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Thread: Drills with no weapons

  1. #1
    Senior Member broncofencer's Avatar
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    Drills with no weapons

    Due to some rather unusual agreements made with the powers that be at Western Michigan University we are not allowed to have our weapons anywhere but in approved space (gym). Which we won't be able to get into until probably the end of this month. This is not really a problem since it gives us a chance to teach most of the basics to newbies before putting a weapon in their hand. However the returning fencers get bored very quickly with doing the same old drills all the time. Can anyone give me some help with new drills not involving weapons? primarily I need them for foil and epee though sabre ones are welcome as well.

  2. #2
    That Guy Craig's Avatar
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    I would suggest all of the distance stealing games (glove game, etc.). Those are usually fun for all.

    But...footwork and glove game does get boring after a while. There is a whole section on drills and exercises for hand/eye coordination in Fencing and the Master - we used many of these at UNC.

    I don't know if these are in that book, but some things that I've done in the past are:

    Toss a tennis ball against the wall, advance-lunge and catch it with your extending hand. Back enguard and toss the ball against the wall again. Rinse, repeat.

    Get 2 fencers en guard, advance lunge tossing the ball to each other. (We used a Koosch for this - easier to catch and doesn't bounce all over the place if you miss.)

    If nothing else, play indoor soccer or team handball. Those work on team building skills as well as foot/eye and hand/eye coordination, plus they'll be increasing their fitness level without really knowing it.

    Hope that helps,
    Craig

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    Senior Member lochinvar's Avatar
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    Re: Drills with no weapons

    Originally posted by broncofencer
    Due to some rather unusual agreements made with the powers that be at Western Michigan University we are not allowed to have our weapons anywhere but in approved space (gym).
    This wouldn't have anything to do with "No Weapons on Campus", would it? I thought that issue was dead...

    Off topic, I know, but who made the deal with the Powers That Be? And what was the basis for it?
    Nothing is more frightening than ignorance in action.

  4. #4
    Senior Member DangerMouse's Avatar
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    Use the time to cross-train as a team. Run, play other sports, etc.

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    Senior Member Wizardly's Avatar
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    Off topic: so are the baseball, shot put, discuss, golf, lacrosse, paintball, martial artists similarly restricted from carrying their equipment about and practicing with it? Personally, I'd say belts (that you wear in your pans) are about as dangerous as fencing equipment...does your campus restrict the wearing of belts too? What are you supposed to do if you own your own weapon???

  6. #6
    Armorer
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    Originally posted by Wizardly
    Off topic: so are the baseball, shot put, discuss, golf, lacrosse, paintball, martial artists similarly restricted from carrying their equipment about and practicing with it? Personally, I'd say belts (that you wear in your pans) are about as dangerous as fencing equipment...does your campus restrict the wearing of belts too? What are you supposed to do if you own your own weapon???
    And what about kitchen utensils? We all know what happens when mask-wearing psychopaths get hold of a chef's knife in a building full of young adults . Your university administration is being blatantly irresponsible if they don't do something to protect you from this threat.

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    Just Joined Stonestreet's Avatar
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    Using other media as a project...

    Just a thought,

    I teach fencing at a community college and have a selection of films that have fencing scenes in them. After teaching the "new points on the block" usually over a weekend "Cram course" for a single college credit... I have them view and rate the films between the headings of "theatrical" or " good technique" as we would actually use in modern day tournament style.

    What you could do would be to have your advanced fencers view these films (Segments), rate them, write an assement of each, and then have them present it to your new guys... Have your advanced fencer teach a lesson/discussion. Not to mention that they are using another medium that all enjoy and are analyzing moves.

    Hope this helped and its just a thought...


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    Senior Member MikeHarm's Avatar
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    Maybe you should get around it by using foam weapons.

  9. #9
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    i think (and hope) that the problem with his univeristy is that they don't want the gear they paid for used outside of that specified area. it shouldn't have anything to do with the danger of the weapons. if it was, the martial artists would have to keep their feet and hands in this gym.

  10. #10
    Senior Member MikeHarm's Avatar
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    Actually, when I went to college they hassled the martial artists about their martial arts weapons too. I bet it is the same thing.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Dragonfly's Avatar
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    University thy name is I dont know what????
    but just to let you know our group was located in a very posh high school for 14 years and got voted out!!!
    [that was before I got here so....], the association with martial arts is sometimes a detriment, so I never call it a 'western martial art', and I dont call them weapons in officialdom, only to other fencers. It's a collegiate sport.


    1. Running but use Craugs footwork drills in the run,

    2. Make it look real 'pre-season' and run around with a whistle and make them 'count out'?

    3. roll out a chalk-board and draw the strip showing the Zones and have them do little drills to learn the strip;

  12. #12
    Senior Member broncofencer's Avatar
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    Basically the "offical policy" is anything that looks like a weapon is along with anything brandished in a threatning manner (pencels etc.) Most sports equipment does not look like a "weapon" thus it is exempt (yes we did use those arguments).

    After 5 years of constant head bashing we are now the only club on campus with a agreement that makes us exempt from this policy.that being said however, it is for practices only.Thus once the gym schedule is finalized (usually week 3 or 4) we can get into our appointed practice space and pull out the weapons.

