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Thread: Luxembourg Foil JWC - MF and WF

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by cesh_fencing View Post
    The good enough is the issue.

    If you had a group of fencers who qualified to do internationals (whether Cadet or U20 for GB) by the rankings, but were obviously not good enough to get through even the first round, would you.

    1) repeatedly send them regardless, expecting them to get knocked out after the first round (just for experience).

    2) see if there are some other lower level internationals for them to get a taste (and more fencing) of international competition, so gain confidence by making it to the later stages of those events and then send them to the higher level event.
    Re 2 - wan't this the case when there were two or three overseas events that were used as squad trips for the level below - and indeed didn't the senior sabreurs try finding suitable events. It's probably worth asking overseas (say Paris) if there were decent events that could cope with a GB turnout ?

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by cesh_fencing View Post
    The good enough is the issue.

    If you had a group of fencers who qualified to do internationals (whether Cadet or U20 for GB) by the rankings, but were obviously not good enough to get through even the first round, would you.

    1) repeatedly send them regardless, expecting them to get knocked out after the first round (just for experience).

    2) see if there are some other lower level internationals for them to get a taste (and more fencing) of international competition, so gain confidence by making it to the later stages of those events and then send them to the higher level event.
    The answer is clear about what the Brits do (no would about it). At present we send them on only a few internationals cadet or Juniors. Not enough to build experience, but you can see first timers getting knocked out in cut in pools, and more experienced beginning to break though. But it's too little experience to break into last 16 for pretty much all.

    I am not aware of any international non-circuit events attended in any numbers by cadets or juniors. Must be a reason for that. I suppose if you're going to pay for an additional international event, then you may as well select one that will be at the level of the ones you get selected for.

    Would it be unreasonable to simply say that we would improve the level of fencing if we focussed on getting more experience of international quality as cheaply as possible.

    At Brixton we managed to do some Polish events very cheaply. That's one route, but one international trip equals twenty one to one lessons with a coach.

    Other possibilities are

    1) more international events in uk
    2) more buy-in to training courses overseas with overseas fencers (not just shipping Brit coaches and fencers to an overseas gym)
    3) inviting international fencers to uk courses (an opportunity for the national academy if they can get over their hang-up about doing lots of fencing on their courses)
    4) doing more of the next xmas épée camp for cadets where uk parents are asked to provide accommodation for Japanese fencers. This could be an exchange . As it stands it is one way providing accom., but since they are dont we want as many of our uk fencers to get experience of these people who have come over to fence?
    Edward Peck

  3. #43
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    As Cesh says the imperative is whether an under age fencer is 'good enough'. Yes there are a small number of
    Cadets who are good enough to compete in Junior [U20] World Cups and Championships. We have seen the likes of Iris Zimmerman, Rebecca Ward and Philip Marsh doing so.

    However, all these fencers were 'exceptional' and not 'mundane' fencers. Sadly the vast majority of cadets in this country fall into the latter category, which is why they are mostly performing at the bottom level in these
    tournaments.

    Bluntly a Cadet who cannot make a last 8 result in a top European Cadet Competition should not be going to a World Cup Event.

    Young fencers should be focussing on training and perhaps competing once or twice a month in tournaments
    appropriate to their standard. There are eight or nine events in each weapon on the European Cadet Circuit
    including three which are designated by BFA as 'nominated internationals'. In the case of foil they have in
    fact nominated four tournaments.

    What surprises me is that the Foil Weapon do not appear to have followed IYC recommendations that cadets
    should concentrate on one circuit particularly when they are ranked as low as some selected for Luxembourg.

    The management of cadet and junior teams for sabre weapon have adopted a policy in last two to three years
    of selecting fencers for tournaments in their own age groups even if they are more than qualified domestically
    to be selected for a higher level.

  4. #44
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    The selection events and rankings at Junior Foil this year ........ "left a lot to be desired".

