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Straight from the Twisted Mind of Damien Lehfeldt

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In Support of USA Fencing’s Vaccination Mandate

Note: this post was made on October 27, 2021. Given the nature of this novel coronavirus, data is constantly changing, news studies are being published, and our understanding of this virus and the effectiveness of the vaccination is evolving. The author of this post is not a medical professional in any way, shape or form … Continue reading In Support of USA Fencing’s Vaccination Mandate

Understanding the Relationship between USA Fencing Operations (CEO) and Governance (Chair)

Intro If you’ve ever approached Peter Burchard and told him: “I want NAC’s to be exclusively in Richmond, VA,” chances are, you’re talking to the wrong person. If you’ve ever approached Kris Ekeren and said: “I want you to put Justin Meehan in the USA Fencing Hall of Fame,” you’re also talking to the wrong … Continue reading Understanding the Relationship between USA Fencing Operations (CEO) and Governance (Chair)

Understanding the Relationship Between USA Fencing and the US Center for SafeSport

Introduction: This post was written in response to ongoing confusion regarding roles and responsibilities between that of the US Center for SafeSport (USCSS) and USA Fencing. It is not intended to go into the weeds of their unique disciplinary processes, rather, to establish who takes jurisdiction over a particular case and why. We also wrote … Continue reading Understanding the Relationship Between USA Fencing and the US Center for SafeSport

Assessing the Organizational Change Management Process in the Passage of the 2021 Bylaw Amendments

On August 31, 2021, the USA Fencing Board of Directors convened to discuss a number of sweeping new bylaw amendments to overhaul the current Governance Structure of USA Fencing. I previously posted an assessment of the amendments based on a Board Maturity Model, but today’s post will focus on the shortcomings of these changes from … Continue reading Assessing the Organizational Change Management Process in the Passage of the 2021 Bylaw Amendments

On Mandatory SafeSport Training for Minors: a Personal Story

Note: the following article has a personal anecdote on the grooming of minors. Trigger warning and so on, so forth. Update: A previous version of this article stated that USA Archery mandates SafeSport training for children. This was incorrect, and has been edited out. When I was a little kid, we would go to visit … Continue reading On Mandatory SafeSport Training for Minors: a Personal Story

Answering some Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Alen Hadzic Case

Note: this post was written to to discuss the complex procedures that have gone into his case thus far and clear up some of the misinformation snowballing on social media. What is Mr. Hadzic being accused of? Those allegations are outlined in the BuzzFeed and Insider articles pretty clearly. Mr. Hadzic has denied these allegations. … Continue reading Answering some Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Alen Hadzic Case

Assessing USA Fencing’s Proposed Governance Structure – From the Perspective of an Organizational Design Expert

Introduction: On July 12, 2021, USA Fencing proposed the following changes to the bylaws in order to revolutionize the Board’s reporting structure and as stated by the Governance task force, “improve membership experience.”These amendments will be voted on in the upcoming August 31 executive session with a membership feedback session to be held on August … Continue reading Assessing USA Fencing’s Proposed Governance Structure – From the Perspective of an Organizational Design Expert

FOLO FIE “Hard” Epee Review: a Rising Star and a True BF White Competitor

Disclaimer:I was provided with a complimentary blade from FOLO in return for my honest review. Parts and labor (outside of the blade/tip itself) were provided by me. I received no monetary compensation for this review, nor am I endorsed by FOLO in any capacity, mostly because I suck at Fencing. All thoughts and opinions expressed … Continue reading FOLO FIE “Hard” Epee Review: a Rising Star and a True BF White Competitor

Epee Refereeing Nuggets from the June 2021 Richmond NAC

Hello friends and fellow aspiring referees around the world, The following are my notes I took for personal epee referee development from the Richmond NAC. Many of these things are obvious, many of them are not. Regardless, I wanted to share with you all my notes, and maybe these nuggets will help you too. Sound … Continue reading Epee Refereeing Nuggets from the June 2021 Richmond NAC

Want to Know Who You’re Fencing Before the Tableau is Posted? Use this Simple Formula

