Monday, January 30, 2012

An On-line Journal is Kind of Like Talking to Yourself.

Yesterday, I fenced in a CHFA tournament. I finished 12th out of 35. The weekend before, I fenced in a Cape Fear tournament and finished in the middle of the pack. Weird results there for a lot of people. Several upsets. I have just reviewed my last eight results on Ask Fred. My results are not so bad, I want to cry and not so good that I want to stick my chest out in pride. I don't know what to think. I wish there was some sort of formula that would allow you to graph things out. There are just so many factors involved when you try to evaluate yourself. It makes my head want  to explode.

I was dressing down after my second DE and I looked up to see Brian with a disapproving father face and his finger motioning for me to come see him. I evidently quit moving in my second DE. I will do my best to see it does not happen again.

I was disappointed to see that a young man I thought a lot of has turned into a self centered jerk. He was such a polite young guy and now all he can do is talk about his self and how great he is. He did end up getting the crud kicked out of him. I wish I or another vet fencer could have been the one to do it. Maybe he will grow out of it.

I was jostled in a bout. It was a legitimate jostle, but I added a groan to help get the call. Coach said it was a good acting job. I pay attention to Henri's lessons. Henri said she was glad Brian saw this, as I am prone to exaggeration. Now she has proof. Of course, this is not true at all.

Today I repaired 2 epees for the Greensboro Club. There are two more that need rewiring and new points. There are around 4 more blades that could be turned into epees if I had all the parts needed. However, fixing 2 today eased my conscience and I will get to the rest when I can.

Friday, Cam; Henri and I went to look at a space to move our club, It was unsuitable. Another dream shattered. The hunt continues.

There seems to be something happening in fencing (and within driving distance) every weekend for the foreseeable future. Mid-South and the Duke Home Meet are at odds. I am not sure what I will do there. There is an event in Raleigh this weekend. There is a ref clinic coming up. With event cost and travel it becomes a bit to much money and does not fit my needs. Though Deb said I could stay at her house. Very kind of her. I feel like if you are going to ref RoW weapons you need to fence them. I don't. I do feel like I desperately need a clinic on reffing epee. I know...I know....sounds like it would be simple enough. However, I sometimes question what I think I know. For example: I did not think you could call non-combativity (Pacifity still seems like a better word.) in a pool bout. However a young ref informed me other wise. If I get a chance today, I need to flip through the rule book. What happens there? How do you advance to the next round? If I am a couple of points ahead in a pool bout, I never attack. What the heck? There are several things like this I would like to have cleared up.


People that fence other weapons seem to freak more over bruises. After Saturday's tournament, I kind of see it as art work.

I took off my shirt to take a much needed shower when I got home and .....HOLY CRAP! It was a bumper day for bruises. You might think that means you got hit more than usual, but this is not the case. I have fenced bigger tournaments and had far less.

Basically there are 4 main types of bruises.

1. The ones that become little purple dots.

2. The ones that become big purple and greenish yellow blobs.

3. The ones that break the skin and sometimes bleed.

4. The long ones that are more like burns and take the longest to go away.

There are hybrids of the above that take on unique characteristics.

Next time I am going to try and do some sort of study in relation to pools and DE. TR vs  BM. Bruises made

Monday, January 16, 2012

USFCA Assistant Moniteur or That "Ain't Gonna" Work.

That "ain't gonna" work. Or at least I cannot complete this program in any way that makes sense or is economically feasible.I guess I should have given this a bit more thought and research.

In the NC Division, there are around 6 active members in the USFCA. Two of them I have never heard of; one does not have a club and another is four hours away. The closest one is in a club I am not a member of, which is an hour and twenty minutes away. She teaches sabre. I need epee. The person at my club in Charlotte, which I must drive an hour and a half to get to (once a week) is only certified in foil. I could train with her and be certified in foil,but that wasn't the game plan. Nor does it fit my needs. There are a few people who have USFCA certificates and I know their memberships have expired. I could pay for them to rejoin, but I don't have the money. There really isn't much of an incentive to be a USFCA member unless you are trying to be certified. I didn't say there wasn't any incentive, just not much.

In my hometown,where I teach,there are no USFCA members. There are barely any competitive fencers.

You must have 20 hours of training (I have eight years, but that doesn't count.)with a USFCA certified instructor and work under them (teaching)for another 20.I think the clinic I went to may cut the hours of training down to twelve, I must read more concerning that.

Perhaps I just need to wait on the Moniteur part of the program to roll around and hope I have the time and money for it. The time and training requirements are much different.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Me...The USFCA...and Side Effects


This weekend I took my first journey into the world of the US Fencing Coaches Association. It was a clinic for the lowest level of the program,Assistant Moniteur.

The instructor was Walter Green. Walter Green is a Maitre d'Armes (Fencing Master, the highest rank of professional coach) of the Academie d'Armes Internationale and a Fellow of the Institute of Martial Arts and Sciences. Walter is also one of only 12 Maitre d'Arms that can do testing for those wishing to advance in rank within the USFCA.

Walter teaches not only modern fencing, but classical...historical.....various Asian weapons and martial arts. Interesting guy. I wish there was a clinic called. "Just Go Play With Walter Day." I would love to learn a bit about historical fencing and Asian weapons. It is however a fairly costly trip and I must save my time and money for tasks at hand.

