Monday, June 20, 2016

Apex Fencing and the Forgotten Element of Teaching Young People Fencing.

I went to a wedding this weekend. The groom is a fencer friend. The mother of the groom is a fencer friend. Many of the guest were fencers; ex-fencers and coaches.

Great wedding and reception. I enjoyed some conversations I had . It was a good time.

On the drive to the wedding I had  been thinking about coaching in our state/division. Most of the club coaches in our area are in there forties. ( That may be in error, as there are younger coaches sprinkled throughout some clubs.)  It started me thinking about the next generation of coaches and clubs. I know some really fine young people in fencing and I know some social misfits. The social misfits might be good young people as well. It is just harder to know them.

Fortunately, I had the chance to sit and talk with Igor of Apex Fencing for a while. We were waiting outside for the reception to begin. I voiced my concerns about the next generation of clubs and coaches. He told me that in their club, they have young people that help teach the new students. Through a variety of helpful activities in their clubs, they are actively learning coaching skills.  I think the Apex model is a wonderful way to go.  Good for all concerned. This is an element of fencing so often over looked.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Work; Clinics and Sadness.

Things I am Working On

Last Thursday,as my private lesson, I fenced a few 5 touch bouts with my coach. (Brian) There were times my hand would drift into 4. I have had this problem forever and do not seem to be able to correct it. So we may be going to work on using it as an invitation. I do that once in a while anyway. This could be good. I had been trying to fix the problem by changing my fighting line, but that has limited success and I do not always think about it.

I have been doing the ( mostly) same set of technical drills with Coach Miller for years. I still cannot do them flawlessly. Sometimes Coach is more picky than other times.  For instance, I have noticed he is pickier if the PL is early and less so if the lesson is later,when he is tired.  He says it is because I only get to do this once a week and that I have made big improvements over the years. It is pretty frustrating at times. ( My grip is wrong. My elbow pouches out. My bell guard is to high on the attack. To much power on the beat. My bell guard drops on the beat. My lunge shortens every time I do one. There are lot of good things said as well. I hope they are true and not just to keep me from going home and hanging myself.)

I am working with Brian on beat attacks, I have never had a very good one.

On my own, I am dabbling with a flick to nine o'clock.  My standard flick to 6 o'clock has improved from a very low percentage shot to a moderately low percentage shot. I tend to go to deep, but it works. The nine o'clock flick has worked in some bouts of late and it always surprises me and pleases me at the same time. ( Note: I do not know if anyone uses the "o'clock" thing for flick or cuff targets, I had to come up with a way to describe it..)

I am having a larger opportunity to fence left handed fencers and am working on reversing my "takes" to improve my game with them. So far, not much luck there.

( Note: My journal is about vet fencing. You often hear that young peoples minds soak up knowledge like a sponge. The later in life you are, the wetter your sponge is. That is just the cold hard truth. We don't pick up things as fast as the young ones. Being a vet fencer........often not really big on the whole self esteem thing. We must be brave souls.)

Coaching Clinics and Sadness

On our two hour drive to Thursday night training, I talked with my training partner about three coaching clinics I am interested in. One in the US; one in the UK and a classical course near by.
I told her that unless a good coach moved to our area and needed an assistant coach, I did not ever see me coaching again. ( Except for possibly grand-kids Also, a parent has asked me to coach a home school epee team. Not sure they even have that,) My training partner told me as we are reaching the end of out fencing journey, she has no desire to ever coach again. I have no desire to do so, without her. It is the Yin and Yang.....the combination of our personalities.....that made us so good with the kids. It would be nothing if we were not together. The subject was breached about when our fencing journey will end. Could be next week, could be three years. But of course, it will end. It hit me like a brick. I will not see her anymore, when the fencing finally ends. I am sure we will meet for lunch or something once in a the beginning. But that will fade in time. There are not a lot of fencers, where you think of two as a team. Yet, we are this team.We have been as one. When I loose fencing, I will lose a dear friend. That is a sad revaluation. I will try harder to enjoy the time we have left.

(Note: A couple of sentences up, you will see the word "loose" used when it should be "lose". I have been trying forever to change that and cannot make it so. So, screw it!)