VFA Bulletin
January 10, 2022

1. Welcome, or welcome back, for the first full week of winter fencing.

A few housekeeping notes for everyone:
-Every time you arrive for practice, please sign in so that I have a record of who attended which evening in case contact notification is needed.
-Please flash me your proof of vaccination this week if you haven't already done so, then add your name to the list so I can check you off when I get home. Alternatively, you can email me an image (which I will promptly delete for confidentiality).
-Please bring whatever payments you have due to your first practice. This could be as simple as the $10 winter club dues (for continuing students with still-valid punch cards), or as complex as two $100 checks (a current one for classes, equipment rental and dues, the other one postdated March 25 as a security deposit on rented equipment). Ask if you are not sure what you owe.
-Clean dry shoes only in the gym (take boots off at the door if they are wet)

Acoustics: It can be really hard to hear me, especially with the mask over my face. Acoustics at CCS are mediocre, and at the Bridge School they are downright terrible. So please, if you are fencing while I am teaching class at the same time, be aware of your noise level and keep your voices down as much as possible. If you would find written lesson plans helpful, I am happy to email them every week to anyone who wants them (either so you can anticipate if you are finding it hard to hear, or to keep as a reminder of what you did in class). Just let me know you want to be on the lesson plan email list.

Cover those shnozzes:
Everyone must wear a mask over mouth and nose for the entire practice, except for brief, physically distanced water breaks. N95 are hard to exercise in and don't fit well under the fencing mask. I recommend a sports-specific mask rather than cotton ones (which tend to get soggy fast). Many fencers use surgical masks. Whatever you choose: a. bring more than one in case it gets wet or the straps break, b. make sure it fits well and won't slide down (it's a huge pain to keep adjusting it when you have your fencing mask on), c. no masks with exhalation valves, no bandannas or flimsy cloth masks you can easily see light through, no neck gaiters except those designed specifically for covid protection. If you wear glasses, face masks under fencing masks provide an extra steaming-up challenge. One fencer in the club swears by a strip of cloth tape across the bridge of the nose of her surgical mask. If contact lenses are an option for you, I would go with those (that's what I do).

2. Some class by class notes.

Level 1
I sent all of you a separate email earlier today with specific info, so not much to add other than I look forward to introducing you all to fencing!

Competitive Squad
We are looking for new blood! This program is for motivated and enthusiastic teen and adult fencers in Level 2 or 3. Maturity, work ethic and love of fencing are more important starting points than current skill level. Typical practice schedule:
7:30 p.m warm up and a footwork exercise or two led by the "captain of the week" (This week's captain is Ethan)
7:45 (or so)-8:45 I will assign you two or three bouting games to play, rotating partners frequently. I will give you written directions for the games and you take it from there.
8:45-9:30 I will join you after my L1 class, lead you in another game or two, and have some opportunity to coach you directly.
Bring your electric equipment and use it as much as you can, but if newer Squaddies don't have electric yet, or someone's weapon is broken, just fence dry.

Middlebury Level 2/3
With a small L1 class, there should be enough room for those who want to get some unstructured, unsupervised bouting in to arrive at any time (in particular, more advanced and older students who can practice productively without my guidance). The best way to use the optional 6-7 pm time is to arrange in advance with other fencers to show up and fence together (rather than just show up and find out you have no-one to fence). You will need to talk to each other from week to week and exchange emails or phone number so you can communicate.
At 7 p.m, Adam will lead you in our familiar warm up routine while I am finishing up with my Level 1 class
From 7:15-7:45 will be some structured bouting time (often a game or some kind of rotation) for all levels of students.
Your class time is 7:45-9 p.m. At the moment, the Middlebury class is one week behind the Charlotte class which got a head start last Thursday (relevant if you sometimes visit the other town).

Charlotte Level 2/3
Off to a good start - I loved the teamwork and peer coaching that went on last Thursday. At the moment, the Middlebury class is one week behind the Charlotte class which got a head start last Thursday (relevant if you sometimes visit the other town). No worries if you missed last week, you are welcome to join this week, or whenever you are ready to resume. Technically, we are assigned to the larger gym on Thursdays (although the MPR was empty last Thursday). The youth basketball coach told me his Thursday practices will end at 7:15. So our schedule for now will be class 7:15-8:30, open fencing 8:30-9:15.

Double-dipping: is totally encouraged! In fact, if you attend more than one class in the same week, you only have to punch your card one time (is this club a deal, or what?). For example, you might
-Attend class in both Middlebury and Charlotte
-Attend both Level 2/3 class and Competitive Squad. Appropriate for teen and adult fencers who want a greater challenge and more bouting time.
-Attend both Level 1 and Level 2/3 class. Appropriate for a Level 2 fencer who wants a refresher on the basics, or perhaps for a Level 1 student with some prior-but-rusty experience (depending how well you remember the basics).