    1) Selection for Luxemburg based on just one event which was a major Open event (Essex for WF and Bristol for MF)

    2) This massively skewed the ranking and so the possible NIF count for the next (BSC) event due to the fact that hardly any of them scored points and the NIF is based on the ranking preceeding the event.

    Without being to bigheaded, I probably understand the ranking implications of different scenarios more than anyone else on the foil side, so next year I need to get my two penneth in earlier. Even though I have no official standing in the decision making process.

    The simple fact is that fencing is so weak in depth in the UK that we rely greatly on the Cadet and Junior fencers to make up the numbers in the Open event. This is part of the reason why it is difficult to have a meaningful age group circuit. Open organisers feel that it is stealing their fencers. The Welsh Open is a clear example of that this season.
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  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronald Velden View Post
    However, all these fencers were 'exceptional' and not 'mundane' fencers. Sadly the vast majority of cadets in this country fall into the latter category, which is why they are mostly performing at the bottom level in these tournaments.

    Bluntly a Cadet who cannot make a last 8 result in a top European Cadet Competition should not be going to a World Cup.
    So disagree. So long as the leaders of our sport dismiss our young hopefuls as "mundane" we will remain a little fencing nation.

    We need to cherish our talent!
    Edward Peck

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    Just to add, I am rather disgusted by your post.
    Edward Peck

  7. #47
    Senior Member Ronald Velden has a reputation beyond reputeRonald Velden has a reputation beyond reputeRonald Velden has a reputation beyond reputeRonald Velden has a reputation beyond reputeRonald Velden has a reputation beyond reputeRonald Velden has a reputation beyond reputeRonald Velden has a reputation beyond reputeRonald Velden has a reputation beyond reputeRonald Velden has a reputation beyond reputeRonald Velden has a reputation beyond reputeRonald Velden has a reputation beyond repute
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    Ed R

    I am not going to apologise for the inadequacies of the British system. This is not just about talent, but the quality of coaching, inadequacy of training, but above all the very poor judgment of those who make decisions
    to select fencers for competitions, which are above their ability level.

    Several years ago there was strong criticism that the BFA were sending too many fencers abroad and the currency of National Teams was being devalued by that policy.

    As I wrote previously the European Cadet Circuit is designed for both National Squads and Club Fencers so that there is scope to compete at the appropriate level in those competitions.

    The criteria for selecting for World Cups was supposed to be different. Selections were supposed to be on the basis of those were likely to be competitive or at least have the potential to be competitive at this level and
    not simply to select fencers to make up numbers as appears to be the case in certain weapons.

  8. #48
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    As usual I agree with SOME of Ron's sentiments, but not the way he expresses them.

    In Luxembourg 5 of our WF fencer occupied places in the bottom 10% of the placings. If that was a long term trend then it would be a waste of time for the fencers and parents and would see British fencers lose respect with referees round The circuit.

    In the other hand I do agree that giving those young fencers a taste of the standard they need to reach was valuable. Being a cadet with 5 more years until you are top age junior is a different scenario to being a final year junior who has just scraped into 9th place in a very artificial ranking.

    It is fine to say to KB and YC that juniors is a massive step up. It is quite another for them to experience it with the right expectation management.

    There is only one current WF cadet who could hold her own at junior level and she has chosen to focus on the Cadet circuit for the bulk of this year.

    I don't think KB and YC's teams are intending them to do a full season of JWCs. If they are then I would would be worried.

    If you read the post carefully I don't actually think the various sides disagree with each other. They are arguing about different things.

    And Ron, putting your point across without putting people's backs up often gets it heard and taken seriously far more than being too bombastic.
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  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronald Velden View Post
    ......................However, all these fencers were 'exceptional' and not 'mundane' fencers. Sadly the vast majority of cadets in this country fall into the latter category, which is why they are mostly performing at the bottom level in these tournaments..................
    How to alienate your intended audience, Ronald - well done, Sir!

