Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Part Where You Let Go

The club has been shaken up. Shaken up enough so that I think that those who aren't holding on tightly may be lost to the turbulence. I tight is my grip?

Just because it's a good new song: The Part Where You Let Go

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Label making

I am in the process of labeling old posts so it will be easier to find posts on specific topics. So exciting, I know.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dorothy Parker was a fencer?

"I require only three things of a man. He must be handsome, ruthless and stupid."

Ms. Parker has quite a few biting quotes to her name, but I happened upon this one again today and suddenly thought: why that would make a perfect fencing opponent!

Stupid: I guess that one's obvious. If I could spend an entire bout winning touches with the same attack over and over, and my opponent not figuring it out, well that'd be just fine with me.

Handsome: Well, he's going to take his mask off at some point, and it might as well be something good to look at. It's convenient that whites, like other uniforms, are attractive on most men.

Ruthless: Perhaps this one requires a little more explanation and perhaps I am a little loose with the meaning of ruthless. But I have in mind that opponent (you know him) who wants with every fiber of his being to assail you with huge beats, sweeping parries, and fleches from halfway down the piste. These types are often daunting for a woman upon first meeting, but they can be solved quite easily with a few studied derobements, small disengages and point control.

Without question, there are many strengths of male fencers that I find very difficult to overcome. With some men I fence frequently, I simply know that I cannot get into a shoving-parry match with them because I will lose. But the lady fencer should keep in mind that she too has strengths that can be played successfully.

Monday, August 20, 2007


This weekend I participated in a camp at our club. Two days, 9-3, billed as an intensive, start-up-the-season experience. A basic summary:
1) General warmup with various running and stretching exercises
2) Taking of our "fitness temperature", doing a little sprint around the salle, vertical jump, and standing broad jump.
3) Footwork drills
4) Target drills with weapon
5) Break into two groups: foil and epee for dry exchange drills
6) Switch to electric for more drills, then bouting
1) Warmup with running and a bit of jump rope (!)
2) Distance keeping drills
3) Footwork drills, including a bit of scrutiny and extra drilling for the fleche.
4) Target Speed drills
5) Breaking into two groups: foil and epee for dry exchange drills
6) Switch to electric for more drills, then bouts

Overall, it was a good amount of activity for me. I was okay after Saturday, but today I am feeling a bit of soreness in my legs. I've never been to a fencing camp before so I didn't really know what to expect or if my expectations were reasonable, especially for so short a time period. For the cost, I wish that there had been more individual attention in case during all those drills I was reinforcing the wrong behaviors. Being so technically driven, the drills are my favorite part actually. I always worry about whether my execution in bouts is technically correct so I enjoy the time to study particular moves at a more granular level.

I think that I did not so much learn new things at this camp, but it helped me to determine my areas of weakness which need the most immediate attention. Perhaps the most focused portion of the whole experience was sitting down Saturday morning to fill out a form that asked us to determine our goals for ourselves and for the competitive season.

If this camp serves me, I hope it serves as a momentum-building device to get me going on a season of similar intensity. I want to work hard and sweat a lot and go to bed exhausted, but I'm not working for nothing.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Ve vant to pump! you up!

So I bought a smallish weight machine this weekend off craigslist. It doesn't do everything, but allows me to do a full circuit of the muscle groups. Last night was the first time I really used it and I concentrated on lower body

3 x 10 squats
3 x 20 toe raises (calves)
3 x 10 leg curl
2 x crunches to failure

I kept the weights very light last night because I haven't lifted weights in a couple years since I gave up my Bally's membership. The next step is to crack open the copy of Strength Training for Fencers and sketch out an actual routine. In college, I lifted weights quite a bit, with guidance in the beginning from the cross-country coaches, so that's what I base most of my planning on. My experience is in training different muscle groups on alternating days so that your muscles get the proper rest; upper body one day, lower body the next, repeat. But since I won't have time to train on nights that I fence, it may be a bit of a juggling act at first to make
sure I am working hard enough. It only took me about 19 minutes last night to finish my circuit, so there's plenty of time to adjust without eating up too much of my evenings.

Meanwhile, I need to add some intense all over cardiovascular training on the weekends. I'm toying with a bootcamp workout I read on another blog.

I might add, it's always like this at the beginning of the season. Big plans for reshaping my physique, my fitness. How long do I usually stick with it? Hard to say - two steps forward, one and a half steps back. I've come to grips with the fact that I'll never be as fit as I was in college again, but every little bit feels like a lot of good to me.