VFA Bulletin
December 4, 2023

This is the final week of fall classes. Level 1 classes will try out epee fencing this week. Competitive Squad, we will have an in-house handicap tournament (rules are such that better fencers will have to work harder to win)
Charlotte: we will plan to meet at the usual time (7-9), just be aware there is a chance that town rec basketball will be using the gym until 7:30. If that happens, we will wait in the hallway until they are done and run practice 7:30-9:30 - it is hard to get a definite schedule from them in advance, so we will hav to wait and see what they settle on. By the time winter practices start, we should know what their schedule is. They finish up in late February.

All rental equipment is due back to me this week! Even if you would like to rent again in the winter. Choices for returning it:
a. Turn it in at the end of this week's Level 1 class
b. Charlotte fencers, if you don't make it Tuesday, I am also at CCS on Thursday evenings for Level 2/3, and it's fine to drop it off then
c. Drop off at my house in Addison by Saturday morning. Back porch door is not locked, equipment can be dropped off there any time. Contact me for directions.

Current Level 1 fencers, please let me know your plans for the winter. Will you be repeating Level 1 (and if so, do you want to rent equipment again)? Will you be moving up to Level 2/3 classes (in which case, you do need your own equipment)? Will you be taking a break from fencing?
Current Level 2/3 fencers, you are all invited back of course! If you are a teen or adult, you might want to consider joining the Competitive Squad on Tuesdays in Charlotte. There is no extra charge for coming twice a week.
Returning fencers, you do not need to submit a new registration form (that form is mainly for your USAF membership, which is good through July). Just let me know your plans.

Looking into buying your first set of equipment? Or your first set of electric equipment? Or a nice gift for your favorite fencer? Shopping advice can be found here:

I will be traveling from Dec 11 to 28, and again Jan 4-8, with limited internet and limited time to respond to email. If you have questions, want to reserve rental equipment for winter, etc, please contact me this week.

Winter start-up schedule:
Thurs Jan 4, CCS: open fencing for Competitive Squad (and any teens or adults who want to join them). This will be an unstructured practice, just time for you to fence with each other (and a freebie, no need to punch your card). I will not be there, which means I will need several volunteers to take home our scoring sets after practice this Thursday and commit to bringing them on Jan 4 and again (to return to me) on Jan 9.
Tues Jan 9: first Level 1 class and CS practice of winter session in Charlotte
Wed Jan 10: first Level 1 and Level 2/3 classes of winter in Middlebury
Thurs Jan 11: first Charlotte Level 2/3 class of winter.

Winter club dues are due the week of Jan 9-11: $15 if repeating Level 1, $25 for Level 2/3 students, $50 for Competitive Squad. This covers the January-March winter session and is how we pay to rent our gyms.
Punch cards never expire, are good for all classes, just buy a new one ($65) whenever yours runs out.

Now is the time to spread the word about winter beginner classes! Three ways you can help:
a. tell your friends, and tell them to get in touch with me ASAP for registration info (note my travel dates....)
b. Place an announcement on Front Porch Forum. I will do the Vergennes FPF, but need folks in Middlebury, Charlotte, and surrounding towns to do those FPFs. If you can help, email me and I'll send you a blurb to copy and paste. I suggest posting twice-once this week and again the week between Christmas and New Years.
c. Hang a poster in your community. Adam Glazer has made a nice black and white poster (with awesome artwork of course) that I can forward to you to print out and hang up. Just ask (before I leave town, please....)

I believe that every fencer needs to become both an armorer and a referee - these two skills are simply part of learning to fence.

John Colt (retired engineer, GMD armorer, Level 1 teaching assistant, and husband of epee fencer Karen Cutler) has generously volunteered his time to give an armory clinic at his house this weekend.
When: Saturday Dec. 9, noon to 4 p.m
Where: 227 Chaloux Lane, Williston (turn left up long driveway, it's the house with a large barn and a ramp up to the side door).
What: Bring your nonworking foils, epees, and body cords, plus any tools and spare parts you have. All your equipment currently working, or don't own electric equipment yet? Come anyway and help work on someone else's gear or on a club weapon!
How to sign up (because space is limited and John needs to know how many to expect): email John at jzcolt@gmail.com

I have been saying for years, wouldn't it be great if someone developed on line video training for refs? Where you could watch actual fencing, make your call, and then check it against what the high-level ref actually called? Well, it exists! Thank you to Chris Mazur for finding it:
I have not fully explored this, but the foil section seems particularly good for developing your ability to call right of way. All of the video is from national and international events. Check it out!

