Thursday, March 29, 2007

I Think I'm Getting Better

This is a vast improvement from my fencing just a year ago. From DFC's March Wind outdoor fencing event.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Kendo vs. Fencing

Just for fun... Personally I think that an epee fencer is not going to be so ambitious if he was facing a sharp katana vs. a wooden shinai. Shinai's rarely hurt when they hit you - unless you make no attempt to parry and your drunken neighbor hits you in the back. Sorry D.

This next one is a fencing commercial that played during the NCAA March Madness tournament. The fencing was very nicely choreographed and shot.

Searching For the Perfect Epee

I have never had great luck with weapons. Especially epees. When I started to pick up epee, I was mainly a foil competitor, but epee was a small deal for adults at Minnesota Sword. This meant that if I picked up epee, I was guaranteed virtually private lessons for free, since there were only two or three adults learning epee with me. The first weapons I bought for epee competition actually came from eBay - an Uhlmann FIE from some lady who bought the best of the line for class, then realized she hated the sport; and an STM FIE from some guy who just got tired of playing. I bought these weapons at a huge discount three years ago, and they are the only ones that are still in my gig bag.

As for the others...
  • Leon Paul epees are nice, but the tips always fail shims for the first tournament. I learned this after buying two and hearing from others. The gutter blades protect the wire, but they vibrate like a tuning fork, and I had one snap in my hands.
  • BF Blade snapped in my hands at Birmingham. Totally inflexible.
  • Non Leon Paul tips are worthless... the screws pop out all the time, and there is nothing that pisses me off more as a director than some guy who brings a weapon to the strip without screws in.

I would buy only Uhlmann FIEs, but a) they are expensive as hell and b) the wires at the tip tend to corrode, causing the weapon to pass tests but be completely worthless in the bout. I never will forget fencing a VERY good B rated fencer in a pool bout. I had a chance to at least lose respectably 4-5 - but my weapon refused to go off, even after nailing the guy square in the chest. It passed a test by the director, so I had to resign myself to run away as much as possible.

I realize that expecting a piece of steel and electronics to work consistently under obvious duress is a little nuts - but if Panasonic can make a Toughbook laptop, I want a durable epee too.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Meet Me At Zaban Park - We Cross Swords At Dawn

Fencing outdoors in Georgia never really sounds like a good idea. There is the heat, the pollen, the bugs, the humidity - all this before you calculate the health of the equipment, logistics for keeping the fencers healthy, and trying to adjust to moving around outside - on a rubberized concrete basketball court no less.

But the DFC's March Wind competition went about as well as it could. And the cool March winds were actually quite welcome. The original venue dropped out at the last second, and my club had no choice but to fence outside or cancel. A lot of folks didn't show up at all - but thankfully the Open was still an A1 event with 15 no shows. The DivIII Epee event dropped to a D1, which took the wind out of everyone who was hoping to power to the four and at least be guaranteed a D in the promised C2. But as I have said before on this blog - local C2s are pipe dreams without a huge number of D fencers. If there aren't more than six D's in a C2 - expect no ratings changes to occur, or for less than 4 D's to advance to the round of 8. I suppose it's just as well - it's better to play to win it all than to play just to make it to the final four.

My performance in both events doesn't bare mentioning - not good, not bad, just adjust and move on. The one bonus was that I had a chance to test out my new Triplette weapon and my rewired Uhlmann FIE epee - both received at the Georgia High School Fencing League championships. Directing from 9am to 7pm was worth it to get my Uhlmann fixed for free.

Next up, fencing at Vanderbilt Easter Weekend.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

15-14 In the Final - So Close, Yet So Far

"Sometimes nothing you do makes any difference"

Holy crap. Not again. After I got railed in the AFC Peach State Open in Open Epee, I figured I had a shot at my D in the E and Under. Of course, it was a D1 - which meant I had to win. And I got close, too close. I handly won my pool, in fact there was only one match I didn't dominate - the final. At 14-13 in my favor, I went for one final fleche to end it all, and came up short. At 14-14, I tried to set up an opening for a wrist flick/touch that never came.

The sense of failure was overwhelming. I was so upset, I drove home in a huff and nearly put my fist through my car window. Thank God I bought a boxing dummy... I put on Limp Biskit's "Break Stuff" (only one of three LB songs worth listening to) and screamed and roared and beat on the thing until I was too tired to be angry.

The worst was that no one seemed to think I fenced poorly, it simply just wasn't my day. I made some mistakes - like trying to run up the score when I was already two touches ahead, or not playing to my strengths and just beating her around - but nothing incredibly fatal.

I am sure I will be fine in time for the Dundwoody FC March Wind - but the sense of frustration and need for self-destruction is hard to contain. I'd get drunk, but I have work tomorrow.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Road To Miami Goes Through Statesboro

It looks like Georgia Southern University in Statesboro is hosting the GA Divisional Qualifiers, again. GSU has a great facility, I know some good people there - but man, the drive down there S-U-X sucks. Plus, since I will be going for Div II, Div III, and hopefully Senior Team - I will need to stay two nights there. More money, more problems.

As I've mentioned before, I usually do really well in Statesboro. And there is no reason that won't be true this time. I am twice the fencer I was a year ago - faster, stronger, smarter, and most importantly... lighter. The problem is that a) I have friends in Miami, so I am more invested in trying to qualify so I can visit them, and b) not being able to crawl out of bed with a hangover and drive 20 minutes to the venue makes the whole thing seem a bit more serious. The last 3rd place medal I picked up started with a hangover and me getting railed by a guy I fence all the time in my first bout of the day. That kind of obnoxiousness can't happen in Statesboro.