PDA

View Full Version : What the hell happened to GBR!!!



harry
-9th October 2003, 12:54
I think we must be the only Nation that gets this excited about one last eight at a World Championships. No disrespect to Richard for another superb performance in a Senior A Grade this year(must be something about Havanna for that boy!) an the rest of the GB team. But when smaller fencing countries like Australia who were nowhere in fencing start to produce better quality fencers making 16's than our own across all the weapons some one somewhere needs to be looking at this like we do in other sports and do something about it to stop the rot. When were USA any good at fencing? Answer: when they brought over the coaches from Europe and Soviet Union to teach them to be good. And now look at them! Results in every weapon, old and new in all age groups.

How long will British Fencing sit and watch from the sides when countries like USA show us the way to promote and develop fencing at every level? When will we start to be dissappointed with no medals at these events ??

Australian
-9th October 2003, 13:08
yeah our guys did really well, frank bartolillo beat the world #10 to get into the 16 for mens foil

and we had seamus robinson in the 16 for mens epee - mind you he was junior world champion a few years back :)

harry
-9th October 2003, 13:14
we used to win world championships?? apparently

How are australians doing well in fencing now? Did you get some coaches in? What happened??

reposte
-9th October 2003, 13:22
Maybe they have less fora (I'm a learner I am RDB) on fencing...?

NLSC Sabreur
-9th October 2003, 14:46
The answer, pretty much = money

Do the government and the people of the UK consider it important for the national interest that the UK win lots of international medals at lots of sports? NO (or perhaps yes but not if costs too much) But why should they? Winning things puts a country in the international spotlight and gives a sort of acclaim but does the UK need this boost? Should tax payers or lottery players hand over large sums to sports they care absolutely nothing about?

In the US there is a lot more money in fencing. Club fees and lesson fees are in some cases vastly higher than the UK. There are also full time college students on scholarships. Although there are a small number of fencing scholarships in the UK the money is small and many of our best youngsters will go to university where there is no good coaching and will either drop out or make no progress. You can't bring over top coaches if you havn't got the money to pay them.

Whilst money maybe the main problem, culture in British fencing is another factor. Many (most?) clubs in the UK are fun clubs. Membership of these clubs is a small number of unfit people who turn up most weeks, enjoy themselves and get a bit of the exercise that they need. And what's wrong with that? The standard club recruits new members to ensure its survival and not in the search for new talent (how many local clubs will tell young talent that they need to move to stronger clubs?). To build for UK success would need a massive cultural change in clubs and without a big carrot of money how can they be persuaded to work together? Discussion on building a network of feeder clubs, elite clubs, and regional and national squads can wait for another thread.

harry
-9th October 2003, 14:51
i just think it sucks that smaller nations (fencing population) are starting to kick our ass at a sport that we have been doing for years and one that we have had world and olympic champions at. It is the whole cricket saga personified where we used to be good but all the crumblies held onto the nostalgia of great times and would not sod off and let new blood reviatlise the sport when the poo hit the fan.

i mean please- venezuala?? what great fencing history do they have! At this rate we will start losing to the turks and the iranians!

Something needs to be done about more rubbish results now!

NLSC Sabreur
-9th October 2003, 15:12
Originally posted by harry
i just think it sucks that smaller nations (fencing population) are starting to kick our ass at a sport that we have been doing for years and one that we have had world and olympic champions at. It is the whole cricket saga personified where we used to be good but all the crumblies held onto the nostalgia of great times and would not sod off and let new blood reviatlise the sport when the poo hit the fan.

i mean please- venezuala?? what great fencing history do they have! At this rate we will start losing to the turks and the iranians!

Something needs to be done about more rubbish results now!

Well what's your plan?

(I want to hear where the money comes from and how you get everyone working together.)

What are you going to do?

(Winning medals, coaching, fund raising, organisation?)

Gav
-9th October 2003, 15:14
NLSC sabreur has put it quite well. Haggis put it quite well in a conversation we had [paraphrasing] "We [the Uk] are happy amateurs]".

There is a problem with the coaching ethos in the UK as well. The majority of the coaches lack the experience to properly advise your average beginner. They also advise beginners on Fencing styles that have now be come less than useful. If we want decent fencer then as we have:


fund the scene
train decent coaches
were possible attract good foreign coaches
catch talen young and nurture it


I could go on at great length on this subject. We are a nation of consumers. We like everything packaged up and easy to swallow. To the average person the idea of actually going out and taking part in something is alien.

Oh yeah, and in the coaching section people were putting down for the BAF but not willing to put down why.

Homer
-9th October 2003, 15:20
well done to richard! But i would be ashamed to be part of the GBr set up right now. Long distance to travel to not even make 64's and be beaten by doughnuts in terms of results.

Harry is right- we should stop excepting one off results as a great acheivement and putting all medal hopes on one or two fencers and start making proper attempts at sorting our sport out in the UK cos we have the talent- it says a lot when all our best fencers go abroad every summer to get decent coaching and training!!

Fencing would get a better profile in the UK i we were any good at it! And i beg to differ with NLSC Sabreur but the cost of employing a Polish or Russian coach would be about £12K a year- which is almost double their respective salary due to the exchange rate! But Brits being Brits believe we can do it ourselves and probably the British coaches and politicians dont want the foreign coaches taking their spotlight!

harry
-9th October 2003, 15:48
makes me so proud!?!

aao
-9th October 2003, 15:49
Originally posted by harry
i

i mean please- venezuala?? what great fencing history do they have! At this rate we will start losing to the turks!

Hang on plenty of brits already manage that !!!! ;)

Loath as I am to agree with him Harry has a point, the results so far with a couple of exceptions have been in the main very dissapointing as all the people who went are more than capable of being able to get a 32 at this event (and had to prove it by getting one to get there!)
but I don't thiink its just to do with money, I mean look at the the Dutch and the Belgians, both nations have top 20 epeeist, neither has any great financial backing (some private sponsorship yes but thats down to the individiuals) they seem to be able to come up with people so why can't the Brits? richards done a supurb job out there (and throughout the season) and deserves all the credit he gets but him aside to we really have any fencers who you would expect to get a L8 at a senior world cup event??

If it was down to me I would encourage as many fencers as possible to go to foreign events be they French B-grades or Fie A-grades just to gain experience and to really push themselves and see who actually has the ability to do well abroad.

Prometheus
-9th October 2003, 16:17
Assuming lots of money being invested is out of the question what else would drive youngsters to give up alternative pleasures for fencing training.

If you ask me the prospect of peer group recognition is a strong motivation - imagine telling you fellow students that you just made the L8 at the WC.........

Perhaps the BFA should encourage stronger participation in international level events - I mean when was the last time nominated B grades were listed on the foil committee site! I know the epeeists are more organised on this - do they find it increases participation?

For instance the LP cup has not really been sucessfully advertised and in any case is limited entry - something I haven't noticed on any other FIE Satellite comp. For a lot of people they need to obtain an FIE license - it's not the cost it's the time scale which has been the problem.........

I must say I get the feeling the people on committees are having to focus on only a few things, perhaps due to their other commitments....perhaps some more salaried staff might help?

Homer
-9th October 2003, 16:23
People, people, people. Nearly every coach in this country thinks the sun shines out of their @rss! (with the exception of the few coaches that can actually coach in this country) until these coaches realise they can't coach at that level and never will be able to British fencers will never get any better.

'What! damage my pride and pass my talented young fencers onto a better coach, god forbid!'

Most coaches hold onto to anything talented and pretty much destroy what could have been a promising career. If you're lucky enough to be started with a good coach well done lucky you.
Until all the British coaches get off their high horses, realise they really can't coach and look for other alternatives then British will not improve

Gav
-9th October 2003, 16:34
Jenrick started a discussion on this very topic here (http://fencingforum.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&postid=19500#post19500) however no-one seemed intent on debating it. Additionally I would love to disapear abroad to the B grades.

Boo Boo
-9th October 2003, 16:53
What you waiting for Gav....? :) (go get them!)

Competition Place Start End Weapon M/W Cat. Type Event Statute Observer Doc
Tournoi satellite épée masculine Arhus 13.09.03 14.09.03 E M S SA Ind. Initial
Tournoi satellite épée masculine Turku 11.10.03 12.10.03 E M S SA Ind. Initial
Tournoi satellite épée masculine Copenhague 25.10.03 26.10.03 E M S SA Ind. Initial
Tournoi satellite épée masculine Oslo 13.12.03 14.12.03 E M S SA Ind. Initial
Tournoi satellite épée masculine Edinburgh 13.03.04 14.03.04 E M S SA Ind. Initial

There is even one in Edinburgh - how's that for service :)

(however, not sure whether you could get any ranking points for them - I THINK you should be able to get them, but you would have to check with your weapon captain...)

Cuppa
-9th October 2003, 16:54
Originally posted by harry
When were USA any good at fencing? Answer: when they brought over the coaches from Europe and Soviet Union to teach them to be good. And now look at them! Results in every weapon, old and new in all age groups.

How long will British Fencing sit and watch from the sides when countries like USA show us the way to promote and develop fencing at every level? When will we start to be dissappointed with no medals at these events ??

Harry has nicely thrown some good questions into the melting pot but his answer regarding bringing in coaches from Europe has already happened in the UK!! Mike Mathews, Laszlo Jakab, Bela Kapetka are only a few of the excellent foreign coaches based in the UK. We should also not forget the good British coaches!

Many of these coaches are feeling unsupported and ignored by the BFA - certainly those outside the M25!! Their experience and opinion is vital to improvement. The coaches in the USA are generally based in a university and with a huge budget (in many cases larger than the BFA's annual budget!) which makes things more comfortable. In the UK the money is less so we must rely on good organisation and creative use of established resourses.

To me and those I have consulted (fencers and coaches), feel that a major part of the problem is BFA's lack of vision when it comes to recognising the importance of preparation for major championships. To my knowledge, no squad training has taken place in the past few years.

How can the International Committee pragmaticly make important team decisions! The current perimeters are 1) A Grade results. 2) Whatever the Committe feels at the time! The first perimeter is strait forward, if you didnt get 2 x L32s or 1 x L16 this year you are at the whim of a group of people who are disregarding the National Rankings and have no record of athletes fitness, training plan or any other factor a GBR fencer should be excelling in prior to a major championships!! Many national teams have to regularly train together and have their performance monitored. If they do not attend or fall below the standard they are dropped from the team! Making a team decision on the fact that a fencer performed well in a competition 6 months ago is very naive!

To try and sum up, fencers and coaches need clear performance goals/indicators as set by the BFA. These would be based around major championships over 1 or more seasons.

Strategic performance assessments eg. squad training sessions need to be implemented to establish whether fencers are achieving the required standards. These would be lead by appointed National weapon Coaches. Athletics have a qualifying event before World Champs. Could'nt the fencing Nationals be used this way?

BFA, coaches and fencers need this clarity in the system so whatever decision needs to be made, whether it is selecting a squad or changing a training plan, it is done with up to date 'facts' and not hearsay. Otherwise ambiguity breeds discontent and apathy = poor results!!

Other opinions welcome!!!.....

doobarz
-9th October 2003, 17:27
In sabre, if you supply Neil Brown who does the rankings with a full entry list and a results sheet, he does all the maths for you...

harry
-9th October 2003, 17:43
Homer has it right. I think there is maybe five coaches that i respect and would except a lesson from in the UK. So called professors that are still teaching techniques used in the 60's (cos thats what won the world and Olympic championships before?!) and offer no physicological and nutritional advice only hold back our young talent. They need to get off there ass and reinvent themselves!

Who is responsible for the poor results? Will the weapon captains and national coaches take responsibility for poor performance- after all they are all paid to be there to and achieve something? How can we have a coaching system/heirachy in place when the BAF and BFA have different coaching policies? Why is there no system in place where we have a top coach, three weapons coaches and their assistants all operating to the same hymn sheet?

Our fencing system is in such disorder that we have to start from the top and kick some arse to get any kind of changes implemented to benefit British Fencing. That way we can put things in place so that we can start winning something rather than being at the bottom of the pecking order everytime and getting over excited over one result!

Boo Boo
-9th October 2003, 17:45
Cuppa, I think that you post is very good, thought provoking and constructive :)

Hopefully he will read it on his return to Havana anyway, but I really suggest that you contact Graham Watts (BFA Performance Director) with your thoughts and questions.


Originally posted by Cuppa
To my knowledge, no squad training has taken place in the past few years.


You are incorrect - although it depends upon what weapon you are refering to. There is a foil squad training session many Monday nights in North Central London (University College School). This is difficult for people who live outside of London, though. There used to be foil squad training sessions on some Saturdays too, but this hasn't happened since about March 2002. There is a junior squad session (seniors "encouraged" to go) planned for late December/early January.