Hell hath no fury like the stench of clustered fencers reviewing pool results and waiting for the tableau to post. So you’ve finished pools, and the seeding gets posted. You’re sitting there waiting for the tableau to follow, and you have one question on your mind: who’s going to ride the pain train next? In … Continue reading Want to Know Who You’re Fencing Before the Tableau is Posted? Use this Simple Formula

A Brief Thank You to Jason Pryor

Following the Kazan World Cup, Jason Pryor announced that he was stepping away from Fencing in what USA Fencing said was likely his “…last senior international bout.” For his entire fencing career, Jason Pryor has been the epitome of “sportsman,” approaching every bout with a joie de vivre and a sense of humor. I still … Continue reading A Brief Thank You to Jason Pryor

Four Questions to Ask Yourself if You’re Thinking of Breaking Up With Your Coach

This post idea inspired by a question from Redditor /u/skeletortuga, which is an awesome username… I remember the optimism I had heading to my first Junior Olympics. I had won my Central Florida division qualifier in dominating fashion. I had been faring well in local open competition. I trained hard, I was in great shape. … Continue reading Four Questions to Ask Yourself if You’re Thinking of Breaking Up With Your Coach

A Safe Return to Fencing Competition is Near. Get Hyped.

Note: This blog post was written and posted on March 8, 2021. Vaccination numbers and CDC guidance are constantly evolving, so in all likelihood, the data and sources presented in this article will be obsolete within the next few days. Check the CDC website for updated metrics and more information on guidance. Get your weapons … Continue reading A Safe Return to Fencing Competition is Near. Get Hyped.

The State of Virginia has prohibited the December Fredericksburg RJCC/RYC. USA Fencing doesn’t seem to care.

The Fairfax Challenge Winter RJCC/RYC is scheduled to take place on the weekend of December 19 in Fredericksburg Virginia. It’s a wonderful time to have a Fencing tournament. It’s cold outside, there’s Christmas music playing and holiday cheer all around. Fireplaces are burning. And almost 300,000 people are dead from Covid. Virginia Covid hospitalizations are … Continue reading The State of Virginia has prohibited the December Fredericksburg RJCC/RYC. USA Fencing doesn’t seem to care.

On (Not) Returning to Competition During the Covid-19 Pandemic

The only thing that has changed since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic is we’ve gotten older and a little bit greyer. As of October 30, nearly 230,000 Americans are dead. We’re approaching 10 million domestic cases with a dangerous Winter spike expected. For those fortunate to survive, the virus doesn’t end with contraction. The Mayo … Continue reading On (Not) Returning to Competition During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Why Fencers Yell (and Why People Should Stop Being Whiny Babies About It)

Originally posted on Tim Morehouse’s Fencing University. Re-posted on thefencingcoach.com with Tim’s permission “There’s a fairly strong inverse correlation between people who don’t like yelling and fencing skill.” -Nick Johnson Fencing has a unique dichotomy that distinguishes itself from other Olympic sports: on the one hand, it’s rooted in the values of sportsmanship and respect … Continue reading Why Fencers Yell (and Why People Should Stop Being Whiny Babies About It)

Cellphones be Damned: Staying Focused in the Fencing Club

I’ll be the first to admit there’s an element of hypocrisy to this post. I probably use my cellphone too much to check my work email, catch a Pokémon or 30 in Pokémon Go, swap texts with friends, or make an occasional s***post on Reddit (okay, more like frequent s***posts on Reddit and a few … Continue reading Cellphones be Damned: Staying Focused in the Fencing Club

The Fencing Coach’s Guide to Being a Good Teammate

As a lover of sports, I have played Football, Basketball, and Fútbol. I wrestled, I boxed (my brain works; I can still read good), and of course, I still actively fence. Each sport, though a potpourri of individual and team has provided me with a unique perspective on the virtues of being a good teammate. … Continue reading The Fencing Coach’s Guide to Being a Good Teammate

