Tag Archives: épée

April Announcements

Welcome back, everyone! I hope that you all had a great spring break and have gotten some much needed R&R.

Just some quick announcements for the week:

We have scheduled an all-members club meeting on Sunday, April 7 at 1:00 pm at the Fortune House Restaurant. It looks like the buffet will cost $9.95 per person. It is especially important that all officers attend. We will be discussing a number of things, including revealing the new official team sock! So spread the word to ALL club members and make sure they come for lunch. And then after lunch…

We will have two team members attending the Rumble Sunday April at West Lafayette High School on April 7! I encourage all of you to make time to come to the meet and cheer for your teammates. Parents are welcome, too! Fencing will be in the Jr. High Gym. If you plan on stopping by, enter the building from the South parking Lot. Events start at 2:00 pm – 14 and older Epee and 13 and under Foil; 4:00 pm 13 and under Epee and 14 and older Foil.

As always, if you have any questions, just let me know. See y’all on Sunday!

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Electric Gear for Competition

As I mentioned at practice the other day, if we intend to compete with other schools in meets and tournaments, we have to start thinking about purchasing electric equipment. For USFA tournaments, the requirement is that you have a minimum of two electric weapons and two body cords in addition to any other electric gear such as a lamé (foil and saber only), special mask (saber), overglove or cuff (saber), mask cord, etc. For the upcoming tournament in April, you can probably get the minimum in order to compete:

Foil – 1 electric weapon, 1 body cord, 1 foil lamé

Épée – 1 electric weapon, 1 body cord

Saber – 1 electric weapon, 1 body cord, 1 electric saber mask w/mask cord, 1 overglove

I’ve taken the time to do some comparative shopping for everyone. Attached to this post is a chart of vendors and the different sets they offer for beginning electric equipment. The chart  is grouped according to weapon type. There are some obvious deals (cheap prices), but it all depends on what you can and want to purchase at this time. If you intend to continue with fencing next year, I would suggest you consider buying a set that will provide you with the minimum USFA requirements for competitions.

Why two weapons? Murphy’s Law runs rampant at meets and competitions. With the use and abuse that weapons go through during the course of a bout or competition, it is not uncommon for a weapon to fail or get damaged. (Sarah would be happy to recount her experience with this for you!) If that should occur, you would be given a limited amount of time to come up with a replacement weapon (but not enough time to repair it). If you do not have a back-up weapon, you will be forced to forfeit the bout.

Click the link below to download the electric starter sets information (PDF) When ordering sets, there are often multiple options based on the type of weapon (type of point, type of grip, etc.). If you have any questions about equipment, please do not hesitate to contact me (phone, text, email, FB, comments on this blog).

Electric Starter Sets

Upcoming Tournament: Red Devil JV Invitational

Lowell-WL-mapA new tournament has been posted on askFRED that seems to be ideal for us. Lowell High School will be hosting the Red Devil JV Invitational on April 27 which is open to any first or second year fencer between the ages of 12 and 19. Entrants will NOT need a USFA membership, but will need electric equipment to compete.

Take a look at the information at askFRED about the tournament: http://askfred.net/Events/moreInfo.php?tournament_id=21923. Lowell HS is a first-year team just like us, so this would seem to be an ideal opportunity for us, as a team, to get started in tournaments.

Why We Start with Foil

fencingweaponsdiagram

Among the many questions that I get asked as a fencer and a now a fencing instructor, inevitably a student will ask, “Why do I have to start with foil?” The short answer is not “Because I said so,” but rather, “It’s the starting point for all training in competitive fencing.” I still get the blank look with that statement, so perhaps I should elaborate.

My choice and method are not random or arbitrary. My guide and inspiration for this methodology is one of the masters of our sport, Nick Evangelista. Master Evangelista has written several authoritative books on the art and sport of fencing in addition to being an accomplished swordsman in his own right. He has over thirty years’ experience in fencing and teaching fencing. His thoughts on this subject are quite clear and uncomplicated:

The approach I take is to teach fencing so that it is both efficient and effective. I teach form so that it establishes economy of motion, point control, timing, judgment –the foundational elements of fencing from its earliest days. I also teach my students the ‘language of fencing,’ so that they learn to think fencing. I would be stealing from those who come to me if I taught them anything else.

