Fencing as a Language (Imre Vass)

This excerpt was brought to my attention by reddit user /u/notinsanescientist. It is from Imre Vass’s book Epee Fencing: a Complete System: “Fencing is like a language. Just like someone trying to listen to a rapid conversation in a foreign tongue, only occasionally can a non-fencer or casual spectator recognize how the individual actions of the…

A Brief Post On Unsolicited Criticism in the Sport of Fencing

A student once told me a “horror story” of a time when Olympic Bronze Medalist Susie Scanlan came to fence at his university. Following one of her practice bouts, a club team college fencer with no more than two years fencing experience proceeded to approach Susie and provide an unsolicited critique of her fencing. They quickly…

The Fencing Coach’s Footwork Playlist

Hey folks, I have thrown together the following playlist for your footworkin’ convenience. All songs are edited versions and are appropriate for the kids. I hope you’ll find this to help get your students in a groovy footwork groove. Because children listen to horrible music like Justin Bieber, this is a playlist that doesn’t include…

2014 NCAA Fencing Championship Quick Hits (Day 1)

Women’s Saber You’re on fire when you’re 13-2 with a +45 indicator, but that’s Adrienne Jarocki’s start. Jarocki, my pick to win has been unstoppable today, dropping only a 5-4 bout to teammate Aliya Itkowitz (also in my top 4) and to Joanna Lew of Yale. Despite her hot start, Jarocki has a few difficult…

A Brief Primer on the Etiquette of Blade Sharing

Blade etiquette: If you borrow a blade from a teammate, and you break it, you buy them a brand new replacement blade of the same brand. I broke a teammate’s saber in competition this weekend and am ordering them a new one today. It is okay to respectfully decline sharing a blade with a teammate….

The Two Words You Never Want to Hear as a Coach

When Ruben Limardo-Gascon first picked up an epee, I suspect he lacked the swift footwork of Kolobkov, the unpredictability of Paolo Milanoli, or the amazing preparatory actions of Gauthier Grumier. I imagine Ruben Limardo-Gascon started the same way every fencer did– carte blanche, making the same common errors that every new fencer makes. As a…

The Fencing Coach’s Guide to Finding the Right Club

There’s an idea in fencing (as originally told by Gary Copeland, I believe) that says there are three types of clubs: champion clubs, recreational clubs, and money clubs. A champion club is the kind of place that produces high-caliber athletes and national champions like clockwork. A recreational club is where a couple of the boys…