The Fencing Coach’s Initial Reactions to the FIE’s new Non-Combativity Rules

Two weeks ago, the FIE Congress passed a series of new non-combativity rules that will bring material changes to Epee, and to a lesser extent, Foil fencing. There’s a lot to track here, so I’ve tried my best to break down the nuances of the rules below. I’d like to qualify this post with a … Continue reading The Fencing Coach’s Initial Reactions to the FIE’s new Non-Combativity Rules

Regarding Sexual Harassment and Assault in Fencing: Part III – We Can Do Better

Part I – Not in Our Sport Part II – Tales of Sexual Harassment & Assault We now know there is a sexual harassment and abuse problem, so what can we do to fix it? My survey asked for solutions for creating a more positive and safe environment for everyone. Going forward, if you were … Continue reading Regarding Sexual Harassment and Assault in Fencing: Part III – We Can Do Better

Regarding Sexual Harassment and Assault in Fencing: Part II – Tales of Sexual Harassment & Assault

Part I – Not in Our Sport Part of this survey was giving women a safe space to anonymously share what harassment or assault they had experienced. This section of the series has given me the most anguish, for a couple of reasons. One, it was hard to know which stories to share. Harassment and … Continue reading Regarding Sexual Harassment and Assault in Fencing: Part II – Tales of Sexual Harassment & Assault

Regarding Sexual Harassment and Assault in Fencing: Part I – Not in Our Sport

Dear Fencing Community, Scandals of sexual abuse have rocked USA Swimming and USA Gymnastics, it’s not a stretch for us to wonder if USA Fencing has a similar problem which should be investigated and addressed. Sexual harassment and assault have become hot topics in the wake of the #MeToo movement, and we can’t assume fencing … Continue reading Regarding Sexual Harassment and Assault in Fencing: Part I – Not in Our Sport

How to Immediately Waste a Private Fencing Lesson

Albert Bandura, the famed psychologist and founder of Social Learning Theory (SLT) posited that our brains go through four mediational processes while learning: Attention: How one is exposed to and processes a behavior. Retention: How one remembers the exposed behavior. Reproduction: How one performs the behavior s/he’s exposed to. Motivation: How one develops the will … Continue reading How to Immediately Waste a Private Fencing Lesson

Yes, Sports and Politics Do Mix. Get Over It.

When Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the Modern Olympics, he designed the Olympic Rings to include the colors of every flag of every nation, linked together to symbolize the inclusivity of the games and the idea that national differences could be set aside to engage in the struggle of sport. The Baron was so insistent … Continue reading Yes, Sports and Politics Do Mix. Get Over It.

Fencing is not a Combat Sport—and that’s a Good Thing

Sometime after I graduated college, I had a quarter-life fencing burnout crisis and decided to take a break from the sport. Boxing, I thought, would be a fun sport to learn. It involves a similar emphasis on footwork, speed, distance control, and strategy, and I loved watching it growing up. When I got into the … Continue reading Fencing is not a Combat Sport—and that’s a Good Thing

The Black Card as a Last Resort

In a previous post, I quipped about “Tales of Epic Black Cards,” which was a collection of horror stories from various referees where they had to resort to pulling out the dreaded black card (my favorite from my friend Kevin Shanahan, who shared with me a scoresheet signed “this ref stinks”). To everyone not named … Continue reading The Black Card as a Last Resort

The FIE Non-Combativity Proposal is Malarkey

The Federation Internationale d’Escrime (FIE) often resembles a hyperactive cat distracted by a laser pointer. Each year, ambitious new rule changes are proposed that hold neither the support of the fencers impacted, nor the referees enforcing them. Last year, we piloted the now defunct “Russian Box of Death” proposal that set the Sabre en garde … Continue reading The FIE Non-Combativity Proposal is Malarkey

What do you Want to Work on Today? Giving the Conductor’s Wand to the Student

I like to think of fencing coaching as a partnership. When compared to sports such as Football where the Coach is master and commander whose word is absolute, Fencing promotes dialogue, exploration, and innovating for new ideas on the piste. When a new student begins, the lessons are more linear and perhaps even mechanical, focusing … Continue reading What do you Want to Work on Today? Giving the Conductor’s Wand to the Student

