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Thread: The Role of the Director

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    Senior Member Slacker's Avatar
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    The Role of the Director

    Ok, I don't want to step on toes, but I tried doing a search on this and couldn't come up with anything. When I took a director seminar last fall I was taught that "anyone can direct epee... badly." I took that to heart. Now I hear from (collegiate) fencers that "any trained monkey can direct epee." Can you give me an example of how a director might screw up a call, outside missing a floor hit, or stepping out of bounds? (Tell me I didn't waste my time!)

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    so here are three. Any action ending;

    with contact

    with a pass

    that involves a hit that may (or may not) have landed off the grounded strip. If you are lucky enough to have a grounded strip.



    Further, do not underestimate the ability of some fencers to regard the slightest oversight as a gross error that resulted in their premature elimination from the competition.
    au revoir

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    Senior Member campb1pr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slacker View Post
    Now I hear from (collegiate) fencers that "any trained monkey can direct epee." Can you give me an example of how a director might screw up a call, outside missing a floor hit, or stepping out of bounds? (Tell me I didn't waste my time!)
    I will leave the examples to better qualified folks than I, but a useful analogy that I was given years ago by my FOC examiner was this - "any trained monkey can direct foil too, as long as they are all one lights, no one touches each other, and they all stay on the strip at all times." Epee may be simpler to watch in general terms (no right of way to parse), but if you look in the rule book, there are just as many rules to enforce at all times in epee as there are in the RoW weapons, once you subtract RoW itself.

    Plus, without right of way to parse, it can be easier for epee refs to get themselves distracted, and miss a vital piece of an action. Just like fencing each weapon, refereeing each has its own subtleties, and takes its own type of personality traits to do it well. This is why all good three weapon refs and fencers have multiple personalities!
    "A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people" -- James Madison
    "Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it" -- Thomas Jefferson

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    I find that most people who think "anybody can ref epee", usually don't know when to call a halt, properly.
    "Life is like a wheel, where everyone steals, but when we rise, it's like Strawberry Fields."

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    Senior Member MyrddinsPrecint's Avatar
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    Score is 4-3 her. Three things happen nearly simultaneously---- She goes off the back, I hit her, and time expires. The box doesn't have time.

    The call was that time expires first. It was Hanan, so I'll believe it. But everyone else I talked to about that touch suggested that it probably wasn't time first--- until they heard it was Hanan. At which point they believed her.


    The problem with reffing epee well is not even the dense touches. There's not much wiggle room, there's usually a right answer. In ROW, you'll sometimes get situations where most people will be willing to admit that there's more than one call that's a reasonable response, but not with epee. And in epee, while there might be a lot of futzy rules you have to memorize well because you don't often use them, but they're memorizable.

    The real problem in directing epee well is that it's boring. I'm going to bounce there doing NOTHING for the larger part of 3 minutes. Sometimes 4. It's going to be surprising when I get any touch. Most of the time, there aren't any rules you'll need to apply. So you'll be really and truly asleep, or considering which microbrew to get at the local bar after you're done with the bout------ and that's when everything will go to hell. That's when you're going to have to deal with 3-5 intricate things happening at very nearly the same time, and you will have to have been paying very close attention to know exactly which one happened first, and of course you weren't. And it may be the thing that determines the outcome of the bout. And if those were the only touches, you could be on your game. But I'm going to be BORING, and you won't know what hits you when you finally have to have been paying attention.

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    Senior Member Peach's Avatar
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    Another problem with epee is that if they think a referee made a wrong call, epee fencers can go completely insane. They are so accustomed to relying only on the box and the rules that they can summon up a kind of persistent, burning, irate outrage rarely seen in sabre. I once watched Jan Viviani give a referee such a spectacularly bad time that it was like watching a train crash in slow motion--and she was a very experienced referee, too.
    “The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it's as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no-one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues.”
    Terry Pratchett, Moving Pictures

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    Anyone who says that a trained monkey can ref epee cannot possibly have ever been on either side of a difficult epee call.

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    Senior Member IanSerotkin's Avatar
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    Here's refereeing epee:

    You show up at a tournament at 8 AM. You referee 50 bouts and nothing happens. The score is 14-14 in the gold medal bout. Something questionable happens. Both fencers, both coaches, and all the spectators turn to you and say, "Okay, smartass, who wins the tournament?"

    That's why reffing epee is hard.

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    Senior Member lindajdunn's Avatar
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    I can think of other problems:

    You notice that fencer A has TWICE during the same DE gone off the side of the strip just as Fencer B is about to score a touch. Coincidence or deliberate?

    You notice that Fencer A seems to run into Fencer B after a missed touch in such a way that you strongly suspect it's intentional. After all, this is not a yellow card offense in epee.

    Either way you call it (or don't call it), you're going to have a fencer and a coach screaming at you.

  10. #10
    Senior Member downunder's Avatar
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    I tend to think of it like in foil or sabre you'll make hundreds of calls over the day, so 1 or two wrong means your percentage is still well over 99%.

    If you only have to make 2 or 3 decisions in epee over the course of the day, and you get one or two wrong, a coin toss would probably have done a better job. This is why an epee referee cannot make mistakes and it is the hardest weapon to referee.

