Bulletin for the Week of April 1, 2019


Welcome to our new Level 1 students starting this week! We have 6 new Level 1 students signed up in Middlebury, 11 in Charlotte, and one student who is going to alternate weeks between the two groups. Our new club members range in age from 9 to 70! The Charlotte Level 1 class is now full, but I would love a few more in Middlebury, so if you know anyone who wants to join (even if they miss the first class), have them get in touch with me right away. As always, we have a big Level 2 group in both locations. Practice times are 6:30-9 p.m. Tuesdays in Charlotte and Wednesdays in Middlebury. Classes will start on time, so please plan to arrive a few minutes early to allow time to change clothes, get out rental equipment, etc. Class will typically wrap up around 8 p.m, and the last hour is open fencing time. Make sure to at least skim your trusty VFA Weekly Bulletin each week, as there are sometimes important announcements, such as schedule changes (starting this week, Charlotte fencers pay attention!). New students, see #3 below for information on what to bring and what to expect at your first fencing class. I usually send out the bulletin on Mondays.

ATTENTION CHARLOTTE FENCERS: This week (April 2), we will meet in the cafeteria due to the school musical in our usual space. The cafeteria is at the opposite end of the building (lower floor) and you can park near that door. It is a very small space, and it will be tight with just the Level 1/2 class in there. Therefore, there will be no open fencing or electric fencing tonight (there will be an organized game for Level 2 students after class to get in a little non-electric bouting). Level 3 fencers, please come only if you plan to participate in or help out with the Level 1/2 class. I encourage all experienced fencers who can to come to Middlebury this week instead. Next week (April 9) we have use of only half of the MPR (our usual gym) for the first hour, due to town balloting. That means there will be no electric fencing before 8 p.m, as there is room (barely!) only for classes. Level 3 fencers may choose to go to Middlebury next week instead, or to come only for the last hour, or to plan on participating in/helping with Level 1/2 classes until the full gym opens up. Finally, the following week, we will meet two times - on both April 16 (Tues) and 18 (Thursday), as the CCS building is closed for April break the following week (so, no class April 23, come April 18 instead). Hopefully, we can settle into a regular schedule in our regular space after April break. Sorry for the disruptions-CCS is a busy place, and school activities take precedence.

Don't forget that all spring session fees are due this week. Please bring a check payable to Viveka Fox, or exact change if paying in cash. For those who are renting equipment, the total amount due is $140 for new students or $130 for returning students who have already joined the USFA for the season. The fee for returning students with their own equipment is $110 (or $100 if you prepaid for the entire season club dues in September). Alternatively, fencers with their own equipment may purchase a punch card (good for those who come sporadically).

Did you get some new fencing gear recently? Make sure to put your name on everything you own. A lot of equipment looks alike, and you have a much better chance of getting lost stuff returned to you if it's labeled.

Are you the kind of learner who finds written descriptions helpful? I e-mail detailed lesson plans for all the Level 1 and 2 drills weekly to my assistant coaches. I would be happy to send these e-mails to anyone who would find written lesson plans helpful in understanding or remembering our classes. Just let me know, and I'll add you to the weekly circulation list. .

Saturday April 13 at Sharon Academy.
10 a.m. Foil-Epee Doubles. A unique Green Mt Division tradition! Enter with a partner, one foil fencer and one epee fencer per team. Fence other teams in 10-touch relays (one weapon pair fences up to 5 points, then their partner take over the score and fence to 10, with a coin toss to determine which pair goes first). Two rounds of pools-the first distributed by average rating, the second using the slightly complicated but very fun "Shark Pool" format. If you want to know what that is, you'll just have to come. Still looking for a partner? Let me know and I might be able to help you find one (no promises, but I'll make some suggestions-foilists especially seem to be in short supply so if you fence foil I can probably match you with someone).

Afternoon: D-Under events, open to fencers rated D, E, or Unrated. Please do not sign up for more than 2 weapons (and consider seriously restricting yourself to one weapon: these events will run largely simultaneously, and if you are in more than one, you will have to run from one to the other with no rest).
12:30 D Foil
1 p.m D Epee
1:30 p.m D Saber
Unrated fencers and first-time competitors are very welcome to participate in this! There will be a broad range of skill level. Any event with 25+ participants (including 4+ Ds and 4+ Es) will be a C2 event, meaning the winner earns a C, 2nd and the two 3rd places a D, and places 5-8 an E.

All events are open to those born 2005 or earlier. USFA competitive membership is required for all events. The good news is, if you upgrade from noncompetitive to competitive status for the first time after April 1, your membership is good through all of next season.