When the Royal Armouries competition was run, they used to run the competition on the Saturday and a 6 weapon "squad" training session on the Sunday. I like this idea - there aren't enough 6 weapon training events (IMHO) - but it has been canned along with the Royal Armouries competition...

The Foil Committee also runs a "Tomorrow's Achievers" programme. This brings a number (40 or 50) talented young foilists (mainly in the 9 - 18 age range) together for training days throughout the year. I think this is an excellent idea: some good training, direction and a bit of "squad spirit". The TA programme does encourage - amongst other things - goal setting amounst the kids.

I don't believe that there was a GB squad training session (let alone camp) before the world championships. But I could be very wrong...


Originally posted by Cuppa

These would be lead by appointed National weapon Coaches.

A great idea - the US has national weapons coaches. But apparently the egos/politics involved in the UK would not make this practical. A big shame, I think :(

QUOTE]Originally posted by Cuppa

Athletics have a qualifying event before World Champs. Could'nt the fencing Nationals be used this way?
[/QUOTE]

Oh, I wish....! :D

Still, in all honesty this probably isn't a good idea: anyone can have a brilliant day at one competition - we need to be selecting on consistency of results (although some may argue about periodisation of training and competitive peaking etc.etc....). Also for achieving good international results at the world championships, how people perform domestically is not necessarily a good indicator... (how they perform internationally is)

QUOTE]Originally posted by Cuppa

BFA, coaches and fencers need this clarity in the system so whatever decision needs to be made, whether it is selecting a squad or changing a training plan, it is done with up to date 'facts' and not hearsay. Otherwise ambiguity breeds discontent and apathy = poor results!!
Other opinions welcome!!!..... [/QUOTE]

Yes, as a fencer I would really like to see some clarity, consistency and visibility across the BFA's policies and committees: the BFA claims to be run "for fencers" - sometimes this is not always obvious. :(

Personally, I would like to see the BFA making some progress towards longer term goals in addition to encouraging current successes (like Richard Kruse, the men's foil team and the women's sabre team).

If we are not encouraging the development and imrpovement of teams across all six weapons - regarless of their current standing - then there is something seriously wrong... :( Unless we go the way of Hong Kong which only has weapons programmes in men's foil, women's epee and women's sabre (they don't bother to develop the other weapons - they don't have high level elite programmes or funding for them). Ok, maybe not the best example in some ways - because HKG's were not fantastic at the World Championships... but hopefully you understand where I am coming from.

I would like to see more effort/money put into getting good performances at A-grades (like sending coaches along etc.). If we encourage good results there, then hopefully good results at the World Championships will follow.

Instead, the current system - for some weapons at least - seems to be "we'll just see what people do at A-grades", then spend lots of money and effort at the World Championships.

Wouldn't this money be better spent on training/performance analysis/coaching? Although it is nice to pay for athletes to compete at the world championships, wouldn't it be better to give them more support to achieve good places when they get there? Better results means that it should be easier for fencers and the BFA can them attract sponsorship to cover their World Championship costs.

I think that British fencers do well considering everything and hate to read posts that say negative things about them - its a tough/competitive fencing world out there and British fencers are individuals (often not feeling like members of a "team") trying their hardest to get good results. It can be very depressing not making the L64, and being very unconstructive about it is not helpful. :(

Cuppa's post however IS constructive :)

Boo
(rambling too much as usual and bound to get yelled at by someone for speaking her mind...)

Boo Boo
-9th October 2003, 17:52
Originally posted by harry
Will the weapon captains and national coaches take responsibility for poor performance- after all they are all paid to be there to and achieve something?

We don't have national weapons coaches. The weapons captains are not paid - they are voluntary.

Virtually all of the BFA and its sub-committees are voluntary.

Boo

harry
-9th October 2003, 18:33
It is such a British attitude to be grateful of the results that we get under the circuimstances. We will never get anywhere when we are content with poor performance. And being british we always find as many excuses as we can and blame or hide behind something rather than speak out.
The fact is that there are things that can be done improve fencing in the UK so we can compete on a World level and results like Richards are not uncommon. The problem is that the people that can make these changes are all happy with the way things are running right now and are reluctant to change it. Again typically British!

Boo Boo
-9th October 2003, 18:56
Originally posted by harry
It is such a British attitude to be grateful of the results that we get under the circuimstances. We will never get anywhere when we are content with poor performance. And being british we always find as many excuses as we can and blame or hide behind something rather than speak out.
The fact is that there are things that can be done improve fencing in the UK so we can compete on a World level and results like Richards are not uncommon. The problem is that the people that can make these changes are all happy with the way things are running right now and are reluctant to change it. Again typically British!

No, I disagree: it is not about finding excuses. Its about identifying our weaknesses and finding constructive things (like some of Cuppa's suggestions) that we can do to address those weaknesses and make ourselves better.

Its basically goal setting: where are we now, where do we want to be, what is the difference between the two, what do we need to do to get there. Something that individual fencers and the BFA need to do alike...

What I don't like is blaming it on the fencers: any "not great" individual results from the Worlds are done now - nothing anyone can do about it, so why layer a nice thick layer of blame on the fencers? I am sure that most of the GB fencers there will not be content with their performances, but they need to learn from it and move on - not dwell on it...

It is actually a very British thing to punish bad performance: the BFA would rather send NO fencers than risk "bad" results.... It seems like a dangerous policy to me (unless they are, at the same time, piling in loads of effort to develop fencers), but there you go.

Boo

harry
-9th October 2003, 19:36
if you look at the posts i have made on this you will see that i have laid the blame on the association and on the coaching structure. The results are the product of the system that we have in place and i'm not alone in this veiw. If you veiw both Homer and cuppas suggestions they all sing from the same hymn sheet as me.

How many times have you heard about the BFA goal setting and setting modernisation programs and yet the coaches and the politicians are seperated by the BFA and BAF which predominently are working against each other.

Why do we have two governing bodies?

Boo Boo
-9th October 2003, 20:00
I am sorry, I guess it is just your abrassive manner and comments like "makes me so proud!?!" (on two seperate threads) and "what tripe!" don't really strike me as constructive... :(

Homer
-9th October 2003, 20:23
sorry to be unconstructive but you are on a fencing forum- there is nothing constructive that will come of any of this unless you get the people that need to hear this to listen.

harry
-9th October 2003, 20:35
maybe it is because i have been fencing for 16 years, represented my country at international level like yourself Boo Boo and have trained abroad most summers for several years can i be so dismissive of the standard of British Fencing in all weapons.

When foreigners get a Brit in their pool we are starting to be seen as the rabbits. If ee had the same standard of training and coaching as our counterparts overseas i can assure you that we would not be finding excuses to make for more poor performances.

Sabine
-9th October 2003, 20:59
What a lot of very complicated reasons as to why British fencers do not do as well as fencers from other countries. How about going back to basics:

1. British fencers do not get funded to fence full time so they have to choose between getting a job and scraping by as full-time fencers. Little surprise lots drop out or don't stick to the senior circuit for long.

2. Even if they were able to fence full time the quality of training available to them is second rate compared to that available in serious countries. They have few sparring partners of competitive quality, often need to travel 1-2 hours each way to get to training and when they get there a 2 hour session is considered a good outcome. At Tauber the cadets arrive at the club at 1.30pm after school and leave to return home at 7.30pm every weekday. they receive 40 minute lessons, do footwork, fence in pools as well as eat 2 meals, get medical treatment if injured and do their homework. In Russia the top foilists train 6 days a week, 4 hours a day. It's just another world.

3. British fencers' footwork lags the best in the world. How many of the team do 30 minutes of footwork each and every day. The Koreans, and Chinese are newly arrived countries on the world scene yet all their fencers have immaculate footwork.

These are the facts of life. Until you fix the basics, results like Richard's will remain the exception not the norm. Blaming everyone left right and centre won't improve much.

Boo Boo
-9th October 2003, 21:08
Agreed, but it is a difficult balance: if the comments aren't constructive, then the BFA just dismisses them as whining/complaining... :(

Although maybe I am being niaive regarding the the usefulness of constructive comments...?

There are some very intelligent people involved with the BFA and committees, with some excellent ideas. But there are also so many personalities, politics and agendas involved (the same with coaching - its hard enough sometimes to get two coaches to work together, let alone two coaching bodies...). So sometimes these good ideas get lost... :(

Maybe you should stand for election, Harry? The committees need (IMO) more fencers with international experience to take an interest in directing things.

Boo
(hates politics)

Jenrick
-9th October 2003, 22:02
Maybe it's about time instead of empire building in cliques the BFA and BAF got together with a representative of some persons from this forum, some top coaches and thrashed a way forward. The USA have a dedicated Coaches association, why not the UK? surely it wouldn't be too difficult to run the sport with the fencers in mind rather than just a power trip. The old and new methods combined would be a massive step forward. To stop attacking each other and work for the improvement needed in partnership is surely not too much to ask. There are good and great coaches in both systems - combine them and it would be a stong system with a vision to the future with lessons from the past. Because it is old dosn't make it redundant just as the new doesn't make it better.
But then that's just my view.

harry
-10th October 2003, 08:23
I would enter the politics of fencing if it wasn't for the following reasons:

I hate large committees, they are not as effective and resceptive to change as a smaller board.
The people in these positions have been there a long time, set in their ways of running things and are inevitably difficult to persuade that major change is needed because they can no longer see the faults that lay in our current system. They would see the shake up that is needed as unwelcome.

There are some very intelligent people involved with the BFA and committees, with some excellent ideas. But there are also so many personalities, politics and agendas involved (the same with coaching - its hard enough sometimes to get two coaches to work together, let alone two coaching bodies...). So sometimes these good ideas get lost...

Exactly what Homer said- too many individuals looking for personal gain rather than working together.

The sad fact it would take too much time to implement these changes, some people would have to step down and others would have to have there toes stood on- and can you imagine any one in British Fencing's politics and Coaching allow that to happen?

Gav
-10th October 2003, 09:07
Thanks for the list Boo - I knew there was due to be one in Edinburgh and yes I will be there. I would very much like to go to some of the other ones however I only have a limited number of 'weekend passes' available from The Girlfriend...

I think Sabine's observations are very good and also illustrations of the fact that in the UK we are a nation of amatuers.

I know how difficult it is to get change in the BF, saying that you are not interested in the politics just avoids the issue. If you care enough then get involved politics or no. It is only be engaging that we can mediate some change. Keith Smith has taken part in this forum in the past and I would hope that he takes notice of this thread and takes the time to respond. I believe that boards like this can be used to increase communication between our governing body and its members but it's essential that both sides must take part. If the memebers of this board know the top coaches and/or those in the upper echelons of BF then I would recommend that you mention this to them, so that a dialogue can be started.

Boo Boo
-10th October 2003, 09:15
Originally posted by Gav
Thanks for the list Boo - I knew there was due to be one in Edinburgh and yes I will be there. I would very much like to go to some of the other ones however I only have a limited number of 'weekend passes' available from The Girlfriend...


Simple Gav, take the girlfriend with you!!! Okay, you would spend a day or so fencing, but imagine the brownie points a romantic long weekend in Copenhagen could get you??? Plan in advance, book early, could get a good deal :)

Keith Smith is in Havana at the moment - maybe he will read this when he gets back...

Boo

doobarz
-10th October 2003, 09:36
I agree with many of the points raised, but would feel wrong challenging the people who volunteer and put lots of time in, as I don't have the time to do it myself. You can't sack volunteers, only upset them.

I would ask how many of the people making these - valid - points went to the AGM and stood for positions? Or have taken the time to speak to their weapon rep or weapons captain? I spoke to Ian Williams over the summer, and know that he has plans for the MS squad - lets hope all the regions will co-operate in order to provide venues etc....

I apologise if these are people in positions of responsibility - I think the work done is good, but could be better, though possibily not without funding for more positions ie president....

Gav
-10th October 2003, 09:42
Originally posted by Boo Boo
Simple Gav, take the girlfriend with you!!! Okay, you would spend a day or so fencing, but imagine the brownie points a romantic long weekend in Copenhagen could get you??? Plan in advance, book early, could get a good deal :)

I tried this - no joy. She's an awkward customer. :(


Keith Smith is in Havana at the moment - maybe he will read this when he gets back...