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    Posting Hound oiuyt's Avatar
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    Another factor that has yet to be mentioned is that epee fencing has less flow -- less coherence.

    In the conventional weapons the fencers usually follow the conventions. They tend to do things that result in their having RoW (or in only them hitting). Or at least things clearly intended to be such.

    In epee the fencers have considerably more freedom of choice in actions and the timing thereof. There are still conventions, but they're not as closely adhered to and the times when they can be broken are less predictable.

    Additionally, the events that modify epee touches tend to happen in disparate locations. Near the arm/blade/tip. Near points of potential contact (shoulders, knees, etc.). Near the feet. This is less true in foil and sabre.

    And that's leaving aside any issues with frequency of cheating. :)

    -B
    "Oh but you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you!"

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    According to Gago, this monkey can't ref epee.*

    If you fail to pay attention in an epee bout, you will awaken to both fencers in a pile on the floor, with both lights on, their positions reversed, one of them off the strip and one undressed.


    * Ok, he never said that.

  13. #13
    gother than thou TooLoftheDeviL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KD5MDK View Post
    According to Gago, this monkey can't ref epee.*

    If you fail to pay attention in an epee bout, you will awaken to both fencers in a pile on the floor, with both lights on, their positions reversed, one of them off the strip and one undressed.


    * Ok, he never said that.
    Yeah, this is basically the example I give people in the club when instructing them to pay attention to the epee bouts they are refereeing.

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    Senior Member Mr.MightyMouse's Avatar
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    Intimidation (physical) IMHO is more prevalent at high level epee now, since saber went dry - ref can let the grip on the match slip completely, and have it look like a Charleston Chiefs tilt...
    A ref can usually call 2-3 touches against in epee for stepping off the side of the strip while being too far back if he chooses to, but usually no one does...
    Randal : [after the fire at the Quick Stop] Terrorists?
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    gother than thou TooLoftheDeviL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.MightyMouse View Post
    Intimidation (physical) IMHO is more prevalent at high level epee now, since saber went dry - ref can let the grip on the match slip completely, and have it look like a Charleston Chiefs tilt...
    A ref can usually call 2-3 touches against in epee for stepping off the side of the strip while being too far back if he chooses to, but usually no one does...
    Just how far back is too far for a referee again? Surely there's not enough room for him to be across the room, and you don't want a referee right next to your strip. That does NOT help them see anything, it is only detrimental.

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    Senior Member nahouw's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=MyrddinsPrecint;691470]Score is 4-3 her. Three things happen nearly simultaneously---- She goes off the back, I hit her, and time expires. The box doesn't have time.

    This is the premier referee question in epee -- the most complocated situation, as there are several scenarios in which it can happen.. that is why the refree calls halt and the scorekeeper calls time -- to distinquish the difference.

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    Senior Member Mr.MightyMouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TooLoftheDeviL View Post
    Just how far back is too far for a referee again? Surely there's not enough room for him to be across the room, and you don't want a referee right next to your strip. That does NOT help them see anything, it is only detrimental.
    Perhaps I did not make myself clear.
    It is possible for a ref to call the fencer off the end of the strip by assessing 1 meter penalty for stepping off the side, while the fencer is deep in his/her own end. Such situation happens quite often during an epee bout, and since - to a degree it is more static footwork wise - more obvious, yet most of the directors do not award such a touch, while a hardass does, and a crook or a blindman does only 1 way.
    Randal : [after the fire at the Quick Stop] Terrorists?
    [Dante shakes his head]
    Randal : I left the coffee pot on again, didn't I?
    [Dante nods]

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    Senior Member catwood1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.MightyMouse View Post
    Perhaps I did not make myself clear.
    It is possible for a ref to call the fencer off the end of the strip by assessing 1 meter penalty for stepping off the side, while the fencer is deep in his/her own end. Such situation happens quite often during an epee bout, and since - to a degree it is more static footwork wise - more obvious, yet most of the directors do not award such a touch, while a hardass does, and a crook or a blindman does only 1 way.
    Any referee worth his salt always calls the fencer when this happens...
    It actually doesn't happen that much...
    "Sir, didn't I parry"
    "You didn't take advantage of his blade enough, so no."

    (I guess i should have romanced it a bit more..."

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    Senior Member Mr.MightyMouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catwood1 View Post
    Any referee worth his salt always calls the fencer when this happens...
    It actually doesn't happen that much...
    How often does a bouncing epeeist step 1 foot off the strip by millimeters - technically you can give him a penalty?
    Randal : [after the fire at the Quick Stop] Terrorists?
    [Dante shakes his head]
    Randal : I left the coffee pot on again, didn't I?
    [Dante nods]

  20. #20
    Senior Member telkanuru's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.MightyMouse View Post
    How often does a bouncing epeeist step 1 foot off the strip by millimeters - technically you can give him a penalty?
    Not very often, especially at higher levels.



    It should be noted that epeeists have the largest blow-ups from a bad call of any weapon.

    However, Jan Viviani would most likely be a royal pain in a referee ass regardless of which weapon he fenced
    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit." -Aristotle

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