Monday, September 22, 2014


A couple of post back in my journal, I commented that I would most likely post my results until I did not do well in an event. This weekend, I fenced on the coast in a tournament. In the words of a former wheelchair fencer friend of mine, " I stunk out loud."

In my own defense, I was exhausted. But even at my best I could not have defeated a couple of these kids. They are just to fast and skilled for me. What bothers me a bit is I did not fence well. Did I disrupt their prep? Nope. Could I figure out how to flick or get hand shots ? Nope. Did I do second intention actions? Nada. If they were primarily a foilist, did I make actions to offset their game? Nope. Did I get hit by the same counter attack four times in a row without adapting. Yep.

Okay...I did not do well. It will not be the last time it happens. Here is the really weird thing. It did not bother me very much. I am the type of fencer that when this happens, I beat myself up over it for days. If it happens twice in a row, I go into a kind of fencer depression. This time it did not bother me. I am a bit embarrassed.  I hate I fenced like that in front of the ref,  because I know him.
Other than that, I does not bother me very much. Could it be that I finally do not judge my self worth as a person or ability as a fencer by a few minutes on strip? Nahhh. I am not that smart. I truly think it is something else. I have no idea what.

Prior to this tournament, I had been happy that in the first three events of the season, I had fenced consistently above mediocre. Consistency. I don't know what I was thinking. If you are a great/very good fencer ( I have my own idea about what makes a great/very good fencer. You may not share that view.) then consistency is/may be of importance. At my level of ability, it is meaningless. Epee tournaments have to many variables. Who you get in pools. Who you draw for your first DE. I have no way to statistically prove this, but I think it may be even more random for vet fencers. May not. I tend to watch the results of vet fencers in my division. Unless they are one of the gods, results seem to swing a great deal. Not sure about this. It warrants further attention.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Goofy Post 2 or Emotional Content

Above is the link to an old Bruce Lee film. I am old enough to have actually seen it in the theater.

In my previous post, I was writing ( rambling on ) about emotion and fencing. That post was so goofy, I am thinking of deleting it. By chance this morning, I saw part of "Enter the Dragon".

Emotional Content

Often, I tell my kids to, "lunge like you mean it or "put more/less energy into that action".

There is some kind of interesting thing that happens with emotion on strip. It is not as important as footwork ; decent technique or tactics. Yet it must have some importance. Or maybe not. I often latch on to these little things and over think them,

It will make an interesting thing for me to look at when I am watching other people fence tonight.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Emotion in Fencing

Fenced at another UNC tournament last weekend. I upped my rating. But that is not what I am writing about.

( Note: It took an embarrassingly long time to increase my rating. But as my coach has told me. I have had the worst luck in the history of fencing. He has also mentioned that I am never allowed to go to Vegas with him, due to that luck.)

Emotion in Fencing

You never read much about it, but it is always there. Apprehension. You may not do well. Nervousness, if you are new to the sport. Every fencer has known disappointment. Sometimes you experience joy and pride. If not for yourself, for others. Desperation; pity and once in a while even anger comes in to play.

There is a fleeting bit of emotion when a touch is scored on you. You shake it off so fast, you may not be conscious of it. I know, I have said, "Damn" under my mask more than once.

I know some people fence better when they are bit angry. Myself, I usually fence without emotion at all. ( Discounting the times when I say a bad word under my mask.) I prefer it that way.

My training partner is the most emotional fencer I now know. It effects her game in a huge way.
I say that, but I am male and most of us have the emotional range of a turnip.

So what are you getting at Jim?

During my last tournament, I had to fence a person I love. I have fenced with her since she was 12 years old.  I am friends with her mom. I went to see her play softball in middle school. I went to see her when she was on home coming court in high school and to her graduation. She graduated from college this year and was in the college fencing club where she was awesome.  My training partner and I have been to many a tournament together with this young woman. I remember so many times, we would talk about who we had to fence next. When ever we had to fence a really good fencer, we would always look at the most unfortunate one and say these meaningful and supportive words, " Sucks to be you." It still makes me smile.

It is hard to fence someone you care about. Harder for some than others. I am not talking about a coach/student kind of bout. That is a different animal.

We had to fence each other at this last tournament. It went 14 to 14 and then she got the last touch.
It was the strangest mix of strong emotions. Disappointment at the loss and pride in my friend/fencing daughter comingled until  it was hard to deal with. Don't get me wrong, I have had WAY more disappointing fencing experiences.

I did not realize or think about, that an even higher rating change was in the balance. I was just trying to make it to the next bracket.

 Now the disappointment has faded and all that is left is pride for my young friend/fencing daughter.

I wanted to win that bout. I wanted to make my coach and fencing family proud of me. No matter how old you get, you still seek out approval, That in it's self is a type of emotion.

I wish I was clever enough to write something meaningful about emotion and fencing. I wish someone would. It is a subject that now interest me.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Thanks Toomey

 To paraphrase Ferris Bueller." Fencing moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Second event of the season at UNC last weekend. An A2 with 42 competitors. Tough field. Finished 14th. Top 16. Not bad for an old guy...not great. In my journal, I have rarely posted results of tournaments. I don't know why I am doing it now. I am sure as soon as I am in an event where I stink really bad, it will stop.

In my lessons of late, I have been working on a lot of new things. I have mastered none of them, but I think the influx of new things is helping me open up my game a bit. Basics are always needed in training. But this has kept things fresh and interesting for me. If I could just get a handle on 3 or 4 new actions/preps it might be a real game changer. As always, I am grateful to my coach for taking me in this direction.

Thanks Toomey.