Example Fencing Moved

Bulletin for the Week of November 5, 2018








Attention Charlotte fencers:  Remember, there is NO fencing Tuesday Nov 6 because CCS is a polling place.   Class will be made up on December 11.  All other practices are as normal this week.

There is no fencing at all November 19-22 (Thanksgiving week).   There is no fencing December 12-January 1 (Holiday break).  Winter Level 3 classes start Jan. 2-3 and winter Level 1 and 2 classes start January 7-8.  It's not too early to tell your friends about the VFA's winter classes, and invite them to visit one of the remaining practices to check it out!

Reminder: ordering deadline for club sweatshirts and jackets is Nov 12 (see #2 below)

Youth fencers: If you participated in the tournament on Saturday and forgot to bring your Youth Passport to collect your first stickers, bring it this week (or next in Charlotte) and I will give you the stickers.  Lost your passport?  Let me know and I will email you one to print out yourself.



Once a year, we order club warm-up jackets and sweatshirts.  If you don't order now, you will have to wait until next fall.  The ordering deadline is November 12 (1 week from today), in order to ensure we get them in time for the last practice before the holidays.  To order, you may either email me or fill in the order form at practice.  If you would like to order a secret gift for your favorite fencer, let me know and I'll sneak the item to you when it comes in.  All jackets and sweatshirts feature the club "Northern Horde" logo on the back, "VFA" and the fencer's name embroidered on the front.  All items are dark green with gold decoration (the jackets also have black and white accents).

Here is what is available:

a. Holloway Dedication Jacket.  Mens and Womens sizes S through XXL, Youth sizes S, M, L, $53 each.

b. Heavier weight (Badger 60/40 blend) hooded pullover sweatshirt. Adult unisex sizes S through XXL, $31 each

c. Midweight (Jerzees 50/50 blend) full zip hooded sweatshirt, Adult unisex sizes S through XXL, $30 each

d. Lightweight (Gildan) hooded child's pullover sweatshirt, Youth sizes S, M, L, $22 each

To order, I need the following information:

Item, size (for jacket, specify men, women or youth), and name to embroider (most people choose either a first or last name, but if you have a short name there might be room for both.  Name is optional, it's okay to get without, or just initials).

Payment is due by November 15.  Checks payable to VFA or exact change, please.  These are custom items and not returnable.



Private lessons are available from both Viveka and Geoff.  We are happy to work with anyone who wants extra help, whether a newer fencer looking to make faster progress or a seasoned fencer preparing for upcoming competitions.   Lessons with either coach cost $20 for about 20 minutes (usually a little more if possible).  You can take them regularly or occasionally, with either or both of us.   Geoff specializes in epee but can do all 3 weapons, Viveka teaches foil and epee.

Lessons in Middlebury - NOTE CHANGES

For lessons with Viveka, Wednesday afternoons (3 slots available between 4:30 and 6 p.m):  This week (Nov 7) is the last week MUMS is available.   Demand for afternoon lessons in Middlebury has been low this fall. I have made arrangements to offer lessons at Mary Hogan School for the remainder of the season (convenient for those who are staying for evening Level 3 class), but since we have to pay extra for the space,  I am only offering this roughly every other week.   Possible lesson dates now posted on Visibook for sign up are: Nov 7, Nov 28,  Dec 5, Jan 9, Jan 23 (for more going forward, see Visibook).   In order to give lessons at Mary Hogan, I must have at least 2 students signed up by the preceding Monday morning.   If Monday comes and I have zero or one student for the Wednesday of that week, I will cancel my booking at Mary Hogan so the club doesn't have to pay for it.  So, if you are a Middlebury fencer and interested in lessons with me, make sure to sign up in advance for the available dates.

Geoff offers lessons every Monday evening during open fencing time (3 slots between 7:45 and 9 p.m).  If you are a member of the Level 1 or 2 class and want a lesson with Geoff, please sign up for one of the 2 later slots.   Competitive Squad members can sign up for any of Geoff's slots.  Geoff's schedule is not changing and will continue through the winter.

Lessons in Charlotte

For lessons with Viveka, Thursday afternoons (3 slots available between 4:30 and 6 p.m):  Charlotte Congregation Church (about a half mile from the Charlotte school) has worked out well for this, and I have regularly had 2-3 students per week.   If you are interested in getting a Thursday afternoon lesson with me and you see that all of the slots are booked several weeks in advance, please let me know.    Appointments are now available through the winter on Visibook.  The same thing is true of CCC as MHS (i.e. I need at least 2 students to open the space) but that has not been an issue this fall.

