Sunday, November 13, 2011

Decision Point....Not the Drills.

1. I have received some really good coaching of late. Bout analysis with my coach or as he watches me with my teammates, rather than just a private lesson. I feel like I may have made a step forward in my fencing. Not a leap to the next level,but progress. That is important to me. I was worried that I might be one of those fencers that hits a level and never gets any better. Of course, I could be wrong and I am just fooling myself. I still have my age old problems with drifting into four, big blade actions and balance. However, I am acutely aware of them and maybe that will help gain ground there. I also listen to and watch my training partners lesson. I always have, when time allows. But I got some good info and advice from last weeks lesson. I hope I can remember and apply some of this.

2. Tournaments and number of participants in North Carolina seem much smaller this season. Of late, I seem to be heading to South Carolina more often. I can fence 40 or 50 people there rather than 12 or 17. (And largely the same 12 to 17 I have fenced for the last few years) South Carolina is not a hot bed of fencing either, but I think sense tournaments are so infrequent, they tend to have a larger draw. I am just guessing here. There is also Virgina, but only a couple of places within a good driving range. I would like to fence in Wilmington, NC next weekend, but am unsure of family plans or needs. I have not fenced there in a while and it might be a good place to test my theory that I am making a bit of progress in my studies.

3. Friday evening I had a dinner meeting with some of the coaches and former coaches of The Greensboro Fencing Club. A former coach had a plan he wanted to share on renting our own building and trying to make a little profit, rather than be the non-profit, all volunteer coaches we have always been. There are some holes in the plan and perhaps to much "up front" money needed. I am still thinking about it. We also talked about looking for another space where we could keep a percentage of the money we bring in. For me, no place like that has come to mind. At our current location , they get all the money, minus a little bit to replace equipment and 100 dollars a month for our college aged coach's gas money. I think we bring them in a revenue of some place between 18,000.00 and 20,000.00 dollars year. Just an estimate. The prices are high there for what the kids are getting.

At this meeting, my training partner and I also dropped the bomb that we are are only committing to the end of the year. It was agreed by all, that if we left the club, it would fold. We manage everything from washing bib liners and the rare occasion when jackets are washed to repairs and dealing with ......well....lets just say we do a lot of stuff and coach as well. We have in essence taken on the duties of our club founder. We are burnt out. Not only that, but we have no idea how long we have left to compete and would like to focus on ourselves for a while. The other coaches have may have a couple of decades left to fence, we may have a couple of years. Who knows?

The down side is hurting the kids. There are those kids who we help so much. Some with disorders or other special needs. Fencing is a place for them to fit in. They compete with each other and oddly enough for fencers....gain some social skills. There are also parents we care about and of course the friendships we have with the other members of the coaching staff.

I am on the fence of what to do. I wish there were more fencing coaches in my area and there was an national effort to train more coaches. Our efforts at present seem to be pathetic.


I have made up my mind that if I leave our little club, I will do so soon. When you have something to do that is hard and unpleasant, you should just get it over with. One way or the other, I don't want to worry about this any more.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Just an Update.

1. From previous post: I didn't take a month off. I got over my problem.

2. I fenced in the Fort Mill Open yesterday. Around 40 fencers. I was 7th out of pools. I won them all but one and that went past five. I lost by one touch. I had a bye....won first DE...lost second DE......missed upping my rating due to the loss. Always a brides maid, never a bride. That little rating change has been my goal for a couple of years. Yeah...I know....you shouldn't have rating changes as a goal. But we all do and I will not hide it. Heck....if a miracle ever happens and I get that little rating change, I will feel remedial, as it took so long. I am disappointed, but I learned a lesson from my training partner. She had to fence the number one seed in her second DE. She was out matched and a foot shorter.....but......she fenced with such skill...speed....beauty....grace.....and like such a warrior..... I was impressed beyond the telling of it. She of course does not see it. Even the guy's father who she fenced began to cheer for her. For me, I saw more of what I would strive to be in that bout from her than any other bout I saw. Maybe I am prejudice, as we are tight. But I do not think so. I would rather fence like her than have my little rating jump. I mean that.

3. Where I fence, there are 3 cities very close to each other. It is referred to as the Triad. In that small space, with all the small townships in between, there are well over a million people. In this area, there are around six people that compete in fencing and half of them don't do it often. There are no high level coaches. There is a low level club ( The one I help coach at.); what I think is a mostly dry foil club; and then some clubs with no formal training, or coaches with formal training. I have thought about the later clubs a lot lately. Mostly because I have tried to help at one of them. My success there has been very limited. This is what I have come up with. I see nothing wrong with recreational clubs. They are having fun and though we often forget.....that should always be the goal of fencing. I really do not see anything wrong with clubs that "play" at fencing. My thoughts there are similar to what I would term the "recreational club". Part of my reasoning for thinking this way is that eventually, a student/member there will want to have better training and seek it out. So in a small way, it is good for fencing. I do however, have a problem with people that have no formal training (either as a fencer or a coach) declaring themselves a fencing coach after reading a couple of books and then charging people money for coaching. That is wrong.

3. There is a famous and beloved armourer , named Dan. People use to flock to his table at meal time in the Olympic Training Center, so they could listen to his stories. (I was there for Coach's College.) I heard that he once said, " I can never give back to fencing all that it has given me." I love that. Sense I started fencing, I have tried to pay back the people that helped me and help grow the sport in the state where I live. I have done a lot for fencing in that regard. I will not go into it all. Unlike Dan however, I have reached the point where I am ready to say....Hey!...fencing.......we are even. I think I have paid fencing back enough for now.

4. Just looked at the results of the Fort Mill Open. I finished 9th out of 40. Yep...always a bridesmaid.....never a bride.