A Harangue on Referee Feedback and Development

Alright, controversial opinion time. Back at Summer Nationals, I had a student walk on as a referee. He’s studied the rules extensively, he’s worked hard at it in practice, and he’s motivated to get better. But he was still “green,” so to speak. A friend of mine refereeing in his pod sent me a message … Continue reading A Harangue on Referee Feedback and Development

Lessons and Reflections from Five Years of Fencing Blogging

Five years ago, just before the 2012 London Olympics, I started a casual blog to keep my friends updated on my coaching adventures abroad and document my experience at the Olympic Games. To my surprise, “TheFencingCoach.com” wasn’t taken, so I jumped on the opportunity to register the domain name. I soon discovered how much I … Continue reading Lessons and Reflections from Five Years of Fencing Blogging

On “Bad Actors” in Fencing

  “We all have a Monster within; the difference is in degree, not in kind.” -Douglas Preston Even ten years after “Jason’s” imprisonment, it’s difficult for me to look at his booking photo. Jason is expressionless, his perfectly symmetrical face staring into the camera blankly. His brown eyes are dead, but he raises his cheekbones … Continue reading On “Bad Actors” in Fencing

The Fencing Coach’s 2017 NCAA Fencing Predictions #MarchStabness

It’s here! It’s finally here! It’s the most wonderful time of the year. #MarchStabness is kicking off in full swing tomorrow, and we’re about to watch 144 of the best young fencers in the world head to South Bound, Indiana to compete at Notre Dame. In good fun and with zero confidence, I offer the … Continue reading The Fencing Coach’s 2017 NCAA Fencing Predictions #MarchStabness

Flicking in Épée as an Offensive Preparatory Action

Flicking in Epee is often an exercise in feeling the pain of 500g of steel clubbing your hand and landing flat. When utilized properly as a preparatory action, it presents a lower risk means to aim for shorter targets, setting the fencer up for a deeper, explosive closing attack. This post is intended to discuss … Continue reading Flicking in Épée as an Offensive Preparatory Action

Olympic Fencing Schedule & Live Streaming Links

IMPORTANT NOTE: It has been brought to my attention that a Cable Subscription is required to view the NBC Streams. Without Cable, you will be allowed to view a half hour of the stream. If you have an Apple TV, you can download the NBC Sports App and watch that way. Update: I included links to each … Continue reading Olympic Fencing Schedule & Live Streaming Links

The Al Navarro Show – Episode 2: Al Navarro and the Curious Case of the Capital of the Confederacy

Just in time for your trip to the October NAC, welcome to the next installment in the Fencingtown, USA series on TFC, covering some of the stops on the USA Fencing circuit. In my first Fencingtown USA write-up back in May, I remarked that if I were to judge NAC host cities based on how … Continue reading The Al Navarro Show – Episode 2: Al Navarro and the Curious Case of the Capital of the Confederacy

The Al Navarro Show: Episode 1 – Welcome to Fencingtown, USA

Guest contributor Al Navarro is the father of a Y14 Women’s Epee fencer. When not standing around convention centers waiting for DEs to start, he lives and works in New Jersey. He is working on a blog for the parents of current and aspiring youth fencers.  A fellow Y14 WE parent and I have this … Continue reading The Al Navarro Show: Episode 1 – Welcome to Fencingtown, USA

The Road to Recovery (Part 3)

I’M “WALKING!” I got my cast off on Tuesday, which was nice, except for one minor problem: my left calf and quad have shrunk about 60% in size and I look like I have chicken legs. All that aside, my doctor says I’ve been healing quickly and put me on an aggressive regimen for recovery, and gave me … Continue reading The Road to Recovery (Part 3)

NCAA March Stabness: Quick Hits (After Day 2)

The men’s field is wrapped up, our individual men’s champions are crowned, and OSU leads the team field. Judging the Judges (Based on Predictions) Damien – Men’s Epee (2/4), Men’s Foil (4/4), Men’s Saber (3/4). Total: 9/12(75%) Hannah – Men’s Epee (1/4), Men’s Foil (2/4), Men’s Saber (4/4). Total: 7/12 (58%). James – Men’s Epee … Continue reading NCAA March Stabness: Quick Hits (After Day 2)