Geoff offers lessons every Tuesday evening during open fencing time (3 slots between 7:45 and 9 p.m).  If you are a member of the Level 1 or 2 class and want a lesson with Geoff, please sign up for one of the 2 later slots.   Competitive Squad members can sign up for any of Geoff's slots.  Geoff's schedule is not changing and will continue through the winter.

Lessons in Vergennes

Geoff offers Friday evening lessons at Vintage Fitness in Vergennes. These are also available for booking on Visibook, to anyone who wants them.

How to sign up for a private lesson:

Go to www.visibook.com/vfafencinglessons.   There you will see a complete calendar of lesson availabilities for both Viveka and Geoff. You can sign up with or without creating a Visibook account.  However, to cancel an appointment yourself, you will need to have an account and to log in (if you don't want to create an account, you can still cancel by emailing your coach directly and we can do it for you).

Cancellation policy:  We are relying on you to show up for the lessons you book. If you cancel the week of your lesson for reasons other than illness or emergency, you are expected to pay for the appointment. For the occasional illness or emergency, you may cancel up to 2 hours in advance and no fee will be charged as long as you are not a "repeat offender". No shows or cancellations with less than 2 hours notice must be paid for.  On the Visibook page, you will find cell phone numbers for both Geoff and I, so you can reach us at the last minute.



Calling all fencers born 2005 or before, including new and first time competitors!  The Upper Valley Fencing Club will be hosting the next tournament, Dec. 8 in Sharon VT.   Events include

Open (Senior Mixed) Foil, Epee and Saber:  for everyone (unrated fencers are welcome to participate if they don't mind fencing more experienced opponents)

E-Under Foil, Epee and Saber: restricted to E and Unrated fencers only, to give beginning to intermediate level competitors a chance to enjoy fencing eachother without the heavy hitters.  E-Under events are perfect for first-time competitors.

Please do not sign up for 2 events that start within a half hour of eachother.

All events require competitive USFA membership to participate.   If you are currently a noncompetitive member, you will need to upgrade at least several days before the tournament by paying the $65 upgrade fee either on line (www.usafencing.org) or by phoning the national office (often the faster and easier way to do it, the USFA website can be less than user friendly).  Once you have upgraded, your competitive membership is good for the rest of the season (through July 31).  Why wait until the Middlebury Open in March (which you don't want to miss....)?  Upgrade now and enjoy the whole Champlain Cup season!

If you sign up on AskFRED by Monday December 3, you will get the discounted entry fee ($15 for your first event plus $5 per additional event).  If you wait, not only do you pay more ($20 for first event/$10 per additiona event) but you make it harder for the organizers (including me) to plan for equipment and referees.  It is especially important to sign up early for E-Under events (open events generally involve fencers with their own equipment and able to ref each other).

The Upper Valley is lovely in December.  It never snows!  Well....at least the people are lovely and the fencing will be a blizzard of fun.

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


New to using AskFRED?  Find instructions here: www.vtfencingalliance.org/old_posts/HowToUseFRED.htm

Born 2006 or later?  The next youth events are January 12 in Middlebury.  Sign up any time!: https://askfred.net/Events/whoIsComing.php?tournament_id=41585



It was a fun weekend of fencing for all ages in Middlebury. Congratulations to all our medal winners and Jr Olympic Qualifiers!

Adult Round Robin Epee (11 fencers)

1 Rivait, Birk SC

2 Fox, Viveka VFA

3 Lussier, Jesse VFA

Adult Round Robin Foil (9 fencers)

1 Fox, Viveka VFA

2 Yarbrough, Finn VFA

3 Davis, Rick VFA

Youth Foil (12 fencers)

1 Keepin, Val VFA

2 Gallagher, Miranda VFA

3 Woodward, Sten VFA

3 Hill, Jansen VFA

Spirit Award: Gabriel Grant

Youth Epee (6 fencers)

1 Hanna, Torrey VFA

2 Woodward, Sten VFA 

3 Biancosino, Kirin VFA

3 Michaels, Elsa  VFA

Spirit Award: Toby Baker-Rouse

Teen events included Junior (born 1999-2005) and Cadet (born 2002-2005) age groups.  Top 3 in each event qualified to represent the Green Mt Division at the national Junior Olympics in February.   If a younger teen (cadet) finished in the top 3 in the junior event, he qualified automatically for cadet and the next finisher down in the cadet event also qualified.  Attendance was low this year but there was some mighty fencing.

