Fencing For The Edge

Mary Griffith

Just a quickie post today, because I’m submerged in getting my manuscript to the beta reader stage by Tax Day, but I wanted to pass along Holly Buechel’s IndieGoGo appeal for the editing stage of her fencing documentary. From her email:

Fencing For The Edge is a competitive sports documentary that follows four teams through the 2013-14 season in the New Jersey high school fencing league. Not many states have such a densely populated fencing area, so I wanted to show an exciting season with varying teams, compelling characters, and the life lessons you can learn in the sport. We have also followed Tim Morehouse’s Fencing In The Schools program from the first months of equipment development to it’s 8th state launch. We’ve filmed over 400 hours of footage across 10 states and are preparing to edit the film into a 90-minute feature length film. Editing can take many months…

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Week In Idaho

Last week I was back in Idaho following the second year of Fencing In The Schools sharing the sport with the communities of Pocatello, Rigby, and now Blackfoot. They’re in 7 schools now! Idaho is just one of 9 states that Fencing In The Schools has reached since they started last year. This year they hope to expose the sport to 20,000 kids throughout the country in grades 3-12. Here are some highlight photos from the trip!

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Sport vs. Sport: What Happens When a Tai Chi Master Takes on a Fencer?

Tim Morehouse


There are some amazing parallels across sports and perhaps none is more fascinating than Tai Chi and fencing. In this incredible video, a Tai Chi Master takes on a fencer using only his skills of evasion to avoid a fencers lunges.

What happens when the “defenseless” Tai Chi Master Mr. Wang tries to dodge the fencers blade is pretty incredible!

Check out the video below:

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Predicting The Men’s World Championship Field…With SCIENCE! (Guest Post by Todd Kozlowski)

The Fencing Coach

Disclaimer, I’m not a statistician. Not even close. I’m so, so sorry to any of you who are for my lack of rigor.

Todd made these predictions using the Elo method. Whatever the hell that means.  Todd made these predictions using the Elo method. Whatever the hell that means.

The prediction here is based on the commonly-used Elo system, which tracks competitor performance in other sports like baseball, soccer, and chess. I threw together a program to calculate the odds of each competitor reaching a certain round. The percents are given, along with a color-coding (green, >50%, is likely, yellow, between 15% and 50%, is a challenge, and red <15% is unlikely).
Problems with the model: because I haven’t been tracking Elo over the entire season, theses are very crude preliminary provisional scores. I hope to track the specific Elo of each major international fencer in the coming 2014-15 season, and will have a (remarkably better) model by World Champs ’15. Other problems:…

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The Referee: Friend, or Foe? (Guest Post by James A. Weiss, Editor, The Fencing Coach)

The Fencing Coach

James Weiss (left), Michael El-Saleh (center), and Ira Schlosberg (right). We experienced many biased referees at the Maccabi games in Israel. James Weiss (left), Michael El-Saleh (center), and Ira Schlosberg (right). We experienced many biased referees at the Maccabi games in Israel.

(Disclaimer: There are three roles that fencers and referees have assumed, or may assume during their relationship with fencing: the fencer, the official, and the spectator. It is important to note that none of these are, or should be thought of as, similar or interchangeable for the other two. And, not being able to realize which role an individual has personally assumed provides nothing less than an intellectual disservice when trying to comprehend the following discussion.)

Recently, I was talking with a fencing friend of mine about our respective experiences as both fencers and referees. We had both agreed that, oftentimes, our experiences as officials were infinitely harder than our experiences as competitors.

During our conversation, in which both of us had recounted instances of being “screwed”, as fencers…

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Fencing TEDx Talk

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Coach Aufrichtig did not know he would be coaching when he started to fence at age 14. After a successful software sales career he took what he says “my dream job” in his life passion, inheriting a fencing team that was 2-16 the year before he arrived. His talk focuses on how he paid attention to details and how he was not afraid to being open to try new ideas. Following these principles he talks about the opportunities he capitalized on bring back Columbia as one of the top fencing programs in the country.

Michael Aufrichtig is Columbia University’s Head Fencing Coach. Recently lauded by the New York Times for his unconventional approach to coaching, the former software salesman, with no prior coaching experience, utilized his ‘deliberate focus practice’ method combined with statistical analysis to transform Columbia’s fencing team into champions.

American Fencing Magazine

American Fencing Magazine 1Check it out! High school level fencing is definitely growing in America, but no one does it like New Jersey. This quarter’s American Fencing Magazine features great insight into New Jersey High School Fencing, written by Olympic Team Captain, Jeff Bukantz.

And the film gets a nod at the end of the article! Thanks, Jeff 🙂



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