I did not learn as much as my fellow students did at the clinic. I had studied much of this before at Coaches College and various coaching clinics. However, I did learn some things and the clinic was very much worth while. I am very weak on group lessons and I feel by reviewing this I can be better at it. There were dozens of things that Walter brought up that I am going to have to think about and do research on. One of the big ones was vocabulary concerning re-doublement. My mind reels when I think about this.

There is a lot to do and more time and money to be spent to achieve the rank of Assistant Moniteur. I think I can do it, if I get the help of a couple of coaches. I am really not after the Assistant Moniteur thing. I want to be a Moniteur. I looked at what is required for this. I think I already know it. However, I remember Jen Oldham saying at a Divisional meeting (The only Divisional meeting I ever attended.)that most people fail the test for the different ranks in the USFCA because they fail to prepare. So, by doing the Assistant Moniteur, I am preparing myself for Moniteur. Mr. Green stated words to that effect as well. (Note: It sounds sort of snooty to say I think I could pass the Moniteur exam now....but I feel like I could. Of course I might be wrong.)

But first....the job at hand. Then see if you can scrape up the time and money for the other goal.

A Positive Side Effect

This is kind of weird and it may be that only another heavy vet fencer can truly understand it.

Like every other fencer, I spend a lot of time working on my foot work. I first worked on each separate piece of foot work and then hooking them together to steal distance....make your opponent fall short....all that sort of thing that every other fencer has done sense the dawn of time. Recently though (say in the last couple of years)I came to some conclusions. They were correct and they were wrong. I came to realize that I cannot catch or hang with most younger fencers that have good foot work. My legs have been abused and they are getting older. They are carrying a lot of weight. (I am starting to work on the weight thing again.) My legs are very strong and my fleche is not bad. But light on my feet and speedy.....I am not.I kind of gave up on foot work. I was static way to often. A couple of weeks ago, Brian worked with me on three variations of footwork to steal distance and draw attacks. They aren't complex and mostly just mean a tempo change.I start trying to use them in my bouting. Even though they are simple, I am not doing them well. But I keep trying. I am fencing better and getting more touches. Is it because of the three new patterns of footwork I am working on? Once in while....yes. But what is really making my game better is the fact that I am moving more and with less of a predictable pattern. I am rarely static. So I had an improvement, not because I mastered something I am working on, but because I am attempting to master something. How cool is that?

Friday, January 6, 2012

1st 2012 Post


I skipped the "Hangover" so I could spend money to go to a USFCA Assistant Moniteur Clinic. It is very basic, but I need to review a great many things.I have forgotten a great deal on things like group lessons and such. Okay...I was never very good at group lessons to begin with. Walter Green is the instructor. He explained via e-mail, that this helps prepare you for the way the USFCA does things...proceedures..demands....that sort of thing. So if you want to pursue advancement through their ranks, then this is a good start. Made sense to me. People I talked to liked Mr. Green, so I am looking forward to meeting him. I have also heard (rightly or wrongly)that he is very much into the history of fencing. That is an area that is of interest to me, but most likely will not come up often in the coaching clinic.

Why are you doing this Jim? I don't know exactly. I would rather spend time trying to make myself a better fencer. I may not have a lot of time left to do that. I don't want to Coach...but someday I may. I am coaching, so even if it it is not a big personal desire to do so....I need to do the best job I can at it. I want to pursue as many elements of fencing as my time and resources will allow. Sadly, that is not as much as I would like.

An On-line Journal

Having an on-line journal is sort of like being on Facebook. I am sure it is not like this for everyone.....some people don't give a rip what they say. (My dad use to say ...."don't give a rip". I am not sure I ever heard anyone else say it. I also do not know what a rip is. But it cannot be much.) Anyway...often times you try to make yourself seem nicer....wiser.....not as weird....better....than you really are by what you say and often by what you don't say. Lately, there has been a topic I wanted to explore, but I am afraid to write about it. How weird is that? I am afraid that I might be wrong in my opinion. I am still reading up on the subject. I am trying to find out why I am wrong in what I think. I fear that I might offend one of the half dozen people that read this. That is just so strange.

Hooking Up....No....Not THAT Kind.

Not to long ago my coach was talking about when we started fencing in a tournament. From his perspective, it was the minute you walk in the door. For some that is true...if you can back it up. Getting into some one's head,which is part of the epee game,is only useful if you have the fencing skill to take advantage of it.

I have noticed that,every once in a while, I start fencing when you are called to strip and are hooking up. If my opponent looks impatient and eager for me to hurry up and get through the process....I sloooooww down...... I also smile at him/her. A smile is a great thing to use on strip.

A lot of little things can happen while hooking up and it can be kind of a game. I like to be first through the testing, because I always have to adjust my body cord after the ref looks for a switch.

I have been working on/repairing a couple of club epees and one of my own. I have this overwhelming desire to go to Radio Shack and buy a couple of toggle switches and install them in an epee. perhaps mark one as " get touch" and one as " fire paralyzing dart". With certain refs I think it would be worth the yellow card. I just need to make sure a yellow card is all I get.