Boo

<slaps head> Ah, of course he is! I still on call other coaches and board members to join in on the debate.

harry
-10th October 2003, 09:55
As much we i agree that they are volunteers and dedicate their valuable time to the cause- it makes them no less accountable. They are in their positions because they stood for election to represent the fencers with the knowledge that they would be required to do some work for it. They did not enter their positions with the idea they would be funded to do the job and it was no secret. So until such times as they improve things so they can be funded then we can not use the "volunteers" excuse everytime something is required to be done in fencing and it requires them to dedicate some time. That is what they are there for.

doobarz
-10th October 2003, 10:00
True, but they can only be accountable to a point - they need to work, pay the mortgage etc etc.

Perhaps th emoney we talked about giving Laurence in a previous thread would be better spent funding these kinds of posts?

harry
-10th October 2003, 10:19
again, they knew that before they took the position so you can't defend them with that answer. I am not trying to disrespectful to anyone here. Do we really need that many people in positions of power?

Is it not more plausable to have a smaller committee of volunteers (of five and one president who is permanently employed) and sub committees to assist for the various different aspects. Appoint a national coach for Foil, Epee and sabre who are in charge of all the coaches underneath them throughout the year, all setting improvements schemes and developing a coaching heirachy. Coaches would love the recognition from a governing body to be the National Coach.

Imagine how good it would be for the coaches, fencers and the board members under a structure like this. And would it really take that long to sort it all out. You could restructure the way fencing is run in the country within a week after a formal ballot was done. The admin would all be done by Gillian and Kim at HQ and the appointed ombudsman.

Boo Boo
-10th October 2003, 10:33
Hhhmmm, "fantasy BFA board" - I wont even go there :)

How many members are on the board at the moment? How often are they up for re-election?

Gav, you need a B-grade in New York - few girls can resist the shops and glamour of New York for a long weekend (although the jet lag afterwards can be less glamourous...)

Boo

Prometheus
-10th October 2003, 11:03
The Coach/Pupil relationship is very much a significant part to the success mixture and one of the problems that Harry (in a rather heavy way) alludes to, in fact Harry is far too harsh - it is ridiculous to think that coaches are self serving soul stealers. But saying that, the coaching issue is very much part of the issue with British Fencing but for far more mundane reasons.

If I take myself for example as a 'part time' coach - I took up coaching when I found the local club coachless (the previous coach had skipped town due to divorce issues or something), once undertaken you feel a commitment to all these fencers who have spent money and time because you encouraged them.

Some of them achieve county level titles and you start to enjoy the 'reflected glory' of their success........ You then get roped into coaching evenings at a local Public School. Because there are so few qualified coaches around you start being in demand all over the place - different clubs, parents, etc......

Unfortunately the following constraints apply:

(a) Due to British culture amatuer sports are deemed a waste of time by your company management.

(b) In the UK we work some of the longest hours in europe so spend less time training.

(c) Children in the UK don't realise how much effort is required to attain World levels so do not train enough

(d) Also due to (a) and (b) and being a employee you cannot spare time to train as a coach enough......the same applies to my coach too.

(e) You have to take time out to rest due to a working day that goes from 8am to10:30pm (normal work followed by coaching)

So why am I part time and not full time, there certainly is the income where I live?

i) because I get a pension contribution and security from my company.

ii)I don't think that my students are committed enough or train hard enough for me to sacrifice my life to coaching just for a living.

iii) and coaching can kill through wearing you out..........



As Sabine indirectly points out, in Europe the culture is different.....change the culture and then we can go for world domination.....but in the meantime (as Gav says) we'll scrape by as amateurs.

harry
-10th October 2003, 11:36
in fact Harry is far too harsh - it is ridiculous to think that coaches are self serving soul stealers.

he heh he- I can name some but i will bite my lip. I think that have had lessons now from every coach in the UK or been part of a sessions with them. They all teach the same moves differently. They all have their own ideas about the best footwork sessions, they all have their own ideas about nutrition and most them do not have any idea about proper fitness training.

This is due to the fact not enough resources are in place to educate our coaches (professors) in the UK and to develop them further. You have to go and source the information yourself but most are reluctant to do so because they believe they are already well educated in these fields.

If you have trained abroad you will know the big gap in terms of knowledge that exists between foreign coaches and our own. If this weren't the case- why do we send coaches over to Hungary for a three month course?

And the reason that fencers do not become coaches is because there no encouragement to do so. In other sports it is almost certain that you will enter some kind coaching, refereeing or administration so your knowledge is not lost.

Homer
-10th October 2003, 11:54
I'm sorry so you started coaching because the club needed you to, all well and good.
But what gives you the right to think that you're good enough to coach these kids past a certain level. All coaches must know their limitations!! take them up to the standard you can and then pass them on to a better coach. That's how it works in other countries. Britain is full of coaches that can't fence/aren't very good fencers yet they think they can train kids up to be the next world champion.
Harry has a point most British coaches are teachiong the same british moves but in different ways, and lets face it in 99% of the time at the wrong distance, and with the wrong timing!!!
P.S this maessage dosen't warrent a 10 page essay on how good british coaches are and the good they've done for British fencing, a one paragraph answer will do

Prometheus
-10th October 2003, 12:05
True enough, Harry....

I must admit the motivation for anyone to get involved in admin or coaching is, at best, qualitative......

I expect that a lot of coaches (me included) don't either have time to study the indirect subjects such as nutrition or don't have ambitions to coach anyone other than happy amateurs.

I'd like to be as qualified as continental coaches and then assuming UK coaches of my level aiming for that, would require the commitment of being fulltime along with the necessary British Fencing structure in place to support that amount of coaches being trained (again money).......then the appropriate work available and the fencer's commitment to train as equally hard...1/2 hour of footwork every day - gym training - stamina building....etc.

I don't think you'll find many fencers (perhaps a few like yourself) who are prepared to commit to that level.....there is only one at the club I train at.

Prometheus
-10th October 2003, 12:14
Homer,

a) I can fence and am on the open circuit at a reasonably high level for my age (top 100)

b) I have passed on students to my coach (who is a professor) but they have to travel (as I do) 50 miles to train where he is.

c) some of my fencers are regional champions if that helps to indicate my coaching level, mid level??

d) Coaching is hard work and requires great skill and fundamental understanding of the weapon - IMO the lack of understanding of fundamental technique that is inherent in British fencing then manifests itself in the poor coaching technique manifest in this country.
I could recount the glaring errors that even some top foilist have made in explaining technique......after all what is counter time......ask some foilists and see how many know.......ask about tactical use of cadence in footwork.....I expect you will receive a equally blank expression as a reply.

Homer
-10th October 2003, 12:25
i can't recall the last time i saw a top foilist use counter time, a lot more useful in epee (even more so in sabre), and as for british footwork.
I won't even go into the typical mundane british footwork session, the only good footwork sessions going around are being carried in this country by Polish, Hungarians, and few dodgy russians. Britains are floored in fencing before tghey step on the pieste with lack of fitness, and footwork counter time dosen't even come into it

Prometheus
-10th October 2003, 12:32
agreed.

I'm running twice a week to improve my fitness, now for an extra 1/2 hour a day for the footwork practice:rolleyes:

harry
-10th October 2003, 12:56
I found it embarrassing to watch the Professors of this country watching a Russian guest coach come over for a week and stand in awe of the guy (had numerous world champions). Then after a week of the coach passing over a lot of his knowledge to the caoches in coaching seminars and sppecial sessions our professors then went back to coaching exactly the same way they were before he arrived. What a waste of a resource!!!

The fencers could not do his footwork sessions because they were technically floored (some top 10 fencers in GBR), the coaches did not attempt to adopt his teaching skills and only a handful of people could actually take a good lesson from him.

It was a disgrace- the professors in BF are not willig to change their teaching methods and continue to improve themselves even when they have a fencing god at their disposal. We need fresh thinking in BF!

Jenrick
-10th October 2003, 15:47
There are some good coaches with desire to move their pupils forward. It may not be a lack of ambition rather a stifling within the current uncertain system. It sounds good to have a overall national coach and underneath a Foil, epee, sabre one. Maybe even a footwork specialist gathering once a year for a week coaching college and a few regional weekends etc with all the top coaches registered wouldn't be too hard to sort out. It will take money but then it is worth it as it benefits alll in fencing, fencers and coaches. If all coaches sang from the same hymn sheet at whatever standard then we would all know our limitations. Not being to proud to hand pupils on to higher coaches should be prerequisite. If was up and running and all coaches had too atend some of the events to keep insurance. We could all learn from each and help and improve rather than at times bicker.
If we focus on one or two fencers then we loose the fight - look at Tennis with Henman / Rudzekski. While we are going through this new change stuff we may as well get it right.

Gecko
-10th October 2003, 16:05
To add my 50-pence-worth as an old fencer from a minor fencing country, recently returned to fencing in the UK, I find it striking that in a typical club, people do a great deal of free play to the exclusion of working with a mate - say, for half an hour - on a specific technique or two, even simply target practice, or on some tactics; the only controlled practice they have is the valuable but short lesson with the coach. (This might not be so at the elite clubs.)
Developing a culture of working on the basics might raise the grass-roots standard over a time.
However, I do see a lot of talent and enthusiasm in the face of the hardships Sabine and others mentioned.

harry
-10th October 2003, 16:26
my ideas are not unique-

thats just how it is everywhere else. It would not take long to implement the change and everyone will benefit within two years of its intrduction.

Who knows- if someone paid attention to this we could have a system in place for us to start winning things and assist talents like Richard. And in a few years time the youngsters that come through will be taught by the new training so we-like the Americans will have more than one prospect in each event . . . . you know just a thought . . . . . .

Rdb811
-10th October 2003, 21:17
Originally posted by Gecko
the only controlled practice they have is the valuable but short lesson with the coach. (This might not be so at the elite clubs.)


It is the case at LTFC and Haverstock - free fencing only. In fact, the problem is worse at the elite clubs because of the pressure on space.

Gecko
-11th October 2003, 17:18
Rdb811 -- ".. the pressure on space" :
Not conducive to good footwork training - and the restricted space means we do not have clearly marked piste markings which allow you to go all out with the footwork in your free-play. You are inhibited in length and, just as important , in clearly defined width of piste.

Laszlo
-12th October 2003, 16:01
Originally posted by harry
we used to win world championships?? apparently

How are australians doing well in fencing now? Did you get some coaches in? What happened??

I tell you a secret. Frank whom I know him very well usually goes to train in China. Prior the Worl Championship, he worked very hard and trained in China.

vivo
-12th October 2003, 17:35
It is nice to hear lots of comments about British fencing. In fact, I have many posts in sabre section in the past on how badly the system is in UK.

1) I don't blame GB fencers. Poor achievement is not their fault. I am sure they did what they could. It is not their fault that they could not reach good results. I blame the system which has been established in recent year, particular the management of the national squad by BFA. In my opinion, GB fencers are not the weakest link in Europe. I just wonder where GB sabre team who beat Italian team in World cup at Nimes is. In the last 2 years, 3 of young fencers representing GB in World Championship decided to stop fencing. Is anyone know why they decide to stop? Who responsible in this?

2) It is great that USA has achieved great results recently. DOn't forget that the plan of establishing excellent fencers started about 6 years ago in 3 fencing centres with young fencers. If BFA wants to achieve something in the future, they must do it now. In England, there are lots of young talent fencers who are willing to fence. Therefore, we must have a clear goal for them why they have to fence for. We need professional committee, systemtic plan, sponsor and do it.
For example, now we have 4 young talent girls who are selected to go to European Junior Championship in November. Can you believe it that nobody organises the preparation in this important event at all? They live in the same area in the south but no one cares about them. They should bring reputation for GB in the future. I don't see what BFA tries to do thing such as regular team training for them. BFA just waits the time when they may be lucky and go to the final and claims that is a GB fencer. However, without training, it is unlikely to happen. It will be the same story as the senior men sabre nowadays. Sabre is just James William and Louise Bond William.

3) I just amaze in the foil system established. The result shows that they are on the right way. I just wonder why the sabre committee does not follow their work. There has not been any common training for sabre either women or men for 2 years. How can we get a good result from them. Even worse, they set up a extremely unreachable criteria for our fencers.

4) Because of the voluntary work, the future of fencing in UK will never be better. We need professional work. No money incentive, there is no responsibility. At the end of the day, they always claim " Sorry, I am just a volunteer.".

6) I think there is more to talk why we cannot achieve good results but I 'd rather stop before running a full page of the thread.
7) I don't believe the foreign coaches can change BFA moral. Professional fencing coaches could not change the moral of social fencing style.

Bye for now

GrahamWatts
-16th October 2003, 17:34
I have read all the points on ths thread with great interest as i am sure will keith when he returns from his travels.

Frankly, apart from a few sensible comments from Boo (who at least seems to know something about international fencing) it is illuminating that the only person to have exactly identified the cause of our problems is Sabine! i agree with her absolutely.

