Tag Archives: organized sports

Callouts 2014-15

A belated “Welcome Back” to all of you! By now you’re all grooved in at Harrison, your schedule a routine that you’ve already memorized. Now that you’re all settled in, we can turn our attention to fencing! In case you didn’t catch the news on Facebook, we’re going to start our practices next month.

We  will have official callouts on Tuesday, October 7, one in the morning during your activity period (9:06-9:31) and one after school starting at 3:00. Be ready to practice during the afternoon session. I am working on the format for the demo, so I may ask one or two of you to do a demonstration for the callouts. So if you haven’t been fencing during the off-season, dust off your equipment and get started! Footwork is always the best place to start.

As an added note, we will be using a new app, Teamapp, for club/team communications. This app is free, and can be used on iOS and Android devices. For those of you who prefer to use a desktop interface, the app is also available via the Internet. I encourage each of you to get signed up if you haven’t already done so, and to get your parents/guardians on the app as well. We’ll discuss this in more detail at the next meeting.


Sign up at HHSFC’s Teamapp (HHSFC members and supporters only)

Sneak Peek: Raider Rally Flyer

I’ve been working on the plans for the upcoming school year since the start of club fencing at Harrison High School is only a couple of months away (give or take a few weeks). Harrison hosts the Raider Rally, which is a day-long orientation for incoming freshman students. This will be the first year that we will be including a flyer in the information packet that will be handed out at the Rally. Since almost half of the team at Harrison graduated, it’s time to replenish with some new students.

Here’s a look at the flyer for the Raider Rally:


Download a PDF copy of the flyer


End of Year Survey – How Did We Do?

Survey-2316704This was our second year at Harrison with a fencing club, and personally, I feel things went very well. It was good to see new faces as well as fencers returning from the previous year. And I’m always pleased to see how quickly you have all grasped the fundamentals of our sport.

To prepare for next year, I need your help. By getting your feedback on being part of the fencing club, we can make adjustments for next year. Your input is critical, so please click the link below and complete the survey. I encourage you to give your honest opinion–your survey will remain anonymous. And if you have anything that you want to get off your chest or share that is not covered by the questions, you can do so at the end of the survey.

So, please fill out the survey (see link below). As always, if you have any questions, just let me know!


Upcoming Tournament: RDFC Invitational

Our next tournament that we will attend as a club will be the Red Devil Fencing Club Invitational. This event is scheduled for Saturday, February 22. The Red Devil Fencing Club originates from Lowell High School, however the tournament will be located at the Lowell Middle School Gym.

Please note that if you intend to participate in this event, pre-registration is required on AskFRED–go to http://askfred.net/Events/moreInfo.php?tournament_id=25255. The deadline to pre-register is February 16, 2014. A signed permission slip is also required to travel with the team on the bus (see attached). The permission slip must be turned into me or the Club Secretary by Friday, February 21, 2014.

As always, if you have any questions, just let me know. We’ve made some impact at our last few events, and I’m looking forward to seeing all of you fence at the RDFC Invitational.

Download Required Permission Form

Dynamic Stretching for Improved Performance

dynamicroutinemar200What is dynamic stretching?
The short definition of dynamic stretching is “stretching as you are moving.” The opposite of dynamic stretching is static stretching, such as reaching down to touch your toes and holding for many seconds.

Recent research in sports movement and kinesiology has changed the way athletes warm up and prepare for training and competition. Athletes still stretch but they no longer stretch cold muscles. Just about every athletic team in the country, from little league to professional sports, performs dynamic stretching before exercising. Watching the athletes warm up at the Sabre World Cup in Chicago was fascinating! Their warm up routines were specific but simple to perform.

Now for the long answer… Dynamic stretching is active movements of muscle that bring forth a stretch but are not held in the end position. This is an excellent full body warm-up done prior to any type of intense activity, whether you’re about to play sports or lift weights. Dynamic stretching will be beneficial to your performance and will set you up for the training or competition ahead.

If you’re asking why this is critical and important, here’s the science: Your body has many mechanisms that need to be activated and stimulated.  When you put your body through a series of stretches while in motion, it sends signals from the brain to the muscle fibers and connective tissues in that area to prepare to do work.  Your body’s temperature begins to rise and blood is pumped to the working areas of the body.  Getting good blood flow to the area of the working muscles is very critical in order to supply the area with energy needed to do work.  Along with getting proper blood flow to the working area, the muscle fibers and connective tissues will gain more flexibility and range of motion.  Many studies have shown that dynamic stretching can help increase power, improve flexibility, and increase your range of motion.

In other words, by doing dynamic stretching after your warm-up and before your workout, you are going to feel stronger and work up to a greater demand on your strength and endurance. Your range of motion and flexibility will also be greater. Another point to remember is that dynamic movements are sport-specific, or tailored for your sport, and in our case that sport is fencing.

For additional information on dynamic stretching, read the article on WebMD, New Ideas on Proper Stretching Techniques (http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/new-ideas-on-proper-stretching-techniques).

