Tag Archives: saber

MOL World Fencing Championships Budapest 2013 – Just Like in the Movies / a fan’s video montage

This is such a great video! See if you can recognize the films used in the montage footage. (I’ve added this video to our “About Fencing” page of this site.)

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New Tournament: State Games of Michigan

First let me start by acknowledging that school’s out for the summer. Woohooo! I’m not an Alice Cooper fan (sorry!), so I won’t attach his video here. But I think you all get the point. Vacation time!!

stategamesofmichiganFor those of you who are interested in competing in events this summer, I have been informed of a unique opportunity. The Meijer State Games of Michigan are scheduled for June 21 – June 23, 2013 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The signature event of the West Michigan Sports Commission, the Meijer State Games of Michigan is a multi-sport, Olympic-style event that welcomes athletes regardless of age or ability. Like the Olympics, the Games include an Opening Ceremonies that allows thousands of spectators to witness the Parade of Athletes, Lighting of the Cauldron and experience great entertainment. Having participated in a state competition such as this (Illinois’ ill-fated Prairie State Games), I can tell you that the Olympic-style experience is unlike any other tournament. Athletes from many different sports compete in these types of games, not just fencers, so you get to meet many different people!

Normally these games would be limited to Michigan residents only, but in the case of the fencing event, the doors are open to competitors in neighboring states. You will need electric equipment for the weapon of your choice and a USFA membership, and the registration fee is reasonable considering the size of the event. Since this is a USFA event, any changes in ratings will be earned.

For more information and registration, go to: http://www.stategamesofmichigan.org/index.php?module=cms&page=22. Registration is being handled on AskFRED – http://askfred.net/Events/moreInfo.php?tournament_id=21092.

Any questions can be directed to the Tournament Director, Barb Nemecek via email, nemos3@aol.com. Download State Games of Michigan Flyer (PDF).

Upcoming Tournament: Orland Park Fencing Competition

While at the Red Devil JV Invitational this past Saturday we met a fencing master, Marek Stepien. He currently has a salle (a fencing club or hall) in Orland Park, Illinois, and has organized a tournament for May 18, 2013. All three weapons will be included, and the competition is open to all skill levels–from the brand-new fencer to the developing, intermediate fencer, anyone with one day, one week, one month to one year of experience or more. Foil and sabre fencers will need to bring their own equipment. This will be a pool competition and all who compete will receive a trophy or medal. Additionally, Joe Guinan, newly chosen Ohio State Fencing Team member, will speak about his exciting experiences in fencing and share some pointers prior to competition.

Registration can be done at the Orland Park Recreation Center website (Program #72302), or you can register on site at the event.

Let me know if you want to compete, and we can work out equipment for the competition.

FOIL SABRE and EPEE

International Sabre Fencers to Compete in Chicago

This weekend in Chicago hundreds of sabre fencers from all over the planet will be competing in the Korfanty World Cup sponsored by Absolute Fencing Gear. This is a rare opportunity to see international fencers just a couple of hours from home. Friday, May 3, will be the preliminary competition, and Saturday, May 4, will be the direct elimination rounds. Sunday, May 5, will be the team competitions, similar to the team competitions in the Olympics.

Tickets for the event are only $4-$6. The Korfanty World Cup will be hosted at the Flames Athletic Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. If you can be there, I strongly encourage you to attend! For tickets and more information, see the event website at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/346885. Also, since Absolute Fencing is a sponsor, I’m certain that they will have vendor tables set up so you can shop for your own gear while you are there.

Getting Ready for Competitive Fencing

Santelli Fencing Tournament 2012

Photo Credit: Jerry McCrea/The Star-Ledger

If you are ready to make the transition from recreational fencing to competitive fencing, there are some easy, preliminary steps to take prior to arriving on the strip. This post will lay out the steps for getting registered on the askFRED.net website (FRED stands for the Fencing Results and Events Database). There is no cost to register at askFRED; yes, it is free. Doing so will keep you connected to opportunities to fence at meets and open tournaments locally and all across the country.

If you have a USFA membership, you can record your membership information and rankings in your profile with askFRED. But don’t worry–you will not need a USFA membership in order to register.

So, let’s begin!

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1. Go to http://askfred.net by clicking on the link provided here.

2. At the top right corner of the page, click on the link “Create Membership“.

3. In the field provided on the page, enter your last name and click GO.

 

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4. On the next screen you will have the option for searching for your name or creating a new profile. (In the example below, I used the last name of “Harrison” for demonstration purposes only.) Unless you have previously fenced in a tournament that may have added your name for you, you will need to make a new fencer record. So, click on the link “Create a New Fencer Record.”

 

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5. The site will produce a form for you to fill out with your personal information (see below):

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When you get to the field requesting your club information, find Harrison High School Fencing Club on the list which will be found alphabetically listed with the other “H” clubs. (Our club abbreviation at askFRED is HHSFC.).

  • For the Division field, select Indiana.
  • If you have any ratings from the USFA, you may enter them here. The numbers after the letter in the rating refer to the year that you attained the rating. For example, “C2013” means that the fencer attained a “C” rating in the year 2013.
  • For the last item on the form, the checkbox for a Bout Committee Account, leave this unchecked.
  • Click on the Register button to submit your information.

You will be able to update your profile information at any time simply by logging back into askFRED and navigating to your profile. Also, you will now be able to pre-register for any fencing event. There may be a few events will allow you to pay your registration through askFRED as well.

Competing in USFA events will give you the opportunity to earn a rating depending on how many athletes compete. In order to compete in USFA events, you will need to have a current USFA membership.

I encourage you to explore the site, taking note of the page for upcoming tournaments. Our club calendar is updated according to these events, however if you find a tournament that you would like to attend on your own, you are free to do so.

Most everything at askFRED is fairly easy to understand, however, if you have any questions just let me know.

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

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.

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!

An Introduction to Right of Way

The concept of right of way is one that applies to foil and sabre. Wikipedia actually has a decent definition for this concept: Priority or “right of way” is the method used in foil and sabre fencing to determine which fencer receives the point if both fencers land a valid hit at the same time (if both fencers land a valid hit at the same time in épée fencing, they both receive a point). Generally, priority is determined by first considering which fencer attacked first. In order to initiate an attack a fencer must threaten the target area of their opponent with the point of the foil while their arm is extending. When performing a compound attack the fencer must not withdraw the arm by bending the elbow.

Below is a video of a demonstration done by Tim Morehouse and his cohorts at a recent Fencing Masters event in New York. It gives a good introduction into what right of way looks like when watching a bout. Understanding right of way will help you to understand how you can score points in a bout.