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Thread: Olympic Gold Medalist Oxana Ermakova Epee Coaching Clinic

  1. #21
    Senior Member Allen Evans's Avatar
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    Well, perhaps lunch will be short...
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  2. #22
    Senior Member piste off's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MdA View Post
    We will drop the certifications from the clinic program and schedule. We will have planned program activities on Friday night and Sunday morning.
    From this and the description on Askfred, am I to understand correctly that the main clinic (i.e. net of the certification etc.) is on Saturday? Sorry to be dense, but I have not been to one of these before and am trying to determine the viability based on my schedule. Thanks!
    "Some people are born great fencers, some people achieve fencing greatness, and some people have it thrust upon them."

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  3. #23
    MdA
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    Main portion of the clinic will be on Saturday.

    Friday night from 6 PM until 9 PM we will do introductions and cover the first topic on Allen's list....

    1. A discussion of the differences in teaching men's and women's epee, including the depth of technical skills and type of preparations used?

    ...and the impact of the new rule on non-combativity in epee.

    Saturday we do.....

    2. Group class work in teaching epee, including a discussion of progression and safety concerns, if any?

    3. Accessing the deep targets in epee. Preparations and footwork?

    4. Physical conditioning for epee. Is it different than the other weapons?

    Sunday morning from 8 AM until 12 PM we'll do this......

    5. The advanced lesson in epee. How to go beyond 'hit the hand, hit the body'?

    7. Skills progression in epee as a function of age?

    ...and we'll drop numbers 6 and 8 from Allen's list so we have time for lunch....

  4. #24
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    This clinic sounds like it's going to be a trainwreck.

  5. #25
    MdA
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    Trainwreck?

    First, I would like to thank those who have already expressed an interest in this clinic.

    But, sometimes I forget how negative people can be in this forum.

    This reminds me of the time that Nazlymov came to the Coaches College in 1989 after the World Championships in Denver. He presented footwork and lessons with some of his best fencers including the current World Champion. I still have the video….maybe I’ll post some of it on Youtube when I get the time. He answered many questions through a translator. To him and his team, the crowd of Americans standing around the strip with our video cameras looked like a bunch of amateurs from the hinterlands of the fencing world. He filled up 2 days with no problem.

    There was no lesson plan or program. In fact, his attendance was not even communicated in advance. We didn’t even know he was going to be there and the first 2-days of the CC program were changed to include his presentations. It introduced me to a level of fencing I never knew before….and encouraged me to continue coaching.

    I’m not sure how things are going to go at this clinic but I have hosted clinics like this before. That’s why Andre and I are flexible with the program. The questions or topics listed above will keep us moving through the two days. I am sure that Oxana has plenty to show us. Victoria will be there with Oxana to demonstrate lessons and translate. Sometimes as a coach you need to see what another coach or fencer is doing and digest it before you can teach it to your fencers. Oxana has graciously agreed to slow things down and show us what has worked for her in her fencing career.

    Some other high level women’s epee fencers and coaches may attend. We can demonstrate some additional lessons and fence some practice bouts and break down the actions.

    So, if you think you can learn something from a 2-time Olympic gold medalist, and you think it is worth it to get down here, please sign up on AskFred and send in your Registration/Waiver form. You can wait to pay at the door in case you can’t commit….you don’t have to pay online. We just want to get an idea of who would like to attend.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by MdA View Post
    First, I would like to thank those who have already expressed an interest in this clinic.

    But, sometimes I forget how negative people can be in this forum.

    This reminds me of the time that Nazlymov came to the Coaches College in 1989 after the World Championships in Denver. He presented footwork and lessons with some of his best fencers including the current World Champion. I still have the video….maybe I’ll post some of it on Youtube when I get the time. He answered many questions through a translator. To him and his team, the crowd of Americans standing around the strip with our video cameras looked like a bunch of amateurs from the hinterlands of the fencing world. He filled up 2 days with no problem.

    There was no lesson plan or program.
    I don't think this thread has been overly negative. It seems more like interest and curiosity--people want to know what you're asking them to pay for.

    The US has come a long, long way since 1989.

  7. #27
    MdA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason View Post
    The US has come a long, long way since 1989.
    It hasn't improved much for American fencing coaches. The only coaching clinics on AskFred are in the Southwest and Pacific Coast sections.....and nobody is pre-registered.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by MdA View Post
    It hasn't improved much for American fencing coaches.
    I suspect the expectations have risen significantly.

  9. #29
    Senior Member Mr Epee's Avatar
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    1. Disappointment is related to expectations. If you expect a billion and get a million, you will be sad.

    2. No clinic should ever be life changing. If you attend one and feel like your worldview has been radically altered, then a) you probably weren't truly ready for that particular program, and (not or) b) you only partially understood what was presented to you. Don't run with it. Feel free to throw up a little bit in your mouth any time you hear a sentence that begins: "Well, one time at this clinic, I was talking to (Insert name of internationally celebrated fencer) and he/she said (whatever he said)..." Even if what comes next is true, it'll likely be applied in a confused way.