Put these facts into a context.

Our entire budget for international fencing is £120K - sounds a lot? Think about it. Two World Championships. Two European Championships. Six Weapons. Three Age Groups. Referees. Elite fencers. International Potential Fencers. Coaching costs. Support costs (physio/psyvchology etc). How far does anyone think that £120K stretches? How much do you think that sending 17 fencers and 7 officials to Havana cost?

Where is the money for your national Coach and weapon coaches going to come from?

As an example, if your WS squad lives in Columbus, Ohio, Durham, London, Bath, Stratford, Brentwood etc how do you have regular squad sessions when there is no money for travel expenses and coaching?

As Boo pointed out the foil squad (with less geographical problems) does have regular squad sessions.

Many of the points made by correspondents here are simply in fantasy-land!

The only reason we have £120K is that we have convinced UK Sports that we have a long-term plan (until 2008) and that we are introducing progressively higher qualifying standards for the world championships (in addition to several other targets). So, I think anyone writing here that there is no long-term plan or vision should think again (or start to read The Sword! or the BF website.

It is not possible to become a top fencing nation overnight. It has taken the USA ten years to develop a world class team in MS, WS and WF (they have still got a long way to go in other weapons).

I would argue that we are on the right track. Evidence:

Six World/European medals in the past two years (prior to which, only one since 1976);

Two senior world finalists in the past two years (prior to which none since 1982);

4 x L16 or better (3 in sabre!) in last two years (prior to which, 3 in last 20 years).

As a final piece of evidence, i expect that GBR finished around 12th in the WC Coupe des nations (I haven't seen the final version) which places us 12th in the world. Where are we ranked in other sports? Where do we finish in the Olympic medal table? we have just dropped out of the world top 16 in tennis. we are ranked around 12 in both football and athletics and we would be doing well to finish 12th in the 2004 Olympic medal table.

As the 4th biggest economy n the world we should be better ranked in many sports, not just fencing, and the real target for your anger is not the few dedicated people who try to do their best for british fencing but a Government and a Society which values sport so poorly.

I think that there are many comments in this thread which are insulting to the fantastic achievements of Richard, Laurence, Louise, James and the Womens Sabre team during this year.

Graham

aao
-16th October 2003, 23:17
Graham while I agree with many of the points you make, would it not be an idea for the BFA to set up a system to help our top fencers to find private sponsors to help meet some of the costs you mentioned. If this was done centrally and was well structured it would greatly increase the chance of some of the fencers getting access to private money.

Also as I've suggested before its not just about money a number of nations with smaller fencing budgets then ourselves e.g. the Dutch have many more top fencers than we do e.g. 3 in the top 30 for mens epee I believe. Part of the reason for this is that their fencers spend a great deal of time fencing abroad in different countries competitions gaining experience (I don't mean just A-grades but the equivialent of our national circuit in other coutries). for example Siebren TIGCHELAAR a dutch epeeist was doing a number of french domestic competitions a few years ago while improving (he wasn't particularily good then) and he's now 31st in the world having made a senior final and a number of 16's.
Unfortunately in the UK with the way our rankings work there is very little incentive for fencers to go to any competitions apart from nominated A-grades as there are few points available for them and little guidance from the BFA as to which ones people should consider entering.

I like a number of other don't neccesarily agree with the idea of year on year increases in the qualifying standards for the worlds as to be honest its yet to prove conclusive that it has actually improved matters for example Richard aside do you view this years worlds results as particualrily good? or for that matter last years? we seem to be doing far better in A-grades where we send the maximum number of fencers to the event and give the most amount a chance of achieving a result. To be honest with you its a great shame that if you have 4 places per weapon available at the worlds you don't make the most of them as anybody in the top 4 on a given day has a chance of doing well. By raising the standard the way it has been if anything you are demotivating the majority of fencers with unrealistic targets.

12th in the world is a respectable position my only point is that we do have fencers who given the chance and motivation could do better, and it is very much in the hands of the BFA to do that.

vivo
-17th October 2003, 10:04
Originally posted by GrahamWatts
As an example, if your WS squad lives in Columbus, Ohio, Durham, London, Bath, Stratford, Brentwood etc how do you have regular squad sessions when there is no money for travel expenses and coaching?

As Boo pointed out the foil squad (with less geographical problems) does have regular squad sessions.

Graham

So, does it mean the BFA intend to establish the team only if the fencers come from the same area? Then the geographic area should be one of the criteria!!!!!!!!

The ideal criteria should be
1x L16 and 100 miles away from London.:grin:

Boo Boo
-17th October 2003, 10:32
Maybe the weapons squads/BFA could look at having more squad training weekends?

Agreed, squad training sessions are just about impossible to have during the week, because they are very difficult for people to get to. If they are held at weekends, then it is definitely more manageable, providing the location chosen is fairly accessable (London or Birmingham or Nottingham, for example).

I understand that arranging squad sessions is difficult - especially once the A-grade season starts (fencers need a weekend off occassionally...). And there are so many competitions to schedule around (National competitions, junior A-grades, senior A-grades, cadet foreigns etc.etc.).

However, when the foil squad was holding fairly regular weekend squad sessions at University College School (unfortunately there haven't been many recently), they were well attended.

This is one of the reasons that I was very disappointed when the Royal Armouries Challenge was dropped from the BFA calendar - last year there was a 6 weapon squad training session the day after the competition. That seems like a great opportunity to get all six weapons training together - something I don't think we do enough of. I am also sure that the Royal Armouries Challenge must be a great opportunity to raise sponsorship and publicity, but that's a different matter.... (although I assume it is not being run this year because it is a money drain rather than a fund raiser).

I would really like to see the BFA (and its committees) start pulling together and in the same direction: helping itself, the British teams/squads and British fencers to get stronger and in a better position to achieve great results at A-grades, World Championships and the Olympics. However, at the moment training and selection appears (from a fencer's point of view) to be fragmented and unco-ordinated :(

Boo

harry
-17th October 2003, 10:47
i am again disappointed from an answer that i have just been given. We are all fully aware that money makes the world round and also whenever we need to find a reason for our present circumstances. We can not keep finding this as our main reason for our present situation in fencing and start listening to it as the cause.

If we need to generate money to improve our problem- why cant we hear about what the BFA are doing to rectify it. Every single thread like this always ends with the BFA has no money! Ask the audience, phone a friend! There are enough people here on a forum that can come up with money making ideas.

K. Smith said that there are approx 12,000 fencers and of which 4000 are registered fencers. Why not stop the club membership as full insurance cover but only covers the club- do a beginner cover scheme that allows fencers to fence with insurance at there uni's and clubs but not compete in competitions and it costs them a tenner. 8000*10 is a lot more money than what you had before. It seems daft to me that 8000 fencers are allowed to fence under an insurance cover that is provided by the club which has been allowed by BFA. That 80,000 generated by BF in one year that can go towards what we are debating.

GrahamWatts
-17th October 2003, 11:11
What annoys me about many of the postings on this Forum, with respect to international fencing, is that speculation and assumption is so often postulated as an absolute and universal truth!

Take sponsorship for example. You infer that BF does nothing to help its fencers with private sponsorship. Actually, every generation of leadership at the BFA/AFA that I have personally experienced over the last 20 years has gone out of their way to try to attract personal sponsorship. Keith Smith and his team have been more successful than most. I would guess that our leading fencers have shared something over £50,000 a year since 2000 in funding that has come from external sponsors (the figure has been over £60K in some years).

The notion that we somehow turn down or discourage sponsorship is bizarre - I am happy (and I am sure Keith would agree with this) to extend an invitation to anyone who has a potential sponsor to let British Fencing (or me personally) know about it and we will follow it up.

All I will say is that I know how difficult it is to raise sponsorship - contrary to popular opinion the world is not full of companies (or their shareholders) wishing to give away money and if they do, there will generally be a lot of other worthy causes higher up their lists than fencing. For every ten sponsorship leads I have followed up in the past, I would guess that only one bears any fruit. ( A recent 3 year deal, negotitated with a private sponsor via the BOA, worth £12K per year for 4 years dried up after just one year, even though we had effectively spent the second year's money before being told that it would not be forthcoming!).

I'm back to qualifying standards now!

THERE IS NO LONGER ANY ROOM FOR DEBATE ABOUT HIGHER QUALIFYING STANDARDS. WE HAVE AN 8 YEAR PLAN, APPROVED BY THE AUTHORITY THAT PROVIDES MOST OF THE FUNDS FOR BRITISH FENCING. IT WAS THEIR RQUIREMENT THAT WE INCREASE OUR QUALIFYING STANDARDS IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN OUR FUNDING, WITHOUT WHICH BF COULD NOT OPERATE AT ITS CURRENT LEVEL (CHECK THE ACCOUNTS!). IT IS NOT AN OPTION FOR US TO RENEGE ON THIS COMMITMENT.

However, we have maintained some flexibility in our qualifying standards. Only 10 of the 17 fencers who represented GB in Havana had reached the qualifying standard but we deemed it appropriate to send other fencers for individual and team purposes, because of the importance of other considerations (good team results and attitude, close results etc).

Looking at all the evidence over the past year (and - yes, in relation to a previous posting - we do look into issues of training, coaching, support services for all our leading fencers - it is ludicrous to suggest otherwise) I firmly believe that there is no other British fencer who deserved to go to Havana or would have achieved a respectable result.

As a matter of interest, you say that we have a better chance of success in the world cups where we send more fencers. Where is there any evidence for this.

The only weapon that this can possibly apply to is MF where we have a better strength in depth than in other weapons. In the other five weapons, we currently only have 10/12 fencers altogether who are capable of achieving a good result. Throwing worse fencers into these events isn't going to change that.

The phrase 'on a good day' in relation to fencing is generally a weak fencer's fantasy (certainly at the higher levels of international fencing). Good fencers, with superior technique, fitness and footwork will always beat weak fencers (especially over 15 hits).... relentlessly. In these circumstances, 'a good day' never comes!

On the other side of the coin, BF has often been criticised for not supporting its WC team. Now that we have higher standards for entry and the "tourist fencer" syndrome has been eradicated, we are able to confidently pay for our team. Not only were all the fencers in Havana fully supported by having their entry fees, travel, hotel and dinner expenses met in full, they were also backed by a fully-funded coach at each weapon, a manager and assistant manager (who doubled as weapon captains), a professional BOA physio and an armourer. It was certainly the most "professional" team we have ever had at any world championships.

Was it a good world championships? Well, since the Dutch and Australians have been cited on this website as having had successful championships, it might be worthwhile comparing our individual results (I don't have the team results to hand) with theirs.

First of all, to press the point, it is worth noting that we had a team of 17. The Dutch had a team of 11 and the Australians a team of 7. Why? Becuase they had even tougher qualifying standards than we did!

These were the comparative results:

GBR - 1 x L8; 1x L16; 1x L32; 4x L64; 8 x L128; 2x R1

NED - 0 x L8; 2x L16; 2 x L32; 2 x L64; 4 x L128; 1 x R1

AUS - 0 x L8; 2 x L16; 1 x L32; 2 x L64; 2 x L128; 0 x R1

Whose were the better results? The Dutch and the Australians had higher qualifying standards, thus fewer fencers, thus fewer eliminated in the first round (BUT the number of British fencers eliminated in the bottom 20% was the lowest in modern times, an obvious reflection of our higher qualifying standards).

We had 7 fencers in the L64 (41%) - which is not enough in my view even despite the higher standards; the Dutch had 6 fencers in the L64 (54%) and the Australians had 5 (71%). Both GBR and AUS had 3 fencers in the L32, whilst the Dutch had 4. We all had 2 fencers in the L16, although (in my mind, crucially) GBR was the only one of these nations to have had a L8.

No more time but, please, let's have some more rational discussion based on cold, hard facts, rather than idle and misinformed speculation.

BTW - your strapline says something like 'failure is but a stepping stone to success' - sorry but that's rubbish! Talent + energy + application are the only stepping stones to success - you can get somehere with any one of these three but you will only get far with all three.

Richard Kruse and Louise Bond-Williams are consistently proving that there is no fundamental reason why any British fencer can't have all three and reap the successes that this deserves.

Graham

Prometheus
-17th October 2003, 11:13
Harry,

I think you'll find that the membership scheme is going to provide individual 'club' membership for social fencers.

Also, I believe that club membership never, nor does cover fencers liability.

GrahamWatts
-17th October 2003, 11:15
'So, does it mean the BFA intend to establish the team only if the fencers come from the same area? Then the geographic area should be one of the criteria!!!!!!!!

