Sunday, January 18, 2015

Various Thoughts of Late

Vet 60 Stuff

My training partner is a petite woman a year younger than me, She is in excellent physical condition, but with a delicate bone structure. Lately, I have been offering advice on her fencing and preparing for her next national competition. One of the things I advised her to do was to fence in more local competitions. She needs to fence different people.  She needs to fence more left handers. We talked about it. Almost all the local tournaments are open events. Now even if you do have five national medals, if you are a tiny vet 60 woman, you are not going to fair well against many of the young ones or large male fencers. It is just a fact of life and often hard to deal with. She agreed that she could handle mentally the effect of finishing low in a local event, but that is not why she has not fenced in many of late. She is concerned about injury. One big bruiser plowing into her and she would miss a national event. Perhaps, be sidelined or even taken out of the game. She is of course correct. I am a vet 60 fencer and this thought never occurred to me. Partly because, even though I am not that tall, there are few people I fence locally that are not going to bounce off me. I worry about the day when I can no longer (generally) give an adequate account of myself in tournaments. It saddens me that my training partner must also worry about even more things than myself. There must be a host of other things vet fencers must deal with that I have not even considered.  Ours is a hard path. You have got to have a lot of heart to do this. That sounds like self praise. It is. But not just for me.


I look every few days for fencing clinics on Askfred. Lately, I have been wondering why I do that. Clinics these days are expensive. The only one I have gotten much out of lately was one at my own club. The reason was that I got info and suggestions specifically for me. Now if you go to most clinics, you will get some good practice. That is almost a given. Will you learn anything that impacts you specifically? Most of the time, probably not.

I am basing this on the clinics within driving distance of me. Perhaps it is different in other parts of the country.

Most clinics you go to will have an hour or two of exercise, warm ups and games. Often these are fun. Once in a great while you learn something you can use or take back to your club. The longer you fence and the more you travel, the less likely that is. It often seems to me like this is just a filler for clinics. Something to fill in the time. The amount of time doing this should always be reduced.

I have been thinking about and trying to come up with a more creative clinic format lately. I think I am going to set those thoughts to the side for a while now. After doing so, I realized that the format I was designing would only appeal to me.


As I look for clinics, I keep eyeing this expensive USFCA clinic that is a six hour drive from my home. That is pretty close for one of those clinics.

As I look at this, I wish I could ask the leadership of this organization these questions:

1. What is your total active membership?
2. How much money do you folks have in the organizational kitty? I would imagine it would be fairly hefty, with the membership fee and the cost of every step of testing.
3. Why would anyone want to be a member if they were not testing or  going to a clinic where they could get a discount? I can see a couple of reasons for myself, but they do not seem cost effective to me.
4. Do you think the goals of the organization reflect the desires of it's membership? If so, how do you know this?

If I could make one suggestion to this organization that I think would make it more desirable and worth the money for membership, it would be to offer an on-line forum to it's membership. I think this would vacillate more information flow between coaches and give the organization a better insight into the needs and desires of it's membership.

Some of these questions may seem a bit critical of the organization. Maybe they are, but only a tiny bit. Mostly, I am just curious.

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