Tag Archives: fencing academy

Practice Session at Morton

Hi All! I announced this on our Facebook group page but (almost) forgot to include it here. I’ve reserved a classroom at the Morton Community Center for us to use for practice. The idea is that we get polished up for the dual meet with Lowell coming up on August 3 (see the earlier post). The practice is open to all Harrison fencers, so even if you cannot make it to the meet, you are welcome to come and practice. Bring your gear and plenty to drink. We’ll start practice at 3:30 pm and end by 5:00 pm.

Please let me know if you will be coming to the practice session. I’ve reserved a large classroom, but if we have a big group, I can rent another classroom if given enough notice. Contact me by whatever means you have (phone, text msg, email, Facebook, Twitter, smoke signal, carrier pigeon, etc.).

Thanks, and I look forward to seeing you there!

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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.

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?