NCAA March Stabness Quick Hits (After Day 1)

Day 1 is behind us, Columbia leads with 56 wins, and not too many surprises after day 1, other than how off Leland Guillemin’s picks were. Men’s Saber As expected, Eli Dershwitz (Harvard) coasted through the first day, going 14/15 for +39. With eight bouts remaining, his toughest opponent is Jonah Shainberg (ND), but all … Continue reading NCAA March Stabness Quick Hits (After Day 1)

Predicting the 2015 NCAA Fencing Championships (March Stabness)

Click here to read Damien, Hannah, James, Leland, and Monika’s Predictions Note: WordPress won’t let me change the numbering. There is no such thing as 4th place, so assume that 4th = tied for third.  EDIT: Zuikova is at SJU, NOT Wayne State. Men’s Epee Lewis Weiss (OSU) Marc-Antoine Blais (OSU) Jake Raynis (Princeton) Jake Hoyle … Continue reading Predicting the 2015 NCAA Fencing Championships (March Stabness)

The Road to Recovery: Week 2

USA Fencing Personal Injury Insurance: a Hidden Gem The first thing I’ll mention in this blog post is that if you don’t know about it, USA Fencing has secondary insurance to cover any costs not covered by your primary. It’s a must have if you get injured at any fencing event, and I would like … Continue reading The Road to Recovery: Week 2

The Road to Recovery: Part 1

“We’ll walk this road together, through the storm Whatever weather, cold or warm Just letting you know that you’re not alone Holler if you feel like you’ve been down the same road.” -Eminem, “I’m Not Afraid” In twenty years of fencing, the “monotony” of NACs and national events is something I’ve lived for. Show up … Continue reading The Road to Recovery: Part 1

An Open Letter to Parents Attending the Capitol Clash

Dear Parents, You should be proud. You should be excited. This weekend, your child/children will be competing in the Capitol Clash Super Youth Circuit (SYC), a tournament that had over 1,500 competitors last year! The Capitol Clash is an amazing tournament for many reasons. For one, it’s a joy to go into a room full … Continue reading An Open Letter to Parents Attending the Capitol Clash

USA Fencing Points Based Qualification for Division 1A-Divison III Nationals (an Infographic)

Earlier this week, USA Fencing released its new criteria for national championship qualification and the July challenge. The collective fencing community (myself included) scratched their heads and said: “quoi?” In order to make this information more digestible, I created the following infographic. It’s still not the most intuitive. I hope this is of use to … Continue reading USA Fencing Points Based Qualification for Division 1A-Divison III Nationals (an Infographic)

Revisiting the 2012 NFL Draft (Round 1) Three Years Later

Hey Redditors! This went over the 15,000 character count allowed by the page, so I’m posting here on my crappy shell of a website.  In recent weeks, I’ve been doing team-by-team reviews of the last ten years of first round drafting. So far, I’ve done: St. Louis Rams Jacksonville Jaguars Tennessee Titans New York Jets New … Continue reading Revisiting the 2012 NFL Draft (Round 1) Three Years Later

Guest Poem: The Ballad of the Fencenocks (By Barkevious, a Latin Poet)

There once was a town called “Peanut Gorge” in the deepest of forests within the north. In the gorge lived the fencenocks, some creatures you know, who loved to do fencing, in sun, rain, or snow. When the sun rose at six, so too did the nocks, who would dress for their battles, in masks, … Continue reading Guest Poem: The Ballad of the Fencenocks (By Barkevious, a Latin Poet)

When the Mask is On: on Women in Fencing

“In our society, the women who break down barriers are those who ignore limits.” -Arnold Schwarzenegger Some of my earliest childhood memories come from watching my older sister, Paloma, play in a boys’ soccer league. Paloma was an athletic phenom, possessing great speed, excellent ball skills, and zero fear of contact or matching up against … Continue reading When the Mask is On: on Women in Fencing