    Most parents will fully realise their offspring are not exceptional, but also that they are not mundane either - most fall somewhere in between, but aspire to climb higher up the ladder, and are encouraged to attend the internationals to try and achieve this, even if it is above their level and it just to give them some experience and an idea of what they have got to do to attain this higher level.

    But the point has been made by CESH earlier that many of these competitions are inappropriate for some levels of fencer, but there are lower tiers of international competition available that they should try and attend these 'B' grades, for want of a better term. The problem here is that many, especially newer fencers parents, don't know of their existance, or how to enter, or are even given very little in the way of guidance.

    This is where I think perhaps BF could pick up the ball, by providing more guidance as to which of these 'B' grades might be suitable for a privateer to enter. Clues as to the entry process, guidance on licences, even doing the entries themselves where appropriate, but not providing any physical support in the way of a Chef D'Equipe or Coach, or booking travel and accommodation.

    I am sure that there are many parents out there that, if they were provided with the necessary guidance, would take the advice and enter one or two of these - not too many, one hopes, so they don't trigger the referee threshold, but even then, appropriate advice from BF would avoid competitors and parents falling into this trap.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronald Velden View Post
    I am not going to apologise for the inadequacies of the British system. This is not just about talent, but the quality of coaching, inadequacy of training, but above all the very poor judgment of those who make decisions to select fencers for competitions, which are above their ability level.
    I am not asking you to apologise for the inadequacies or otherwise of the British system.

    You have argued that the vast majority of fencers are mundane and that is why they are performing at the bottom level in these competitions.

    Do you mean mundane? It is a derogatory term meaning commonplace, boring, and banal. It is not a very helpful label I think you will agree. It is not just hurtful, but harmful in my opinion.

    You have heard from parents who have said that they have found that the experience of fencing in competitions above the ability level of their fencers improves them. You have also implied that the domestic availability of good quality coaching and training is lacking. I am not sure where you think the lack of judgement is.

    It seems curious that you want to close the door on that particular source improvement which is readily available.

    I would suggest that the stars who you cite almost certainly started at the bottom level of competitions, and went to competitions above their ability level. What then changed is that they went on to become good fencers.

    At that stage they stopped being mundane...
    Edward Peck

  11. #51
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    Let's be realistic Britain has had a problem with women's fencing going back at least 20 years. It is frankly a
    problem that existed when Linda Strachan was fencing.

    The situation as I highlighted in earlier posts is a combination of factors including culture,infrastructure and an exceedingly poor support system.

    Very few women fencers in Britain are achieving 'international standard', not so much because of talent, but
    more to do with coaching and training. As I pointed out earlier there has not been a decent 'club' programme
    catering for women cadets, juniors or seniors since the late 1990s.

    For that reason there has been absolutely no progression in any of the three weapons in recent times. If you
    look at current Junior World Cup Rankings you will find that there are only 2 British Girls in top 50 rankings.
    These are Aliya Itzkowitz from Camden ranked 13th in Sabre and Leah King ranked 29th in Foil.Most of the
    other women struggle to get out of pooles let alone achieve a last 64.

    Aliya is now at Havard. That decision was taken on both academic and fencing grounds. If she had remained in Britain her option would have been Oxford and as she explained to me the opportunity there to
    train and compete in sabre is rather limited.I have reason to believe that a similar situation may soon also arise with Leah as well.

    When you look at cadet results matters don't look more promising there as well.Only Ayesha who is ranked 45th in Girls Foil makes the top 50 in the current European Rankings in all 3 weapons.

    It is interesting to note also that the 2 women who were most successful at senior level over the last 20 years
    were Georgina Usher [epee] and Louise Bond-Williams [sabre]. Both achieved their best results whilst training
    abroad.

    If we want to solve the problem then the starting point is honesty even if the language does not appeal to the
    sensitivities of a number of posters. There has been so much discussion over the last 20 years with absolutely
    no improvement in the situation.

