It is extremely important, in athletics, to work to improve your strength and conditioning. In order to excel and maximize your performance gains, your diet has to be addressed as you are responsible for ensuring you fuel your body with the proper nutrients. The best way to come up with a meal plan that meets your body's demanding needs are by consulting a registered dietitian.
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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 fencer begins his/her progression from beginner onward, errors are expected, inevitable, and a part of the difficult learning curve associated with fencing. So what are the two words you never want to hear as a coach? If you guessed “I’m pregnant,” you’re (only kind of) wrong. The words are…
“I make a lot of sacrifices to accomplish the things I want to get done…When you have ambitious goals; there is always a little ‘give and take.’”
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”
On most days, the alarm clock rings at 4:45 a.m. I open my eyes to two quotes taped to my ceiling, reminders that it’s time to get up and work:
“Never a day did I let the sun catch me in bed.” –Thomas Jefferson
“When I am not training, someone else is, and when we meet, he will win every time.”
Many days, I’m tempted to disregard the messages on my ceiling and close my eyes just for a little longer, but the papers have a way of challenging me to rise and kick off what are usually long days.
Sometime roughly six months ago, I decided to change my fencing from a recreational activity to a competitive one in preparation for the Maccabi Games. Meeting this challenge (combined with blogging) would require a radical change to my schedule in order to maximize the outcomes of both my professional career and desire to be competitive in fencing (and to downsize my body so I didn’t look like Chris Christie in a fencing uniform).
If you want a fruitful fencing and work career, it is very possible to manage to good results in both—so long as you’re willing to sacrifice a little sleep and you maintain a constant awareness of your work performance and exceeding your boss’s expectations.
I have thrown together advice on simultaneously managing the fencing side of your life, as well as the professional side of your life. I hope these suggestions will prove helpful for professionals hoping to maintain a competitive fencing regimen.
A successful relationship between a fencer and a coach is both professional and personal. Everybody involved knows that a service is being exchanged for money, but after years of working one-on-one several days a week, two people become well attuned to each other's moods and rhythms. On top of that, it's likely that the two share a love for the sport; it's easy to bond over a passion in common.
A to Z Performance Coaching Tip of the Day: Long Term Success Requires Turning "Losses" into Victories
Being successful in fencing and outside of fencing all starts with how you think about things. Your mindsets and values.
One of the most critical mindsets I have always had was this idea that no matter what happened in a match (or life), win or lose, I was going to take a lesson from the situation to make myself stronger in the long run.
As I write this draft, I'm listening to the US Fencing call to decide if the US will host the world championships this year and if so, which city will host. I very much hope that
In fall quarter of 2010, the beginning of my third year, I was lucky enough to study abroad in Paris for ten weeks to complete UChicago's required Civilizations sequence.
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 will go to after work to socialize, hang out, and fence. And lastly, a money club is where the ownership wants to just collect enough cash that they can swim in it. It’s an interesting idea that provides a high level overview of picking a club based on competitive preferences, but I figured I’d break it out into a few more steps.
According to the United States Fencing Association (USFA) website, there are approximately 330 registered fencing clubs in the country. Every club offers a unique set of people, coaches, and facilities to satisfy a particular fencer’s needs. These criteria should help you evaluate the club that is (or isn’t) right for you:
Chris Ballestraci send the following email out to the PSU fencing alumni group:
Monday August 26, 2013
Dear Alumni, Parents, Friends and Supporters of the Penn State Fencing Team,
On Tuesday August 20th, 2013 the Penn State Athletic Department fired Emmanuil (“Emik”) G. Kaidanov, the most winning fencing coach in NCAA history after he had dedicated 31 years of his life to PSU! The Department didn’t even give him a hearing, a warning, an opportunity to appeal, a probationary period, and/or the opportunity to notify his own team of the Department’s action or give him an opportunity to bid farewell, but instead held a conference call Tuesday evening to tell the fencing team that he had been relieved of his duties. This was a huge shock and surprise not only to Emik and his staff but to all of us who respect and admire him and those of us who have been fortunate to have benefited from his roles as our coach. I am writing you to ask you to contact (via email, twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any other way you know of) each member of the Athletic Department and the Board of Trustees to inform them of what a miscarriage of justice and the democratic process this was, and what a terrible loss and outrageous and radical decision this was. I have included the names and emails of the members of the Athletic Department and the Board of Trustees. They need to know that they are ripping the guts out of another of our proud athletic programs at Penn State, but in this case without any justifiable cause. This seems to be the way they have often been doing things over the last 2 years, overreact and not consider the severity of the allegations, and in this case the veracity of the allegations, and the outstanding record of the Coach or the athletes. In this case they obviously did not consider the impact on the athletes, both past and present, nor did they consider the opinions of the current assistant coaching staff or the recruits who chose Penn State fencing at least in part because of Emik Kaidanov’s successful record.
