Is stubbornness a virtue or a fault for a fencer? Both!

I fenced a tournament last weekend. My stubbornness at trying to fence the style I wanted to use against a fencer who obviously had an antidote to that style was a leading cause of my defeat. Why didn’t I change? My stubbornness lead to my defeat.

On the other hand, during practice when learning a new action use it over and over again – even though it fails. By repeating your mistakes with minor changes you will learn why you are failing. You can fine tune the action and learn how to make it work.

Why did you start? Why are you still doing it?

Tim Morehouse’ Fencing in the Schools just published their poll/survey of why people started fencing. You can read it here:

My next question is why are you still doing it?

My theory: The 80, 15, and 5 rule in play.

80% of the people who try fencing will not stick with it beyond a few weeks or months. They try it and it’s just not for them. That’s okay. At least they gave it a try.

15% of the people like it enough to continue fencing but they are not willing to put in the hours of sweat and sore muscles to see how far they can go with it. These are the recreational fencers. They are having fun hanging out with their friends. They go to fencing practice regularly but if they spend most of the practice time chatting with their friends, that is okay with them. They get a little exercise. They have fun. Their friends think they are cool because they fence! What’s not to like?

5% of the people are the hard core. They want to see how far they can go – however far that is for them. They probably know the Olympics is not in their future but what about winning a medal in a local tournament? What about earning a rating? What about getting a chance to compete with one of the best fencers in the world? Or fencing in college?

Here is my problem as coach: The recreational fencers (15%ers) and the competitive fencers (5%ers) don’t mix. Either the recreational fencers feel left out when the coach doesn’t give them as much time as he does the competitive fencer and quit. Or due to the incredible gravitational pull of average, the competitive fencers get sucked into the effort level of the recreational fencer, cease improving and quit.

Both kinds of fencer are wonderful. But do I need to keep them separated? How?

New coach coming to McKendree University fencing

Dear Friends,

Last month I tendered my resignation as Head Fencing Coach at McKendree University.

I was asked not to make a public statement until they had a new coach ready to come aboard.

A new coach has not been officially named but I had email correspondence last week with the expected coach. I’ll leave it to the school to make the official announcement naming him.

I want to thank McKendree for the opportunity they gave me to start this program. They took a chance and it paid off.

Thanks to some great kids and maybe a bit of luck, our team fenced to an 11-4 regular season record in the very first year of our program – against schools 20 and 30 times our size. The fencing program is drawing interest from Olympic team members and world class fencers from countries around the world who are considering attending McKendree. I can see this program being a National Championship contender in the years ahead.

It was hard to make the decision to step down but I feel like I have done all I can do. It is time to hand this program off.

I have been asked if another college fencing program is in my future. I would love a chance to start another winning program but I do not have any offers at this time.

Pearce Wilson

Purdue University Foil competition

Sean, Corey, Nuray and Pearce made the long trip to eat in the Purdue University cafeteria. While we were there Corey and Sean decided to fence the foil competition. (Inside joke… Purdue has the best cafeteria we have ever eaten at!)
corey, sean, pearce

sean, pearce, corey
Corey earned 12th place (2nd in the women’s bracket). Sean earns 15th place.