post competition questionnaire

MyEpeeCoach post competition questionnaire

Name_______________________________________ Weapon_________________________ Date__________________________

Competition Name_________________________ Description of competition (youth, veteran , etc., or 12 and under etc).________________

Coach or observer________________________ Seeding going into pools if applicable__________Seeding in DE____________

Stated goals for this competition___________________________________________________________________________________

On a scale of 1 to 10 please answer the following: P = Pools and DE = Direct Elimination

Preparation for this event P ______________ DE____________

Warm up routine P ______________ DE ____________

Overall feeling going into this event P ______________ DE ____________

Use of distance and footwork P ______________ DE ____________

Point control P ______________ DE ____________

Ability to see your opponents intentions P_______________ DE ____________

Your use of second intentions P _______________ DE ____________

Ability to change tactics as required P _______________ DE ____________

Use of timing P _______________ DE ____________

Offensive actions P _______________ DE ____________

Defensive actions P _______________ DE ____________

Ability to stay focused P _______________ DE ____________

Ability to receive strip side coaching if available P _______________ DE ____________

Nutrition and hydration P _______________ DE ____________

Fitness level for this event P _______________ DE ____________

Equipment preparation for this event P _______________ DE ____________

Please list any issues during this event ___________________________________________________________________________

How can I move forward toward to my next goal _____________________________________________________________________

Questions for my coach ________________________________________________________________________________________


Foil and epee? can you do both? Sabre?

Can you compete at a high level in multiple weapons? While some can, most find it problematic to say the least. That said....
egypt2Fencing in Skirts Members of the fencing team cross foils, 1900epee-usa
Of all the combinations, I find foil and epee the most challenging. I think many would rightly disagree with that observation, but disagreements are embedded in fencing. I’ll state my case.

It is true that foil and sabre share right of way rules and are frequently combined
, to my mind however, it is the depth of target that makes epee and sabre more compatible. Consider the target ares and distances. The hand being the closest target. Well, that is my opinion anyway, the different stance, grip and nature of epee and sabre are also less likely to confuse the student (and yes, I’m still a student). Foil and sabre also are very distinct from each other by their physical nature. Such physical differences offer less issues in my opinion with muscle memory and visual cues.

In foil and epee the actions are very similar but for target depth and resulting distance and right of way rules. I have heard from fencers and elite foil coaches that one can do everything right (as a foilist) and still get hit in epee! Yep! I have myself described an observation, that some foil coaches consider epee the same as foil but the off target hits count! I don’t think personally that this is accurate, but my point being that foil and epee are so similar that for most students, at least for those that compete at the higher levels, it is a confusing and indirect path to mastery. Well, for most of us this may be true, but I’m sure you will find exceptions (use the contact me feature at the bottom of this page to expose my delusions).

So is there merit in studying two or even three weapons? I would say absolutely yes (though perhaps one would be pistol, if I was inclined to sarcasm). The specific choice should be considered with the intent of offering new insight into the fencers primary weapon and technique. A timid foil or epee fencer would do well to study some sabre. A foilist can benefit from learning binds and oppositions common in epee. A sabre fencer can do with some point control learned in epee. An epee fencer can benefit from specific second intentions actions found in foil and sabre. Sometimes, and don’t discount this, spending some time with another weapon can just be fun. It can also help when we get stuck in a rut and want to advance those little gray cells.

So here I am, needing to take my own advise (this is indeed a rare thing) I have started giving foil lessons again. Heck, I may even teach sabre (I use to fence both). What have I learned as a coach, is that teaching more then one weapon has the same advantages and disadvantages as to the competitive fencer. Having fun is not a bad thing at all, but I’ll still be “epee centric," it’s my thing, but here comes foil and sabre and the opportunity to learn something new!

with gratitude,
coach Geoff

Young kids fencing!

Many coaches I know will not start teaching fencing to kids under the age of ten years. They have good reasons, as serious training is often beyond capabilities of many younger kids. The equipment can be heavy as well, leading to poor habits needing correction in future training.

With all that in mind, I now teach kids as young as seven to fence. I do so with the following considerations.

