View Full Version : Fencers obsessed with booze

-2nd May 2003, 07:11
I always knew that the fencing community in general was obsessed with boozing, but on almost every thread in this forum somebody always seems to end up talking about how much they drink as if it's a badge of honour. Have to say, the younger fencers are usually worse for this, as they are just discovering the positive side of alcohol (lack of inhibitions, increased confidence, desire to sleep with as many other ugly fencers as poss), while us older fencers have discovered the dark side (big red noses, burst veins in cheeks and desire to talk to random bar strangers about why our wives don't love us).

My point is this: so many fencers also seem to go on about the sport not being taken seriously in britain, lack of funding, yadda, yadda. With the proliferation of drinking stories, it's clear to me why this is. Quite simply, for the vast majority of british fencers, fencing is a hobby. Because it isn't available in most schools, a lot of fencers start at Uni, usually with the intent of meeting friends, having sex and errr, drinking. Until this culture changes (incidentally, I'm not saying it should as long as people are having fun), fencing in Britain will remain the same.

All I ever seemed to hear about the former Scottish national squad was stories of their pre-competition boozing antics. Can you imagine the French/ Russian/ German squads getting away with that kind of thing?

Anyhoo, kids. Drinking is neither big nor clever. Smoke crack instead.

-2nd May 2003, 12:58
I don't like to think of it as boozing but as pre comp socialising :grin:
As for the younger fencers (You know who you are) you shouldn't be out drinking anyway :rolleyes:

-2nd May 2003, 13:29
The thing is, there's a time & place for it.
When I was out in Hungary, I spent a lot of time fencing with & travelling with the Hungarian team members (both Junior and Senior).

They all know how to have a good time, but they know WHEN to do it too. They don't turn up to the competition hungover, but the day after, they're as likely as the rest of us to be nursing a sore head.

If they'd turned up in a state before a comp, or made a habit of missing training, they'd have found themselves off the team, because there's serious competition for places. They have a proper team structure and decent discipline: that's just not the case in the UK, where fencers will cheerfully miss training and skip comps because they're under the mistaken impression that they're unassailable.

Trust me, guys - you're not. And this lax attitude to training, fitness and preparation is why British fencers (largely) get utterly destroyed at international competitions.

-2nd May 2003, 13:30
I would have to defend those fencers who drink.

Firstly, where the competition is important, i.e. Nationals/ Internationals, people don't. Winton and Excalibur are different, they are a chance to let your hair down with people with similar interests!

For many of us, fencing is a hobby. The circuit is pretty sociable so obviously we are going to try to enjoy ourselves. In many ways fencing has to be a hobby, otherwise people wouldn't spend so much money.

Also, much drinking is after fencing, not before especially at Winton. Fencing sabre with a hangover hurts too much, never again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For all the improvement in quinte parries, you can't move enough to get close enough to hit so it all takes too long!

-2nd May 2003, 15:22
There are a lot of stories about drinking (and yes I've been posting fair few myself) but dont be too scathing.

Firstly we don't want to be involved in deadly serious sport, we get enough of that at school/work/uni. Secondly the people who do well know when to drink, I certainly don't fence hungover (not that I do well!:(). And finally our poor performance in fencing internationally goes a LOT deeper than british drinking habits.

We'll all quickly get bored of the drinking stories, a lot of these posts are cos its a new forum and people are getting to know each other. Don't believe its an age thing either, I'm older than some of you and a lot younger than others. I've learnt and had my figners burnt. On the other hand I've seen people a lot older than me do some very silly things (A&E on a saturday night for example).

Its all a laugh, we dont need to be worrying about it. Half the fun in a sport is its social side.

PS and as for crack, noooo!

-2nd May 2003, 15:36
Hmmm... maybe I didn't make myself clear enough.

I myself once fenced the Winton with the worst hangover of my life - spent the night throwing up and the Sunday losing to complete beginners (which one do I hit? there's three of him!)

That's not the issue I'm whinging about :-)
Fine, drinking and making an arse of yourself - been there, done that (...ended up in A&E...), and fine fencing hungover if you're doing it just for fun.

The more serious point I had to make is that in general there's a pretty lax attitude to training and development in the UK, at all levels - Government, through sports development, through SF (can't really speak for the BF) and getting worse and worse at club and individual levels. A lot of fencers rely on their "natural talent": which is fine at Scottish level, and even in National level comps you can get through on it.

But internationally? You gotta be kidding.

As for me, I want to improve; I'll be fencing my guts out at every comp I can make, including Inverclyde. But on the night after I compete, I'll be in the bar at Inverclyde House getting wrecked with all the rest of you, and fence the sabre on a hangover.


-2nd May 2003, 16:40
I've done the fencing with a hangover, i've also done the pucking into your mask (not nice). Alot of people out there enjoy going out for a few social drinks with people they only see at fencing weekend and catching up. Food a few drinks and a bit of a laugh.

-2nd May 2003, 18:14
i've also done the pucking into your mask

During a bout?! :dizzy:

I've never fenced hungover. *smug look*

(then again, I'm under 18, and only fence in the afternoons after school :) )

I don't think drinking and being generally unhealthy to your body is wrong (not sensible, but not the root of all evils) unless you really want to make it to internation levels. Then it will be a great hindrence. If you're in it just for fun and socialising, then I don't think why getting utterly ratfaced every now and then is too bad.

