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…

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…

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…

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…