Example Fencing Moved

Bulletin for the Week of October 22, 2018







Charlotte fencers:  there will be no fencing on Tuesday November 6 because CCS is in use as a polling place.  The missed class will be made up on December 11.  Go vote!


Middlebury fencers: there will be Level 3 class/practice on Halloween night, since the group is mainly teens and adults.  If you are out trick or treating, come when/if you can.


I will continue this week with taking some of the Level 2 fencers to try electric fencing after class.  Once again, I encourage all Level 1 and 2 fencers to stay after class and do some practice bouting with each other.

I am no longer bringing the "Sock Store" to every practice, but we have plenty of socks in all sizes.  I am happy to bring them in for you - just email and let me know how many and what size (S=womens shoe 4-7 or mens 3=6, M=womens 7-10 or mens 6-9, L=womens 10-13 or mens 9-12, XL=mens 12-15,  although some taller folks have been going up a size to get the length they need).  These are fitted soccer-style athletic socks, dark green with black stripes and VFA logo in gold.  They are $12 per pair (please bring exact change or check payable to VFA; I do not carry change).



Sunday November 4, Mary Hogan School, Middlebury

Final event schedule will be announced after registration closes on October 30 (if you have a contraint, like you can only be there for part of the day, please let me know.  I can't promise, but I might be able to arrange the schedule to accomodate you).   Any event with fewer than 4 fencers registered by Oct 30 will be cancelled (and those who signed up qualify automatically for Jr Olympics)

I would love to see all 22 of the VFA’s teen fencers come out for this! Especially:

a. Girls.  We must hold seperate male and female events (we are not allowed to combine them for this tournament since it serves as a qualifier).  Since we have significantly fewer girls than boys in this age group in our club (hey girls, talks some friends into joining this winter!), the girls events are in danger of being cancelled if most of you don’t show up to support them, which would be a bummer for the enthusiastic girls who really want to fence.

b. Unrated fencers, first-time competitors, and 2005 babies who just moved up from the youth events this season.  The more of you who come, the more chances you will have to fence eachother (although you will have to fence some of the rated fencers too).  Adult refs (including me) and experienced fencers will be there to support you and show you the ropes.  Loaner equipment is available for all who need it.

Huzzah for Isidora, Ryan, Peter and Isa, who have already signed up! Now, how about the rest of you, namely: Max, Luke, Ethan, Chris, Seamus, Lauren, Robbie, Winslow, Eli, Thomas, Will, Kosmo, Tim T, Tim W, Henry, Alex, Benjamin, Philip

Frequently Asked Questions

-Why should I participate in this?

a.  First and foremost, for fun!  This is the only tournament all season strictly for teens (usually you are grouped in with adults).  It’s a chance to make new friends, learn from your more experienced and skilled peers, and spend a day hanging out with other teens who love swords.

b. As a learning experience.  Fencing with electric equipment under the guidance of an experienced ref gives you feedback on whether you are really effectively scoring touches.  Facing new and unfamiliar opponents challenges you to use your wits and expand your fencing game.

c. For motivation.  Would you join a basketball league or a tennis club just to go to practices, but never play in any games?  Tournaments are our games.  Even if you get crushed (ask me about my first tournament!) you will have a reason to practice and try to do a bit better the next tournament (there is one nearly every month from September through May).  I have found over the years that students who participate regularly in tournaments tend to stick with fencing longer, improve faster, and enjoy the sport more than those who come only for classes.

d. To support your club.  The VFA is hosting this, meaning we lose money if not enough people show up.  Also, the vast majority of teen fencers in the Green Mt Division belong to one or the other VFA branch.  We may get a few Upper Valley fencers and/or a few younger college students, but I'm not counting on seeing many.  Without us, there is no party.

-Which events should I sign up for?  We will be holding events for two age groups.  The age groups are based on your birth year (not actual age the day of the tournament - that way you remain in the same age group all season).

Junior = all teens, born 1999-2005

Cadet = younger teens, born 2002-2005

Choose 1 or 2 events based on your age and weapon preference (for example, someone who fences only foil and is young enough might choose both junior and cadet foil, or someone who likes to fence both foil and epee might choose cadet foil and cadet epee).  If you are an experienced competitor, you know you have the stamina to fence nearly nonstop all day, and you are really interested in trying to qualify for a 3rd or 4th Jr Olympic event, you may sign up for more than 2 events, but please give it some thought and make sure you really want to do that much.

-Do I need competitive USFencing membership?  If so, how do I get it? Yes, you do need it.  Many of you are already competitive members. Anyone who is not would need the upgrade.  The cost of upgrading is $65 for the season.  You can renew or upgrade on line at www.usfencing.org (select “membership”).  However, if you do not know your user id or password, you might find it hard to log in.  If that is the case, the fastest and easiest way to handle this is to call the USFencing office (in Colorado, 2 hr time difference) at 719.866.4511.  They will be able to take a credit card over the phone, make the upgrade and reset your log in so you can access the website in the future.  Several club members have reported that dealing with the national office over the phone was faster and less frustrating than trying to get into the website without knowing their password.  Whether you use the website or the phone, you must make the upgrade several days in advance of the tournament (please please please don’t leave it to the night before, as your name must be on the Green Mt Division membership list by tournament day).  When upgrading to competitive status, make sure to list your club as Vermont Fencing Alliance (no need to specify Middlebury or Charlotte) and your divison as Green Mountain  (NOT New England or Northeast).