Put On Your Thinking Caps

put-your-thinking-cap-onWe’ve completed our first fundraiser, and thankfully we were able to raise some funds for the club. Now that we are past the Thanksgiving holiday and into the start of fencing season, we are in need of some bright ideas on what to do for our next fundraiser.

So put on your favorite thinking cap and come up with some bright ideas. If your parents or friends have an idea of what we can do for our next fundraiser, please pass it on. We have a stiff goal to reach ($5,500), and we have quite a hill to climb if we intend to get equipment for competitions. We have some equipment loans which help us in reaching our goal. By borrowing the equipment for the season, we don’t have to raise as much money to purchase the equipment we need. Discuss it with your teammates, friends, family, cousins, etc. and let’s see what bright ideas we can put into action!

If you have any questions about our budget and what we’re raising money for, contact any of the club officers or myself.


Current fundraising progress as of 11/30/13

Fencing Safety Rules and Guidelines

safetyfirstFencing is a very safe and lifelong sport. Fencing is often said to be safer than golf. Whether or not this is true, it is an extraordinarily safe sport considering its heritage and nature. The following common-sense safety rules and guidelines help make this sport one of the safest and most enjoyable experiences.

Safety Rules

  1. Mask, jacket, long pants, and glove must always be worn when fencing.
  2. The weapons are to be treated with respect and awareness at all times. Weapons must be carried point down at all times. They are not toys. A weapon is only pointed at another person when that person is fully masked and ready to fence or drill.
  3. Fencers must always be masked when weapons are raised, point forward. This means on all occasions, including discussion of actions and during drills.
  4. Violent fencing actions are not permitted. Fencers must control parries and attacks so that the opponent is not injured by whipping or hard stabbing actions of the blade. If you cannot execute a flick properly, don’t do it. Do not cause body contact nor use the unarmed hand against your opponent. Do not turn your back on your opponent.
  5. Stop fencing instantly if you think something is wrong or if your opponent retreats and waves the unarmed hand or gives any sign of wanting to stop.
  6. If you think a weapon is broken, stop fencing instantly.
  7. If you counterattack, you are responsible for preventing body contact, injury, and weapons breakage.
  8. If you feel a fencer is behaving in a dangerous or uncontrolled fashion, report it to an instructor immediately. They will speak to the fencer without disclosing your identity.
  9. Inspect your weapons and mask each time you use them. If you are using borrowed gear and find any problem please report it to an instructor. Do not put the item in question back into club storage without reporting it.
  10. Wear proper shoes for fencing (court, cross-training or fencing shoes). Please be sure that shoes are clean when entering the fencing floor to avoid dust and moisture buildup which make the floor slippery.
  11. Fencers on the floor have right of way. Persons not fencing are obligated to keep themselves and their gear clear of fencers on the floor.
  12. Report injuries immediately to an instructor.

Guidelines for Clubs & Classes

The goal is to teach the art and science of fencing in a safe environment of mutual respect and self discipline. Just as in a martial arts dojo, the traditions governing behavior in a fencing club have developed over the centuries. These traditions promote respect for one’s self, one’s opponent, the instructors, the weapons, and the tradition itself, as well as promoting safety. Repeated or egregious violations of protocols safety or sportsmanship will not be tolerated. Violators may be removed from class at the coaches’ discretion.

  • It is expected that each student enter and exit the venue respectfully. The instructors are to be addressed as Coach by the students. Students will respond to a coach’s request promptly and respectfully.
  • Each fencer will salute his drill partner before and after every encounter. Each fencer will salute his opponent, the referee, and his/her clubmates before every bout, and salute his/her opponent and shake hands after every bout.
  • When we are playing games or having team contests, cheering for your team is encouraged, but name calling and displays of poor sportsmanship will not be tolerated.
  • Food and beverages are never allowed on the fencing floor. Students are expected to clean up after themselves on the fencing floor, outside the fencing area, and while visiting other teams or clubs. In a club, each student is responsible for maintaining a clean, safe environment for learning. We all depend on one another for the maintenance of  the club venue.
  • Respect for one’s self and others is also a major goal of good sportsmanship and discipline.  Profanity, racial, religious, or sexually degrading comments and coarse joking will not be tolerated. Persons receiving such comments should report them to the Coach immediately.

The sport of fencing is by its very nature competitive. In any given encounter, one person will be victorious, and one will be defeated. Learning to accept victory gracefully is at least as important as learning that defeat can be a lesson. Thus fencing by its very nature teaches sportsmanship, resilience, and mental toughness.

The heart of a fencing club is its students. Following these guidelines, students and instructors can create a safe, fun learning environment.

HHS Fencing Club Officer Elections

volunteersAs we discussed at our last practice, we will be having our officer elections on Thursday, November 7. Normally we would have had these elections at the end of the season to get ourselves set up for the next year, but we missed our elections last year. To compensate, we will elect our new officers now and then have another election (for the 2014-2015 school year) in March to close out the current season.

