Sunday, June 26, 2011

Georgia Games - Ugh

Dying at the base camp is pathetic, but it happens. Dying in sight of the summit is tragic.

Oversleeping, running late, and fencing without warming up I still managed a 5-1 pool record. I was 6th of 24 coming out of the pools, and my first opponent after the bye was one of my students. I knew how and when he would attack. I didn't count on missing and being fatigued.

After getting an 10-8 lead, I figured I could make a run, but I just wasn't getting the touch in time. Weapon malfunction could have been a culprit, but not enough for me to think it worth it to change. Even so, I am retiring the body cord I used today.

The worst part about losing that bout is that everyone further up the tree was equally beatable. I was sure today was the day I would win gold and my A. All I can do now is continue to prepare for Senior Team Men's Epee at Nationals, and fence every tournament I can.

On a lighter note, two ad hoc fencing teams assembled to fence after the Open. My team earned second place (ugh, I know), but even so I received a silver Georgia Games medal. Personally, I have found GG medals to be the best basic medal (not including weird shaped medals or trophies of any kind) in fencing, so I am glad I finally got one.

Friday, June 24, 2011

World Cup Fencing in a Hijab

The Wall Street Journal has a great article today on an African-American Muslim saber fencer competing in this weekend's World Cup in New York City. WSJ focuses on how Ms. Muhammad endeavors to keep the tenets of her faith while fencing, especially the requirement that women remain covered.

Fencing certainly allows women to remain modest - it is very difficult to look provocative in a fencing outfit. The few who can have a very particular body type.

One fun note from the article, Ms. Muhammad's current status as top rated female sabeur is a result of her humble beginnings as a high school epeeist.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

What Have I Been Up To for Four Years?

After perusing the latest USA Fencing Athlete's Handbook, I've learned that if I don't renew or earn a new rating before August 1, 2011 - I will drop down to a C11.

Personally, I thought I had lived up to my B rating, until I took a hard look at my results on over the last four years. It seemed once I earned my B in 2007, my results took a dive and stayed there. There are a couple reasons for that.

First, before having a B I typically completed in two events a day - the Open and the C/D/E and Under, giving me more tournament experience. Work and travel also became a factor. Then there was some laurel resting that excused me from competing in as many events as possible. Add it all up and in those years between 2007 and this season trips to the 8 were rare and only two medal round appearances in that period. Wow. But I did pick up Hilton Diamond Status and Delta Silver medallion three years running!

However, this season I made nine trips to the round of eight or higher out of 18 individual events I competed in this season. Or to be more generous, I had 14 top ten finishes in those 18 events. I only posted three top ten finishes the whole 2007-2008 season after I earned my B. Clearly I am becoming a much better and more consistent fencer, regardless of my initial seeding.

I have a couple more chances to renew or get my A before August. If I don't achieve that goal, I am going to abuse some people in Div II AND Div I competition.

Like Kissing Your Stepsister

It counts, I guess. But if that's all you have going for you - well you are in trouble.

Doubles in Epee are a part of the game. But if you are losing, they are frustrating as all hell. When coaching I get annoyed whenever my fencer has a significant deficit and celebrates a double touch. Sure, it put points on the board - but now your opponent is one point closer to victory, and you must fence the remainder of the bout even more perfectly.

In the round of 8 I was up against a respected veteran fencer, and I was on a high after beating an alumni of Master Zasilmov's program at Ohio State. It seemed he had a general plan to beat me - and for six touches it worked.

He wanted to fl├Ęche to my inside, but not so far in that he would draw my parry four. I tried catching him, failed. I tried counterattacking, failed. I tried running, failed harder. Finally I tried attacking into what little preparation he did, and I started getting single lights - until I didn't. I was aiming for just at the crook of the elbow, but he was advancing so fast and subtly - I ended up just doubling on his chest. Eventually I figured it out at 14-13, but not in time to do a perfect attack to tie.

It was a disappointing day. I got sick earlier in the week and was hacking my lungs out all day, and this was the last event where I could earn a rating that would be reflected at Nationals. Plus I had a small pool of five, and managed to come out of the pools 2-2, my worst pool record in months. All that and today's 9th place finish is my best placing at a Dunwoody FC tournament in over a year. So much for home field/club advantage.

The good news is the next tournament is Georgia Games in Marietta, GA. Not at my club, but close enough that I can sleep in.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

It's Happening Again!

5-1 vs a current year A fencer is always a good start. It went down hill from there.

I fenced at the Georgia Division Championship in East Point, and managed to get my clock cleaned again in the DEs. My pool record was 4-2, dropping a loss to a fencer I have beaten four times previous, and one of the lower seeds in my pool.

This record set me up against a wily mid-40s fencer who has had my number for a while. I can usually keep a lead or things under control for a while, but the second I lose track of the distance he is eating my hand alive.

I guess I shouldn't lose track of the distance.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Awesome Car Ad Featuring Epee Fencing

Sure, the video is a complete ripoff of Chrysler's "Imported from Detroit" ad, including the background music, but it features Epee and therefore I love it.