795-77 combined record (91.16%winning record)
403-36 Men’s record (92% win record)
392-41 Women’s record (91% win record)
12 NCAA National Championships(Including 2 invitations to visit the White House with his Championship Teams by Presidents H. W. Bush and Barack Obama and 20 Citations by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate)
9 Second Place NCAA finishes
Finished in the top 3 -25 of 29 seasons
4 Time NCAA Coach of the Year (1990,1991,1996,2009)
Accomplishments of his Student/Athletes while at Penn State University-
28 NCAA Individual Titles
1 Four Time NCAA Champion Olga Kalinovskaya, Foil, 93-96
The first and only United States World Champion, Miles Chamley-Watson Foil 2013
International Coach of World Championship teams, World University Games, Maccabiah Games,
Pan American Junior Championships, and World Under-20 Championships.
National Training Director 1998-1999
David M. Joyner Dir of Athletics Athletic_Director@athletics.psu.edu
Charmelle Green Assoc Athletic dir/Senior Woman admin firstname.lastname@example.org
Ken Hickman Dir All Sports Museum email@example.com
Matt Stolberg Assoc Athletic Dir for Compliance firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan Bortner Assoc Athletic Dir for Fencing email@example.com
Board of Trustees:
Rodney A. Erickson firstname.lastname@example.org
Thomas W. Corbett Jr email@example.com
Ellen M Ferretti firstname.lastname@example.org
George D Greig email@example.com
William E Harner firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Branstetter email@example.com
Kathleen L Casey firstname.lastname@example.org
Alvin H Clemens email@example.com
Mark H Dambly firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter A Khoury email@example.com
Ira M Lubert firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul H Silvis email@example.com
Marianne E Alexander firstname.lastname@example.org
H Jesse Arnelle email@example.com
Edward B Brown III firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbara L Doran email@example.com
Anthony P Lubrano firstname.lastname@example.org
Ryan J McCombie email@example.com
Joel N Myers firstname.lastname@example.org
William F Oldsey email@example.com
Adam J Taliaferro firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald G Cotner email@example.com
Keith W Eckel firstname.lastname@example.org
Betsy E Huber email@example.com
Keith E Masser firstname.lastname@example.org
Carl T Shaffer email@example.com
James S Broadhurst firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard K Dandrea email@example.com
Kenneth C Frazier firstname.lastname@example.org
Edward R Hintz Jr email@example.com
Karen B. Peetz firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda B Strumpf email@example.com
The facts of the incident that the athletic department made its decision on are as follows. A situation occurred back in February, in which a staff assistant anonymously reported the possible possession of an illegal substance by a member of the Varsity Fencing Team. The accused student-athlete from the Varsity Fencing Team disproved ALL allegations by VOLUNTARILY undergoing immediate drug testing. The results of this drug test were completely NEGATIVE!
Subsequent to this, Coach Kaidanov had a rather heated discussion with the staff assistant stating that he believed that she should have reported the incident to him first and, as head fencing coach, he should have been the one to report the allegation in question, which proved to be unfounded. No name calling, threats, or intimidation of any kind were made. No action was even recommended by Coach Kaidanov against the staff assistant, nor was any retaliation taken against this staff assistant by Coach Kaidanov directly or even indirectly; he only had this one discussion with this staff assistant and did not even know that the phone call of the report of suspicious activity was anonymous.