The ideal criteria should be
1x L16 and 100 miles away from London'


Sorry but this is absolute rubbish and misses the point entirely. What I am saying is that there is no logistical possibility for squad training in some weapons given the geographical locations of the leading fencers and the lack of time and money to make it happen.

Vivo - its nice to see that you are so well-balanced - you obviously have a chip on both shoulders!

GrahamWatts
-17th October 2003, 11:22
K. Smith said that there are approx 12,000 fencers and of which 4000 are registered fencers. Why not stop the club membership as full insurance cover but only covers the club- do a beginner cover scheme that allows fencers to fence with insurance at there uni's and clubs but not compete in competitions and it costs them a tenner. 8000*10 is a lot more money than what you had before. It seems daft to me that 8000 fencers are allowed to fence under an insurance cover that is provided by the club which has been allowed by BFA. That 80,000 generated by BF in one year that can go towards what we are debating. [/B][/QUOTE]


Harry - what a simple and lovely world you inhabit!

So, the BF makes this decision and suddenly there are 8,000 people queueing up to pay them £10 each? There are something like 400 people who have so far been sufficiently interested to sign up (for free) to belong to this Forum - how many would do so if LP started to charge £10 for registration?

How much do you think it would cost to get £10 each from 8,000 people - most of whom would rather not pay for something they have hitherto been doing for free and don't give a monkeys for insurance etc etc?

Join the real world, Harry!

Boo Boo
-17th October 2003, 11:36
Originally posted by GrahamWatts

How much do you think it would cost to get £10 each from 8,000 people - most of whom would rather not pay for something they have hitherto been doing for free and don't give a monkeys for insurance etc etc?


Graham definitely has a very good point. Think about car insurance... its a legal requirement to have it, but still an awful lot of people are driving around out there without any car insurance at all... its illegal (?), irresponsible and foolish, but a frighteningly high numner of people drive without insurance... :(

I guess that clubs could make it a requirement of joining (a sort of "joining fee" or part of the beginners course fee - easier to enforce for new joiners, not easy to enforce on existing members...), a large proportion of existing fencers will not want to pay it :(

Although yes, in an ideal world, I would like to see everyone a member of the BFA :)

Boo

aao
-17th October 2003, 12:46
Sorry Graham have to disagree with you on many of the points below:


QUOTE]Originally posted by GrahamWatts
[B] [COLOR=red] Take sponsorship for example. You infer that BF does nothing to help its fencers with private sponsorship. Actually, every generation of leadership at the BFA/AFA that I have personally experienced over the last 20 years has gone out of their way to try to attract personal sponsorship. Keith Smith and his team have been more successful than most. I would guess that our leading fencers have shared something over £50,000 a year since 2000 in funding that has come from external sponsors (the figure has been over £60K in some years). [COLOR]


Umm graham what is this figure based on? are the sponsors you mention not primarily from within the fencing world e.g. Leon Paul, Janet C's fund raisers etc and in one case a private investor with a slightly odd agenda regarding the nationals.
Do we actually have a set stratey for advising fencers how to go about trying to attract sponsorship or even a unified view of how to go about marketing the BFA and its fencers to the world at large.
You're quite right when you say that its very tough to go out and get external sponsors and thats all the more reason why we should have a good clear plan on how to do it.



[COLOR=red]The notion that we somehow turn down or discourage sponsorship is bizarre - I am happy (and I am sure Keith would agree with this) to extend an invitation to anyone who has a potential sponsor to let British Fencing (or me personally) know about it and we will follow it up. [COLOR]

this is the point sponsors won't just come to British Fencing you have to have a strategy for going out to get them. if a sponsor approaches us we don't even have a clear guidline as to what we can offer them.


[COLOR=red]I'm back to qualifying standards now!

THERE IS NO LONGER ANY ROOM FOR DEBATE ABOUT HIGHER QUALIFYING STANDARDS. WE HAVE AN 8 YEAR PLAN, APPROVED BY THE AUTHORITY THAT PROVIDES MOST OF THE FUNDS FOR BRITISH FENCING. IT WAS THEIR RQUIREMENT THAT WE INCREASE OUR QUALIFYING STANDARDS IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN OUR FUNDING, WITHOUT WHICH BF COULD NOT OPERATE AT ITS CURRENT LEVEL (CHECK THE ACCOUNTS!). IT IS NOT AN OPTION FOR US TO RENEGE ON THIS COMMITMENT.

I firmly believe that there is no other British fencer who deserved to go to Havana or would have achieved a respectable result.
The phrase 'on a good day' in relation to fencing is generally a weak fencer's fantasy (certainly at the higher levels of international fencing). Good fencers, with superior technique, fitness and footwork will always beat weak fencers (especially over 15 hits).... relentlessly. In these circumstances, 'a good day' never comes! [COLOR]


Really are you sure? I have watched and participated in a great deal of A-grades in the past season and have seen some outstanding performances by fencers at some events when they would be by you classification a weak fencer. The difference between a top fencer and a good fencer is not that great and if your timing is in on that day you can do very very well. For example a couple of years ago when the swiss epeeist got to the final against Mialnoli he should not have by your criteria stood a chance in hell of getting that far as there were far better fencers than him in the comp but he had a good day.
As for the qualifying standards all well and good but then again shouldn't we possibly have taken into account the effect of say Olympic qualification on the standards we set? in 2 years are you going to really state thaat fencers must have at least 2 8;s or a 4 to go to the worlds?


[COLOR=red]The only weapon that this can possibly apply to is MF where we have a better strength in depth than in other weapons. In the other five weapons, we currently only have 10/12 fencers altogether who are capable of achieving a good result. Throwing worse fencers into these events isn't going to change that.[COLOR]

really I can think off the top of my head of 5 mens epeeists and 3 womens epeeists at least + what is your definition of a good result? a 64 a 32 a16???? (by the look of the qualifying standards a 16 is the minimum expected result not a good result)


[COLOR=red]On the other side of the coin, BF has often been criticised for not supporting its WC team. Now that we have higher standards for entry and the "tourist fencer" syndrome has been eradicated, we are able to confidently pay for our team. Not only were all the fencers in Havana fully supported by having their entry fees, travel, hotel and dinner expenses met in full, they were also backed by a fully-funded coach at each weapon, a manager and assistant manager (who doubled as weapon captains), a professional BOA physio and an armourer. It was certainly the most "professional" team we have ever had at any world championships. [COLOR]

And result wise did this pay off?


[COLOR=red]Was it a good world championships? Well, since the Dutch and Australians have been cited on this website as having had successful championships, it might be worthwhile comparing our individual results (I don't have the team results to hand) with theirs.[COLOR]

Er no, my point was that they have far more fencers ranked in the top 100 of the world rankings. Their performance at the worlds was poor in relation to their world rankings ours was unfortunately about on par.


[COLOR=red]BTW - your strapline says something like 'failure is but a stepping stone to success' - sorry but that's rubbish! Talent + energy + application are the only stepping stones to success - you can get somehere with any one of these three but you will only get far with all three. [COLOR]

If you are not prepared to face the consequences of failure in your life, then you will never succeed. People do not have a divine right to succeed all top athletes have failed at some point in their career its how they AND THEIR FEdERATION have reacted to that failure which has dicated their later success.


[COLOR=red]Richard Kruse and Louise Bond-Williams are consistently proving that there is no fundamental reason why any British fencer can't have all three and reap the successes that this deserves.[COLOR]

Agreed and as many people as possible should have the opportunity to try and emulate that success.

harry
-17th October 2003, 12:48
thanks very much for shouting down pretty much every point that was raised by people Graham. Always a pleasure and a productive experience to discuss these points witha senior member of BF?!
My suggestion was not a suggestion that would solve all the BF problems- it was in fact just a suggestion!
Maybe the reason the points are raised and may not be "fact" based is that we aren't informed well enough of these issues.

But some little facts that are relevant:
Louise fences in the US under their training regime with a Russian coach- Richard trains with a Polish coach and trains abroad when he can- therefore by your answer in order to show our dedication, aspiration and commitment to fencing right now in our present situation we should sod off and train abroad or get a foreign coach like Richard and Louise. When Richard goes to Uni will he be able to repeat this amount of training and results? I hope he can because right now he carries any hope of medals and additional funding for BF.

vivo
-17th October 2003, 14:55
I don't think thing will change after World Champion results. Lots of posts have several good points why we cannot achieve the goal. Sorry, the world cannot be changed if BFA still believe what they have done is in the right track. What can we say?????

Can someone tell me how we can improve our fencers to meet the BFA standard which means some our fencers should be in the top 16 of A-grade?

Even though there are lots of views that I don't agree with BFA management, thanks for Graham anyway for being a part of this post!
;)

"If we take one step back, we can see the problem much clearer."

Exgeordielass
-17th October 2003, 14:58
Lack of success in sporting terms is not just a fencing problem.

There are many difficulties for youngsters wishing to improve but I would suggest the main problem is this country' obsession with testing, meaning talented children have to combine training with a huge amount of homework and coursework - contrast that with the attitude in Germany as Sabine has so clearly laid out.

How do you persuade a youngster to devote that time, when there is no career or money at the end of it? Many of the youngsters at our Club are not even interested in going outside the region to compete and their parents are even less so.

I have tremendous respect for the volunteers in the BFA, especially those who travel overseas with our youngsters.

As far as cadet sabre is concerned, the top 25 girl and boy cadets in sabre are invited to various Cadet competitions in Europe. Neil Brown, with accompanying officials and adults today has travelled to Hungary with 18 boys and 13 girls. There is another trip to Germany next month. I hope my son with come back with a greater idea of what he needs to do to improve.




And talking of Training



Sabre Training Day

Steve Davey mentioned to me at the Cadet Nationals last Saturday, that he was hoping to arrange a training day with a Hungarian coach, for October 25th. Venue not decided but somewhere in the South-East. If anyone is interested, please conact time or message me and I'll try and find out where it's going to be.

Threestain
-17th October 2003, 15:47
I think you'll find that Richard has been at university for a year or two now - hence his ability to go the World Student Games this year.

Please people remember that this is meant to be a civil forum - and also that Graham is only trying to say the actual facts as he sees them - do you have access to all the information as he does?

As a member of the WC team this year, I was firstly delighted not to have to pay £1000 ish to go to them, and secondly I was devasted to perform so badly (and lets be frank, most of us did perform miles below par). It is not something you can blame solely on the system though, the competitors have to shoulder most of the blame. That is exactly what's wrong with this country, people never want to take responsibility. It's always "who's to blame that I tripped over and broke my arm?" and "who's to blame that I don't have a job?". ummm is it me?


In respect to sponsorship, have you actually tried to get some? well until then, try not to be so derogatory about the BFA. I am not saying its perfect, in fact I think in some aspects its downright appalling, but as regards its fencers it does look after them quite well.

The problem in the UK is not that we don't have the talent or the coaches or the money, its that most people don't have the application - there are very few "elite" clubs in this country. In other, more successful countries (eg Hungary, Russia) you have to EARN the right to fence the best people by improving yourself - just being a member of a club isn't enough. I'm not saying that we should do this (though I am leaning towards it) but it seems to work for them...

Boo Boo
-17th October 2003, 16:12
Originally posted by Threestain
It is not something you can blame solely on the system though, the competitors have to shoulder most of the blame. That is exactly what's wrong with this country, people never want to take responsibility. It's always "who's to blame that I tripped over and broke my arm?" and "who's to blame that I don't have a job?". ummm is it me?


I don't think that the World Championship results (or anything else) are about who to blame. The thing to do is to think about the future and what can be done constructively by the BFA to help fencers reach their full potential (and peak at the right time) and get the results that they work so hard to achieve.

Boo

aao
-17th October 2003, 16:37
Originally posted by Threestain
In respect to sponsorship, have you actually tried to get some? well until then, try not to be so derogatory about the BFA.

Er it wasn't so much being derogatory as making a suggestion, I actually know perfectly well what the BFA do regarding sponsorship, and yes I do currently have an active role in trying raise sponsorship for a different sporting team.

My point where sponsorship is concerned is that unless you have a well laid out product to sell and are very proactive in trying to sell it, it is almost impossible to be successful. Have the BFA offered you any help in targeting potential sponsors? or given you guidelines in how to go about it?

There are a number of market sectors which we could approach which could potentially (by no means definately) yield up sponsors, but before we approach them we as British Fencing, have to have a clear idea of what we are offering them. At the moment no such packages/pricing structure exists and we've tended to have a rather random approach to trying to target potential companies. Unfortunately as I;ve said before sitting back and hoping that sponsors will come to us just won't work.

