Sunday, May 31, 2015


See that block over in the right hand corner. My age just flipped over to 63.

(Editors Note: Sometimes when writing this entry into my journal, I will refer to "Henri". Henri is a woman, slightly younger than myself. She is my training partner. We taught epee and "Introduction to Fencing" at a club together for the last few years. She is  also my good friend. If you don't know us, it could have gotten a bit confusing.)

Last Wednesday was my last night coaching at our little (mostly) recreational club. There were cakes and cards. There were kind words and tears. (Tears were not mine.) There were farewell gifts. The club gave Henri and I a gift certificate at Sword Masters. I bought a new BF blue custom built epee.

(After all these years, something in me still believes that if I buy the most expensive fencing gear,it will somehow magically make me fence better. So far, no luck in that regard.)

I bought the blue blade, because I think darker colors are harder to see when they are moving. I have no idea if that is true or not, but I am going with it. Maybe it will be like the magic feather Dumbo the elephant had. He thought it made him fly.

I thought that was it. Finished. Done. Time to work on my own fencing interest. Before I know it, Henri has me signed up to meet in a couple of weeks for the end of year jacket and plastron washing. There was some talk of us helping with an "Intro Class" next September. I tried to keep moving during that conversation. Putting up gear and the like. I think I am retired. This might be a sabbatical.
I only know that I am now the master of my fate.....not committed to any weekly activity....I think. Henri often volunteers me for stuff. I could bow up when she does that, but most of the time it is better to just go with it.

I started to record all the things I learned from coaching, but they are all obvious sorts of things that anyone would expect.

I do wonder about something. All clubs have a personality of there own. Sometimes that personality is just the lack of a personality. I was wondering who creates the personality. Some would say it is the coaches or a mixture of coaches; parents and students. I think it is mostly the students. The coaches just keep it in check.  "Ehhh"....Might be wrong here. I am still thinking about it.

I once asked Coach Ron Miller what my goal should be in fencing. He told me,"To have fun.". This wasn't some Yoda/Zen Master like moment. It was just off the top of his head.
Our fencers, over the years, had fun. They learned a little along the way. In my estimation, it was time well spent.

 Okay...Okay....I am going to post a couple of things I learned from coaching.

1. Not every student....(not even most of our students)... shares your obsession/passion for fencing. That's okay too. It is fine just to "like" fencing

2.Sometimes the kid you thought was hopeless isn't.

3.Most often, you are right about that kid being hopeless. That doesn't mean he/she can't leave the club a better kid. Even if it is just a little bit better. more thing.....that is unrelated to anything else in this post.

My training partner (Henri) stays on my case. Mostly about diet ; exercise and health issues One of the things she always tells me to do is to fasten the Velcro on my fencing jacket when I wash it. I always comply, but it never makes it through the wash cycle still fastened. How is this helping?

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Ciao and Duke


Turned in my notice to the club. May 27th will be the last time I teach class. With the time I gain, oddly enough, one of the things I plan to study is coaching. I have a five year old grandson. If my body holds up, I plan to teach again. Even if it is a class of only one.

Duke Clinic

I attended a two day clinic at Duke last weekend. This was the first time they had included epee in the mix, as it is taught by the Duke foil and sabre coach. It was pretty basic. But with this type of clinic, it had to be. I never mind working on basics and for me it was like having two extra days of practice. Which I loved. My aging legs weren't that happy with it, but I was.

I got to fence at the Duke sale. I never thought that would happen. I had been to a ref clinic there and Alex and Elizabeth had shown me around a couple of times,  but I never thought I would fence there. I enjoyed doing that.

Alex has no involvement in these weekend clinics or the club temporarily hosted at Duke. Still, I had hoped I would see him on Saturday. Like most people, I really like that guy. Sadly the only time I ever get to talk to him are fleeting moments at collegiate fencing tournaments.