The University’s decision was – As per Policy AD67 Disclosure of Wrongful Conduct and Protection From Retaliation states: Any member of the University who retaliates against any individual in violation of this policy will be subject to disciplinary sanctions, which may range from a disciplinary warning to termination or expulsion from the University.
Coach Kaidanov had the following to say-
“I am very grateful for the opportunity to have coached hundreds of student/athletes during my 31 years at Penn State. I believe that my 12 national championships, the many United States national teams I have coached, the 4 Coach of the year awards, the numerous All Americans and Olympians I have had the honor to coach, and my 91% winning average speaks to the dedication that I have invested into the Fencing program at Penn State. I would like to thank the assistant coaches I have had the honor to coach with over those 31 years. I would especially like to thank Wes Glon who has been a hard working and dependable assistant coach as we built the most winning and most successful collegiate fencing programs in the United States.
I wish all of the Student/Athletes that have gone through the Penn State fencing program continued success in all of their endeavors.”
We believe that a perversion of justice and of simple decency and common sense were committed against Coach Kaidanov by an action – or more accurately a misplaced overreaction — that would seem much more appropriate for the Stalinist or even post-Stalinist Russia from which Coach Kaidanov emigrated, in search of freedom and justice. We hope you will advise and demand of each member of the Athletics Department and of the Board of Directors to (1) rescind the action taken against Coach Kaidanov, (2) provide the Coach with a proper hearing and a right to appeal, if anyone who reviews the facts feels that a hearing would even be necessary after his prompt reinstatement; (3) issue a formal apology to Coach Kaidanov; and (4) set forth clear regulations to ensure that no action comparable to the action against Coach Kaidanov will be taken against him or anyone else at our university in the future.
Please feel free to forward this to anyone who may be impacted by this decision and thank you for your support!
Please also feel free to forward a copy of any letter you write to Coach Kaidanov at EKG1Fencing@gmail.com
“We Are-Penn State”
PSU Capt. 1983
Men’s Fencing Varsity “S” Representative
There are few forms of fencing more exciting to watch (or partake in) than a team relay match. From the collective team energy to the joy of seeing a team act as a homogeneous unit, team fencing is, in my opinion, the most fun fencing can get. While team tournaments are a rarity at the local level, USA Fencing has increased the number of NACs that hold team events—including an expansion to Y10 team fencing in the coming season (WHY WHY WHY?!?!??!?!?!).
Because of the growing number of team events within fencing, I felt compelled to create a two part strategy guide to address team tactics. The first part of this series will discuss the individual roles fencers play on teams, and the second part of this series will show how to use each of the pawns in the game to effectively move towards victory in various scenarios.
In a referee’s enforcement of the rulebook, there are certain absolutes: the blade must pass a weight and shim test, the fencers must line up at the proper en garde lines, and you can’t tell a ref they suck when you sign the score-sheet. A fencer should be able to approach every bout with the expectation that rules will be enforced in a uniform manner, with referees holding a (mostly) common understanding of each rule’s applicability to a bout. Unfortunately, there is one rule that comes to mind that referees enforce with the same consistency and predictability as Amanda Bynes after a few cocktails: non-combativity.
Originally passed in response to the epic slothdom shown by the Hungarians and Estonians in the 2001 World Championships, the rule is likely to either garner strong support or staunch opposition in the fencing community. Regardless of how one feels about it, the rule is here to stay, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change it. The rule, as it’s currently written reads:
“T.87.4 When both fencers make clear their unwillingness to fence, the Referee will immediately call “Halt!”
If one of the two criteria below is present, there is unwillingness to fight.
a) Criterion of time: approximately one minute of fencing without a touch.
b) Absence of blade contact or excessive distance (greater than the distance of an advance-lunge) for at least 15 seconds.”