Junior Mens Foil (7 fencers)

1 Brideau, Justin  SC -Jr Qualifier

2 Barron, Max VFA -Jr Qualifier

3 Yaggy, Alexander VFA -Jr and Ct Qualifier

Cadet Mens Foil (5 fencers)

1 Yaggy, Alexander VFA - auto qualifier

2 Kaplan, Isa VFA -Ct Qualifier

3 Pratt, Azro MID VT -Ct Qualifier

4 Skidd, Philip VFA  -Ct Qualifier

Junior Mens Epee (8 fencers)

1 Bagley, Ryan VFA -Jr Qualifier

2 Wolosinski, Peter VFA  -Jr and Ct Qualifier

3 Nop, Will VFA -Jr and Ct Qualifier

Cadet Mens Epee (5 fencers)

1 Greenwood, Seamus VFA -Ct Qualifier

2 Nop, Will VFA - auto qualifier 

3 Weston, Henry VFA  -Ct Qualifier

4 Kite, Robert VFA -Ct Qualifier

Unfortunately, all womens events were cancelled because there were fewer than 4 signed up, but Isidora Bailley-Hall and Lauren Halberg qualifed in womens foil, and a few saber fencers from UVM also qualified automatically in cancelled events.

Performance of the Week:  It's hard to choose, but if I had to pick the one most remarkable bout of the weekend, it was the first round Jr Mens Epee DE in which E-rated Chris Fodor fenced the best bout of his life to upset a skilled and athletic B-rated opponent who had beaten him in the pool.   This is a perfect example of the power of the underdog.  As Chris didn't really expect to win, he came into the bout just to fence his best, with no pressure.   He quickly settled into a very focussed state, fencing one touch at a time without worrying about the score or the outcome.   Early in the bout, his point control was spot on, and he was able to gain an early lead through several accurate stop hits to the arm.   This is Chris's strength and the thing he usually relies on, and if that had been all he had done, his opponent would have adjusted and caught up.   But Chris went out of his comfort zone and started attacking, and attacking well, with good footwork and arm extension (a big technique improvement for Chris).   By not surrendering the initiative to his opponent, Chris made it much harder for him to prepare and execute good attacks.   In the final period of the bout, as his opponent tried aggressively to catch up,  Chris knew that he could not win by simply trying to fend him off.  Instead, he moved forward to meet his opponent with a series of simultaneous attacks resulting in enough double touches for a 15-13 victory.   Chris lost the next two bouts to Peter and Will (both of whom were rated and seeded above him), so he did not leave with a medal or a qualifying spot.  What I hope he did leave with is a new confidence in himself!

Honorable Mentions:  Apparently this was the first time longtime training partners Ryan and Peter have ever met in a gold medal match. It was a 15-14 showdown full of spectacular touches, so I hope it happens again!   Seamus lost to Will in the cadet pool, but overwhelmed him in their gold medal match with fast and furious attacking mixed with scrappy infighting for a 15-12 upset.    Will and Alex both qualified for cadet only last year, but moved up the ranks to qualify in both age groups this year.   Isa has been steadily improving, and qualified for the first time this year, while Henry medaled at the youngest possible age.    How about those youth fencers?  This was the biggest group we have had for a youth event in several years, with the most first-time adventurers, every single one of them from one of the VFA groups (thus ensuring a VFA medal sweep).  On top of that, they were a pleasure to coach and ref, with great spirit, sportsmanship and enthusiasm.   The future of the VFA has arrived!    Great to see returning youth fencers Val, Miranda, Jansen and Torrey moving up the ranks.  We look forward to seeing them in the "big leagues" next year or the year after.   Three cheers for all our first time competitors!  Phil (stepping up to play with the big boys as a 13 year old who just started fencing this fall), adults Finn, Jessica, and Jason,  and youth fencers Sten, Kirin, Elsa, Gabe, Namid, Jacob, Xavier and Phinneas.  Needless to say, every one of them bested my legendary first tournament record, with most of them winning at least one bout, several (Finn, Kirin, Elsa) doing the unusual feat of earning a medal at their first outing, and one (Sten) setting what I think might be a club record by earning not one but two medals while still in Level 1.