Equinox Epee Update #2

The final schedule for the (now not-quite-appropriately-named) Equinox Epee is two events on Sunday, April 10: Senior Mixed Epee at 9 am and D & Under Mixed Epee at 1 pm. Unfortunately, we’ve had to cancel the smallest event, Women’s Epee.

The venue is the old Franklin Jr. High, which was used as a megachurch before being purchased by a private entity that is trying to creatively repurpose it. Parking and entrance are on the northeast side, off 48th St. in Des Moines.

Ivan Lee Leads Referee Seminar at RDF

RDF hosted an Iowa Division-sponsored referee seminar lead by Certified Referee Instructor and 2004 Olympic saber fencer Ivan Lee this weekend. We really appreciate Ivan traveling from New York to Iowa while we were getting 12 inches of snow and running an excellent seminar. Ivan is a dynamic speaker, full of wisdom, and passionate about developing new referees and coaching them to success.

Not only do referee seminars give aspiring referees the chance to become certified referees with USA Fencing, they are part of continuing education requirements for those already certified. Attendees came from the Des Moines Fencing Club, Iowa City Fencing Center, Iowa State University Fencing Club, Omaha Fencing Club, and RDF. There is a lot of material to cover, but all of the participants were prepared, asked good questions, and almost everyone tested for certification. We all are thankful for Ivan’s feedback and encouragement!

Fun at the TCFC Winter Camp

Fencers Daniel, Chantal, and Jack had an exhausting but educational time at the Twin Cities Fencing Club’s annual Winter Camp, Dec. 28-30. We spent a lot of time on false actions – basically actions that are not “real” or committed, which help set up your real, committed action for success by conditioning your opponent to anticipate something other than your real action. We stayed at a nearby rental house with some fencers from the Lincoln Fencing Club, which allowed us to cook some meals and socialize. Our legs were sore, but we had a lot of fun!

Resting fencers: “I don’t think my brain can absorb any more fencing”
Warming up and working on our lunge mechanics with Coach Brad from LFC

RDF to Host Referee Seminar with Ivan Lee Jan. 14-15

RDF is hosting a referee seminar with Certified Referee Instructor Ivan Lee, sponsored in part by the Iowa Division of USA Fencing, on January 14-15, 2022. This is an opportunity for aspiring referees to earn credentials and current referees to refresh their knowledge and possibly increase their rating. All experience levels are welcome, as well as fencers who want to learn how to most effectively interact with referees and understand the calls being made, family members who want to know how they can best support their athlete, and coaches who need to stay current on the rules and their understanding of our ever-evolving sport. Only those who wish to earn credentials need to take the online/written and practical exam, but everyone should familiarize themselves with the rule book and study guide for this seminar.

The seminar will be held in person at the club, and masks are required for everyone, regardless of Covid-19 vaccination status (but we appreciate that the vast majority of fencing folks are vaccinated!).

Ivan Lee is a 2004 US Olympian and 2014 Hall of Fame member with 23 years of refereeing experience. He is a Certified Referee Instructor and Observer, with ratings of 2 in saber, 3 in foil, and 5 in epee. He has served as a referee assigner for USA Fencing and the Public Schools Athletic League in New York City.

His fencing career also includes 15 US National Championships, 10 NCAA Championships, and team gold at the 2001 Junior World Championships, as well as two golds at the 2003 Pan Am Games. Ivan is the Head Coach for Women’s Fencing at Long Island University and the Head Saber Coach at Long Island Fencing Center.

More information about the process of becoming a referee: https://www.usafencing.org/referees-process

Sign up on askfred: https://askfred.net/Clinics/moreInfo.php?clinic_id=49461

Fencing at the Marx/Mattern Clinic at the Twin Cities Fencing Club

Fencer Daniel and coach Kevin traveled to St. Paul last weekend for a fencing clinic with Olympic fencers-turned-coaches Michael Marx and Cody Mattern. It’s fun to work with fencers and coaches from other clubs and learn from their different perspectives, styles, and skills. Kevin and Daniel brought back some great drills and ideas that we plan on implementing in the club soon!

Coach Michael Marx talks to the group of foil and epee fencers at TCFC

Training Weekend with LFC and NCF

Last weekend, six of our teenage fencers traveled to Lincoln, NE to train at the Lincoln Fencing Club with their fencers, as well as a group of teenagers from Northern Colorado Fencers. Everyone was tired after a full day of conditioning and situational bouting, but came back for more on Sunday morning! The kids got to know each other better and seem inspired to train harder. We enjoyed meeting new people and had a lot of fun fencing them!

We’re Still Working on the Equinox Epee Tournament…

We’ve understandably been getting a lot of questions about our Equinox Epee tournament, originally scheduled to take place in March, which we tentatively rescheduled for Sept. 19-20 due to the novel coronavirus. We hope to have a more useful update toward the end of the week, but here is kind of what we’re thinking so far…

We highly doubt we will be able to hold the tournament with the planned schedule and location, and we have cancelled Y10 and Y12. We do know that some groups have been fairly successfully conducting livestock shows outdoors, and WDMCSD has instituted a hard ban on any sort of tape on their new gym floors, so we will likely be in an outdoor location.

However, this would incur some unfamiliar expenses, so we are also calculating various factors’ impact on attendance and financial viability. Our ability to hire enough referees will also impact what we’re able to offer. We really want to be able to do something, but we don’t want to be a source of disease spread, so we plan to comply with many of the guidelines in USA Fencing’s Return to Local Events document – fencers should be prepared to wear a cloth or disposable/surgical under their fencing mask. If you’re one of the people who has not already been practicing this way, we recommend that you start experimenting with different types of masks so you can find something that works for you (and can acquire several because they will get sweaty) before the tournament.

Additionally, the Iowa Division Board is making sanctioning decisions on a case-by-case basis this year after reviewing organizers’ plans. Since we haven’t nailed down the venue, we’ve been unable to submit a plan. We are considering running the tournament without sanctioning if we are unable to secure approval.

For those considering attending, here is some state and local information about the COVID-19 situation to help you in your decision-making:

https://coronavirus.iowa.gov/pages/rmcc-data

https://www.polkcountyiowa.gov/health-department/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19/

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/

Equinox Epee tournament rescheduled

Due to spread of coronavirus/COVID-19 and related closures, RDF has tentatively rescheduled the Equinox Epee tournament (originally set for March 28-29) to September 19-20, 2020. Event times remain the same.

We hope things will be relatively back to normal by then, but we will post any changes here, on facebook, on askfred.net, and will email updates to everyone preregisterd through askfred. We have yet to confirm gym availability with WDMCS, as they are understandably very busy with other things right now, but usually the gym schedule is pretty light that time of year.

We appreciate everyone’s support and hope you will still be able to join us in the fall!

Lots of Improvement at Coaching Clinic with Gary Copeland Last Weekend

Last weekend, RDF hosted a coaching clinic led by Gary Copeland of Northern Colorado Fencers. We had 8 coaches from RDF, the Des Moines Fencing Club, the Lincoln Fencing Club, and the Omaha Fencing Club brave the blizzard and single-digit temperatures to attend, as well as quite a few student volunteers who gamely took lesson after lesson during the two-and-a-half day workshop.

Thank you to everyone who participated. We saw lots of learning and improvement, which will translate to raising the level of the sport in the Midwest. As always, we’re grateful to Gary for sharing his feedback and expertise!