    3. Name dropping is a fun, important, but ultimately empty exercise. That said, it's really cool to take pictures with successful people. Autographs are also cool. I highly encourage all of these activities.

    4. Fencing takes many, many years of regular training to learn. Coaching also. A weekend is very, very short. Would anyone expect to significantly improve their guitar playing by spending a weekend hanging out with Joe Satriani? How about a one-on-one B-ball clinic with Michael Jordan? You would be foolish to dream it would radically improve your game. Both would still be awesome opportunities. Unfortunately, the fencing community has a weird way of handling it's superstars. The weekend warriors mix it up with effective professionals and boundaries are ill-defined.

    5. If you like fencing and have the time/money to attend this event, then do so. I'm sure it will be entertaining and informative. Take lots of pictures and do please remember that you will probably learn the most and have the most fun at the lunch/dinner/drink sessions.

    6. I suppose that congrats are in order to the Dallas fencing community for landing this fencer/coach. There are certainly enough resources in that area to develop a strong bed of fencing activity. A strong epee presence in Texas is good for America. God bless.
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    Take your time. Read carefully.

  10. #30
    MdA
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    Great Expectations

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason View Post
    I suspect the expectations have risen significantly.
    I agree that expectations are higher today….for everything. But, expectations and reality are two different things. The reality is that there are not many options out there for coaches this year and no opportunities for some regions/sections. There appear to be no plans for a Coaches College this year….again.

    We are trying to offer an alternative to the format and presenters at the other clinics.

    Alamo Fencing Academy had success in the past with the Gia clinic in 2009. The videos are on Youtube. This clinic will be similar (épée instead of foil this time)

    If you are interested, sign up.

  11. #31
    Senior Member piste off's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Epee View Post
    6. I suppose that congrats are in order to the Dallas fencing community for landing this fencer/coach.
    I think you mean SA. Remember? The Alamo.
    "Some people are born great fencers, some people achieve fencing greatness, and some people have it thrust upon them."

    My pet Monkey on an IBM selectric

  12. #32
    Senior Member Allen Evans's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by piste off View Post
    I think you mean SA. Remember? The Alamo.
    When you live as far away as Finland, even the big state of Texas is just a dot, so it's easy to get your geography confused.

    MdA: any two or three of those topis is enough for a couple of weekends. Covering all of them? That's going to be a chore, no matter how many medals you've won.

    A

  13. #33
    MdA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Evans View Post
    When you live as far away as Finland, even the big state of Texas is just a dot, so it's easy to get your geography confused.

    MdA: any two or three of those topis is enough for a couple of weekends. Covering all of them? That's going to be a chore, no matter how many medals you've won.

    A
    I'm just glad MrE chimed in....he is always so entertaining and informative.

    I think he summed up what we are trying to do here.....I'm not worried about the program.

    Another note, I was unprepared for that Nazlymov clinic in 1989 (not "truly ready for that particular program"). But, it did change my life and I'm thankful for that opportunity.

  14. #34
    Senior Member VorpalCat's Avatar
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    You're wanting people to pay a lot of money (thinking more those out of easy driving distance) for an unknown experience. If I had the time and money to throw around, sure, I might fly out to SA figuring that if the seminar's a bust, I can at least play tourist so the weekend's not a total loss. But I don't. 'Just show up and I'm sure we'll have something awesome sorted out by the end of the weekend' is great for parties. Not so much for promoting a training and education event. I was more than willing to spend the money for CC because I knew what to expect beyond 'bathe in the aura of this person'. Sure you were unprepared for the Nazlymov clinic but you didn't travel out there for the clinic. You were there for something else and a gem happened to drop into your lap. You're asking people to show up for nothing but the hope of a gem. Most of us don't have hundreds of dollars to spend on what may turn out to be a lap full of dirt. And let's face it, a gem we can't do anything with might as well be dirt.

    No, that doesn't mean I think your weekend is going to be dirt. At least not for everyone. But that's the rub right there. I would get tons of use out of a clinic Allen would sleep through and he would likely gain great information out of a clinic that would go right over my head. Yet you're expecting us both to fly out from just about the same location for something that you can't quantify enough for us to make our respective decisions. It's not that we don't want to learn, don't want to increase our skills. We just have to use our limited time and income wisely. And you haven't sold either of us on it being in our value range. (Sorry for invoking your name without permission, Allen. )

    CC worked because it was planned out. It's been stymied lately due to forces beyond its control, not because of a lack of quality product. If you want to fill that gap, you can't just say 'Well CC doesn't exist so come to my thing-I-don't-even-know-anything-about' and expect us to jump in line. Hell, you've only just now set some sort of outline for the weekend -- except you didn't set it, Allen did! Clinic presenters need to get together with their instructor(s) and get at least a rough outline of what they expect to cover before they start promoting their clinic. You can't sell what you don't know. ('Here buy this can of food! Might be beans, might be collards, might be motor oil!') If the hosting entity isn't willing or able to do that most basic bit of prep work, how can the customers be expected to be interested beyond 'Sure would like to know if those are sweet potatoes or beets'? If you can't slap a decent label on the can, something more detailed than CORN, you can't expect us to reach for our can openers.
    Jason, Allen Evans and acarter like this.
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  15. #35
    Senior Member Mr Epee's Avatar
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    1. Oops. I was (incredibly badly) indicating the Russian woman who is, according to the initial post, currently coaching in Dallas. Again, good for them. ;-)

    2. I never attended "Coaches College," but I am willing to testify that it was directly responsible for copious quantities of hinterland dumbassery. Unfortunately, the experience of attending frequently resulted in non-fencers asserting themselves as resident experts. Maybe the 'quality of organization' stimulates this response, I'm certain that holding at the OTC did.