This is as area where I do feel the BFA could and should be far more proactive, I'm not saying this to have a go at Graham, Keith or any other member of the BFA here, i'm just making a point which I feel could be expanded on.

Alp

Threestain
-20th October 2003, 12:36
Fair point Alp, it was just the tone seemed rather off, which is unlike you I must admit. I think the issue of sponsorship is a thorny one - you are far far more likely to get local sponsorship than large corporations. This is because we have no TV coverage, and the events are held in sports centres with little provision for spectators. Besides, the best way to start getting sponsorship is from the ground up - take Tauber for example. Yes they have some huge sponsors, but they also have hundreds of little local ones. And they are key to getting any larger ones interested. Plus you have to be able to give them exposure. Obviously it would be better if the BFA could come up with a sort of "checklist" that people could go though when asking companies, so that you have some idea of what to write. After all they are the ones with the experience. Just my opinion of course.

With regards to future progress for the british team, it has to be said that I should have said responsibility, not blame. And the responsibility for each persons fencing lies ultimately with them. No one can force someone to train, or at least not in this country! And people will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid being forced to do something.

Homer
-20th October 2003, 19:32
Our governments policy towards sport has allways been sport for all: meaning providing lots of facilities (not allways brilliant but at least it's better than nothing) compared with some countries that focus on finding the good athletes and making them better. I mean really pumping money into reasearch, facillities, coaches the whole works.
Now beofre someone shouts me down and tells me we have national sports centres, the BOMC researching into specific sports, and funding for certain individuals and teams i already know. But generally we have a government that wants lots of people doing something rather than a few people doing something very well!!!
I believe this policy is reflected in many of our national governing bodies, and unless the governing bodies generate a lot of cash (i.e. some sports have more money than others) then their policy too will be to boost the number of members within their sport, and are less concerned with the top end athletes (with the exception maybe of the very top few).

Once we (as a nation) adopt a different sporting policy maybe things will change. Maybe we can set up an English/ British Institute of sport to equal that of the Australians or Americans etc. Providing the foundation for elite/ talented athletes to imprive even further

JUST A THOUGHT!!

nahouw
-20th October 2003, 23:12
Originally posted by Prometheus

Perhaps the BFA should encourage stronger participation in international level events - I mean when was the last time nominated B grades were listed on the foil committee site! I know the epeeists are more organised on this - do they find it increases participation?

For instance the LP cup has not really been sucessfully advertised and in any case is limited entry - something I haven't noticed on any other FIE Satellite comp. For a lot of people they need to obtain an FIE license - it's not the cost it's the time scale which has been the problem.........


This is a good point -- part of the US progress over the last 10 years is that fencers were able to go to A-grades -- the BFA that prohibits your sabre fencers from attending A-grades is doing a disservice to them. One of the ways to develop stronger fencers is to throw them into stronger competitions -- yes, they will lose in the beginning, however, through the exposure to better fencers, they will eventually learn to fence better. Of course, some may not be able to stomach loses and will quit -- however, the good fencers will learn from their experience and strive to become better, since they are aware through competition as to what they need to improve upon. It is not just the influx of Russian coaches; yes, that is part of it, however, the other part is by being exposed to better fencers.

If you deny them the opportunity to compete in A-grades, then they only have the opportunity to compete in the home pool, in which they are already the better fencers -- how can you expect for them to improve? And, if they don't feel challenged, they then stop fencing, and you have now downgraded your entire home pool for the future -- how can you expect to progress under this model that you instituted?

Perfect example is the Canadian Women's epee team -- about 5 years ago, they all started competing routinely on the French circuit, and all have been improving -- especially Sherraine. Does the BFA include French Circuit competitions as their nominated B grades?

As to the satellite competitions, that is another good alternative; you do get FIE points for finishing in the top 8, and then that would help your seeding in the A-grades -- why would the LP cup, as a satellite have limited entries? No other satellite does that...

Rdb811
-21st October 2003, 00:15
Originally posted by Homer
Our governments policy towards sport has allways been sport for all: meaning providing lots of facilities (not allways brilliant but at least it's better than nothing) compared with some countries that focus on finding the good athletes and making them better.

Once we (as a nation) adopt a different sporting policy maybe things will change. Maybe we can set up an English/ British Institute of sport to equal that of the Australians or Americans etc.


Not as simple as that - they are two strands to government policy (such as it is, being an afterthought) one of which (Sports UK, and others) is elite sports, the other is sports (Sports England, part of the time, and the Lottery and ....) in the "community" (or rather, disadvantaged areas).

From hazy memory, I thought we were promised an Institute ofr Sport, but this has gone down the pan.

Robert
-21st October 2003, 09:23
Originally posted by Homer
But generally we have a government that wants lots of people doing something rather than a few people doing something very well!!!


Thank goodness for that. I have never understood why some jingoistic people would put their national pride above the self-improvement of thousands of people taking part in sport.

If the cost of the majority being able to enjoy a fun night at club is that our world class athletes make L16 rather than L8, then that is a price worth paying. It is, after all, only a game.

Robert

vivo
-21st October 2003, 09:42
Originally posted by nahouw
This is a good point -- part of the US progress over the last 10 years is that fencers were able to go to A-grades -- the BFA that prohibits your sabre fencers from attending A-grades is doing a disservice to them. One of the ways to develop stronger fencers is to throw them into stronger competitions -- yes, they will lose in the beginning, however, through the exposure to better fencers, they will eventually learn to fence better. Of course, some may not be able to stomach loses and will quit -- however, the good fencers will learn from their experience and strive to become better, since they are aware through competition as to what they need to improve upon. It is not just the influx of Russian coaches; yes, that is part of it, however, the other part is by being exposed to better fencers.

If you deny them the opportunity to compete in A-grades, then they only have the opportunity to compete in the home pool, in which they are already the better fencers -- how can you expect for them to improve? And, if they don't feel challenged, they then stop fencing, and you have now downgraded your entire home pool for the future -- how can you expect to progress under this model that you instituted?




I agree with Nahouw. This is the way that I would like to point out to the BFA. Unfortunately, BFA has not seen this is the way to improve but they try to point on that those fencers participating the competition behave like tourist fencers. I always admire the US ant the others that you all give " OPPORTUNITIES" to fencers which in this country does not at least attempt to do.
The criteria selection absolutely destroy fencing future here. In my views, nothing to be shame if they compete in A-grades and and learn. Several things that fencers will learn from the competition. It is not just learn to win, but to lose. The most important thing they will learn that they are not good enough and they must do something to improve for the next fight.

However, to be fencers in this countries, going to A-Grades is risky. They will be penalised if they cannot reach the criteria set up on thier own costs. They have been treated as " The Weakest Link". Coming back to the fact what I heard from fencers, why we have to pay and go their. If they cannot reach the qualification, they throw this money to the river without any care from BFA.

I don't think we can make any progress for fencing in this country which sounds very pessimistic. BFA will stay at the same pace and just believe Oh! yes we have a good sense of long term plan.

Threestain
-21st October 2003, 11:22
Originally posted by Robert
Thank goodness for that. I have never understood why some jingoistic people would put their national pride above the self-improvement of thousands of people taking part in sport.

If the cost of the majority being able to enjoy a fun night at club is that our world class athletes make L16 rather than L8, then that is a price worth paying. It is, after all, only a game.

Robert

Well thanks for that. I really appreciate the fact that your enjoyment makes the years of hard work (yes it is hard, and yes I do enjoy it) that I and many others have put in order to try and excel at our chosen sport count for nought. Of course fun is fun, and it has a place but surely to accuse people of being jingoistic merely by trying to better themselves and achieve something is a tad harsh. But then I'm glad that fun is more important than having fun and achieving something. Remember this old saying - you only get out what you put in. Why only get limited fun and exercise from an evening when you could get far more positives from putting a little more effort in. On the other hand the pub is always there.

rory
-21st October 2003, 11:33
To be fair to Robert, I think he's only trying to point out tha there should be a balance between funding for elite athletes and funding for grassroots ("fun") activities.

However, he's missing the point. There shouldn't *have* to be a tradeoff between grassroots and elite sport, there should be separate (preferably large!) sources of funding for *both*.

Describing people who want to play for their country as "jingoistic" is however exceedingly rude, and I think Robert owes an apology to Threestain, Laurence and the other top fencers who read the board.

If I ever get to a point high enough up the rankings where I'm considered for international selection, I'd hate it to have to come down to "can I afford to go". The UK rugby teams at the World Cup certainly aren't paying their own way, so why should our fencers?

Dave Hillier
-21st October 2003, 11:53
The UK rugby teams at the World Cup certainly aren't paying their own way, so why should our fencers?


No they aren't but they are paid for (effectively) by sponsorship deals and ticket sales, not the membership fees from sunday club players around the country.

I would rather see the membership fee being used to try and attract more money than being used specifically to fund performance fencers.

rory
-21st October 2003, 13:18
Right then, poor example.
Swap it for any of:

Swimming
Sailing
Canoeing

or a multitude of sports that don't attract massive sponsorship but have somehow managed to fund their "performance fencers" (as you put it) to international competition.

Dave Hillier
-21st October 2003, 14:21
ok then canoeing. From the british canoe union


The BCU World Class Directorate takes full responsibility for the World Class Programmes. With a combined budget of £2.5 million (inc. Start), employing 25 full time staff and 1 part-time member of staff, with several more event based staff employed on a regular basis.

http://www.bcu.org.uk/aboutus/wcpindex.html


with the money coming from



The World Class Programmes are programmes of training, preparation and competition funded by UK Sport and Sport England Lottery Fund

http://www.worldclass-canoeing.org.uk/



and they manage to get on telly.

GrahamWatts
-23rd October 2003, 10:22
Originally posted by Dave Hillier
ok then canoeing. From the british canoe union



http://www.bcu.org.uk/aboutus/wcpindex.html


with the money coming from




http://www.worldclass-canoeing.org.uk/



and they manage to get on telly.



As this post illustrates, Canoeing has a world class programme, funded to the tune of £2.5 m. There are several other world class programme sports receving this kind of money and more. Why do they get this money?

Simple, they win medals at Olympic Games and Senior World Championships. (Incidentally, there are some world class sport programmes that are likely to lose their funding after 2004 since they have stopped winning medals).

On the other hand, fencing hasn't had an Olympic Medal since 1964 or a senior world championship medal since 1965. So, its hardly surprising that we don't have a world class programme or the funding that goes with it.

We will never achieve these things unless we start producing results (which means medals) and we will not achieve results by throwing ill-prepared fencers without the talent , training or footwork which is necessary to succeed in an increasingly professional sport, into world cup events and hoping that they have a good day.

(Incidentally, I had to laugh about the unbelievably naieve suggestion in an earlier posting about the Swiss Epeeist who somehow had a good day in the Nimes World Championships to gain a silver medal being somehow a possible example for a British fencer having a similar good day on another occasion. The Swiss Epee team are fully professional and very well funded. Basil Hoffman, the fencer in question, may have been a surprise silver medallist but I would imagine that he received more funding in 2001 than the entire British team across all weapons put together - the Swiss win medals in epee fencing and that is why they are funded.

In Cuba, Hoffman beat Jon Willis from 1-7 down in the L128 - he didn't score a hit for the first 5 minutes and 58 seconds and then he scored 14 in the last 3 minutes! Jon did his best but he was fencing someone who is fully professional and we won't be able to beat these people regularly until we are also fully professional)

Despite the tenor of most of the postings on this site, the recent world championships were a great success for GBR - as were the 2002 Championships. Simply because we achieved a L8 place in both (by two different fencers) where we had not had a single L8 place in a senior world championships since 1982. To the funding bodies, this proves that we have two fencers who are capable of achieving a medal - at 13-11 up in the L8 Richard was actually only 2 hits away from a medal.

If we had sent a team of 24 fencers, all of whom reached the L64, some of you may consider that this would have been a better championships but in the outside world a L64 is not considered to be a performance of any significance, whereas one fencer reaching a L8 is seen to be a very good result.

This is the basic rationale driving the international dimension of British Fencing's strategy. There is no point in us having lots of "Ok" fencers getting "Ok" results - in a sense that it is all we have been doing (at senior level - Fiona's result in Barcelona excepted) for the 20 years between 1982 and 2002 and where has it got us? It has led to fencing being seen on the UK and world sports stage as an insignificant sport with little chance of success and therefore little chance of serious funding.

In order to be successful longer-term, we need a world class programme (like the canoeists have) and the only way we will get it is if we can maximise the potential of the current handful of fencers we have who are capable of achieving medals. If we can achieve this, then we will have the funding to open doors for the next generation of potential international fencers.

