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?

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