-Who qualifies for Junior Olympics?  Should I really participate in this if I have no interest in going to Denver for JOs?

For the Junior events (held first):

Up to 12 competitors in an event: the top 3 qualify

13+ competitors: the top 25% qualify (so 4 people if there are 13-16, 5 if there are 17-20 etc)

For the Cadet events:

Up to 12 competitors in an event: the top 3 qualify

13+ competitors: the top 25% qualify (so 4 people if there are 13-16, 5 if there are 17-20 etc)

If one or more of the top 3 or top 25% (depending on event size) is taken by someone who already qualified as a Junior (so therefore automatically qualifies as a Cadet), the next person down who has not already qualified is added to the list.

Yes, you really should participate even if you don’t want to go to JOs or don’t think you have a chance of qualifying.  You should fence for all the reasons listed in #1.  The more who participate, the more who qualify, so no-one will resent you, even if you surprise yourself and do really well.

-How do I sign up?  How much does it cost?

We use a website called AskFRED.  Sign up (also get directions and see who else is coming) here-required by midnight Oct. 30 in order to participate (late registrations are not accepted for qualifier tournaments):


New to using AskFRED?  Directions are here: www.vtfencingalliance.org/old_posts/HowToUseFRED.htm

Entry fee for this event: $15 for your first event plus $5 per additional event.  Late registrations/walk-ins are not accepted for qualifiers.  Reminder one last time: you MUST sign up by October 30 in order to participate.


Three cheers for Toby, Miranda and Torrey, who have already registered for the first Youth Series tournament of the season!  All VFA fencers born in 2006 or later will receive a Youth Passport from me in the next week or two.  Bring them to at least 3 of the 4 youth tournaments this season, get them stamped and earn a prize.

The first chance to collect your passport stamps, fence with electric equipment (the club has loaners for those who don’t own their own), meet youth fencers from other clubs, and have fun fencing with kids your own age is coming right up!  There will be Youth foil and epee events on Saturday November 3 at Mary Hogan School in Middlebury.   Please remember to sign up on AskFRED by Monday October 29 in order to get the discounted entry fee and to really help the tournament organizer (i.e. me) plan.

Youth Events

These events do not require US Fencing membership.  Loaner equipment will be available for anyone who needs it, as long as you have registered by Oct 29  (I can not guarantee loaner equipment for late sign ups).  These events are the perfect introduction to tournament fencing for our youngest and least experienced fencers!

10 a.m. Youth (Y10Y12) Foil.

12 p.m Youth (Y10Y12) Foil.

Youth fencers are welcome to try both foil and epee (even if you have never done epee before - if you want to try it, here's your chance).

The first youth tournament coincides with the Adult Round Robin, so it should be a fun day for families who fence together!

Entry fee is $15 for one event/$20 for 2 if signed up by Oct. 29.  After that, the fee goes up to $20 for one event/$30 for two.

To register, see who else is coming and get directions:


New to using AskFRED?  Directions are here: www.vtfencingalliance.org/old_posts/HowToUseFRED.htm


Saturday November 3, Mary Hogan School, Middlebury:  Fun, friendly round robin tournament (everyone fences eachother a 5 point bout) for all fencers born 1998 or earlier, with social hour at a nearby restaurant afterward.  This has been a blast in past years, and I encourage all 28 of the VFA's adult fencers to take advantage of it, including first-time competitors.  This is a unique chance to connect with the other adult fencers in our division and become part of the GMD community.

10 a.m Round Robin epee

12:30 pm Round Robin foil

You are welcome to sign up for both if you have the stamina (even if you have never tried epee before!).

Huzzah for Viveka, Karen, Adam, Garrett, Tom, Rick, Susan and Jessica for already registering!  Now, how about the rest of you?

Namely: Jack, Nancy, Hanna, Carrie, John, Glen, Leslyn, Nate, Deb, Samantha, Jesse, Jason, Jake, Ray, Don, Kelley, Jay, Michele, Judson and Finn - consider yourself personally invited!

Here are the reasons I want you to sign up for the Adult Round Robin:

-The environment is supportive and beginner-friendly.  There are no elimination matches.  Everyone fences everyone, which means, the more first-time competitors, unrated fencers, and level 1 students who come, the more matches they will get in with each other.  The experienced adult fencers will be there to ref and coach you.

-It's really fun and a great work-out.  With food and beer afterward!

-Competitive USFA membership is not required.  This is the only senior event the entire season where this is true.  For newbies, this is your only chance to try a little competitive fencing without having to upgrade your membership.

