Thursday, March 14, 2013

Ugh, It Has Been A While...

Fencing at Akershus Festning - Oslo, Norway

Well, I kept my word... it has been a while. Graduate school, the second year, has been insane. Tons of classes, papers, presentations, exams, plus working 9+ hours a week as a TA and graduate assistant, and on top of all that - teaching fencing. In what little free time I get, I ski and enjoy the Colorado weather.

Competitive fencing has unfortunately taken a back seat. I strip coach for my club, referee for the division - all of which pays more than competitive fencing for a poor graduate student. However I was able to compete once, so far this season... the Goering Open at Denver Fencing Center. The event ended as well as one could predict. I got my butt handed to me in my first pool bout by a mid level local fencer. Then I had it handed to me again in the second bout. After that dose of reality, I started remembering I used to be good at this and won the rest - ending the pool 4-2. After winning my first DE, I lost to the eventual winner - 15-12. Not bad for over a year off.

The good news for me and you is that I graduate in June... and once I start working full time, I will be able to afford to compete more often. Coletrain is coming back.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Fencing in Oslo

So, for the first time in ages I am missing Summer Nationals. It kinda sucks, except for the fact that I am working in Oslo as a marketing intern for the summer. Eventually I will post pictures of where I am fencing here, but there won't be any competition based posts until well into the 2012-2013 season. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Colorado Updates

It feels awful. I have been present at three mens/mixed epee events (Colorado Cups and Georgia Games) without fencing them. The first was a mistake. I was supposed to be in Vail skiing for Race & Case, but there was a last minute change of plans - so I coached a fencer to the medal round. The second two I was refereeing - which paid well and helped me earn a higher referee rating.

Last season I competed almost every weekend trying to re-earn my B or get an A. I always fell short by a couple touches in the necessary round. This year, the few competitions I fenced were difficult - and I am trying to get better. I am lighter and in better shape than last season, but my timing is a bit off, and the events in Colorado are less top heavy.

After reviewing my top ten goals for my life (last updated in 2005) on there is the goal of becoming a champion fencer, what ever that might mean. I don't think I have it that goal yet, and while being in graduate school it is difficult for me to pursue. I suppose I can try practicing more at the apartment, but I also need to carve out more time to study. There is a conflict between one thing that is very important to me and costs money, and another thing that is very important to me and in which I have already sunk a huge investment. These things shouldn't be in conflict, but I really like sleep too.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Aside: How to Live Life Part I

In business school you get a chance to see how the men are separated from the mice. How smart people react to bad grades depends on: a)if they had ever gotten bad grades before, b) if they have ever had anything bad happen to them worse than bad grades. I am a pretty smart guy and a and b have both happened to me. So I have a lot more perspective than some of my peers, and I am gonna share that here.

1. Commitments matter
In school, fencing, life - commitments are like currency. You use them as you see fit, and if those commitments are broken you feel like you were robbed. You should never make commitments in haste and without deliberation, and if you do make a commitment you consider it like you would a contract. If you make commitments and don't keep them, you are like the guy who tries to buy a subway sandwich with monopoly money.

2. Solve someone else's problem once in a while
Here at DU you are asked to do community service as part of class. You are meant to use your business skills to help the organization be better - which is a nice way of saying solve someone else's problem. I apply the same principles to helping a sexy bartender figure out how to use her bachelor's degree. I am not wedded to the outcome, but I put all my mental faculties to the solution just the same.

Fencing Foil at South Denver

I am not a foil fencer. I don't look like one.


I don't act like one. But if I can't beat my high school aged foil students in a tournament, I am gonna be in trouble. I ended up in 6th place (out of 17) in an in house tournament. Mostly because I like to attack, am annoyed when I am parried, and my response is to drive forward rather than recover-retreat-counterparry-counterriposte.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hangover Open in Denver

First off, I had a decent New Year's Eve/New Year's with my roommates and their awesome friends. I have kinda lost interest in the idea of NYE as a drunkfest hookup time, especially since it is so hard to get home on New Years whether you drive, look fruitlessly for a cab, or take the train. Halloween is much better suited as the pickup holiday.

Even so, my roommates and their friends loved shots of cognac, so I was pretty sauced the next afternoon when I fenced epee with the few enterprising adults and many in shape and well behaved high schoolers of the DFC Hangover Open epee event. I didn't fence badly, but I didn't fence crisply or precisely. Again, it looks like I know what I am doing, but for the last six months or so I have felt off my game.

It's weird, I spend most of my evenings in the fencing club, but only a tiny percentage of that time is devoted to my own training. I give private lessons, teach classes, work in the armory, referee tournaments, but not much actual practice for myself. I like to think of myself as a competitive fencer, but it seems I am doing less and less to justify that title.

Friday, December 16, 2011

No Joy in Kansas City

This was a tough one. I was slated to compete in Div I and Div II Men's Epee, with a new coach and new larger lungs fresh from Colorado. The only difference between this event and the last NAC is that I knew exactly what happened this time.

On Saturday, I got to the venue early - stretched, warmed up, and wasn't hitting anything in practice bouts. My first bout in the event I won 5-4 with some slippery dodges paired with counterattacks. Apparently in the other bouts I lost touches because I would retreat with the parry, and retreat again with the riposte. Apparently I lost my bulldog freight train edge.

On Monday, I got to the venue early - stretched, warmed up, and was hitting a lot more, but was having trouble avoiding being hit. In the event my bouts were mostly even - 5-4, 5-3, 5-3, 4-5, 4-5 - and I lost in DEs to some kid who was fast but not interesting. My first thought after the embarrassment subsided was "I used to be good at this."

Unfortunately, even though I work part-time in a fencing club, I have not trained as much as I have in the past. I also work as an accounting TA and am a fulltime MBA student. While dropping an average of 2lbs a week is extremely good for my current and future help, it might be affecting my fencing as well. The point being - I really don't have time to fully prep for success at an NAC with all this going on, so I am going to walk away from them for a while. Next season (2011-2012) I will be traveling for school and interviewing for full time jobs, as well as trying to graduate - the incentive to spend $500+ for another NAC without some probability of success is insane.

I will still fence locals, and I may travel to tournaments like the Remenyk Open in Chicago or even Georgia Games in Atlanta, but I am done with huge fees for a while.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

First Colorado Cup... Wow

Blaming the slippery floors would be acceptable. I was the only person new to the division that day, and some of the more experienced folks were skating their way to touches. I know how to attack in prime, I teach fencers how to do it and refs how to card for turning the back when it is done incorrectly. Still, every time I tried I did an involuntary pirouette (I think?) and turned my back and slid into my opponent. It sucked.

I don't like losing. I hate losing to people I can and have beat. I loath losing to people I can beat in front of people I know. In order to keep my composure and sanity, I just started cracking jokes and not caring - hoping I could bring it back in the DEs. Facing one of my new students put the end to that plan.

Nothing is appreciably different between this year and last - similar financial pressures are present, my diet is about the same, and I am fencing the same number of tournaments (3) in the fall portion of the local season. The only thing is that there is no familiarity between opponents and I am not practicing five nights a week minimum like I did in the past. The coach at SDFA says I look like I know what I am doing, I just come off as REALLY rusty.

The crappy thing is that there are no local tournaments between now and the North American Cup in Kansas City. I have two events there, Division I and Division II. My stretch goals are top 32 in Div I, and a medal in Div II. The first one is looking pretty far out of reach, and the second is possible but difficult. The only thing I can do is practice my butt off between now and then.