Bulletin for the week of September 30, 2019


This Monday and Tuesday after class, we will play the Drawbridge Game, a fun mixer that introduces our new Level 1 students to bouting and encourages the Level 2 students to meet and fence with the Level 1 folks. So please plan to stay after class, at least for a while, and enjoy some fencing.

I leave for Veteran World Championships this Thursday, returning Oct 11. Level 1/2 classes will take place as scheduled, but there are changes for Competitive Squad and Level 3. Please note the schedule for the next 2 weeks:
Mon 9/230 and Tues 10/1 I am still here, all classes and practices as normally scheduled
Wed 10/2, Middlebury: No Level 3 class, but there will be open fencing for all fencers with their own equipment who wish to attend. I will be there, and as it's my last chance to practice before my trip, I would especially love to see lots of foil fencers there. Of course, epeeists are welcome too!
Thurs 10/3, Charlotte: No Level 3 class, but there will be open fencing for all fencers with their own equipment who wish to attend. Ray will supervise, and will have strip equipment for you to use.

Mon 10/7 Middlebury. Level 1/2 class as scheduled. Adam, Don and Deb (or at least 2 of them) will teach Level 1, while Geoff will teach Level 2. Squaddies will run their own practice.
Tues 10/8 Charlotte. Level 1/2 class as scheduled. Ray will teach Level 1 (possibly with help from Don or John), while Geoff will teach Level 2. Squaddies will run their own practice.
Wed 10/9 and Thurs 10/10 NO FENCING, No Level 3 classes
There will not be a Bulletin sent out next week, so please note the schedule changes now. I will be back the week of Oct 14 and we will be back on our normal schedule.

About Veteran World Championships (for curious newbies): What all other sports call "masters" (competition for older athletes) is called "veterans" in fencing. There are domestic veteran competitions for ages 40+, and international for 50+ in 3 age groups (50-59 or category A, 60-69 or category B and 70+ or category C). The top 4 fencers in each event (ranked in the US by your best 2 results in 3 national points tournaments) are chosen to represent their country at World Championships (in Cairo this year). I will be fencing in womens foil A on Monday Oct 7. Whichever 2 US fencers in each age group do best in the individual event will also participate in a team event the following day. At least some of the tournament will be streamed on the FIE YouTube channel (which you should visit frequently to enjoy watching World Cup and other elite-level matches anyway....). You don't have to watch in real time (good thing, because it will be 3 a.m here when it starts), you can tune in later and replay. You may or may not catch a glimpse of me, depends what they film and how I do. Here is the link:

If you have not yet paid for your fall classes and dues, I would really appreciate your bringing payment in this week, before I leave for Egypt. This includes Squaddies who have not yet paid. If you are not sure how much you owe, email me and I can tell you.

Congratulations to Ben Hogan, son of Middlebury assistant coach Deb Hogan, former Champlain Cup foil champion, and the first VFA fencers to ever earn an A rating, on his recent engagement!

The Green Mt Division is fortunate to have an international referee and ref trainer in-house! Anne Crocket (also coach of the UVM club) has graciously volunteered to offer the official US Fencing ref course free of charge to Green Mt Division members. This is an 8-hour intensive class, all on one day, that prepares you to take the national ref exam and become certified as a fencing official. On top of that, when you pass the on-line written exam, the GMD will refund your $35 exam fee.

The class will take place at UVM on Oct 12, 9 am-5 pm (bring lunch). Sign up for it here:

In almost every other division, if you want to take the ref course, you pay something like $75 for the class. Anne has volunteered her time because she recognizes that our division really needs new, competant refs. Best way to thank her? Sign up and attend the course! Even better, follow up after and take the exam (although you can attend the class even if you don't feel ready to take the exam).

