Monday, May 28, 2012


I fenced in Wilmington this weekend. I was sick as a dog. A gift from my little germ carrying grandson. I did not fence my best, but I was in the game.

At Divisionals last year (oddly enough in Wilmington) I was so sick that I did not fence. I have often regretted not fencing then and wonder if I should have.  This time, I made up my mind, that if I wasn't going to pass out, I would fence. I did think about withdrawing. I didn't.

The tournament before this one, I was injured. I thought about with drawing. I didn't.

There are reasons you should not fence in tournaments. If you think you are going to harm yourself. Don't fence. It is okay to throw in the towel.

Here is the reason not to withdraw from a tournament. I am ashamed to say I have thought this before. If I fence sick/injured people will think I am a worse/poorer fencer than I am. Truth is that only people that care about you or hate you will give a damn how you did. Why let that be a factor in your fencing?

Monday, May 21, 2012

911 Aging Fencer Down!

Yesterday at a tournament, I pulled/damaged something in my side/lower back. I was in a tournament and I did not feel it until I unhooked and left the strip. I lost 5-4.

Is this an age thing? Do things like this happen to younger fencers? In  bit over a week, I will be 60 years old. Is this a warning shot this case......stern?

I hope to fence in Wilmington this weekend. It is very unlikely I will get any practice this week.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Greensboro Fencers Club Coaching Clinic

This is a a video and pictures from a coaching clinic in our little fencing club. It was a big success and it makes me proud. It also makes me grateful to know people that sacrifice time and energy for others.

I also did not realize how useful this clinic could have been for people not looking to coach. The footwork corrections alone would have been worth the trip.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Do I Need That Paper?

I my be having a change of heart in pursuing a Moniteur certification from the United States Fencing Coaches Association.

The New Marx Coaches College  would cost around $1,750.00. Going to the United States Fencing Coaches Association Clinic (also in Colorado) around $1,250.00. To rich for my blood. Do I need a piece of paper to coach? That is the question I now ask myself.  I wrote my regional USFCA person, to ask if there was a less expensive alternative to the clinic. I was basically told to go to the costly clinic. I was given Walter Green's name and told to contact him to see if he was doing a clinic. I had already talked to Walter and I guess his plans for a clinic did not materialize.

Both the big money clinics look great. Both have awesome coaches in attendance. It is to bad that this will only cater to only the affluent. I think the less affluent are the back bone of fencing in this country and the ones that need the most help.

I asked  the USFCA Regional Person about preparing for a practical exam without attending a the costly clinic. Basically, I should attend the costly clinic and there is  great deal of info on the USFCA web site.

That is the most screwed up web site I have ever seen. I had found tons of info but it took forever to  find. Much of what is there cannot be opened or downloaded. Okay... I think the web site is new and has some bugs. Perhaps I am unfair there.

I asked the USFCA Regional Person if I could prepare for practicals by studying with Fencing Master Dr. Ron Miller , head coach for the NCAA  varsity fencing team for the University of North Carolina. I know of at least three people that he has helped prepare for Moniteur certification. I was told, "  While Ron Miller is quite knowledgeable and a longtime friend of mine, he isn't currently a USFCA member and probably isn't up to date with what is currently expected on the exams."

I wonder just how much has changed in the last few years? He may not be up to date on what is expected on exams.But that just sounds a bit elitist to me. You see that kind of attitude in several places in the USFCA. There are a lot of elite coaches in the USFCA. There are also some that just aren't that great. 

Tomorrow, Coach Miller will give a Coaches Clinic at the Greensboro Fencers Club. (My little club.) I organized the event. He is doing it mostly to help high school coaches in the state. It is free.

Monday, May 14, 2012

USFCA and Other Things

This week I joined the United States Fencing Coaches Association. Actually this is the second time. The first time I did it just to read the magazines and some articles. This time, I am studying to become a Moniteur. I am studying for the written part of the exam. It is fairly challenging, though not daunting.

Mostly it is matter of learning some definitions that I have not heard of. Also a couple of definitions are not the same as things I had learned previously. There is a section on risk management that is new to me. There are a bunch of general fencing questions that are not hard at all..

Then there are a few things I use to know but have forgotten. That is disturbing. If I actually get my Moniteur that would be great. But even if I don't, this is forcing me to study and review things I should have studied and reviewed.

Looking ahead, the practical part of the exam seems to be kind of a mystery. I am trying to figure it all out. I once heard Jen Oldham (A Fencing Master) say that a lot of good fencers/coaches failed this test because they failed to prepare. I can now see why. It is pretty damn hard to prepare just by reading info on a web site.

I went to a clinic in Richmond to study with Walter Green ( A Fencing Master).  He is one of a few that can give the Moniteur exam. This was an effort for me to understand some things about how the USFCA did things.  He was planning to have two weekend clinics starting the end of May to prepare you for Moniteur testing . I have not seen anything posted, so I assume there is a snag. Without a clinic or some sort of preparation/dry run it would seem easy to fail. Flying across country for a clinic or 1,600.00 dollars to go to the new Coaches College is out of my price range. What to do?  How do you prepare?

The Greensboro Fencers Club

We just moved from a big sports complex to a church basement. The move was stressful, but went surprisingly well. At the big sports complex, we only had one strip. Now we have two and could do a third if need warranted. We also have a place without the sound of basketballs and buzzers. It is nice to hear the sounds of blades again.

This is the first time we have ever handled or gotten money for fencing lessons. For years we have been all volunteer coaches.  It isn't going to be a lot of money, but we think we will have enough profit to continually train our coaches and improve ourselves. Prior to this, we always paid out of our own pocket. I never liked the idea of paying to volunteer. There should also be enough money for new equipment and some gas money. We will see how it goes.

This is the main reason I want to get certified with the USFCA. There is money involved now. I feel like we owe it to our students to have credentials other than Coaches College. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it seems to be a bygone era.

Coaches Clinic

Oddly enough, as I pursue the Moniteur certification, the first big thing our club is doing is hosting a Coaching Clinic. By "coaching clinic" I mean a clinic for training coaches or aspiring coaches. It will be taught by Fencing Master Ron Miller, head coach for the University of North Carolina NCAA fencing program. Coach is the father and grandfather of fencing in this state. He is doing this for free. Primarily he wants to help the high school  fencing league and doesn't want to hamper their attendance with extra cost. That is the kind of guy he is.

I doubt this clinic will help me much in preparing for USFCA testing. It will however help me reveiw things and help my present coaching. This is good for me and my kids.

I have been privalege to have had  and currecntly have some great coaches.  Each in their own way.
It makes you feel small some how. Knowing that you will never be their equal. I spoke with an Apex  coach about this recently.  I explained how I lived in a dead zone for fencing and in comparing myself to my coaches past and present that I just do not feel good enough. She looked at me and asked, " Are you the best in the area you live in?" My aswer was, "Yes." It helped to put things in

Onward into the challenges of coaching and certification.  Oh...not to mention competeing.