    For the record it was a topic that I discussed with all 4 candidates before I nominated them for the Board. Three candidates who were elected are well aware of the problem from first hand experience.

  12. #52
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    When you look at cadet results matters don't look more promising there as well.Only Ayesha who is ranked 45th in Girls Foil makes the top 50 in the current European Rankings in all 3 weapons.
    Just to clarify this point a little - we did have epeeists who started the cadet season in the top 40 of the European rankings - however as there have already been four cadet competitions this season (before any GB selection comps have taken place) and as the current season's competitions are awarded double the points of the "old" season's results those fencers have slipped down - hopefully to move back up in a couple of weeks when the first GB-nominated event in Grenoble takes place.

    So it's not really too worrying we have no fencers currently in the top 50, as some other countries have already competed in 3-4 events with the new points counting for double the points they are replacing.

    Just looking on the bright side!

    Helen.

  13. #53
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    How mundane to let the facts get in the way
    Edward Peck

  14. #54
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    I have been following this thread with great interest ever since it started and can relate to many of the points made by several of the posters.
    I am the parent of two enthusiastic fencers who are slowly working their way through the age groups. My son, is currently in the under 11 bracket whilst my daughter is in the under 13. I would like to make it clear that I have absolutely no fencing background and don't occupy any position within the sport. My observations are based purely on what I have seen in the UK and the small number of European countries where my children have fenced.
    The skill gap that exists between the 11-12 year old Italian/Polish/French female fencers and their British counterparts is actually not that big, although the gap dramatically widens past that point. One of the major reasons is that the former countries have a far larger pool of talent to draw from and can, therefore, cope far better with the inevitable loss of teenage fencers. In terms of coaching levels, I have been lucky to watch a number of Italian youth fencing sessions in action and it struck me that their standards of coaching were by and large higher than those in the UK, with heavy emphasis placed on technique but also other skills such as dominating your opponent and winning ugly. They don't give their fencers any time to ease off and keep them focused at all times.
    I think that this hard-headed mentality is lacking in certain sections of British youth fencing (with a few exceptions!) and it is not entirely due to the perceived lack of decent coaches. I always find it quite interesting to listen to the latest foreign coach to teach at a British club when he or she speaks of the lack of dedication displayed by their young fencers and the inability to enforce tough training techniques for fear of upsetting the fencer or his/her parents. This is more of a social rather than sporting problem and I can't see how GB fencing can cure that one very easily!
    I do think that British Fencing needs to assess what it can practically achieve rather than aiming too high and falling flat on its face. The suggestion that sending as many cadet and junior fencers to international events as possible is great in theory but where is British fencing going to find the six figure sum to support such a scheme? Also, most parents would not be able to send their children to more than one or two events a year due to the same financial (plus academic) reasons. I agree that there is a large gulf between the British domestic scene and the European Cadet circuit but we won't solve it by sending 20 rather than 3 or 4 fencers to these competitions- we will just have more badly beaten fencers. In my opinion there has to be a dramatic improvement in the domestic fencing structure first.
    I live in North London and although we are fortunate enough to have several fencing clubs close by, they each have a small number of dedicated fencers that only fence eachother. I am personally frustrated that the approx 15-20 dedicated fencers in this area don't train together on a regular bi-weekly/monthly basis to allow them to push their standards up. I can't understand why the clubs in my area don't come together to work out a mutually beneficial club rota, particularly when it can only benefit the children themselves. I would hope that this model could also be introduced (I know that one size does not fit all) in other areas of the UK as well. The costs could be minimal if the clubs truly co-operated (probably the biggest hurdle!).
    I also think that the nature of the domestic youth competitions themselves should be reviewed. If female fencing really is in such a poor state, why don't we consider introducing mixed poules at the LPJS's for example. One of the major differences between domestic and European female youth fencing after all, is the latter's more physical nature, which the male fencers certainly have in abundance.
    I am not saying that the international stage should be ignored - I actually think that pre-cadet age competitions (Dieppe, Challenge Wratislavia plus a couple of Dutch events that I am aware of...) are very useful because they don't cost a huge amount of money in relative terms and they also provide tough but winnable opportunities for fencers who want to try their hand at fighting abroad. It is events such as these that GB fencing should also be encouraging rather than concentrating on purely the cadet/junior stage. The more children that go to these events the better.
    This thread has over 3,000 hits so it is obviously important to an awful lot of people -not just the sport's administrators. The hard part is to convert the large number of views into worthwhile posts.