-Loaner equipment will be available for those who sign up in advance. If you haven't tried it yet, fencing with electric equipment is a great learning experience.

-I am hoping that, even if you joined the VFA with your child as a family activity, you are starting to think of yourself as a fencer in your own right, not just as the mom or dad of one.  How about treating yourself to some play time with your own age group?  Even better if you bring your kid for the youth events the same day (see above)

-The VFA is hosting this event.  If turn-out is low, the club loses money.  Also, the whole point of the round robin format is to get in lots of fencing, so it really requires lots of fencers.

-If you sign up by midnight Monday Oct 29, the entry fee is lower ($15 instead of $20 for one weapon, or $20 instead of $30 for two).  Also, advance sign up is super helpful to me in planning the day.

-Is there really a better way to spend a dreary November day?

To register and see who else is coming:https://askfred.net/Events/whoIsComing.php?tournament_id=41586

Using AskFRED for the first time?  Instructions are here: http://www.vtfencingalliance.org/old_posts/HowToUseFRED.htm


Due to a scheduling snafu for the Burlington Brawl,  the planned events were condensed to Saturday only, with Veterans and E Foil and E Sabre events cancelled.   The scheduling confusion led to reduced turn out, but those who made it still got in some good fencing.

Open Foil (11 competitors, E1 event)

1 Simon, Andrew UNAT

2 Brideau, Justin SC

3 Bagley, Ryan VFA 

3 Snow, Malachy SC

Open Epee (18 competitors, B1 event)

1 Bagley, Ryan VFA  -  earned B rating

2 Lussier, Jesse VFA

3 Crocket, Anne SC

3 Brideau, Justin SC

5 Brisson, Jack VFA/Midd

6 Nop, Will VFA

7 Rivait, Birk SC

8 Yurovchak, Andrew MFA

E-Under Epee (11 competitors, E1 event)

1 Greenwood, Seamus VFA - earned E rating

2 Fodor, Chris VFA

3 Glazer, Adam VFA

3 Sironi, Gage SC

Open Saber (4 competitors)

1 Pawlowski, Matthew SC 

2 Meyers, Andrew SC

Performance of the Week:  Letter ratings are benchmarks of competitive achievement, and the higher they are, the harder they are to earn. While lots of VFA fencers over the years have earned E and D ratings, and quite a few have earned C ratings,  this weekend, Ryan became only the 7th VFA fencer in 26 years to earn a B or A while still in high school (we have also had a handful of alumni earn higher ratings as collegiate or adult fencers).  To earn a B, you must win an event with at least 2 Bs and 2 Cs in the top 8 (the Burlington Brawl had 3 Bs and 2 Cs in the top 8).   Ryan lost 5-4 to one of the Bs in his pool and started direct elimination (DE) seeded 4th.  The do or die moment for Ryan was the round of 8, when he faced a tall left-handed B rated opponent.  At the end of the first period, Ryan trailed by a couple of points.   However, in the second and third periods, he adjusted, becoming more active, more deceptive and more varied in his attacks and working his way back into the game.  In the end, it came down to one point, and Ryan won the contest of focus and nerves for a 15-14 victory.   His semi-final opponent was a wily veteran who had just bumped off the #1 seed with a great mix of counterattacks and attacks in preparation.  Ryan wisely decided to maintain a long distance and high level of alertness whenever he stepped forward, using a mix of attacks to the arm and second intention actions to gain a substantial lead.   In the last period, his opponent, with nothing to lose, decided to pick up the pace and put some pressure on Ryan with some aggressive attacking and remising.   He scored several points in a row, but Ryan was able to settle back down and score enough double touches for a 15-11 win.   It was a pleasure to watch the all-VFA final, in which Ryan and Jesse (see honorable mentions!)  were clearly having a lot of fun and enjoying their victory lap, which ended with a 15-12 win for Ryan.

Honorable Mentions:   You only really own a rating when you re-earn it (if you don't re-earn it within 4 years, it drops down by one).  Nearly two years ago, Jesse had a good day and jumped from an E directly to a C.   This weekend, he re-earned it for the first time.  Seeded #7 into DEs, he began by crushing me (by defending his arm target while keeping the deeper target out of range, coupled with excellent point control), then fended off a strong challenge from Will (seeded #2) in overtime. He then faced the B rated #3 seed, and once again won the battle of nerves for a 15-14 semifinal victory.   Speaking of Will, he went undefeated in his pool (including beating a B and a C), and came within 1 point of earning his C.  He is definitely moving up in the fencing world.   And how about Seamus, Chris and Adam sweeping 3 of the 4 E-under epee medals?   Adam gave a good demonstration of what we have been working on in Level 3 classes:  he made multiple feints and false attacks, but only tried to accelerate and hit when he felt the right window of opportunity was open.   Chris was a ball of energy, bouncing all over the strip,  but despite being very kinetic with his body, he kept his hand and point steady and landed a lot of great hits.   Seamus had his first undefeated day ever to earn his E rating, suprising his opponents with an unpredictable mix of attacks, ripostes and counter-attacks.