When asked about why he teaches foil first to his students, he responds:

I teach fencing in a very traditional fashion. Everyone begins with foil. No exceptions. Foil instills the fundamentals of fighting with a sword in a fencing student. The conventions of the foil are, in fact, a valuable template for changing our behavior from everyday people reactions to controlled fencer responses. This basic training is essential for everything that follows. Those who begin their fencing careers with either epee or saber are missing an opportunity to bring added depth to their weapon of choice.

So nothing is accidental or mere busywork when teaching the skills and fundamentals of fencing. Each basic form or movement is a building block for the next skill, and then the next skill, and so on.

The best summation for all of this is an article that Master Evangelista wrote himself. I truly could not state it any better than he has, so for the sake of efficiency, the link to his article, Starting With Foil, is included here for your information. I would encourage every student (and parents, too!)  to read it and understand it. You’re starting with foil not because the coach says so, but because it is the BEST approach to mastery of the sport.

Starting with Foil by Nick Evangelista

Summer 2013 Clinics and Camps

Looking to continue with your fencing training during the summer? There are many opportunities, most of which are with universities with established fencing programs. So, the choices are not limited to this list; these are the camps that are closest to us in West Lafayette:

University of Notre Dame
June 16-22, 2013
http://youthsports.nd.edu/camps/co-ed-camps/fencing/

Northwestern University
Competitive Fencing Camp: June 20-21, June 22-23
Summer Clinics: July 10, 17, 24, 31; August 7, 14, 21, 28
Open Fencing Camp: July 29 – August 1
http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/nw/sports/w-fenc/auto_pdf/2012-13/misc_non_event/2013Summer.pdf

Ohio State University
Summer Camps: June 17-23, Jun 24-28, or July 15-21
http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/camps/fenc-camp.html

University of Pennsylvania
Junior Fencing Camps: Jul 14-20, Jul 21-27
http://www.fencingcampatpenn.com/

Summer Fencing Camp at Fencing Center of Chicago (Park Ridge, IL)
July 15-19
http://askfred.net/Clinics/moreInfo.php?clinic_id=21644
http://www.fencingcenterofchicago.com

If you are looking for something more “local” or closer to home, let me know. I can see if we can pull together something with some of the other coaches in the area, but it will depend on their availability and willingness to give up some of their summer vacation. If you are interested in some casual practice over the summer, as a group we may be able to arrange something as well. Contact me if you are interested.

Taking the Blade

Lately we’ve been working on a series of offensive moves, prise de fer or transfers, seizing the opponent’s blade and progressively controlling it until completion (arriving at the target). To reinforce all of this, here is a very instructive video that covers:

  • opposition – lateral transfer straight to target
  • liement – diagonal bind
  • croisé – semi-circular bind staying on the same vertical side of the body
  • envelopment – circular transfer

This does not cover all of the types of movements that “take the blade” but rather gives you a foundation from which to work. One could argue that these type of offensive maneuvers are more applicable to épée than the other two weapons. Maybe so, but my job as your coach and instructor is to arm you with as many “weapons” and tools so that you have a deep and powerful arsenal from which you can draw.

We will continue to work on these types of attacks over the next few practices. As always, if you have any questions just let me know.

Results – Indiana Middle and High School Championship 2013

If you haven’t seen the results already on askFRED.net, the results from the Indiana Championship tournament are posted – http://askfred.net/Results/results.php?tournament_id=20763. Let me start by saying that I am proud of both Jack Stuckey and Sarah Motley for participating and fencing their bests. You both represented Harrison well! It was also good to see fencers from our local area, West Lafayette Jr. and Sr. High School, as well. Congratulations to Louisa Steup for placing 2nd in Women’s Épée!

I must add: my thanks to Coach John Levy (WLHS) and Maestro Paul Geraci (RCF) for your equipment help. We wouldn’t have gotten there without you! The camaraderie and support from the fencing community makes me proud to be a fencer and now a fencing coach.

Unfortunately, the Indiana Championship represents the close of the high school fencing tournament season. My hope for next year is that Harrison will have more of you participating in this tournament. Many of you are ready for organized competitions, so I’m looking forward to seeing you compete.

Tournament Basics

When it came time for a tournament, I always got a little more anxious than normal anticipating the bouts ahead. Here are some tips (gathered from personal experiences) for preparing for a fencing tournament.