Ask the Fencing Coach: Taking Your Time in a Bout

This question came from one of our favorite readers who is the head coach of a college club and competitor. As a reminder to our readers, we will answer any questions on all things fencing. We’re here to help! Question:  Good morning Fencing Coach Staff, Question for you folks regarding something that is giving me issues … Continue reading Ask the Fencing Coach: Taking Your Time in a Bout

Horror Stories About Fencing Safety to Tell Your Students and Teammates

In a recent study on Olympic sport injury rates, Fencing ranked among the safest sports listed. Given the fact that Fencing is a combat sport rooted in duels to the death, it should come as a surprise that such a ferocious sport would be safer than say, Badminton or Table Tennis. Yet, our equipment is (mostly) refined … Continue reading Horror Stories About Fencing Safety to Tell Your Students and Teammates

Providing Clarity to Confusion: a Veteran Referee’s Perspective (Guest Post)

This is a guest post from Mary Frye, a seasoned referee and member of the FOC. Mary notes that “this isn’t from the FOC as a body per se, but from myself, as a member of the Domestic Assignments Committee  (DAC) of the FOC.  I suppose I’m splitting hairs a bit here, since a lot … Continue reading Providing Clarity to Confusion: a Veteran Referee’s Perspective (Guest Post)

Growing Pains: Breaking into the Complex and Convoluted World of U.S. Refereeing (Guest Post)

Guest Post by Annamaria Lu The past few weeks, this blog has published a few articles about refereeing. Mary Griffith also produced a post-Nationals write up. All of them have provided different perspectives on refereeing fencing. After Nationals ended, I contacted The Fencing Coach and offered to share my perspective as a new referee. I … Continue reading Growing Pains: Breaking into the Complex and Convoluted World of U.S. Refereeing (Guest Post)

Diego Occhiuzzi’s Greatest Hits

Diego Occhiuzzi is a really good saber fencer. He took a Silver Medal in the London 2012 Olympics. He is also the Luis Suarez of fencing. Here are my favorite Diego Occhiuzzi moments:   Role model. This is how it’s done.

Should a Referee Vary the Cadence of his/her Calls?

A very simple post today to answer a very simple, trivial question: When a referee makes his/her “En Garde! Ready? Fence!” calls, should s/he very the cadence? For many of you, this is a “duh” answer, but for others, it might not be. Never hurts to clarify. I’ve heard multiple opinions from multiple referees, so … Continue reading Should a Referee Vary the Cadence of his/her Calls?

Predicting The Men’s World Championship Field…With SCIENCE! (Guest Post by Todd Kozlowski)

Disclaimer, I’m not a statistician. Not even close. I’m so, so sorry to any of you who are for my lack of rigor. The prediction here is based on the commonly-used Elo system, which tracks competitor performance in other sports like baseball, soccer, and chess. I threw together a program to calculate the odds of … Continue reading Predicting The Men’s World Championship Field…With SCIENCE! (Guest Post by Todd Kozlowski)

A Call for Optimism Among Referees (Guest Post by Kate Thomas)

It’s almost as easy to find refs kvetching about reffing as it is to find fencers kvetching about refs.  If you hang out with a lot of refs it’s probably even easier.  And it’s easy to quit reffing.  It’s easy to see it as a thankless job – standing on concrete for 20 hours straight … Continue reading A Call for Optimism Among Referees (Guest Post by Kate Thomas)

Guest Post: A Referee’s Open Letter of Resignation

Dear Fencing Officials Commission: A new policy will be enacted on September 1, 2014 wherein referee ratings will be evaluated and altered according to national activity.  My referee ratings predate the cut-off years and are subject to degrading or rescinding.  Rather than be subject to a perfunctory system with which I do not agree, I … Continue reading Guest Post: A Referee’s Open Letter of Resignation

The Referee: Friend, or Foe? (Guest Post by James A. Weiss, Editor, The Fencing Coach)

(Disclaimer: There are three roles that fencers and referees have assumed, or may assume during their relationship with fencing: the fencer, the official, and the spectator. It is important to note that none of these are, or should be thought of as, similar or interchangeable for the other two. And, not being able to realize … Continue reading The Referee: Friend, or Foe? (Guest Post by James A. Weiss, Editor, The Fencing Coach)