Graham

Homer
-23rd October 2003, 10:38
i agree with Grahams post with this elitist approach in mind would it not be a good idea to try and organise more national squad training days/weekends, pre world championship training weekends and regular meetings throughout the year so the best can train with the best, changes in their fitness can be monitored. While i appreciate not every top fencer could attend every meet surely it would be a step in the right direction.
As well as there being an international qualification crieria, why couldn't there be a certain number of squad training days you have to attend before you can be considered for selection?
while this idea may not be practical, i'm sure something like this could be implemented and over a period of time would have a big impact on the results our top fencers achieve abroad.
Not to mention the fact that by attending these training meets our team event success should also increase.

Sabine
-23rd October 2003, 13:13
Seeing Graham's ferocious treatment of those providing ill-informed input to this thread, it is with some anxiety that I take issue with his last posting.

Let's say Richard had got the last 2 hits and had won a bronze medal, what extra money would have come from it? What would it have been used for that would develop the next medal prospect?

My point is this, more money would inevitably improve things but it is only part of the problem. I would argue the smaller part of the problem. What needs to change even more is the culture, the system and attitudes. So what sort of changes?

The Hungarian epee team of the 80's was dominated by fully qualified doctors, and they won medals. How on earth could that be? The medical university set up its courses in such a way that they could get in their 4 hours of training a day as well as attend the key lectures. Can London University not be approached to set up courses that accomodate sport and study?

Fencing is today a sport for athletes. To be a medal prospect you have to be athletically talented. How do you attract athletes to take up the sport in the first place. Every country has this problem because football or tennis are more glamorous or natural options. In Tauber, every child in the town tries fencing. The most athletic and talented are of course encouraged to progress. No matter we are a small town, the process has delivered material able to win medals many times over. Medal prospects won't just arrive on fencing's doorstep, they need to be sought and the system needs to be set up to do so.

There are many other examples of cultural and systemic factors that need to change. They could be changed if the will was there. I don't want to test your patience by going on too long. I just want to touch on one last one, which I suspect will be very sensitive.

To win medals, you have to have desire, drive, hunger, and above all belief. In established fencing countries, any fencer in the national team is expected to have a chance of winning a medal. Not doing so represents failure. They are driven to win medals, they believe they can win medals, and they have to put in a level of effort consistent with winning medals.

In Britain how many of the team are truly aspiring to be medal winners? For how many is just making the team really achievement of their goal? For how many is a Last 32 a result that would represent a great achievement? How many, in terms of their preparation for the WCs can look in the mirror and say "I prepared and trained to the maximum level possible"?

The answer I fear is that there is a lack of that raw edge, hunger and drive among your top fencers (a small number honourably excepted). Without a level of ambition and desire that shoots for the stars and will not be satisfied with less, medals will not be won.

To return to my starting point, money alone will not deliver the elite success so craved in this thread without a major change in the system, culture and attitudes and this is hard to do. But that is not a reason not to try to change.

Sabine

aao
-23rd October 2003, 13:47
Originally posted by GrahamWatts
(Incidentally, I had to laugh about the unbelievably naieve suggestion in an earlier posting about the Swiss Epeeist who somehow had a good day in the Nimes World Championships to gain a silver medal being somehow a possible example for a British fencer having a similar good day on another occasion. The Swiss Epee team are fully professional and very well funded. Basil Hoffman, the fencer in question, may have been a surprise silver medallist but I would imagine that he received more funding in 2001 than the entire British team across all weapons put together - the Swiss win medals in epee fencing and that is why they are funded.


Graham I'm not entirely certain as to who's being naieve here, have you been to many A-grades this season? have you actually seen our fencers in action against the worlds best, apart from in the pressure cooker atmosphere that is the worlds? by the criteria you lay down if it hadn't been for the outstanding team performance that the epeeists put down at a couple of the team events not a single one of them would have qualified for the worlds, yet at the same time I have watched them beat people in DE's who are in the top 10 of the world. Whatever your views on the matter I maintain that anybody who is capable of fencing at that level with a bit of luck, and on his day would have the chance to make an 8 or a 4 at the worlds.
At the time that Basil got his medal he cetainly wasn't one of the top swiss fencers and he finished the season ranked a full 12 places higher than Greg. But on that day he happened to have a good day.



Originally posted by GrahamWatts
In Cuba, Hoffman beat Jon Willis from 1-7 down in the L128 - he didn't score a hit for the first 5 minutes and 58 seconds and then he scored 14 in the last 3 minutes! Jon did his best but he was fencing someone who is fully professional and we won't be able to beat these people regularly until we are also fully professional)

he doesn't have to beat them regularily to achieve a good result just on 1 or 2 occasions throughout the season, Jon is an extremely talented fencer although as we both know he is prone to having lapses in concentration when fencing, I wasn't there I didn't see the fight maybe Basil was outstanding, but then again if you manage to get 7-1 on somebody that good with 3 minutes remaining you really shouldn't lose.


Originally posted by GrahamWatts
To the funding bodies, this proves that we have two fencers who are capable of achieving a medal - at 13-11 up in the L8 Richard was actually only 2 hits away from a medal.



yet again this was not my point, yes agreed 100% that to the funding bodies a L8 looks and is good and full credit to the fencers who achieved those supurb results but outside those isolated results where they a good worlds (either of them?) if Richard hadn't got his last 8 and had instead lost in the 64 these would have been viewed as a lousy worlds performance as woud last year. But that is not because the fencers we sent are not good enough to do any better, they fenced badly on the day or got a bad draw it happens.


Originally posted by GrahamWatts
If we had sent a team of 24 fencers, all of whom reached the L64, some of you may consider that this would have been a better championships but in the outside world a L64 is not considered to be a performance of any significance, whereas one fencer reaching a L8 is seen to be a very good result.

yes and either way we would have got that L8 but who knows we might have even got more 64's and maybe even the odd 32 and that in itself would be a good base.


Originally posted by GrahamWatts
This is the basic rationale driving the international dimension of British Fencing's strategy. There is no point in us having lots of "Ok" fencers getting "Ok" results - in a sense that it is all we have been doing (at senior level - Fiona's result in Barcelona excepted) for the 20 years between 1982 and 2002 and where has it got us? It has led to fencing being seen on the UK and world sports stage as an insignificant sport with little chance of success and therefore little chance of serious funding.

Which brings me back to the question of sponsorship, fencing is an insignificant sport on the national stage, and it is also unfortunately not a good spectator sport, we shouldn't just be waiting for government handouts but trying far harder to generate funding from external sources.


At the end of the day I might be quite wrong about what I'm saying, god knows I'm about as close to a 'tourist' fencer as you will find on the international circuit but from what I've seen travelling with the Brits, most of the 8 who go out to these events have the ability to beat some of the top international on their day, agreed they will lose 4 out of 5 times, but by steadily reducing the amount of people who go to the worlds you are significantly reducing the chance of them getting that 1 victory on the only real stage which is of use to us when it comes to trying to increase or level of funding.

vivo
-23rd October 2003, 15:37
I would like to know that the best fencers today "Have they ever been OK fencer before?". In my opinion, if the OK fencers trained hard and keen to devote themselves for fencing, I 'd choose OK fencer with OK result rather than Talented fencer with OK result. This point from Graham sounds discouraging lots of OK fencers who try really hard to be a good one. I may assume that there is no room for OK fencer from BFA to gain experience in the international event at all.


I agree with Sabine that money is a small part of problem. The management and the attitude toward fencers and fencing of BFA are bigger problem.

Prometheus
-23rd October 2003, 16:19
It is perhaps too harsh to lay the blame for the relative position of fencing in the UK entirely on the executive officers of the BFA when in fact they largely reflect the opinions of the active (vote wise) members of British Fencing.......all 250 of them??:rolleyes:

I think Graham takes the opinions, made on this board, too personally and any criticism really ought to be taken as criticism of british fencing (fencers and others involved in fencing in this country) rather than of one particular body (British Fencing).

After all, an earlier point I made was that the attitude of many fencers (and coaches) is that of an amateur (or tourist) to quote others, how can the BFA by itself change that?

Again you can see from Sabine's description of part of the German system that we approach the sport in a much less serious manner (at least the majority of us). Also the culture in this country is far less supportive of serious amateur sport......too what extent was this created by the German association or at a more local level?

As regards ferocity: IMHO I think that this board should be seen as an area for ideas and discussion without it being mistaken as fully representitive of British fencing....if people are anonymous then you cannot be clear as to the equality of viewpoints. So Graham , chill out and take it easy. If it helps I think Keith and you guys have done a lot of good work for the bfa and more professionally than before, so well done and keep going.

To achieve what we all seek we must all contribute to the effort......

Threestain
-28th October 2003, 23:34
I agree in saying that we need to thank the BFA for all their work in trying to improve standards across the sport.

Unfortunately, Britain is a very lazy country. If it doesn't have money involved many (not all of course, or else no one would fence! :) ) would rather not bother. Many sports in this country are having problems because of the attractiveness of football - its seen by the vast majority as an easy way to make a living from sport. Of course this isn't the case, footballers work just as hard as any other athelete. However in this country we have about 80 (ish) fully professional sides - and that's just in england and wales. Therefore it has the base to encourage others in. Cricket has suffered from this increased interest - my father is a coach for West Devon cricket. However despite this, his team - the West Devon DEVELOPMENT team is going to South Africa on tour. This is not even a county side, and yet it has the money to take its kids abroad. Not fully paid for, but subsidised enough.

This is what we need to aim for, and it should be a lot easier as fencing is predominantly a european sport - hence exchanges and tours should be a lot easier. Every other sport goes abroad to train, and this is good as it allows an influx of good ideas. This is why we as a nation have stagnated in world fencing - if you don't see what other people are doing, how can you combat it? We need to have fencers and coaches seeing the "in" thing in modern fencing. This talk of fencing not being like it used to be, being ugly and so on is rubbish - have you seen what it used to look like? I have recently and it looked very amateurish and frankly abysmal. That's why things move on.

Anyway, I think that Alp is right in one respect - luck plays an important part in sport - anyone can tell you that. However, it only goes so far, and it makes you feel so much better when someone turns round to you and says... "Richard, well done on your last 8. Good job you had a lucky day, eh?" When in reality that should read "Well done, you've worked hard, fenced well and deserved it." Otherwise I'd rather have my lucky day when buying a lottery ticket.

GrahamWatts
-6th November 2003, 09:55
Originally posted by Sabine
Seeing Graham's ferocious treatment of those providing ill-informed input to this thread, it is with some anxiety that I take issue with his last posting.

To win medals, you have to have desire, drive, hunger, and above all belief. In established fencing countries, any fencer in the national team is expected to have a chance of winning a medal. Not doing so represents failure. They are driven to win medals, they believe they can win medals, and they have to put in a level of effort consistent with winning medals.

In Britain how many of the team are truly aspiring to be medal winners? For how many is just making the team really achievement of their goal? For how many is a Last 32 a result that would represent a great achievement? How many, in terms of their preparation for the WCs can look in the mirror and say "I prepared and trained to the maximum level possible"?

The answer I fear is that there is a lack of that raw edge, hunger and drive among your top fencers (a small number honourably excepted). Without a level of ambition and desire that shoots for the stars and will not be satisfied with less, medals will not be won.

To return to my starting point, money alone will not deliver the elite success so craved in this thread without a major change in the system, culture and attitudes and this is hard to do. But that is not a reason not to try to change.

Sabine


Dear Sabine

Surprisingly enough I agree with virtually everything you say and, if I may say so, you have articulated many of the points I have wanted to make better than I have done!

I just highlighted the above paras because I wish I had written them myself.

A lot of this thread and others elsewhere on this Forum have been about me justifying higher qualification standards and that is all about not accepting the old British attitude that somehow a L64 is enough!

My other major concern is about short-termism and knee-jerk policy changes. British Fencing has an 8 year plan to improve its position - its realistic, it isn't saying that we can achieve the stars overnight and that it will take a lot of patient development to achieve a sustainably improved position.

We are meeting our own targets for this plan and no-one can doubt that we have had seriously improved results in the past three years - 6 medals in junior world and european events, a team semi-finalist in the european champs and two world finalists in successive years. We have had the odd good result before and now we are achieving decent results consistently from a handful of individuals.

At the same time we have an active development side to the plan which, amongst other things is setting up new centres of fencing all over the country and providing them with decent coaches.

My point is that we are getting there slowly (and frankly there is no other way to do it) but the often contradictory whinging and bitching on this site is, in my view, counter-productive.

We have a plan - let's stick to it and work together!

Graham

aao
-6th November 2003, 16:22
Fair enough, for the sake of unity lets (temporarily) put this issue to bed, by agreeing to differ. The 8 year plan will continue as will the drive to improve results through increasing standards.