    This delay does not cause problems for other club sports because they don't start their season right away. Since we fence USFA not NCAA we can start immediatly. however, until we get the gym we have to meet outside. Which in turn means no weapons. it's kinda nice because the brand new people learn footwork without the distraction of other equipment. Our returning fencer however get bored after a week or two and need new drills to spice things up a little.

    So the basic agreement which I was part of arranging is that we have to be USFA registered and all members must have USFA cards. We need at least 1 member CPR/first aid certified. We can have our own equipment during practice (since the school owns nothing) Those members that live on campus can have all their equipment except the weapon in their rooms the weapons must be held by members that live off campus. (we have an appointed person for this) they can go to and from practice but cannot be stored in cars or anywhere on campus. members sign waivers evry year but really mean nothing.

    Other clubs that fall under this policy but do not have an exemption and just simply can't practice on campus are Paintball boxing and most martial arts clubs.

    We would have been out of luck except a gentleman by the name of Vernon Pyane came to Western Michigan and took an admistrative position. He used to be prior to coming here the Athletic Director at Wayne State he knew and understood fencing and has been a great asset to us.

    We also had a year long arguemnet about the room they gave us but that is a whole different story.

    In the end with the exception of 1 month in the beginning of every year for admistrative crap we can fence and represent our school so know one minds that much.

    plus it gives me time to evaluate people and get rid of the people who just want to swing swords at people and will be dangerous after all stupidity thrives on a college campus especially at the admistrative level.

  13. #13
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    I think that what is nescessary is a lawsuit.

    A baseball bat LOOKS like a weapon (or does a club look like a baseball bat), is more often USED as a weapon, and is more effective as a weapon that fencing gear. I think that if you threatened thier baseball program by suing to have baseball bats barred from campus that suddenly the definition of what constitutes a weapon would change.

  14. #14
    Just Joined smitty_mla's Avatar
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    so, let me get this straight. The fencing team, which uses blunt (hey college admins, there is NO point on a fencing "weapon") metal rods (yes, I'm oversimplifying) to have fun and grow as athletes and good citizens are not allowed to practice with their "dangerous" equipment outside of the gym, but any old freak off the street can come in guns blazing and mow down a few hundred students. Or, better yet, someone sets off a bomb. What are the college admins going to say then? Probably issue a warning and report them to the Dean. These sorts of rules are so stupid. Consider that back in the days where actually dueling and killing each other was legal, even fighting was considered honorable. But now, any punk with a trigger finger and a dirty gun he found on the streets that will probably blow up in his hand when he fires it can make us all quake in our boots and issue warnings, citations, and prevent good sportsmen from practicing. Bleh.

    Sorry about the rant, I just *can't* stand the direction in which society is heading (I can't have a gun without a permit, and yet some fools can hijack a plane with a boxcutter). Anyway, I've just started fencing, and I practice with a bamboo stick. Sure, its not the same weight, feel, or balance, but at least its something to hold in your hand so you can practice lunging and take notice of how your hand position changes. Hey, if not, you can always use 'em to bludgeon the nearest school official (kidding!).
    "I see your schwartz is as big as mine. Let's see how you handle it!"

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    Senior Member Dragonfly's Avatar
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    Schmooze!

    This is all so new to me, universities, colleges and highschools used to LOVE having their fencers on board!

    The so-called 'weapons' are completely covered in appropriate bags, there's no way they can be used to hurt someone, it's incredible.

    The next time your University has a few competitons on campus, invite a few deans and the President to attend. Don't be afraid of your University Deans or Presidents. Many of them want to be invited to events and let them see what fencing really is. Intercollegiate competition that can enhance a universities presence in the community. Get them to include your results in Campus newspapers; citing which students earned what points; and after a few seasons, the profile of the group will have changed, and you will have done some recruiting at the same time.

    Either that or face continuous problems. I can't think of anything more than schmoozing.

  16. #16
    Senior Member MikeHarm's Avatar
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    From what I've seen of it, people who get into the zero tolerance for weapons policy are like religious zealots. They believe they are fighting to wipe the ideas of weapons from society which will lead to everyone becoming pacifists and a world without violence.

    I believe that trying to reason with people on religious issues is mostly a waste of effort.

    My advice is start looking for a new location for your salle. Things will only go downhill from here.


  17. #17
    Senior Member Dragonfly's Avatar
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    I wouldn't look for another venue unless they toss you out, please, finding a good space with locker rooms, showers, and other goodies is not easy. Summon up the courage and print up a list of "at home" competitions, and invite some guests. Make them realize what a great sport fencing is and use this as an opportunity to educate them.

    They're a little nervous now on campus, but if they perceive your group as being a good group, you'll make some real breakthroughs. Every once in a while a college kid will go berserk on campus; no-one wants that, fencing has to develop the same reputations as some of the other teams and let go of the weird theatrical flake image. If those images cling too much to the group, then the sport isn't taken seriously, and is eventually given less space, less access to equipment.

    Your club is probably a Club sport, is there anyway to change your classification; or is there anyone who an offer expert advice from legal department on campus as to the nature of the equipment that you carry? Every campus has a legal department, see if you can get them to assist you in drafting guidelines between your club and the campus for the future. Try to see them as allies.

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