(Which means I don't have to worry, because there's no way on earth I'm aiming for winning any competitions outside my club, let alone nationals or internationals :) )

-2nd May 2003, 19:17
i too have nevr fenced while hungover as my club runs on a thursday night from 8-10 so we drink afterwards. However i have had a swift one b4 hand cos i was waiting round campus for an hour or so, it was not nice. i couldn't really hit target very well so no surprise that i lost all my fights tht night.

But after fighting it's nice to go and have a nice pint or 2 with those you've fenced earlier.

-2nd May 2003, 20:06
Rory, you're right. I was complaining about out poor performance being attributed to drinking and an implication that it was younger fencers trying too hard to be cool.

Our attitude to training and competing at very high levels is something I know very little about, I have heard things though. End of day, to be the best you gotta be fit as h*ll and fencing 6hrs a day. Britain doesnt do that in any sport as far as i can tell.

As for drinking before fencing, I aint good enough. If I can beat someone better than me cos he's hungover then great. That's why you wont see me drinking (much)at the Inverclyde before the sabre on sunday. Saturday night of the nationals may be another matter.... :grin:

-2nd May 2003, 20:54
Yep it was while fencing. Very hard hit to the gut and it was like high pressure water through a bit of mesh, spray all over my opponent :o

-3rd May 2003, 00:58
As a promising young foilist (about 20 years ago) I thought I was invincible. I honestly believed that I had enough talent to turn up at a competition with a filthy hangover and do enough in the poules to ensure that I would still have a good chance of winning through the DE and winning the competition (and often I was right). Eventually I realised I was kidding myself that I was a serious fencer and finally got round tothe idea that fencing was a sport that needed some proper preparation. A slow learning process but I got there in the end.

I have no problem with our social fencers (perhaps 99% of our BF membership) getting wrecked, socialising, having a laugh, sleeping with uglies, ending up in A & E, getting arrested, etc. However, if you are ambitious and want to play with the big boys and girls in world fencing , you have to realise that there is a big difference between your pal (who hopes one day to make the L64 at the Nationals) and you (who hopes one day to be a world class fencer). You may train at the same club, with the same training partners, with the same coach, on the same nights but , in Britain especially, your attitude to the sport will make an enormous difference. Getting hammered the night before a competition marks your out as a social fencer. If you want to be serious (and be taken seriously, here and abroad) save your boozing til after the fencing's over (when you can enjoy celebrating your success.) Otheriwse be prepared to become one of the many competition bar-bores that litter our sport in Britain (coulda beena contenda!!)

Now that I'm a coach it seems that heavy drinking is compulsory (Take a look at the Polish and Russian coaches at A grades and World Champinships as my role models).

Cheers :drink: :beer:


-3rd May 2003, 10:21
I'll second those emotions, Haggis. As for the Worlds, I was told a very interesting story about last years in Russia (?), and the amount of vodka imbibed by certain "eastern block" peeps who should have known better and who seemsed to think it very strange that their GB visitors didn't do the same, from about 7.30 am each day - drinking to the point that DT and some refs being all but incapable. Now THAT strikes me as alcoholism, let alone b....stupid. But then, if you have a cr.. life and nothing to live for.........:( you shouldn't be using pointy sticks!!!!!:rambo: I'm all for a pint or 6 after a week at work, but that's the point - it's AFTER the work. If you don't enjoy the fencing bit well enough to give it your best, just go for the booze, and leave the comp to the others. Enjoy what you do - life is not a rehersal.

-3rd May 2003, 12:53
Yep it was while fencing. Very hard hit to the gut and it was like high pressure water through a bit of mesh, spray all over my opponent

That's just nasty. I'd heard something a while ago about somebody puking into their mask, maybe it was you been refered to :)

Must have been fairly spectacular to watch though.

Did you continue fencing?

-3rd May 2003, 19:15
Don't think it was me you would of heard about but been there, done it, had to clean the mask and pay for the other guys whites to be cleaned. Not much fun i can tell you :(

-5th May 2003, 17:16
As somebody who for a long time was one of the worse offenders when it came to drinking before after and very occasionally during comps I can hardly deny that some people definately do over do it and will do badly in their competitions as a result of their indiscipline (although I have to say if carefully managed you could generally get through to the last 32/16 ofthe bigger comps before the hangover kicked in properly!).

Also its true that alot of fencers are 'encouraged' to go out on the piss by some of the older fencers (for example if Anton Pollard invites you out for a quick drink rest assured that you will wake up with one of the worse hangovers of your life!)

However the much of the problems about drinking in British fencing are grossly over exagerated (for example if I had drunk half of what people seem to think I have I would make George Best look healthy!). For the most part our top fencers (at least at epee) are very careful not to drink before any of the major domestic or international competitions as they are quite aware that no matter how talented they won't be able to pull off a good result, also remeber that alchol (over a certail level) is a banned substance according to the rules. Bad reults are not down to a drinking culture but rather to the way in which we learn how to fence in this country, with far less time being spent on learning basic technique and footwork than other nations,

Finally as for the winton and excalibur well its traditional to drink there!

-13th May 2003, 21:19
Originally posted by aao
Bad reults are not down to a drinking culture but rather to the way in which we learn how to fence in this country, with far less time being spent on learning basic technique and footwork than other nations,

Finally as for the winton and excalibur well its traditional to drink there!

I'll agree with that. the trouble is due to the playstaion culture in this country getting anyone to stick at anything is hard enough, let alone something like fencing, we seem to get round this by rushing througth the borring bit (footwork, basics etc ) just to keep people interested and hope to go back and improve on what little instruction was given at the begining.