In competition, I have seen the rule applied as follows, with varying degrees of interpretation depending on the level of competition and the presiding official:
- Applied as if both the “15 second” provision and the “one minute” provisions were shot clocks (VLS scoring systems have a running shot clock to track blade contact)
- Applied as if the “15 second” rule is a shot clock but the “one minute” rule is not.
- Applied as if the “one minute” rule is a shot clock but the “15 second” rule is not.
- Applied with flexibility to the times listed in rule T.87.4.
So what is the correct way to apply the rule? I asked four of the United States’ best and most well-respected referees (Bradley Baker, Kevin Shanahan, Charles Astudillo, Kate Thomas) to provide their interpretation and applicability of the rule.
“The language offers some latitude to the referees, in that the rule specifies ‘approximately’ one minute of fencing. This means that it ought not to be treated as a shot clock. That said, it’s important to remain aware of general interpretations and stay within the overall consensus followed in our sport.” –Bradley Baker
“It’s not a one minute or 15 second shot clock in the strictest definition, but 1:05 or :20 is enough. The one minute rule is easier to keep track of, so I’ll call it more often, especially if a touch isn’t scored in the first minute of the bout, that one is pretty easy. It is pretty close to a shot clock with the word ‘approximately’ built in there for the 1:00 minute rule. If the fencers are engaged in an exchange, let them finish, but once it’s over and no touch has been scored, call it.”- Kevin Shanahan
“It’s kind of like a shot clock. I do allow some flexibility for both [the 15 second and one minute rules] say five seconds. The way it is enforced is essentially like football, delay of game. In the first minute of fencing, the open clock shows the one minute drop down. That can mean a hard minute. The fifteen second rule of no blade contact has much more flexibility.” –Charles Astudillo
“In some bouts, you get a sense early on that you might need to be on the lookout for it, so you keep an eye on the clock. The 15 seconds is much more variable. I’ve rarely called it for that. 15 seconds is a really long time to stay out of distance or not make any blade contact! When I have called it for that, it was very clear that one fencer was trying to set it up. I’m much stricter with the one minute. If one minute has gone by with no touches, I wait for a moment when they won’t hit (moving out of distance, for instance) and then call halt.” –Kate Thomas
Most of the officials I spoke to agreed that the fifteen second rule provides an added level of difficulty to management of the bout that they found cumbersome to consistently track, and each provided differing opinions as to whether or not the rule is to be applied like a shot clock or not.
The referees I spoke to were national level refs (highly rated ones at that), and even they had some differences in their interpretation. As competitions trickle down to the local level, the reading of the rule becomes even more wildly fluctuating (some refs are ignorant to the rule’s existence altogether); thus, the rule is often enforced with great subjectivity.
So how do we eliminate the subjective application of the rule and ensure that referees hold a common understanding of non-combativity? How do we make presiding over bouts easier for referees who are already tasked with watching one million things at once? And most importantly, how can we change the rule so that there is no element of surprise for the athletes when it comes to the rulebook?
The solution is practically simple but a politically difficult proposition: eliminate the 15 seconds of no blade contact rule and treat the “one-minute” clause of the rule as if it is a shot clock. According to Bradley Baker, such a rule could be on its way to the 2013 FIE Congress, submitted on behalf of the USFA. It will be debated in next week’s USFA executive board meeting.
“One minute as a shot clock would allow universal application and known outcomes in a bout, which would provide significant benefit to the fencers. Unfortunately, that has the potential to cut off good, active fencing, but at least people wouldn’t be surprised” said Baker.
Non-combativity is a necessary evil to make our sport more spectator-friendly and to avoid a repeat of Hungary-Estonia. But it must be altered so as to not interfere with the competitive integrity of the sport. A good step in the right direction would be to eliminate the “15-second” rule.
Damien is a competitive fencer and volunteer assistant coach at DC Fencers Club in Silver Spring, Md. Damien was the coach of a London 2012 Olympic Athlete in Modern Pentathlon an is a member of the 2013 Maccabi Fencing Team. He is an A-rated epeeist and was a member of the 2012 North American Cup Gold Medal Men’s Epee Team.