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Straight from the Twisted Mind of Damien Lehfeldt

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All That’s Wrong with the 2022-2023 NAC Schedule: in Four Maps

On July 19, 2022, USA Fencing announced the National Schedule for the upcoming 2022-2023 season. Allow me to begin this post with two acknowledgments: The contracts for these venues were likely locked in long before the Supreme Court issued the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Decision NAC locations are determined based on which metropolitan hubs … Continue reading All That’s Wrong with the 2022-2023 NAC Schedule: in Four Maps

The Modern Epee Fencer (a Qualitative Summary of my Thesis)

The Modern Epee Fencer is a Daredevil They fence at lunge distance, daring the other to encroach even one inch too close, applying pressure with varying preparation while the pulling fencer disrupts their opponent with provoking half advances and beats. The Modern Epee Fencer, as Clement Schrepfer describes in How to Fence Epee: The Fantastic … Continue reading The Modern Epee Fencer (a Qualitative Summary of my Thesis)

There is no Offseason in Fencing

“When you are not practicing, remember, somewhere someone is practicing, and when you meet him, he will win.” -Peter Bergman On paper, the USA Fencing season begins with the October NAC and culminates with the mega-event that is Summer Nationals in July. The three-month window in between might well be the amplest opportunity for the … Continue reading There is no Offseason in Fencing

A Parent’s Guide to Fencing: Downloadable eBook & Webinar

Hey everyone, for our parents at Nova Fencing Club, I’ve put together this guide on Fencing, and included a recording of the Webinar as well. Please feel free to download and share. I hope this is a valuable resources for parents of fencers at all levels.

Product Review: Nike Ballestra SE2 – Nike Prices Without the Nike Quality

Disclaimer:These shoes were purchased by the author and not provided by Nike. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by Nike and/or its affiliates in any way. When I tore my Achilles several years ago, my orthopedist revealed that one of the fundamental problems that led to my tear was … Continue reading Product Review: Nike Ballestra SE2 – Nike Prices Without the Nike Quality

Epee Referee Nuggets from the December 2021 NAC: P-Card Interpretation Will be Changing

Another NAC done, another round of 12+ hour days, and some gross food. Here are my nuggets from the Columbus NAC. The P-Card Rules Interpretation will be Changing to that of the FIE’s: Take this section of my write-up with a grain of salt, and consider this the “hey, something resembling this is coming” statement. … Continue reading Epee Referee Nuggets from the December 2021 NAC: P-Card Interpretation Will be Changing

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

TEST

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 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)

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

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

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

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.

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)

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 Gallery of Ninja Ripostes

Full credit for the idea of the riposte .gif goes to reddit user /u/venuswasaflytrap  

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

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

Time to Change Non-Combativity

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 … Continue reading Time to Change Non-Combativity

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

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