  15. #55
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    Sorry COYI but WOTA!!

    I will have to copy your post and split it up to read it!
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    COYI having split your post up and read it, you have hit a fair few nails squarely on the head.

    Our club structure is far too fragmented. We have 5 or 6 moderate clubs in Nottingham all have 2 or 3 coaches and 20 to 50 members. If we had the right venure available every night of the week and pouled our resources we could really kick some arse. But it will never happen unless we have a fantastic venue given to us.

    You also have a good point about the general level of work ethic and clubs want to keep fencers on board to keep up income rather than push them really hard to achieve.
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  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foilling Around View Post
    Sorry COYI but WOTA!!

    I will have to copy your post and split it up to read it!
    Wot's WOTA ??

  18. #58
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    There are so many issues raised here, but I'm going back to the original issues raised out of the Luxembourg results. Yvonne Chart is a Truro fencer and whilst I am not her coach I work closely with and manage her excellent and very able coaches, Paul Caine and Kenichi Yamamoto.

    Yvonne went to Luxembourg for experience. It was her first junior event. She is still a cadet. She has never experienced junior fencing outside GB, which is not the same as international junior fencing! There are others like her I'm sure in this and other weapons. I am very happy with what she took from the event, and that she has learnt a lot about how she needs to fence to make progress. Coaches differ on whether to send cadets to junior events and juniors to senior events, and what level these fencers should be before they will benefit from the experience. I am personally in favour of good cadets in their last year doing one or two juniors to transition into their next year. That is not to say that this is right and that other ways of doing things are wrong. This is also not to say that Yvonne would go to every Junior World Cup this season (if selected). If she were older and had spent 5 or 6 world cups losing heavily at every event then there would be very good reasons for asking these questions about the value of attending world cups.

    If you want to discuss ways to make better structures to create better coaches, clubs and fencers then go for it, but I do not see the benefit in singling out one or two individuals about whose training plans, development and ability most members of this forum have (at best) little or (probably) no knowledge.

    For what it's worth (as Ronald brought up Women's Sabre!) I think GB has a number of very, very talented young female sabreurs aged 12-15, and I think we will make a big impact over the next 5 years. As we are gradually starting to do in Men's sabre age groups 15-20.
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    PS Paul - don't wait for someone to give you the venue - get the clubs together and do it yourselves!
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  20. #60
    Paul Sibert Foilling Around has a reputation beyond reputeFoilling Around has a reputation beyond reputeFoilling Around has a reputation beyond reputeFoilling Around has a reputation beyond reputeFoilling Around has a reputation beyond reputeFoilling Around has a reputation beyond reputeFoilling Around has a reputation beyond reputeFoilling Around has a reputation beyond reputeFoilling Around has a reputation beyond reputeFoilling Around has a reputation beyond reputeFoilling Around has a reputation beyond repute Foilling Around's Avatar
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    Nottingham University Head Coach, Nottingham Cavaliers Coach
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigger View Post
    PS Paul - don't wait for someone to give you the venue - get the clubs together and do it yourselves!
    Oh that I had the time and the negociating skills to get a set of entrenched personalities together. I possibly could, but it may have to wait until I retire!!

    I ought to do an audit and see what type of resources we could bring together and so what type of venue we would need.
    Qualified National Academy AASE Assessor
    Father of a Scotland Junior Commonwealths Fencer and a Senior Commonwealth Team Foil Gold Medallist

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