1 Jan

Starting the new year in a warm land of plentiful sunshine. The perfect environment for looking back on my fencing career in 2013.

Year got off to a rocky start in early February, when I was disqualified from entering my first USFA tournament due to a mask problem. But I recovered and learned from that experience, and wound up competing in seven tournaments over the course of the year. A year ago at this time, I had no idea I’d be competing so frequently.

Finally winning both a pool and DE bout during my second tournament was a huge psychological relief. Have had about as much success since then — one pool win each tournament (except for the open in September, which was a bloodbath), and if there’s a play-in amongst the lower seeds for the DEs I sometimes pick up a win there as well. Now that the shutout monkey’s off my back and my pre-tournament nervousness has subsided to a manageable level, I feel it’s time to expect more from myself. Not necessarily in victories, but in touches. At my last tournament, I scored only one other touch in my other three pool bouts — simply getting two or three touches each bout would greatly help my indicator, and should seed me higher going into the DEs.

So the progress is there. Three specific areas of improvement I can identify are as follows:

1. Distance. I now have a good feel for when I’m too close for comfort, too far away to launch an effective attack, and within the right range to make something happen. Getting a better feel for distance has helped me correct my two most common flaws — missing long, and getting my blade bound. Still have too many times when I’m too close to respond properly to a lunge, but I no longer feel unable to correct that flaw. Proper distance comes from experience, and I’ve come a long way this year in this regard.

2. Tempo. I’ve got something going with my footwork game, varying my back-and-forth cadence and speed to set up my attack. When I’m patient with my footwork, I can look for opportunities, see times when my opponent’s come in too close and isn’t ready for a snap attack. This is another work in progress, and I’m anxious to see where it can take me in the future.

3. Endurance. I consistently do my best fencing in the DEs, which may come from my knowledge that I have to be at my best because, well, I’m done for the day if I lose. It’s reassuring, especially at my age, to know that I have the stamina to fence my best after five or six pool bouts, and possibly a DE. That experience gives me confidence that I have enough left in the tank to accomplish my goals in this sport.

2013 was the year I began to compete actively. Success was small, but measurable, and I can see where I need to go next. But as for what’s next, that’s the subject of another blog post.

Update: One other fact that I forgot to mention earlier — in all seven tournaments, I somehow managed to not ever come in last place. Even the open tournament in September, when I scored one touch in five pool bouts and two in my DE; somehow, somebody managed to have a worse performance that day. I don’t know if I’m proud of this fact, but thought it was worth mentioning.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: