Fencing Tourney Report: Friday Night Foil Fight 4/17

Net result: Pool record 3-2, seeded 6/12, lost first DE 11-15

 Despite the less-than-stellar showing in the end, this was probably my
best foil tournament to date. A large part of this was because last
night’s foil fight was a bit smaller than average and involved mainly
locals–the sectionals in indianapolis leached away most of the area
fencers who might otherwise have shown.

 Foil is also very much not my weapon of choice, with its focus on
right-of-way and parry-riposte sequences. My epee game lately has
focused much more on timing, point control and distance control, all
of which would have served me well in this tournament. Too bad I
didn’t actually fence that way; but on the whole I feel really good
about how things went.

 My pool went reasonably well, partly because of a larger-than-usual
concentration of beginners. My two losses were against G, a
left-hander from my club, and Blue. In both cases I lost because I
was too aggressive, charging in too quickly and not controlling
distance well. All of the things I had already corrected in epee, in
other words… I have to chalk that up to not taking foil as
seriously, but that’s not something I should do again.

 I started my first DE in the first way and got incredibly frustrated,
completely losing control of the bout. At the end of the first period
I was at 7-13 against, angry and hotheaded. The break really saved
me: I walked away, calmed down, tried to get back into a more
deliberate state of mind. And it helped a lot: the 2nd period was
much slower and I took four straight touches to his one, ending at
11-14. My opponent then took a final touch to win at the beginning of
the third period, but by the end he was obviously getting nervous
about the erosion of his lead.

 What did I learn? I fence much better in a calm, deliberate and
less-energetic style than I do aggressively, which might explain why I
enjoy epee so much more than foil. Distance control saved my ass in
the 2nd period of my DE: a lot of my touches owed to being able to
keep my opponent out of range until I drew him in for a parry-riposte.
 In general I also found that the high-out 6 guard I’ve been playing
with in epee helped a lot here, keeping my blade out of range of
beat-disengage attacks and helping my set the distance better. It
weakens my parry-4, and encourages a lot more parry-2 than I like, but
I got a fair number of parry 2-riposte to flank or back shots in that
are probably decent enough at my level.

 Next up: Indianapolis tournament on May 2, probably foil and epee both.

Questions, comments, interesting anecdotes? Tweet to me at @ajdecon, or send me an email at ajdecon@ajdecon.org.