First thing is I have changed my goals. I work on skills such as impulse control, following multi step directions, good sportsmanship and safety. In effect, I teach them how to work with a coach.
Second thing I change is equipment. I use the plastic epee and foils, masks and body protection shown in the above photo. This works in two ways, the equipment is much lighter so kids can maneuver and use better form with less chance of being hit to hard, no more tears! It also make a clear distinction and acts as motivation when they “grow up” into “real equipment” and also makes the whole sport more acceptable to reluctant school systems and mothers!

The programs with younger kids have proven to be popular. Only time will tell if such early exposure promotes more kids to take up fencing (and parents to consider it a viable option) and if the skills learned transfer as the student matures

I can say teaching young kids is a fun change from my normal coaching routine, it’s a blast! I strive to transfer the playfulness to my other students so everyone benefits

coach Geoff,
signing off

Low impact fencing?


The time comes when we must face reality or move on
. I’m referring to those maladies and conditions that we will all, at sometime in our lives face. Fortunately fencing is a very accommodating sport. I have been working with veterans and other persons that need to revise their way of fencing for a host of reasons. Fencing is a rather high impact sport, was can experience up seven times our body weight at times. Those long lunges also take a toll on joints and ligaments. Even if we are able to keep up an athletic fencing style, recovery time increase and the chances for injury, be it traumatic or overuse, will increase.

Following this train of thought, I have been working with some of my students in adapting different strategies to their game. Some consideration should be awarded to increased use of second intentions, defensive actions, and using our distance in a more effective manner. In my opinion consideration should also be made of lower impact foot work strategies. The greater reliance on advance-lunge as an attack for instance, as opposed to one longer lunge has been one useful change. I am referring to a very short advance and modest lunge that can be done in about the same time as a longer lunge. Re-doublements and cross overs are also relatively low impact solutions to distance. A half step-lunge can replace the ballestra-lunge in some circumstances. All these solutions do Introduced some degree of compromise, but can be worked to keep us fencing in a meaningful way. What ever changes should carefully be considered with the idea of understanding any unintended consciences that may arise. Other accommodations may include the use of taping the problem areas, massage, and physical therapy. Extending the recovery time is preferred if not always possible, so please, work on fencing techniques for the long haul

Thanks as always
coach Geoff

Veteran fencing

You can do it!

Veteran fencing is a big topic. It covers a demographic of those over 40 that fence for fun and fitness. It also covers a varied and complex assortment of goals, as well as abilities. Some have fenced their whole lives, others may have fenced in their youth or never fenced before. So too, time has often dealt us a varied palate of considerations, kids, jobs, family, and sometimes health issues.

It is important to set appropriate goals with these considerations in mind. The over ambitious goal can lead to feelings of failure, just as too modest a goal can rob one of the sense of accomplishment. It should, however, be acknowledged that fencing is, and should be, fun for you. Veteran fencing has many opportunities for those that are adventurers. Travel, and meeting interesting, and dare we say colorful, athletes with stories to tell, are yours for the asking.

Both physical and mental agility are improved with regular participation in the sport. Often feelings of confidence and accomplishment may be found. Service to others can also be had, by using your knowledge to referee, coach, organize and otherwise facilitate our sport. I have often heard that fencing is a lifetime sport. This is more true then I ever expected.

Common issues for veteran fencers may include the increased need for stretching and conditioning with lower impact techniques. Increased recovery time in our training schedule is generally a good idea. Increased intensity with lower volume has been a useful approach for many, assuming one has a good base fitness level to start with. A certain economy of motion is often found in life long fencers. This is often done with second intentions and other tactical and strategic efforts as opposed to purely athletic actions. Simply put, we must fence smarter.

Simply put too, we must train smarter. A common point of failure for older fencers is neglecting or failing to acknowledge injuries, especially those injuries resulting from repetitive motion. These injuries are often dismissed with the statement “I’m just getting old” or the attitude that, “I can tough it out”. Keep on top of injuries by being honest with yourself and keeping in touch with your body. See your doctor regularly and treat yourself like an athlete! Proper nutrition and rest are ever more vital as we age.

I must give a shout to the multitude of veteran fencers I have known over the years with heart issues, diabetes, and almost every ailment known to mankind that still show up and fence, because they simply refuse to give up. Few of us accumulate years without also accumulating health issues. Despite this, it is my opinion that fencing is far better for us then sitting on the couch. Use what you have. Keep your sense of humor and have fun


coach Geoff