Is now posted on AskFRED and open for registration! The Mid-Winter Melee, January 13 at Mary Hogan School in Middlebury, will be foil-heavy to counter balance the epee-only Ticonderoga Challenge in May. Events include:
10 a.m Open (senior mixed) Foil: For fencers born 2010 or before
10 a.m Veteran Epee: For fencers born 1984 or before. All skill levels welcome, including unrated and first time competitors.
12 noon: Youth Foil: for kids born 2011 or later
2 p.m: Veteran Foil: For fencers born 1984 or before. All skill levels welcome, including unrated and first time competitors.

Register by Monday Jan 8 to avoid a late fee, because there are event caps and they might fill, and because it is super helpful to the tournament organizer (Karen Cutler this time). With the holiday break, I will not be sending reminders or another bulletin before Jan 8. Register now so you don't forget!
Please do not sign up for 2 events that start at the same time (i.e. you must choose either open foil or veteran epee, you can't do both).

Click here to register:

If this is your first tournament, you will need to create an AskFRED account (including verifying your email).

Next open epee event should be in February (rumor has it at UVM, awaiting confirmation and posting on AskFRED).

Congratulations to the winners of the Holiday Open on Saturday!

Youth Foil (10 competitors)
1 Newton, Zeke PORTLANDFC
2 Bokinala, Joshua UPPERVLYFC
3 Jones, Finn UPPERVLYFC
3 Krohn, Daphne VFA

Open Epee (25 competitors, C2 event)
1 Wei, Zikun NOFEAR / RPI
2 Malenfant, Vincent SRN
3 Lussier, Jesse VFA
3 Wald, Jonathan UNAT

Open Foil (25 competitors, C2 event)
1 Wei, Zikun NOFEAR / RPI earned C rating
2 Coffin, Carleton RPI FC
3 Holcomb, Cedric VIVO earned D rating
3 Wendell, Jay SFC
Also: Jonathan Wald (6th) and Alexander Szulzycki (8th), both of RPI, earned E ratings

Performance of the Week: Tournaments do not just magically happen. They are the result of a large team of volunteers who taken the time to learn to organize, manage, ref and serve as armorers so that the day happens, runs smoothly and is fun for everyone. In particular, the tournament organizers are the ones who book and deal with the venues, make sure all the other volunteers, equipment and supplies are in place, are first to arrive and last to leave, and spend their entire day answering questions, troubleshooting and holding the ultimate responsibility for the success of the tournament. It's a big job (I know, I have done it for years, and after serving as organizer for 7 of last season's 8 tournaments, decided it was time to step back and let others learn the ropes). The trio of Emily Peden, Matt Krohn and Karen Cutler have stepped up to organize the first 3 VFA-hosted tournaments of the season (the Stick Season in February, where Matt ran point, the Holiday Open with Emily at the helm, and the upcoming Mid-Winter Melee when it will be Karen's turn). They are organized and on top of things, supporting each other (Matt and Karen spend Saturday assisting Emily, and proved they could run Fencing Time even without our most experienced meet managers), and are quickly learning what needs to be done and who has the skills to do it. I am so happy to see new leadership emerging in the Green Mt Division! But while we are thanking and appreciating Matt, Emily and Karen, let's not get complacent. The Champlain Cup is do-it-yourself fun. That means we have a constant need for new organizers, meet managers, referees and armorers. The best way to thank those who run and ref the tournaments you enjoy is to pay it forward. If you are an active fencer, hone your skills as a referee (many thanks to all who reffed, especially Miranda and Charlie). If you are a parent or partner of a fencer, volunteer to assist with meet management or hang out with the armorer and learn to care for equipment.

Honorable Mentions: For the second tournament in a row, Jesse was the VFA's highest epee finisher, this time going home with hardware. Nice to see Mohammad back in action, with a respectable 5th place finish, including a DE win over a wily veteran who had beaten him in the pool. I will give myself a pat on the back for being, in 5th place, the only veteran fencer among the top 8 in foil (by a good many years, and also the only woman). Also kudos to Michele for being the next best veteran woman in a respectable 12th place. First time youth competitors Quinn and Sam both easily crushed my first tournament record (and in fact each won a bout). As often happens in youth events, the medals went to the oldest and biggest kids (including the energetic and aggressive Daphne). But among the younger, smaller kids, Gil told me his goal was not to finish last (as he did in his first tournament last season) and he met that goal with a 5th place finish.

Note: if looking at results in AskFRED, I notice there are errors in the open event DE tables (but not in pool or final results) with some names left out or in the wrong place - I'm guessing this happened due to ties in seeding after pools that needed to be managed by hand in Fencing Time. Now we know.

Top of the Page