Sunday, October 8, 2017

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra or Fencing Vocabulary

I use to be very interested in fencing vocabulary. Right up to the point where I saw that in USFCA that a couple of words had two totally different meanings and they listed both of them. Reprise and remise have a standard definition and two others for referees.  As if things weren't confusing enough.

A while back I started writing fencing vocabulary words on a dry erase board hanging on a wall at the Charlotte club. It soon became apparent to me that the words I wrote (That the kids would not know.) were pretty much antiquated fencing moves.  No point bothering to do it. I guess they know enough.)

Still, I often become dismayed when I hear some kids talk.  For example: Disengage.  To disengage, you must first be engaged. It bothers me. Just not enough to say anything. Thanks to Alex Beguinet, I also cringe when I hear "counter parry.". I will not even get into that one.

On another note, after my private lesson with Brian on Thursday, I have a goal. Oddly enough, even though I am 65 years old, it is long range. Hence, dependent not just on the work I put in, but fate (If there is such a thing). This will also mean that I must not let my ego get in the way when competing in local events with the young guns. A hard thing. Still, I find it good to have this secret goal. I certainly have been working out harder over the last few days and adding more cardio. No matter what happens, it will be good for me.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Coach Told Me to Write Something Here.

This is a homework assignment from Coach Ron Miller. (Head Coach for UNC Varsity Fencing) It is not the first time he has given me homework and I can tell you he does not grade on a curve.

Monday I got a brand new shiny epee. I thought I would use it for my lesson with Coach tonight. I had noticed the blade was awful straight before we started. I tried to bend the foible a little by hand, but the BF blade resisted.  The heck with it. It is time to start my lesson and I am first on the list.

We start off with the usual "6 Wall" drill and I am not hitting well. After some corrections, he hands me his weapon. I do the drill pretty much perfectly. Okay...maybe not perfectly if Coach was telling you about it, but a good 50% better.

He took me back to the work bench used a wrench and his hands to but the correct bend in my blade.

We went back to the strip and finished my lesson. He told me I had to write about the importance of a proper bend in a blade here in my journal. So I am.

Years ago, he showed me how to put this bend in a blade and what size opening in the wrench was best. I used to do this before tournaments to all my weapons. Somewhere along the way, I forgot to keep doing it. It will not happen again.

Now about Coaches epee. It has a small Visconti grip. Coaches hands are huge. He is know as " The Paw". The weapon is much lighter than mine.  Here is where I am going to write something stupid. Coach told me his blade was stiff. Coach has forgotten more about fencing than I will ever know, yet I disagree. That blade may have been stiff a decade ago, but that is one "bendy" epee blade in my book.

I should point out that I once spent what seemed like a year trying to make a weapon that Coach approved of. I can tell you, it will make a sane man crazy. I still have that blade. I cut the thread down so far no grip designed for a human will fit it. I think I still have the grip that a spent days filing and Dremeling. If a small monkey ever wants to fence epee with an adult weapon, I can fix him up.

I know as sure as I will never take a lesson with Coach and not be corrected on something, the odds are similar for making a weapon he likes. Still, I cannot dispute the fact that I am way better at lessons with his blade than mine. It is a quandary.

I have gone to some trouble and expense to make sure all my weapons are the same. Standardization! So I am happy no matter what weapon I pick up. Okay...There is a Viniti blade in there with the BFs somewhere, but they are all the same stiffness. The cants are all the same. Everything! I may could improve the balance, by switching them all to ultra light bell guards, but I am not sure about that. I hate to start messing around with the weapons. Yet, there is the fact that Coaches blade is so good.

If Coach checks my homework, maybe he could offer a suggestion or two without major renovations for my weapons. We may find out next Tuesday. Stay tuned for further developments.