Why learn to referee?
-When you first started competing, other, more experienced fencers reffed your bouts so that you could have a positive experience. All we ask is that you pay it forward.
-Have you noticed that the best refs are often the best fencers and vice versa? This is not a coincidence. Reffing hones the skills of observing and analyzing a bout.
-Without new refs coming in, the quality of our local tournaments will decline. Your division really needs you.
-By reffing GMD tournaments, you earn coupons good for entry fees to your next tournament, so you can subsidize some of your own competition expenses by doing this. If you are good at it and develop your skills and experience, you can eventually be paid to ref regional and collegiate events, then national events, and then, like Anne, you could be sent all over the world to officiate.

Who should take the class:
-All Competitive Squad members. Yes, all of you, most definitely.
-Any and all interested teen or adult fencers in Level 2 or 3 classes. Level 1 students and youth fencers (under age 13) will probably get more out if it if they wait until they have done a little more fencing and/or get older.

Sat Oct 26, 2019 Burlington Brawl at UVM
Events: Open (senior mixed) foil, epee and saber. E-under mixed foil and epee.

Who can enter: all fencers born 2006 or earlier, with competitive USFA membership (if you are currently a noncompetitive member, you may upgrade at any time)

I want especially to encourage unrated fencers, kids who recently aged out of youth tournaments (ie born 2006), and first-time competitors to participate in the E-under events. E-under is restricted to unrated fencers and those with the lowest (E) rating. It is a chance for beginning to intermediate-level competitors to enjoy fencing each other without having to contend with the big guns. Experienced fencers will volunteer to help ref you and I will bring loaner club equipment for all who are signed up at least a few days in advance (but you might as well sign up by Oct 21 and get the discounted entry fee). Best way to thank all of the organizers and volunteers who make E-Under events possible? Sign up and show up.

For event schedule, to register, to see who else is coming, get directions etc:

Thank you to Salle Catamount (the UVM fencing club) for hosting our Champlain Cup season opener, the 2019 Fall Foliage Classic. Congratulations to all the finalists!

Open Foil (7 competitors, E1 event)
1 Toshev, Peter SRN
2 Villemagne, Jeremie SRN
3 Elder, Justin SC
3 Fox, Viveka SC

Open Saber (11 competitors, E1 event)
1 Wyatt, Seth PVFA
2 D'Souza, Charlie Unat
3 Evans, Aaron SC
3 Walting, Paul PVFA

Open Epee (43 competitors, B2 event)
1 Sumler, Jeffery MFA
2 Duffy, Gerald MFA
3 Rivait, Birk SC
3 Nop, Will VFA - earned C rating
5 Lussier, Jesse VFA
6 Dyer, Ian RIFAC - earned D rating
7 Bolduc, Patrice SRN
8 Johnson, Daniel SC

Unrated Mens Epee (9 competitors, E1 event)
1 Mucciarone, Massimo SPA - earned E rating
2 Simpson, Patrick BVFA
3 Moeykens, Emmet UVFC
3 Pease, Calvin SC

Unrated Womens Epee (8 competitors, E1 event)
1 O'Connor, Micayla SC - earned E rating
2 Riveti, Mathilde SRN
3 Holt, Emily SC
3 Klassen, Emmy SC

Unrated Mixed Foil (6 competitors, E1 event)
1 Elder, Justin SC - earned E rating
2 Cook, Ethan VFA
3 Hill, Jansen VFA
3 Nop, Susan VFA

Performance of the Week: When I met with the Competitive Squad fencers in preseason, my main message to them was "show up and do the work". There are no shortcuts or substitutes for practice in this sport. Will Nop has attended almost every practice, in both Middlebury and Charlotte, from the beginning of preseason. As a high school senior, he is feeling motivated to get as much as he can from his final season in the VFA, and to prepare (hopefully) to fence on a college team. In particular, he is planning to attend a tournament at one of his top choice colleges next weekend, and wants to make a good impression on the coach and his possible future team-mates. So he has put in the work, and it showed, right from his first tournament of the season. Jesse sent along this report: "Will ended up sweeping pools, only having trouble with one very charming and handsome fencer (scoring a nice final touch in overtime). DE's went relatively smoothly until the table of 8 where he went up against a very fast and energetic opponent. Will maintained a narrow lead over the majority of the bout with nice flicks and impeccable timing, picking off as his opponent as he made aggressive fleches. However, his opponent came back from an 12-14 deficit to tie the bout. Will composed himself and went on the offensive." As Will reported "I got the last touch by feinting to his six and then disengaging with a flèche" Congratulations to Will on his new C rating, and best of luck next weekend!

