Idaho Trip with FITS

Last week, I had an amazing adventure in the lovely state of Idaho with Fencing In The Schools. Pocatello and Rigby are the first two communities outside of NY to receive Fencing In The Schools programs, launching in a couple weeks. I went out with Olympians Tim Morehouse and Jeff Spear to document their assemblies and workshops with the teachers. Check out some of the photos below!

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New teachers learning how to fence in Pocatello, ID
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K-8 Holy Spirit Charter School in Pocatello, ID
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Tim Morehouse speaks to 1200 students at Rigby Middle School
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KZBQ radio host Paul Anderson tries fencing
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Olympic stories and values are shared with Academy Charter School
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Jeff Spear teachers students at Pocatello Community Charter School

There was also a great news article from our two days in Idaho: http://www.idahostatejournal.com/members/a-touch-tutorial-olympic-fencers-visit-schools-to-introduce-the/article_e6bdc94a-25b5-11e3-9daf-001a4bcf887a.html

Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Wrestling

Tokyo 2020 Olympics

It’s official, Tokyo will be the host city for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Beating out Istanbul and Madrid, Tokyo last held the Olympics in 1964. Check out this cute photo for fencing!

Another big announcement: Wrestling will be in the Olympics for 2020 and 2024! This is huge for the sport. Fencing and wrestling are very similar (individual combat sports, several periods of play, hard to understand the rules for a novice), so I was carefully watching the fate of Wrestling as the same thing could happen to Fencing in the future. Granted, fencing has made several improvements to help spectators watch the sport (wireless systems, lights on the mask, video replay), but it still hasn’t made a significant impact on sports media consumers. As fencing and wrestling are two of the five original sports from the 1896 Olympics, it’s important that our communities root for each other and keep the tradition of the Olympics alive. And just to show how exciting wrestling can be, check out a video I shot at the 2012 London Olympics of an amazing Japanese wrestler, who goes on to win the gold medal and has a special celebration with her coach.

Penn State coach is out, but you can help

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For a school with as much fencing success and history as Penn State, it’s shocking to hear that the man who is responsible for that legacy would be asked to leave on questionable grounds. Penn State has not had much luck on the coaching front since the Joe Pa scandals, but some things need a stronger explaination. Emik Kaidanov is one of the most winning fencing coaches in NCAA history, with a 795-77 combined record, 12 NCAA Championships, 4-time Coach of the Year, 28 Individual NCAA Champions, 188 All-Americans, 10 Olympians, 1 World Champion (Miles!), and multi-time National Coach for Maccabiah Games, World University Games, and World Championships. I had the pleasure of getting to know him on the 2011 World University Games team as our Team Captain. He had a quiet but kind sensibility that I appreciate in the stressful environment of a tournament. I have a ton of respect for him and his staff, which is why I’m surprised the University wouldn’t show him the same.
Here an article that better explain the situation and what has happened: What We Know So Far
And an alumni letter posted on TheFencingCoach about his firing: PSU Alumni Letter

 

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To help Emik, you can sign a petition on ThePetitionSite

Already, you can see other fencing coaches, former PSU fencers, and supporters are signing up. But the goal is far from reached. Sign the petition and help Coach Kaidanov!

2009 NCAA Champions
2009 NCAA Champions

World Champion Miles Chamley-Watson

I’m thrilled to have watched some of the 2013 World Championships in Budapest streamed live on the FIEvideo channel on YouTube. One of the most exciting things was to watch Miles Chamley-Watson losing with a devastating score in the round of 8 and come back to win his bout! Facing adversity after adversity, Miles proved that you don’t have to be the top seed to become a world champion. A lot of what makes an athlete is heart and the will to win. I couldn’t be more proud of our first male American to win a World Championship title in fencing. Congratulations, Miles!

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Check out an interview with Fencing.net

Behind the Scenes at Summer Nationals

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Last week I was conducting interviews for Fencing For The Edge in a side room of the Columbus Convention Center. Thanks to everyone who found us and shared their stories! Don’t worry, we’ll be doing some more interviews in New Jersey once the season begins. For now, it’s grant writing and fundraising time! Keep an eye out for our IndieGoGo campaign launching in September.

Summer Nationals in Columbus, OH

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Find live results at http://www.usfencingresults.org

It’s the largest fencing tournament IN THE WORLD! The 10-day long fencing event taking place in Columbus, OH is the US Summer Nationals. Back in the day, I used to fence 5 events in a variety of age and level categories. But this year, Fencing For The Edge is here to film interviews and fencing from the largest fencing tournament in the country. And you can participate!

We’re setting up in the room off from Strip H-2 and want to hear from fencers, parents, referees, coaches, staff, and fencing fans about why they started fencing, what they like about it, and how fencing can expand throughout the USA. We have a local Columbus crew and will be filming from 10-6 on Friday and Saturday this week. So share your stories with us and help spread the word about fencing!

Happy Independence Day!

Former NJSIAA State Champion wins NCAAs

University of Pennsylvania junior, Michael Mills, captured the NCAA Individual Men’s Sabre title in Houston, TX a couple weeks ago. With many former New Jersey High School fencers competing, Mills was the only one to take home the win. Back in 2010, Mills won the NJSIAA Men’s Sabre title for Millburn High School in the same year the team won the overall championship. Check out some old and new articles about Mills and his reposted article from an interview he did as Fencer-of-the-Week in the Star Ledger:

Former Millburn High School fencing star wins NCAA title

Michael Mills NCAA Champion

NJ boys fencing: Mills, Hadzic, Kaneshige win titles at state tournament

MIKE MILLS, MILLBURN
Senior, sabre, 6-5, 210 pounds

JUST THE FACTS: He has gone 22-2 in dual meets, including 6-0 in state team tournament meets. He finished 10-0 in the opening pool, helping Millburn to second overall, and was 8-2 in the final pool on the way to winning his second individual title at the District 3 tournament. He took seventh in the junior division at the Junior Olympics this past weekend. Mills earned his way onto the cadet national team and finished second at the state individual tournament last winter.
PERSONAL GOAL: “To win the state individual sabre title.”
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT: “Making the cadet national team last year.”
BIGGEST IMPROVEMENT:  “Nothing with technique. Just my strategy and tactics have gotten better lately.”
FENCING IDOL: Keeth Smart, the two-time NCAA champion and silver medalist in the 2008 Olympics. “I still practice with him sometimes.”
BIGGEST INFLUENCE: “My dad, Robert, started me when I was young and he is there for moral support. He doesn’t watch me too much these days because he gets too nervous.”
FAVORITE TV SHOW: “South Park.”
FAVORITE MOVIE: “Gladiator.”
FAVORITE BOOK: “1984” by George Orwell.
INTEREST/HOBBIES:  “I’ve played the viola since the third grade. I still take lessons and play in the school orchestra.”
FAVORITE PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE: Boxer Floyd Mayweather. “He’s undefeated and kind of flashy and in your face. He’s really competitive.”
FAVORITE SPORTS TEAM: New York Giants.
THREE FOR DINNER: “My grandfather, who passed away; Elliot Tusk, a fellow fencer from New York state, and Martin Luther King.”