense. There are just to many ways to be wrong and awkward.

I should also mention that I have talked about stiff arms and mine is far from perfect. The difference is that mine starts loose and finishes stiff like a punch. Not good...I am still trying to fix it. (A note in regards to my own stiff arm: I work on my flick. It is still far from good....and for me a very low percentage shot. Yet because I work on it, I think it helps me with my own stiff arm problems. You just can't do it unless your arm is relaxed.)

I am somewhat disheartened.


On a brighter note, on Sunday one of my teammates did very well. She beat a freakishly tall female "C" fencer; won her first DE and took " First Place Female Veteran" with a really nice little plaque. GO Kerry!