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Prior to the tournament

Day of the tournament

  • Eat a light breakfast at least 90 minutes before fencing starts. You should never start your day nor a tournament on an empty stomach.
  • Report on time and get suited up quickly. Even better, come already dressed to fence. At check-in you will learn which strip to report to first for your first round of bouts.
  • While checking in have your mask inspected (this is a requirement). Fencing with a mask that has not been inspected will cost you a red card. Masks are tested with a 12K punch and examined for safety–no holes in bib, rust on mask or dents permitted. If you see gaps in the mesh, use an awl or small screwdriver to re-position the mesh. If you have a dent, tap it out from the inside with the back end of a large screwdriver and hammer.
  • A proper warm-up is critical to good fencing. Give yourself enough time to go through your normal routine of warm-up, stretching and drilling.

Experienced fencers and captains – help your teammates with advice and encouragement when you aren’t fencing. I will also be going around to as many of you as I can to give as much advice as I can.

Before your bout

  • Before your first bout, the Director or Referee will check your weapon to see that the handle and barrel of the tip are not loose, that the tip has two screws, the blade is not rusty, and that the wires of your weapon are glued down properly. Inside the guard the two wires must be covered with spaghetti insulation all the way up to the nut.
  • Before each bout, the Director will test your foil or epee to see that it supports the 750-gram weight. This is to insure that your tip is functioning correctly.
  • The Director will then have you and your opponents test your weapons on each other’s lames. Holding your mask in front of your face, touch your opponent’s lame with your weapon to ensure that all scoring equipment and weapons are functioning correctly.
  • Salute your opponent, salute your Director, and put on your mask. Have fun!

During your bout

  • If you disagree with a director’s or referee’s judgement, you may not protest it, even if it is poor judgement. However, if a rule is misapplied, you may politely lodge a protest. Do not continue to fence until the protest has been dealt with completely. If you continue to fence, you will lose your right to the protest. Have a teammate call me to the strip immediately if there is a rules question.

After your bout

  • Do not wander too far from your strip until all of your bouts for that round have been completed.
  • After the round has been completed, you will await the results to find out who will be advancing and what the strip assignments will be. Between bouts, observe some of the other bouts since everyone is a potential opponent. Take stock of strengths and weaknesses so that you are better prepared when you face that opponent.

Remember to relax and enjoy what you’re doing!

Club Discounts on Fencing Equipment, Revised

Since we first started the club back in November, we have accumulated a short list of equipment vendors that are wiling to offer a discount for club orders. A few will even honor the offered discount to individuals, meaning that you can place your equipment order directly with the vendor and not through the coach in order to get the discounted price. As an update, I am including here a list of the vendors and their respective discounts:

Absolute Fencing (http://www.absolutefencinggear.com/shopping/)

  • Discounts: Absolute brand gear – 20% off; European brands (except Leon Paul and Negrini) – 15% off; Leon Paul and Negrini brands – 10% off; Starter sets – 5% off.
  • Ordering Method: Orders must be placed through Coach.

Physical Chess (www.physicalchess.com)

  • Discounts: Start at 10% and go as high as 30% retail prices; Items already on Sale and discounted Sets are not eligible for additional discounts.
  • Ordering Method: Orders must be placed through Coach.

Blue Gauntlet (www.blue-gauntlet.com)

  • Discounts: 10% off all regular retail prices (clearance, sales, and starter sets are not included).
  • Ordering Method: Order directly online and include note in comment box to please include discount for the Harrison High School Fencing Club. Orders can also be placed through Coach.

Triplette Competition Arms (www. triplette.com)

  • Discounts: No discounts but their uniforms are made in the USA; can make custom-fitted uniforms.
  • Ordering Method: Order directly from Triplette.

Fencing.net (www.fencing.net)

  • Discounts: 20% off house brand individual items; 15% off German (FWF) items; no discounts on starter sets.
  • Ordering Method: Orders must be placed through Coach.

Fencing Star (www.fencingstar.com)

  • Discounts: 10% off their standard equipment (made in China).
  • Ordering Method: Orders must be placed through Coach.

Once you’ve determined what gear and equipment you want that needs to be ordered through the Coach, fill out our ordering form or email your list of items to the Coach.

As always, if you have any questions contact me.

What is Fencing?

Do you have friends and family members who ask you about fencing? Since it’s a sport that you don’t normally find televised on a Monday night, I’m sure that you’ve gotten questions from time to time. If so, pull them in front of the screen, sit them down, and watch the following video put together by the Royal Arts Fencing Academy in Columbus, Ohio:

Any questions?