Guest Post: A Diary of a Black Card

This past weekend at the Pomme de Terre, a parent (who shall remain anonymous) was black carded for unruly behavior following a team match. The parent admits that he “violated rule #5 of An Open letter to Fencing Parents and attempted to live vicariously through his child.” It is terribly difficult to admit wrongdoing, particularly when … Continue reading Guest Post: A Diary of a Black Card

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 … Continue reading Fencing as a Language (Imre Vass)

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 … Continue reading A Brief Post On Unsolicited Criticism in the Sport of Fencing

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 … Continue reading The Fencing Coach’s Footwork Playlist

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 … Continue reading 2014 NCAA Fencing Championship Quick Hits (Day 1)

Finding Success at NCAA Championships: a Guest Post by NCAA First Team All-American Graham Wicas

Graham Wicas was the 2007 World Champion in Cadet Men’s Epee. He was a first team All-American NCAA Athlete, and has had two top four finishes in Division I NACs this USFA season. He is very good at fencing.  Doing well at the NCAA Championships is correlated with three factors; mental composure, consistent fencing, and … Continue reading Finding Success at NCAA Championships: a Guest Post by NCAA First Team All-American Graham Wicas

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. … Continue reading A Brief Primer on the Etiquette of Blade Sharing

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 … Continue reading The Two Words You Never Want to Hear as a Coach

The Pen and the Sword: Managing the Demands of a Professional Career and Competitive Fencing

“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.’” -Tim Morehouse “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” -Muhammad Ali On … Continue reading The Pen and the Sword: Managing the Demands of a Professional Career and Competitive Fencing

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 … Continue reading The Fencing Coach’s Guide to Finding the Right Club

Fencing.Net – Guide to Team Relay Fencing (Part 1)

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 … Continue reading Fencing.Net – Guide to Team Relay Fencing (Part 1)

Ask Damien #4 (April 5, 2013)

A parent who we shall call “Piccino” emails me some questions. I answered all of them. Damien- As the parent of a youth fencer who has seen some success at the SYC level, I really appreciate your site and commentary.  While I don’t necessarily agree with you on every point, I find your POVs well … Continue reading Ask Damien #4 (April 5, 2013)

The Washington Times- An Interview With Five Time World Champion Peter Joppich (Part 2)

WASHINGTON, March 4, 2013 — In Part 1 of our interview series with Peter Joppich, we talked with him about his origins in fencing, his relationship with his coach Uli Schreck, and his ability to play the mental aspect of fencing with ease. In Part 2, we continue our talk with Peter about his training … Continue reading The Washington Times- An Interview With Five Time World Champion Peter Joppich (Part 2)

Breaking Down the Film: Junior Olympics JWE Semi-Final—Nina Sirico vs. Jennifer Horowitz

Period 1: Horowitz begins the bout pushing Sirico aggressively, preparing 6/8 feints. Ends with 1-1 double.  Sirico responds by moving in and out of the distance in the middle of the strip, trying a non-committal low-line preparation to test Horowitz’s reaction. Sirico allows Horowitz to respond by pushing her. Sirico responds with a perfectly timed … Continue reading Breaking Down the Film: Junior Olympics JWE Semi-Final—Nina Sirico vs. Jennifer Horowitz

The Washington Times- An Interview with Five Time World Champion Peter Joppich (Part 1)

WASHINGTON, February 28, 2013 — Prior to the 2000’s, foil fencer Sergei Golubitsky had arguably cemented himself as the greatest foil fencer of all time, winning three world championships in a storied career. At the turn of the millennium, a young German fencer by the name of Peter Joppich entered the international fencing scene and … Continue reading The Washington Times- An Interview with Five Time World Champion Peter Joppich (Part 1)

Breaking Down the Film: 2013 Junior Olympic Cadet Men’s Epee Gold Medal Bout—Feihong Rodell vs. Justin Yoo