    3. Excuse me, but the price of this clinic is certainly not unreasonable. In terms of your 'fencing career,' I'll contend that for the vast majority of American fencers it's a much better investment than attending the next NAC. This is true even if it's just a meet and greet. Isn't the clinic price less than a ticket to an NFL game? On the other hand, if you're broke, you're broke. I get it. You're angry. Lots of people are angry. This isn't really something to be angry about. Trust me, the elite athletes hosting this event aren't swimming in pools of cash before the event, and certainly won't be after.

    4. Perhaps it would have been better to target this clinic towards elite/developing fencers. Ok, not perhaps, definitely.

    5. Doing 20 minutes of footwork each day is free (first person to say 'opportunity cost' gets punched in the mouth, here); it will make you a better coach.

    edit:

    6) Schedules, agendas, and diplomas are frequently just binkies.
    Last edited by Mr Epee; 11-12-2011 at 04:15 AM.
    Take your time. Read carefully.

  16. #36
    Senior Member Mr Epee's Avatar
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    Maybe this is a better way to get across what I was after earlier:

    When was the last time you had a conversation with a real live Olympic champion?

    What do you really know about training conditions/programs in today's Russia?

    Wikipedia indicates that Oksana was born in Tallinn (1973), but always fenced for the Soviet Union/Russia. Estonia certainly has some excellent epee fencers in its history. Was there some tension with her deciding to represent Russia after the separation/independence? Her name is certainly Russian; as opposed to Kiado Kaaberma who is only 5 years older but very very much more Estonian.

    Would you like to hear a first hand account of what being/growing up as the last generation of Soviet athletes was like?

    American Universities raise tens of millions of dollars (probably close to hundreds) each year through auctions, dinners, golf tournaments, guest appearances, etc with the head coaches of football/basketball programs. For whatever reason, people find value in shoulder rubbing with fixtures of elite sport. There's absolutely nothing strange about that, in fact.

    Virtuosity doesn't usually map neatly onto agendas and powerpoint.

    There seems to be some grave misconceptions (on all sides) as to what sort of opportunity this could turn out to be.
    MdA likes this.
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  17. #37
    Senior Member Tomas N's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Epee View Post
    1. -6.
    I agree with all of these points.

    I haven't been to a lot of fencing clinics, but I teach at a college and have brought a lot of practitioners onto campus. These have ranged from academics to activists to CEOs. The one thing I've learned is that there doesn't seem to be much correlation between the quality of career people have had and the quality of presentations they give. I've had CEOs come to the classroom, try to "wing it," and be incoherent. We had someone involved in the "occupy" movement come to campus who was ill-prepared and rambled on without a point (perhaps that was the point?). Being a public speaker takes preparation and practice. If Oksana is someone who holds clinics frequently and prepares seriously to do them, then it'll probably be worthwhile regardless of the agenda.

  18. #38
    Senior Member Tomas N's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Epee View Post
    Maybe this is a better way to get across what I was after earlier:
    You've convinced me that I want to go to clinics where the other participants are capable of asking interesting questions.

  19. #39
    MdA
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    Woo Hoo Pictures and Autographs

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Epee View Post
    3. Name dropping is a fun, important, but ultimately empty exercise. That said, it's really cool to take pictures with successful people. Autographs are also cool. I highly encourage all of these activities.

    4. Fencing takes many, many years of regular training to learn. Coaching also. A weekend is very, very short.

    A strong epee presence in Texas is good for America. God bless.
    Pictures with successful people....a long time ago.

    Me with Nazlymov at 1989 USFA Coaches College

    and some autographs.....

    Joppich

    Behr
    Last edited by MdA; 11-12-2011 at 10:31 PM.

  20. #40
    eac
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    I think the whole idea of a clinic is basically billed as something it isn't: a major, key tool for improving as a coach. MrE makes a good case for attending it for what it is, but I doubt it's worth the money on basically any coach's salary.

    Initially, I was going to dispute that they're particularly responsible for any hinterland dumbassery; I thought hinterland dumbassery happens either way. But maybe it's worse: maybe without being introduced to meaningless sequences of words, hinterland coaches would notice that words are generally a bad plan as a framework for thought. Maybe when they're exposed to supposedly knowledgeable people from non-hinterlands saying words, they get convinced that words are a good plan, and that makes them worse.

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