The ambiance of a small town

Women Fencing in 1888. Healthful Diversion for Women

A small club is different then its larger brethren, I equate it with a small town vs a big city.The big club has all the bells and whistles, and a goodly amount of fencers to practice your skills. The small club can however, can offer something valuable to the mix as well, if done right. Fencers success and the clubs success, does not have to be limited, if coaches understand the issues and are creative in finding solutions. Thoughtful use of space, minimizes potential problems. It does not always work, but yes Virginia, small can be a wonderful thing.

I went recently to an “E” and under competition with a few of my students. This time of year in my area where competitions are rather sparse, the hour and a half drive was deemed well worth it. We were greeted with true hospitality by the Maryland Fencing Club, a small but well run establishment that gave the feeling, to quote the Cheers TV show, “Everybody knows your name”. Often times, if I am to be truthful, E rated competitions can a rather brutal affairs. You’ll sometimes see a few bumptious novice fencers trying to win by strength and aggressiveness, others standing clueless, getting overwhelmed by it all. With this background I was pleased to see actual fencing, OK, perhaps not world class, it being an “E” and all, but clean, thoughtful and fun fencing, across the board! I see this as the result of quality coaching. The directing was better then expected as well. All the “new” rules were clearly stated at the beginning, and an introduction to the bout committee, and how to use the committee if questions arose, was offered. A small but welcome addition for such competitions. Hats off to the Maryland Fencing Club.


So too, I was impressed by the use of space, Greg Paye the proprietor/head coach, said this “You have to think like your aboard a small ship, everything needs to be considered”. I came away inspired by this small club. I will gladly send my students there for competitions and recommend it if your in their area, so check them out.

So, no more excuses for us small clubs, let us maximize our strengths in our minimized space with quality over quantity. Add the atmosphere of welcoming and community and we can go a long way. Support your local clubs, large and small. Spread the word.

coach Geoff

Fencing apps

I am torn between two world views. A luddite by nature but I hold a begrudging respect for cool gadgets.

So here I am, ready to offer a few apps that my be useful, or at least entertaining. I’m using an iPhone, most are compatible with iPad, and Android but you should check.

There are several apps to help with scoring, I see many directors are now using them on the local level. All are pretty much the same, yes, they keep score. They can set up pools of up to 8 fencers. They calculate indicators, this can be very useful as new rules, now in force, state that the director does not have to tally the score sheets! I have used FencingRef, ScoreCounter, and FencingCalc. All have worked well for me.

An app I have become very much enamored with is Coach’s Eye. It allows me to video fencing and analyze the footage in slow motion or stop frame. I can draw on the screen and do voice overs. It can be shared easily to others via email. I have parents that send me footage of competitions when I can’t attend. It can also be used to analyze competitors! This is a great app

Fencing Journal is a new app for me, it does look very useful. It is the most convenient way to look up competitions on the fly and keep track of competitors to boot!

On the more frivolous front, a great time consumer is the game, Finger Fencing. You control the blade with your finger and can lunge by tapping the screen. Great for young kids of all ages that need to be entertained on those long fencing days

There are several apps available to get you to useful websites quickly on your mobil device. Fred Fencing links you to, USA Fencing does what it says. Frankly, I find bookmarking the site worked well enough, but perhaps on other devices it may have more value.

Fencing attributes


Fencers with high levels of self-efficacy:
  • See problems as challenges to overcome, or tasks to be mastered. Even completing small goals is a source of satisfaction.
  • Develop deep interests, and are active participants, in the details of form, tactic’s and the phycology of fencing. Interest grows and develops as opportunities and challenges become more plentiful
  • Form a strong sense of commitment to their interests. They don’t go half-way, or start skill training and give up quickly.
  • Recover quickly from setbacks and disappointments.

Whereas Fencers with low levels of self-efficacy:
  • Avoid challenges (or inconveniences) – big or small (sometimes very very small).
  • Believe advanced techniques and strategies are beyond their abilities. They see other people doing things and assume the position of observer, not participant.
  • Focus on their personal failings. They don’t give themselves credit.
  • Lose confidence easily and quickly, giving up on new things when they’re difficult, uncomfortable, or just different. they stay in their comfort zone, fail to work on things they perceive they are not good at

and if all this fails try this
coach Geoff