Period 1: Rodell comes off the line aggressively working his tip on Yoo. Rodell gets perhaps a little bit too close in his preparations and Yoo capitalizes with a deep low line lunge and last second disengage. 1-0 Yoo. Yoo begins the second touch by drawing Rodell away from the middle of the strip towards … Continue reading Breaking Down the Film: 2013 Junior Olympic Cadet Men’s Epee Gold Medal Bout—Feihong Rodell vs. Justin Yoo

Tales of Epic Black Cards

In the lore of fencing whifferniny, no badge of dishonor resonates with more epic power than that of a fencing black card. Eurosport enthusiasts would believe that the penalty card system ends at yellow and red; but, Fencing is so cool that you can get a black card, which means you’re knocked the F out … Continue reading Tales of Epic Black Cards

Guest Post #4: A Parent’s Journey to Becoming a Good Fencing Parent

Yesterday, I wrote a post for the Washington Times titled “Athletes and parents: A parent’s guide to fencing tournaments.” Today, established Women’s Epee Fencer, Dr. Valerie Asher weights in with a thoughtful response on her own journey to learning how to be a good fencing parent. Dr. Asher is a member of the DC Fencers … Continue reading Guest Post #4: A Parent’s Journey to Becoming a Good Fencing Parent

The Washington Times– A parent’s guide to fencing tournaments

The people-watching associated with fencing is often as entertaining as the sport itself—and this couldn’t be truer when it comes to watching parents during a tournament. Parents during tournaments can range from enthusiastic cheerleaders to coaches (either actual coaches or parents who think they know something when they don’t) and to parents you would think … Continue reading The Washington Times– A parent’s guide to fencing tournaments

Breaking Down the Film: 2013 Junior Olympic Men’s Epee Gold Medal Bout—Ace Eldeib vs. Ari Simmons

Original Video Can be Found Here Period 1: Simmons and Eldeib begin the bout at large distance, with Simmons preparing with half advance and half extension to draw out Eldeib’s attack because of Eldeib’s significant height advantage. Eldeib takes 3-2 lead by baiting Simmons’ attack and countering before Simmons’ front foot is able to hit … Continue reading Breaking Down the Film: 2013 Junior Olympic Men’s Epee Gold Medal Bout—Ace Eldeib vs. Ari Simmons

The Washington Times- An Interview with Olympic Silver Medalist Tim Morehouse

When I began my fencing career at Brandeis University, there was one benchmark for fencing success that every fencer strove to match: Tim Morehouse. “We live in Tim Morehouse’s shadow,” our captain used to say. Morehouse cast a large shadow after a storied career at Brandeis, which featured three all-American titles—a feat no fencer has … Continue reading The Washington Times- An Interview with Olympic Silver Medalist Tim Morehouse

The Washington Times- Predicting the 2013 NCAA Fencing Championships

The 2013 NCAA Championships are scheduled to take place in over a month from now in San Antonio Texas, but it’s never too early to make predictions. This championship will feature an array of 2012 London Olympics, ten reigning or former NCAA champions, and dozens of fencers ranked at the top of the United States … Continue reading The Washington Times- Predicting the 2013 NCAA Fencing Championships

The 10 Commandments of Yelling in Fencing

Fencers like to debate about yelling in the sport and whether or not this is unsportsmanlike, whifferninnious conduct. The truth is, yelling is a part of fencing, and those who are offended by it are likely the same people who were tattle tailing on the playground until they were 18 years old. Yelling in the … Continue reading The 10 Commandments of Yelling in Fencing

Lehfeldt Tactical Epee Clinic

Hey folks, as you know, Junior Fencers are often physically talented but when it comes to tactics, if it’s raining brains, they don’t get wet. This is a program I came up with for junior fencers to practice tactics. I made this a few years ago while coaching in Florida, and will now be bringing … Continue reading Lehfeldt Tactical Epee Clinic

An Interview with Division I Men’s Epee NAC Champion Jason Pryor

Jason Pryor is a shark on the strip, or as he calls himself, a “maniac.” Watch any bout with Jason, and you will see a man determined to punish his opponents from the time he puts his mask on until the final salute of the bout. Even when sitting on a comfortable lead, Pryor senses … Continue reading An Interview with Division I Men’s Epee NAC Champion Jason Pryor

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