View Full Version : Pipe and slippers

-14th November 2003, 14:54
Just to touch on a hideous topic......

I suppose there comes a point in one's competitive career where the novelty of touring the motorways of our scenic island in the pursuit of points ceases to be a pleasure.

As someone who feels this urge rapidly drifting away, I say this now - wait until the next open comes along, can I ask everyone when/why they'll hang up their weapons and become a crusty old goat moaning about how they did so well in days gone by, and how the sport has become an abomination now a days??

Or perhaps some one can save me from this awful fate????


Prometheus (soon to be rescued from the rock!)

-14th November 2003, 17:19
Originally posted by Prometheus
can I ask everyone when/why they'll hang up their weapons and become a crusty old goat moaning about how they did so well in days gone by, and how the sport has become an abomination now a days??

Well, I am at the opposite end, I only decide to treat it as more than a social club 8 months ago. I am signing up for every open I can, and still have loads of enthusiasm for negotiating early morning rail and coach timetables. I am even going tomorrow, despite spraining my ankle at Cardiff.

I think the enthusiasm will go when I hit the point where my desire to do better is less than my willingness to do the hardwork that requires.


-14th November 2003, 21:25
I'll retire when it looks like I'm retiring rather than giving up.

-15th November 2003, 00:58
Personally, I found the best route was to retire when people were asking "why" rather than "why not".

I stopped competing when I was 29. At that point I was ranked 11 or 12 in the GB rankings (at Mens Epee) and had just finished in the last 8 at the Commonwealths. For me it was impractical to try and make the GB team for the World Champs due to the financial considerations (kit, training, GB Opens, plus the extra 3 grand required to do a half serious foreign season, which I never did) assorted fencing-related injuries (chronic shin splints, knee cartilege damage and a bad back), a full-time job and a (non-fencing) wife who considered my many weekends spent at fencing competitions as a kind of extended adolescence.

I (very quietly) announced my retirement and mentioned that I might do a bit of coaching. Before I had left Kuala Lumpur (my last "proper" competition being the 1998 Commonwealth Champs) I already had one fencer wanting lessons. I started coaching with one fencer and very little idea of what I was doing but a fairly clear idea of what I wanted and expected from "my" fencer and soon found that my services were in demand because I was technically pretty competent, sympathetic to but demanding of the fencer and willing to adapt and improve my coaching style and technique.

Since then my coaching "philosophy" has been high technical standards (good footwork, simple but well executed bladework and an emphasis on good timing), dedication and self-reliance (fencer can self-analyse and correct). As a (generally) non-travelling coach this appoach has allowed the fencers I coach to be quite successful and for me to be home most weekends (currently coaching 3 nights a week), injury-free, solvent, happily married and still involved in a sport that I care deeply about.

I might have become involved in the administration of fencing or refereeing (and we could do with plenty of help in both areas) but coaching allows me to stay heavily involved the heart of the sport, nurturing the same aims that I had as a young fencer without same time and financial penalties.

So take heart Prometheus, you're sport needs you. Maybe not as the fencer you once were or would like to be but you can still make a significant impact in other ways.

(on the other hand I did do a few weeks training and beat up a few promising local epeeists before increased coaching commitments meant my "return to action"was put on indefinte hold. So there may be life in the old dog yet. If you can spoil someone else's day, maybe competitions are still worth doing;) )


Haggis (cynical but still strangely optimistic)

Boo Boo
-15th November 2003, 10:58
Originally posted by haggis

(on the other hand I did do a few weeks training and beat up a few promising local epeeists before increased coaching commitments meant my "return to action"was put on indefinte hold. So there may be life in the old dog yet. If you can spoil someone else's day, maybe competitions are still worth doing;) )

Does this mean that we wont see you at the Slough? :(

Agree with what Haggis says about remaining involved in the sport: in addition to coaching, refereeing, competition organising and BFA official/committee posts are all very valuable ways to keep involved (but which can require considerably less time, travelling and money than competitive fencing).

I have no current plans to retire (there is life, and hopefully lots of improvement, still in this old fencer yet :) ). However, I guess that if I ever want a child - to keep ChubbyHubby company ;) - that may slow things down considerably... :(

(still hoping that male-pregnancy is just around the corner...)

-15th November 2003, 13:21
ARGH!! Just the thought of it gives me nightmares :eekk2: ............. being old and wrinkly and moaning at the little un's about the youth of today ......... and the ol' chestnut " when i was a lad!!"

-15th November 2003, 13:49
At least you've been there and done that. Making it to the Commonwealth is superb achievement. As a percentage of the population, there's not many can say they ever competed in any sport at that level!

I, on the other hand, didn't start till I was 37 years old! So I 'retired' the day I started!

-15th November 2003, 19:57
Dear all,

Fencing will alaways need help from those who no longer compete quite so actively but could help referee, act as administrators etc.

BFA and all fencing bodies are always short of help and would I am sure welcome you with open arms.

Our sport also needs to keep those with fencing ability in the sport!!!

It is alsao putting something back into a sport which hopefuly has given pleasure etc.


-16th November 2003, 10:03
Do what I did. Retire (having never been very successful anyway), have kids, get it all out of your system. Then, when those kids you had decide they want to give it a try, get hooked all over again. Insane! (But they say insanity is hereditary - you get it from your kids.