More info, directions and to register: https://askfred.net/Events/whoIsComing.php?tournament_id=42750

Entry fees if registered by midnight 4/8:
Team, $25 ($20 if your partner is your parent, child, sibling or spouse)
Individual D-under event $15 if it is your only event, $5 if also fencing on a team
Late registration: $45 team, $20 for one individual event or $10 per individual event if also on a team.

Note: I will be out of town and miss this tournament. That means all competitors must own their own jacket, mask, glove and underarm protector (club rental equipment will not be available this time). I am looking for a Middlebury fencer or two to pick up club equipment from me next Wednesday, and a Charlotte fencer to return the gear the following Tuesday. Even better would be someone who could pick up and/or drop off from my house, since I am going to have a very full car with all the new equipment renters. Please let me know if you can help with this.

a. Wear loose comfortable long pants (sweatpants are ideal) - no shorts or thin leggings, even as the weather warms up, a t-shirt, and bring clean dry sneakers. If you have a choice of sneakers, court shoes (those made for volleyball, raquetball or squash, tennis etc) work better than running shoes (which have a wedge shape to the sole). Bring a water bottle (there is no water fountain in the gym).

b. Before the first class starts, you will need to fill in a spreadsheet form on my laptop for USFA non-competitive membership (required for insurance purposes). Plan to arrive at least 10 minutes early the first week (i.e. by 6:20 p.m) to do the paperwork.

c. I have assigned each person a mask and jacket based on the size information you gave me. I will have a printed list of names and equipment assignments. Your mask and jacket may not have the same number (the equipment is not in sets, each item is numbered individually). The masks live in a large red duffel bag and the jackets live in a black duffel bag. Mask numbers are written on the sides and back, jacket numbers inside the collar and on the straps. When you arrive, find your mask and jacket and set them aside somewhere along the edge of the room. Then find any glove that fits your dominant hand (you only need one glove, and you don't need to use the same one each week). The gloves live in a zippered tote bag that lives inside the same duffel as the jackets. Finally, take a foil from the long green bag. Foils with red tape on the handles are for lefties. Foils with yellow tape on the handles are for smaller children (typically age 10 and younger). Foils with blue tape on the handles are full size righties. Set the glove and foil aside with your other gear. One more piece of equipment for adult and teen women: in the bag with the gloves are some plastic cups called breast protectors. You insert these in the pockets in your jacket lining and they protect you from hard hits to the chest (plus they make you feel like Xena the warrior princess). When you are finished for the evening, please do me a big favor and pack all rental equipment back in its bags (that would be IN the bag - not just near it or on it).

d. Class will always start with a warm-up - a moment of breathing and focussing, a game to get everyone loosened up, and a set of exercises to increase your flexibility, strength and balance. The next thing we will do is footwork exercises, as the most important thing in fencing is how you move your body (what you do with the blade is secondary to this). Often, these are done without equipment on, but sometimes I will ask you to get dressed in your gear at this point. The final part of class is the bladework drills. Here, we will teach new moves or new combinations, and you will practice them with a partner. We rotate partners often, so that you get used to fencing with people of all shapes and styles. For most bladework drills, we will divide into groups - Level 1 foil, Level 2 foil and Level 2 epee, and each group will be given a different set of drills. Drills require that you take turns with your partner playing the role of the coach or leader (the person who gets hit) and of the student (the person who does the hitting). It is important that you pay attention to both aspects of the drill when it is being taught so that you can be a good leader, and that you let your partner hit you when it is her turn to do so.

e. I have a several advanced students who help me teach. They are experienced competitors who enjoy sharing their knowledge with beginners. Please use them as a resource - ask them questions and pay attention when they correct your technique.

f. Class will end with you saluting your classmates and instructors to thank them for working with you. Then the real fun begins! By the second week, you will be ready to play a game that introduces you to some limited improvisation, and by the third week, you will learn the rules of foil and be ready to fence your first real bouts. I encourage you to stay after class and fence bouts with other club members. Don't worry about the score (in fact, I encourage you not to keep score most of the time), just try to apply the techniques you are learning against real opponents. Whether you can stay for just 5 minutes after class or all the way until closing time (9 p.m), please do try to stay for a while and not just go home when the organized class ends.

g. If you are ever sick, out of town, etc and have to miss a class, I am happy to come in a few minutes early the following week to give you a quick catch up. Just remind me by email that you want to do that.

h. Finally, one of the best ways to become a good fencer is to watch good fencers. There are usually experienced fencers around the club bouting with eachother, and they don't mind your watching them and asking them questions.