Can I suggest however a few things: be careful when trumping 'top results' as being a firm indication that things are getting better. Out of the 6 medals you mention at junior and european level how many are attributable to Richard (and Laurence)? They are both very talented fencers who deserve alot of credit for what they have achieved but outside them at either junior of senior worlds or European level have our results actually improved? (personally for me the answer is no and I haven't seen anything in the past 2 years either at senior or junior level to suggest they are)

Also please be a bit more open to the ideas and opinions put forward on this forum, like it or not all members of this forum are fencers and the vast majority of them are members of the BFA who have every right to have an opinion and ask questions/comment on all aspects of British fencing. Don't take the comments personally but also do not dismiss them as just being bitchy or childish or anything else (alot of the opinions put forward are by senior/international members of the fencing community), You an the BFA are not being blamed if the our top fencers do not do as well as we hope, we are just looking to suggest ways in which matters can be improved.

Finally for all committee members of the BFA please remember that this forum has changed matters a bit, traditionally the (ratherly poorly attended) BFA AGM has been used to guage opinion and set policy, this forum for the first time has led to widespread discussion of the BFAs performance (good and bad) which can only be a good thing for the future. Full credit to Keith, Graham, Malcolm and others coming onto this forum, and I hope you contimue to do so, and take on-board some of what is said.

Alp

Homer
-6th November 2003, 16:27
On the note of British Fencers getting better each year:
"************************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** ******************************."
"I think what you wanted to say was I dont think the results are improving." by king kenny

Threestain
-7th November 2003, 11:52
You realise that that makes no sense, and was repeated a lot?

Richard was senior national champion, not Lawrence, and Richard is too old now.

Other than that, though we are having a rather poor europeans so far.

Homer
-7th November 2003, 12:00
i wasn't talking about Richard, and my computer had a funny 5 minutes

Gav
-7th November 2003, 12:46
There you go folks - offending posts have been removed.

Homer: I wouldn't let your pc go funny you never know what might happen... :)

GrahamWatts
-7th November 2003, 16:13
Originally posted by aao
[from what I've seen travelling with the Brits, most of the 8 who go out to these events have the ability to beat some of the top international on their day, agreed they will lose 4 out of 5 times, but by steadily reducing the amount of people who go to the worlds you are significantly reducing the chance of them getting that 1 victory on the only real stage which is of use to us when it comes to trying to increase or level of funding. [/B]

Alp - now that I know who you are!

Given that we sent a FULL mens epee team to Cuba, even though none of them was qualified under the agreed standards, but because we recognised that they all had talent, I'm really not sure what your point is? We sent a full mens epee team - they fenced OK but none of them reached the L64.

Since you can't be referring to any mens epeeists in your concern about reducing team sizes, I suspect that you are arguing about the non-selection of one particular person but hiding that within a generality - if I am wrong, then I apologise. If I am right, then you are being disingenuous and there is no way that I am going to enter into a discussion about an individual selection on a website!

The following is a more general reply to other comments on this thread:

As a matter of interest, this issue about qualification standards and team sizes is being taken out of proportion. We sent 17 fencers to Cuba in 2003 - we sent 17 fencers to the 1998 world championships, too - so it is not just a recent phenomenon!

I have been accused on these pages of over-reacting and if that is the case then I clearly haven't expressed myself very well! I certainly welcome this website and the opportunity to discuss issues of importance to me as the International Manager with interested fencers. However, I have a few problems with what people say:

(1) I could easily sit behind a pseudonym but I feel it is important to stand up and be counted - I am unhappy about people making bold and controversial statements as if they are universal truths without having the courage to identify themselves;

(2) Allied to the above, I am also unhappy about individuals and their coaches/friends using the Forum to slag off British Fencing simply because THEY or their pupils/friends haven't been selected for this, that and the other - they are hardly in a position to be objective.

The selection decisions in BF are taken by a lot of people at four different levels and there is huge independence and objectivity built into that process plus a very fair appeals process which, as this year proved, can change decisions! What is more, the process is built on targets set down in an 8-year plan, agreed by the BF Board and its funders and which we are implementing (but with some sensitivity and flexibility, as evidenced this year by the selection of our mens epeeists and one womens epeeist).

So, on the ONE HAND we have a lot of independent people making impartial judgements on the basis of an agreed long-term plan and, on THE OTHER, we have some aggrieved individuals or their coaches or friends using the website to complain about why they/their pupil/their friend wasn't selected. Can anyone see why I might have reason to be annoyed by this?

(3) Misinformation flys around these pages - for example, there was some awful stuff said about James Chambers' commentary on Eurosport, by people who clearly had no idea about the circumstances in which he is forced to commentate. He is commentating from the same tv pictures you are seeing with no advance knowledge of who the fencers are or where they have come from, but this didn't stop some people moaning about him for things which were entirely outside his control.

Anyway, my sole point in entering this fora was simply to point out that Britain had a reasonably good world championships - two finalists in successive years where you have to go back 20 years for the last one and yes I appreciate that these results are only coming from a handful of people (by the way it isn't just Richard and Laurence - what about Louise, Cam, Ellie, Chrystall, James etc). This is more world-class fencers than we have had since the 60s. I might just point out that as recently as the 1997 Worlds, we did not get a single fencer past the L64!

I was also fairly incensed about the ridiculous suggestion that both Holland and Australia did better than us in Cuba. First of all, they both sent TINY teams (the aussies only had 7 fencers) because they had very high qualification standards (which is what many of the people on this site are arguing against!) and secondly, so far as I can tell, both countries finished some way behind GBR in the Coupe des nations!

Graham

GrahamWatts
-7th November 2003, 16:18
Originally posted by Dave Hillier


I would rather see the membership fee being used to try and attract more money than being used specifically to fund performance fencers. [/B]

Not a single penny piece from your membersihp fee, or anyone else's, was used to send fencers to the world championships or, for that matter, anywhere else during the year.

That funding comes to British Fencing from UK Sports specifically (and ONLY) for that purpose so you are NOT being deprived of anything by virtue of our international fencing or its funding.

Graham

aao
-7th November 2003, 20:07
I can say with complete honesty that my views have absoluely nothing to do with the slection or non-selection or a particular member of the team. (Bearing in mind the current qualifying criteria I thought you were right when you initially only selected one member of that team to go). I also completely supported the decision to send a full mens epee team and was dissapointed to see that they (and others) didn't (in my opinion) do themselves justice.

All I'm putting forward was my own personal opinion, which is that I worry that for the next worlds the qualifying criteria will be a last 8 and that unless there are some exceptional team performances (as happened with the mens epee and womens sabre) rather than sending 17 people we will end up sending 4 or 5 and our entire worlds hopes (and funding?) will rest on the a few shoulders. (as happened with the Dutch which led to them seriously underperforming compared to their world rankings).

I fully support your desire to increase standards, but I think it has to be a more gradual increase, and to be honest a more across the board increase. Our seniors really do try to do their best within the constraints of work/academia and we have some promising juniors, but as the Europeans have just proved they still have a way to go to reach the required standard. These are going to be our top fencers for the next 4-5years and I would hate to see them start to lose their motivation to compete because they feel they are being set unrealistic target in order to qualify for a worlds in which they will be considered to have failed if they don't make the last 8.

As I said these are however my own views and NOT representative of any other member of the BFA or British team (in fact I'm pretty sure at least 1 member of the team disagrees with the above).

Alp

PM1
-7th November 2003, 23:33
(3) Misinformation flys around these pages - for example, there was some awful stuff said about James Chambers' commentary on Eurosport, by people who clearly had no idea about the circumstances in which he is forced to commentate. He is commentating from the same tv pictures you are seeing with no advance knowledge of who the fencers are or where they have come from, but this didn't stop some people moaning about him for things which were entirely outside his control.

Graham - can I suggest that it wasn't a case of misinformation about the circumstances under which Mr Chambers had to commentate, but that those circumstances were NOT known of initially by us, the viwer/poster - they were appalling, as has been commented on - and yet even when they BECAME known , some of us - including me - criticised the occasional commentary.
Some things are obvious, and we must be allowed to comment. I don't "hide" behind an alias for any nefarious purpose, and am quite willing to stand up and be accountable. I say things as I see them. Many people who count know who I am, and I can be pm'd if anyone wants to take me to task other than on the forum.

Let this be a forum to IN form as well as to exchange views and info. I have found your posts very interesting, although you are clearly frustrated at having to make certain responses. We don't all know everything - can I say that reading your comments and those of Keith Smith and 3Card Trick, as well as some others, very illuminating. Please, keep posting !!

There should be no "slagging off" on the forum - there are rules that should be obeyed by all who post. If anyone sees any post that is offensive, it should be reported to a moderator.

On thread, it is interesting to see how our fencers perform overseas in major comps. The pragmatist in me says - it's down to whether the fencer is having a good day or not, but give the fencer a chance to prove themselves. One duff day should not mean no more opportunities: a promising past implies more to come in the future, if nurtured. And nurturing takes money.....Ah me......:(

URFE
-10th November 2003, 09:39
Originally posted by Homer
On the*****************moderated by kenny*********************** be British

What a shame that Homer feels that he has to criticise a young fencer in such an offensive way. Does he realise that the person in question is VERY YOUNG(kingkenny)
I would guess that every one of the kids who went to Croatia would have given their right arm to "do us proud" and that most of them will be very disappointed. British Fencing, and young fencers in particular, really doesn't need this sort of "knife twisting" sarcasm. It is hurtful, potentially very damaging and contributes nothing to the debate on the future of fencing in the UK.

Boo Boo
-10th November 2003, 09:55
Agree with URFE.

The Junior Europeans (like the Senior Europeans) are an incredibly tough competition - harder than the World Champions: the entry numbers are considerably lower for the Europeans, but the strength is incredibly high.

The person who Homer is talking about is very young AND has had some injury problems recently. I am sure that, with the right support and care, that person will achieve a lot in the following years :)

So, try not to make it personal... :(

Boo

kingkenny
-10th November 2003, 10:17
REMEMBER:

99% OFF THE PEOPLE INVOLVED IN FENCING ARE TRYING TO HELP THE SPORT.

SPORT IS NOT LIFE OR DEATH.

IF YOU DONT HAVE ANYTHING NICE TO SAY DONT SAY IT.

Also remember that kingkenny sees and knows all and is well over 6ft. You have been warned, PLAY NICE.

Sabine
-10th November 2003, 12:41
Junior fencers need to be nurtured and supported, not villified. The team sent this year by GBR seems to have been very young, with lots of potential for the future, particularly the women's teams. My bet is that some truly outstanding results will be forthcoming in time, provided by no one more so than the subject of Homer's unpleasant and spiteful posting.

Sabine

harry
-11th November 2003, 08:15
Agree with URFE.

The Junior Europeans (like the Senior Europeans) are an incredibly tough competition - harder than the World Champions: the entry numbers are considerably lower for the Europeans, but the strength is incredibly high.

The person who Homer is talking about is very young AND has had some injury problems recently. I am sure that, with the right support and care, that person will achieve a lot in the following years

If this is the case- why am i already getting the usual stories back that fencers were getting drunkxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Why did we send an injured fencer??

kingkenny
-11th November 2003, 10:29
Maybe you should not listen to all the stories you hear. The people that are sent are the best we have, they win the most competitions, people get injured thats just life.

Gav
-11th November 2003, 10:30
Sorry about censoring you Harry but I have received complaints about the nature of that last post. We all know that stuff goes on when people are away but I agree with those contacting me that it won't do those involved any good if we speculate on events that we had no direct experience of.

Barry Paul
-11th November 2003, 16:39
Several independant sources indicated to me that L.H. was robbed in his 64 fight by a sabre referee who was either useless or (alledgely) very very friendly with L.H oponents country.

In the team matches Romania refused to have him referee.

Lets hope our team have reported him to the referees comittee.

Barry Paul

Prometheus
-11th November 2003, 23:19
I heard the same - apparently had him in the pool and the DE - how much 'bad luck' can you have in one competition!!

Having seen him fence many times I would put my money on him in a fair fight.....

The Little Un
-5th January 2004, 20:22
There was a referee at the BUSA Indvidual Championships who was really crap and apparently an FIE Referee. He must have been bad as I could see how bad he was and it was only my second competition.

pinkelephant
-6th January 2004, 07:51
Originally posted by The Little Un
There was a referee at the BUSA Indvidual Championships who was really crap and apparently an FIE Referee. He must have been bad as I could see how bad he was and it was only my second competition.

Have you considered that he/she might have been right and you wrong?