To address some of your questions about what each officer does and their roles in the club, I’ve included here some excerpts from the proposed bylaws that you can also download from this site:

Section 1.  President-  The President should have at least two (2) years competitive experience in the sport of fencing. He/she must be a Competitive Member of the Harrison High School Fencing Club.  The president must have a love of cheesecake.  His/her duties include:

a)    Organizing and attending meetings with the Vice President and Treasurer.

b)    Organizing and attending meetings with the body of Official Members.

c)    Appointing coaches.

d)    Organizing tournaments and social activities.

e)    The President must love cheesecake

Section 2.  Vice President-  The Vice President should have at least one (1) year of competitive fencing experience and be a Competitive Member of the Harrison High School Fencing Club.  His/her duties include:

a)    Assisting the President in running meetings.

b)    Keeping records of individual member’s status.

c)    Assuming duties of President if the President is unable to perform his/her said duties.

Section 3.  Treasurer-  The Treasurer must be a Competitive Member of the Harrison High School Fencing Club.  His/her duties include:

a)    Keeping records of all finances and appropriations.

b)    Informing Executive Members in regards to the club budget and any purchases made since last meeting.

c)    Attending Club Sports Council meetings if President or Vice President cannot attend.

Section 4.  Duties of all Executive Officers

a)    Writing budgets for the following semester.

b)    Selecting new acquisitions.  This includes equipment, membership in the United States Fencing Association (USFA), cheesecake and other refreshments at tournaments.

c)    Writing proposals for Capital Fund purchases.

d)    Promoting expansion and growth of the Harrison High School Fencing Club.

e)    Appointing new Executive Officers (see Article IV, Section 1).

The proposed bylaws or constitution for the club are merely a suggestion. If you feel that there are elements of the bylaws that should be changed in some way, feel free to discuss this with your officers and club members. And if you are wondering, these bylaws are used by a collegiate fencing club in Wisconsin.

The following are the nominees for each officer position listed –

President: Jacob Banes, Luis Meza, Sarah Motley, David Tishmack

Vice President: Luis Meza, Nathaniel North, Alex Siler, David Tishmack

Treasurer: Jacob Ginn, Alex Mohler, Sam Schmalzried

Secretary: Jacob Ginn, Rebecca Herget, Sarah Motley, Nathaniel North

The nominees will give a one-minute presentation on why you should vote for him or her. Once the presentations are concluded, the group will then vote for officers. Please keep in mind that as your coach I have expectations from each of the officers. This will not be a cake-walk or easy ride. You will be expected to perform the duties of your office and perform them well.

Folks, We Have a Green Light!

greenlight_goHey Harrison Fencers! We have the official “OK” to proceed with the club! There is a lot of ground to cover here since we’re a little behind, so plan on meeting at the next activity period for a discussion on what we’re going to do. The activity period is scheduled for Tuesday starting at 9:11. Stay tuned for the announcement at school for the location, and spread the word to your teammates that are not in our Facebook group or connected to our blog. And start recruiting new club members!! Anyone interested in fencing should come to the meeting.

Our first official practice is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, October 15, pending approval from the Harrison Powers-that-Be. As soon as I get the “OK” from Mr. Burkle, I will let you know.

If you have any questions or comments, post them here. See you all real soon!

Letter to Harrison Fencers


I hope that you are doing well, and that the start of the new school year has been smooth for you. We are a little over a month away from the start of a new fencing season, and I just wanted to keep you informed on what’s in store.

My plans are to start sometime in the first or second week of October, and to kick everything off with a parent-student informational meeting. We have several high school teams interested in competing with us at dual meets or tournaments, so if you are interested in interscholastic fencing, things are about to get really exciting! Additionally I will be introducing an achievement level system where fencers can earn stripes, chevrons or badges for each skill level they complete. I will explain this system at the introductory meeting I hope to have in October.

I have been looking forward to this new season all summer long and have been making plans to make the 2013-2014 fencing season even better than last year. In order to have a club at Harrison this year, however, we have one obstacle to overcome: finding a teacher willing to sponsor the club.

Several of our teammates have asked a few teachers already to sponsor the club, but so far we have not had a commitment from anyone yet. Ideally we would be fundraising now, selling cinnamon rolls (and hopefully not eating too many of them!), accumulating vital funds for tournament expenses and transportation. So until we are able to find a sponsor, we are unable to officially work as a club and as a team.

If you are interested in having a fencing club at Harrison this year, I would strongly encourage you to contact your teammates and figure out which teachers to approach about being the club sponsor for this year and then start talking to each of them. I know that you are all capable of many things; I’ve seen this for myself working with each of you. Now is the time to act! Work together by whatever means you can: phone, face-to-face conversations, email, social media, etc. If you need any help from me, just let me know. I’m ready to jump in at any time!

All the best,
Coach Schafer