Monday, March 4, 2013

I was paid an interesting compliment the other day at the cookout/oyster roast/low country boil after the Savannah Fencing Club's St Pat's Slash. One of the guys told he hat he hated lunging at me. His reasoning was that he NEVER knew what I was going to do in response to it. "Sometimes you parry, sometimes you retreat, sometimes you stand still, sometimes you fleche at me!" Now if only i could just hit him every time he lunges at me all would be good.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Non combativity as a tactic.

I recently, as a coach, had the opportunity to exploit the non-combativity rule to my fencers advantage. Or, I suppose I had the opportunity to get her to exploit it. She was fencing in a DE against another girl who was also a lefty, who had whipped her 5-0 in the pool, and at the very beginning of the but nearly 40 seconds went by with nothing happening. The ref, a relatively inexperienced one, commented after the first touch was scored, "man I wish NC applied in foil, that took forever." I pointed out to him that it did apply to foil and the bout went on. At the first break I told my fencer, (who was ahead by 2 points) to see if she could get him to call NC. The rationale being that the shorter the bout was the less time her opponent would have to stage a comeback. It worked perfectly, about 45 seconds into the bout the ref moves things along to the final period. The other girl looked confused but soldiered on. It became clear to me that she didn't know what NC was and had no idea what had just happened. A few points later with my fencer still up by 2 the ref call NC again and moves to the final minute. (note: at this point I wouldn't have called NC. while technically more that 15 seconds had gone by without blade contact there was a lot real positional action taking place, but that is letter of law versus spirit of the law and is another discussion) The ref determines priority (my fencer got it)and restarts the bout. the other girl is totally confused and is trying to ask her strip coach what is going on but of course there is no coaching when NC is called so she starts up again. She scores, my fencer scores and she scores again and time runs out. My fencer still being up by one wins. I rather suspect that the next time that girl enters a tournament she will know all about NC. She has a really good coach and he will prevent that from happening again. It was interesting to play the system like this. I realize this is not why NC was implemented but as long as they are going to put stupid rules in the book, people are going to exploit the issues.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Not fencing

This post has nothing to do with fencing but instead relates to the other sport by which I make my living. Bicycles.

We recently had a guy bring a Walmart purchased Schwinn into the shop to get a new seat and some add ons. He decided to have us tune it up too since (as usual) the gears were really not adjusted right coming out of Wally World. When I first looked at it I was shocked. It had actual real components on it. I mean the shifters and the rear derailleur were the same as on an entry level Trek Mountain Bike. This of course worried me a bit because quality is the one thing that keeps us going over the horde of Wal-Mart bicycles. The bike had also been assembled correctly, not the oh so common twisted cables, hubs tightened into bearing crushing rigidity, pedals loose or anything. Even the fork was on right. (You would be surprised how often the guys at the Dept store put those on backwards.)
My fear of a qualitative assault on our sales ebbed as I looked further at the bike those, the wheels are still cheap. The Bottom Bracket was nice 1980 technology without 80's quality, and the front derailleur was a piece of excrementa guaranteed to deprive anyone using it of full enjoyment.
So Schwinn has made some improvements, but I still wouldn't recommend this bike to anyone.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A good practice

That is what I had on Tuesday. A good practice. I fenced well, i moved reasonably well. (not really well, but better) The moves were coming in that day and working. It is taking awhile but I am slowly getting my stuff back together. I am fencing foil pretty much exclusively at practice right now. That doesn't bother me, practicing foil is good for epee, it works all of the basic skills. I am pleased with how things are working now. The only downside is that we don't get that many practices. Lots of holidays now that cause us to miss practice.

But better some practice than no practice.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tournamnet Report: The Bent Blade

This was a very small tournament. Two events, Div II foil and div II epee. Both of them only had seven entries. I only fenced in the epee. But I did arrive in time to see the end of the foil DE's. I saw wily veteran Earl Shapiro fall to the taller, stronger Frank Trowbridge and, and Warner Robbins two you foilist, Clinton Harrison, (who thinking about it now isn't all that young) and Jared Rimmer fight it out. Clinton started the bout out with a blade that just wasn't right. At the first break he was behind something like 8-4 and I had seen at least 5 hits where his blade and bent up against Jared. but oh well. He finally switched blades and came roaring back to take the lead. But in the end, Jared kept his head and fought off Clinton's return and won the bout to enter the finals against Frank. Which he won and Earned his long due E.

then epee started. There were 2 veteran Cs, one E and 4 Us in the event. I started off real slow. I really felt like I was fencing in slow motion, which considering the 15 pounds I put on over the summer, I am. but I did manage to win most of my bouts. Lost to the E from FSA and one of the beginners. Thankfully by the DE's I had warmed up enough that I was fencing with something of a brain. MY first De was pretty much a walkover. Scored most of my points with the same action and I think I scored all of them hitting the same target area. (right shoulder/upper arm) Second DE I fenced Jared. He was much more energetic than my first opponent had been and made me work a bit more but I won without any problems. the final, as it should have been was the two C's. Me vs Frank. Franks scored a nice toe shot at one point and kept the fight fairly close but I really felt I had the game in hand for the whole bout. I did notice that I am slow reacting the fleche. Which is bad considering Frank doesn't have a real fast fleche so I will need to pick that up before I fence the fast and the young.

Next event will probably be GSU's Halloween open.

And while I may have been fencing with SFC next to my name (which really feels and sounds strange to me still) I was wearing a GASOU T-shirt and warm up jacket.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I have been fencing more foil lately than I have in years. Unfortunately, it is fencing, not practice. The new club I have ended up at, doesn't really believe in PRACTICE. They like to fence, a very fun club. They set up the electric strips, and everyone waits in line to fence two bouts then it is back in line to wait till your turn rolls back around again. I have tried, with limited success to get people to drill with me between bouts. Most people prefer to sit and chat with one another. the bad part of this of course is that what I REALLY NEED now in foil is boring repetitive drills, forcing me to concentrate on keeping my hand from turning to far, making my actions smaller, all the basic stuff.
What I have been doing, is footwork and lunges while I am waiting. Which is of course something else I really need. So all is far from lost. :)

I wonder if the others there that I don't know well think I am antisocial for not sitting around and chatting?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lessons in Savannah

I have been giving some lessons down in Savannah this summer. I went down there the other day and found that only 5 people showed up, They wanted to fence but no one knew how to ref. So they asked me to do it. I decided that if I was going to do that I was going to make it a learning experience for everyone. So I reffed, and took time to explain the calls, critique the fencers, correct their actions, caching things you know. I also took time to teach them how to ref. I felt it was a very productive, if a bit non profitable, day of lessons. When we left, one of the guys there commented to me that he know felt he knew not only how to lunge but when.
I did take the time to actually give one real lesson during the evening too.