Honorable Mentions: Jesse put in a strong showing, losing only to Will in pools, and giving a B-rated fencer a run for his money, losing 15-12 in the round of 8. Will was not the only Nop with a medal. His mom Susan did the best fencing I have seen from her in unrated foil, making really good decisions about when to parry (late and fast, just before her opponent would have hit her, riposting before they could recover and get away) and when to attack (typically initiating attacks while her opponent was moving forward but not extending or threatening her). She and Glen had an epic DE bout that stayed close the full 9 minutes, with Glen making lots of feints and false attacks, while Susan tried not to fall for his tricks and riposte only at the right moments. Ethan also did the most sophisticated fencing I have seen him do, with lots of second intention and feint-disengage attacks made with correct distance and appropriate acceleration. I gave him a fairly complex strategy to try against a much taller opponent in his gold medal bout, and he opened the bout by executing it perfectly. Jansen was the first of last seasons youth series graduates to make his debut in the "big leagues" (i.e. teens and adults), and the energy he put into his fencing paid off in a medal. Congrats and welcome to sisters Elinor (unrated epee) and Zoe (unrated foil), who made their tournament debuts and both easily trashed my legendary first-tournament record.

And also: Congratulations to VFA fencer Tom Parris on earning his E rating in foil last weekend at a tournament in Maryland (he lives part time in the DC area for work).

Some explanations for new fencing fans:
Most fencing tournaments (except the Olympics) award 2 bronze medals. That is because, after a seeding round, there is a direct elimination (knock-out table). In the round of 4 (semifinals), two people are eliminated at the same time, and they both receive bronze medals, while the victors fence off for gold and silver. Fencers knocked out before the semifinals are ranked by their seed going into DEs.

The letters after the names are the fencers' clubs. Green Mt Division clubs include VFA (Vt Fencing Alliance - both Middlebury and Charlotte), SC (Salle Catamount, the UVM fencing club), and UVFC (Upper Valley Fencing Club). We also had visitors from Montreal, including SRN (Seigneurs de la Rive Nord) and SPA (Spartiates d'Anjou), and from southern parts of New England, including PVFA (Pioneer Valley Fencing Academy), MFA (Marx Fencing, near Boston), BVFA (Blackstone Valley), and RIFAC (Rhode Island).

US Fencing awards letter ratings to teen and adult fencers based on competitive success. All competitors start out Unrated (U). An E1 event has 6-14 competitors, and the winner earns an E rating. A D1 event has 15+ competitors including 4+ Es, and the winner earns a D while 2nd and the tied bronze medalists earn Es. Event ratings go up from there depending on the size and strength of the field. For example, Saturday's open epee event was a B2 (25+ competitors, including at least 2 Bs, 2 Cs and 2 Ds, with winner earning a B, 2nd and 3rd earning a C, places 5-8 a D, and places 9-12 an E - if rating change is not noted above, it means that person already holds that rating or better). The highest possible rating is A (at present, the Green Mt Division has no A-rated fencers, and has only had 3 fencers in our history achieve an A). Ratings are used in the initial seeding of tournaments. If you do not re-earn a rating after 4 seasons, it drops by one. Ratings are benchmarks of progress that fencers strive for, but they are not the end-all and be-all of fencing. Lower rated fencers can, and frequently do, defeat higher rated opponents.