-17th November 2003, 16:47
Originally posted by haggis
If you can spoil someone else's day, maybe competitions are still worth doing;)

Am I nasty? Cos I take great pleasure in doing that to people. I'm in the occasionally amusing position of being a newbie (to the circuit) who is not that well known nor that highly ranked but reasonably competent. The looks on some peoples faces.... :grin:

-17th November 2003, 22:08
Retire? Hmmm, let's see now. I started fencing a bit more than a year ago, when I was still 27, achieved that nobody can't just beat the living daylight out of me. For some of you it might be nothing but for me after months of bruises on my arm, chest and ribs - yes it is something.

I intend to continue fencing and walking through competitions as long as I can. Meaning if I'll still be fit in my 50's why to hell not? As I spend my days in the office dealing with "serious" things (I guess after 25 everything gets serious) fencing is a wonderful thing that helps me relax and shoot out the negative energy that I pick up daily.

At the end - I'll fence as long as I can.



-19th November 2003, 10:51
(still hoping that male-pregnancy is just around the corner...)

I hear ya...

Beyond that, I like to think that I'll fence until my body gives up on me.


-19th November 2003, 11:07
i think there will come a point in every fencers career when they decide to maybe not take things quite so seriously.this can come for any one a number of reasons and they all different for each individual.

personally i feel that there are still many years of fencinga head of me and that (barring injury) i will be around competeing seriously for at least the next 8 years. after that i will see how my body feels, how much i've achieved and then become one of those guys who you feel is not quite ranked high enough and you definately don't want to get in your poule! (that's the plan. could all go horribly wrong)

-19th November 2003, 12:11
its a bit of a difficult question this one, having not taken fencing at all seriously till I left uni (despite having fenced for the best part of 10 years by then), I'm now still highly competitive and motivated, but finding it increasingly difficult to reconcile proper training with work.
At the end of last season I had decided I wanted to train as hard as I could for 3 years (till I hit 30) see how far I could go and then once I was satisfied that I couldn't do any better retire knowing I had done my best.
Unfortunately reality rarely works that way, and for the first 2 months of this season I couldn't train at all because of work and could barely make it to comps. While I'm back training now (for how long I can't tell), I suspect that, like many people in a similar position to myself, I will end up retiring not on a predetermined date but when I get fed up of going to comps and not being able to compete at my expected level due to lack of training (I don't mind losing if I've been beaten by a better fencer, I hate losing when its because of you own mistakes). I suspect I'll find it very hard to accept going from being a competitive fencer to being a purely social one.

-19th November 2003, 12:31

Just think if you give up fencing, and don't have to wear a mask anymore, you won't be able to hide the fact that your hairline is receeding even quicker than mine.

srb (knowing that 007's hair is really glued on)

(can you be arrested for wearing your mask in Tesco's?)

-19th November 2003, 12:33
Interesting how many people look back at their fencing career in this way even before it starts.

For me it is the work reason, aao - why should I put myself in the position of losing to someone with little talent but much time to train whilst I try to squeeze the pitance of training I can afford time-wise into my increasingly expanding working week.......plus work pays better than fencing.

Fencing on the foil circuit is pretty competitive - I think more now than it was a few years ago. There are many good young foilists appearing and I think I should gracefully bow out before being kicked out..... :rolleyes:

I am already coaching significantly and it presents new and interesting challenges not disimilar in character to being a fencer - analysis, observation, technique but also interaction, teaching skills and a thorough understanding of the theory. A pity the Coaching schemes are not more suitable to us part time coaches though......

In particular it is encouraging when you see someone move from a complete beginner to national level within a year or two....

So there is fencing life after the circuit. Having said that I can't imagine not fencing at all - maybe a couple of opens a year???

I think my contribution of pressing the play button for the National Anthem at the Leon Paul cup sufficed for one year's administrative work for the BFA...... ;)

-19th November 2003, 12:36
It was whipping the mask off, in the first place, that caused the hair loss......

(Thinking that SRB reminds him more of Goldfinger - or is that Glass elbow! :moon: )

-19th November 2003, 12:52
Originally posted by Prometheus
I try to squeeze the pitance of training I can afford time-wise into my increasingly expanding working week

If you spent all the time that you spent on the forum actually training, you could be world champion.

Not sure if thats fencing or forum champion though?


-19th November 2003, 12:59
Before I resort to pummelling SRB into the ground for his lack of acuity, if he examine the respective number of posts for himself and myself, I believe he will discover that he could, by that token, then be universe champion. I rest for the defnce, me lud....

Anyway, it's perogative of coaches and would be coaches to hold forth on subjects as if they knew what they talked about - you'll make a good coach one day, SRB....snigger.....

Prometheus (wrestling with the ropes that tie him down, so he can get at SRB!!!)

Boo Boo
-19th November 2003, 13:01
Walking sticks at dawn, gentlemen?


-19th November 2003, 13:06
Walking sticks at dawn, gentlemen?

Only one gentleman here, baby..........

-19th November 2003, 13:07
Dawn's a bit early for Prometheus, he doesn't finish his coco before mid morning.


-19th November 2003, 13:13
I'll have you know cocoa is an excellent restorative - helps the gout, old boy........

Or does SRB mean the Coco who plies her charms for discerning gentlemen ?!?!?!? I thought I noticed a spring in his step last I saw him, I thought it was the viagra!!! :rolleyes:

-19th November 2003, 16:07
Now now, boys!

-22nd November 2003, 04:21
Hey sweetie, don't stop them now, it's just starting to get good!
Me, I can't see myself stopping, I mean I'm just getting nice & loose again!!:rockon: