VFA Bulletin
October 3, 2022

All classes and practices as scheduled this week.

Charlotte fencers note: Next Tuesday, Oct 11, CCS is closed for parent conferences. We will meet in the Vt Commons School's brand new gym (thank you VCS for graciously hosting us!). The address is 55 Green Mt Drive, S. Burlington. This is a former commercial building, next door to the school's main building. It is an actual gym (no more trying to squeeze into the small common room!), so that both Level 1 class and Competitive Squad can practice at the same time as usual. Please bring clean, dry, indoor shoes and help protect VCS's nice new gym floor. The following week (Oct 18) and for the rest of the fall, we will be back in Charlotte.

Are you the kind of person who finds a written record of what we did in class to be helpful? I am happy to share written lesson plans for either Level 1 or Level 2/3 classes via email each week. If you would like to be on that mailing list, just let me know.

Level 2/3 fencers, do you still need to do either of these things?
-Pay your fall club dues (this is in addition to buying a new punch card when needed)
-Renew your USFA membership?
Please take care of that this week! I hate having to chase you down and nag you.

I had a great time with the Level 1 classes last week, and look forward to continuing our fencing journey together! Please keep your rented equipment together (preferably in a bag) and double check each week that you are bringing everything with you. I do not carry any extra equipment (except foils, in case one breaks during practice). If you forget something (like your glove) I can not provide you with one.

I encourage all newbies to stay after practice and do some actual fencing with each other. I realize it's a late night, especially for our youngest students, and you don't have to stay all the way until 9. But do try to stay for at least 10 minutes after class. Fencing is a game, and you can only really learn a game by playing it. If you only do drills, you are learning the moves but not the game. People who stay and actually fence have more fun and learn the sport faster. When fencing other people, at least in the first few weeks, I encourage you to not keep score - just experiment and try out the moves you are learning. There is plenty of opportunity to get competitive later.

Speaking of competition, all of our local tournaments are open to spectators free of charge. I invite you to drop in and watch the October or November tournaments. By the time the December tournament rolls around, you may want to give it a try yourself! See #4 below for more info.

Are you an adult beginner? Thank you to Karen Cutler for sharing this excellent article about the importance of having fun and learning new skills in adulthood:

At the start of the pandemic, we set up an on-line chat room for VFA fencers using the Discord app. We welcome new club members to join! You can connect with other fencers and chat about all things fencing. In particular, I would love to see Competitive Squad use the Discord channel to set up carpools to out-of-state tournaments, and I would love to see the more experienced Middlebury fencers use it to coordinate meeting before class to do some electric fencing with each other. If joining the VFA Discord, please:
-use only your real name, no on-line nicknames please, people should feel like they are interacting with people they know
-remember that this chat room is open to all ages, keep it appropriate and family-friendly

To join, please contact me for a link.

Thank you to Kaila Hanover for recently taking over and revitalizing the VFA's long neglected Facebook page. Kaila has big plans for keeping our page current and interesting! If you are on Facebook, check it out and feel free to post fencing-related things there.

The Champlain Cup is Vermont's fun and friendly fencing league, with monthly tournaments from October through May, and season-end awards for the best competitors (including a Rookie of the Year award for the best new fencer!). Would you join a tennis club or a recreational softball league, and never play in any games? Tournaments are our games. You might get clobbered at your first few tournaments (I certainly did!) but you will still get to fence a number of bouts, meet members of the broader fencing community, watch and learn from more experienced competitors (many of whom are happy to give you some tips), try out electric equipment (loaners available), and have a lot of fun. So if you have never competed before, or if you recently aged up out of our youth events in to the "big leagues" (teen/adult competitions), I encourage you to go ahead and sign up for the fall tournaments!

The October and November tournaments are open to fencers born 2009 or earlier. (Fencing age groups are by birth year, not age on tournament day, so you stay in the same age group for the full season). They require Access or Competitive level US Fencing membership. If you currently have a Noncompetitive membership, you may upgrade before the tournament by paying the difference in price (so $10 additional for Access, which allows you to participate in divisional-level tournaments only, and is an affordable place to start). Make the upgrade on line (usafencing.org, click on "membership") or over the phone (719-866-4511). Do it at least a week in advance, to make sure it goes through. We can not do it for you on tournament day. The December tournament includes youth events, for kids born 2010 or later. Champlain Cup youth events do not require a membership upgrade.

Entry fees for Champlain Cup tournaments: $20 for your first event of the tournament, plus $10 per additional event. Sign up on AskFRED at least 5 days in advance (so by Monday, Oct 10 for the first one) to avoid a $15 late registration fee (and because early sign ups make life so much easier for we tournament organizers). Payment is at the door (check or exact change, no credit cards or payment apps). There is no penalty if you sign up and find you have to withdraw (after all, we don't want you to come if you are sick).

Please do not sign up for two events that start at the same time (even though AskFRED lets you).

Sign up is via a website called AskFRED (FRED is the Fencing Results and Events Database). New to using it? Instructions for creating an account are here:

Tournaments do not just magically happen. It takes a big team of volunteers to organize and run them. Thank you to Karen and John for filling in for Ray for the first tournament, and doing the pre- and post- tournament computer tasks (still looking for new volunteers to learn those tasks, especially younger adult fencers who will run the Green Mt Division for years to come!). I am now looking for tournament day meet managers for Oct 15. This is a great job for a noncombattant (i.e. parent or partner of a fencer, or someone who is only fencing in one event that day). Tasks include collecting entry fees, checking US Fencing memberships, and entering data into Fencing Time (our tournament software). I would love to have one experienced meet manager and at least one new trainee for the morning (9 a.m to 1 p.m) and another experienced manager/trainee pair for the afternoon (1 pm until about 5:30 pm). I would love it if folks step up and volunteer rather than wait for me to come twist your arm. Volunteers earn coupons good for entry into future tournaments (for yourself, or for anyone you want to give them to). The first tournament will be self-reffed (so if you are a more experienced fencer, I expect you to do your share of reffing). For future tournaments when there are youth, unrated or E-under events, we will also need volunteer refs (who, like meet managers, earn coupons for free entry into future tournaments).

Let the games begin!
Fall Foliage Open and Veteran Tournament
Saturday Oct 15, Mary Hogan School, Middlebury
Event schedule:
10 a.m Open (aka Senior Mixed) Epee
10 a.m Veterans Foil
12 p.m Open Saber
1:30 pm Open (aka Senior Mixed) Foil
1:30 pm Veterans Epee

Open events are open to all fencers born 2009 or before.
Veterans events are open to fencers born 1983 or before
We especially need more foil fencers to sign up (kudos to the epee crowd for doing a good job with signing up early!)

To register (by 10/10 to avoid late fee!), get directions and see who else is coming:

Registration is also open for the November and December tournaments
Sat Nov 12, Middlebury Union Middle School, Stick Season Stab - open foil and epee, E-under foil and epee (E-under events are restricted to E and unrated fencers, a chance to fence each other without the big guns)

Sat Dec 3, Vt Commons School (S Burlington), Holiday Open - open foil and epee, youth foil and epee