Young Competitor Looking for Advice

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by GalmONE, Oct 13, 2018.

  1. GalmONE

    GalmONE Rookie

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    Hi There!

    I am GalmONE, or Nathan in real life. I am currently a competitive fencer in the Bay Area. I have a few questions, and I would greatly appreciate you answering them.

    1) I have fenced in a few regional competitions, and heard of "summer nationals". What is it, and how do I qualify. I saw that I had to earn national points to qualify, and does that just mean I show up to a NAC? Do I need to qualify for a NAC?

    2) Should I invest in fencing shoes? My current shoes are not fencing specific, and kind of inhibit my lunging and recovery.

    Thank you for your time,
    Nathan
     
  2. GalmONE

    GalmONE Rookie

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    I should mention that I am willing to put all my effort and time into this outside of school. Fencing is the main sport that I care about.
     
  3. Zebra

    Zebra Podium

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    Welcome aboard, Nathan.
    1--If you haven't heard about summer nationals (next ones are June-July in Columbus) and your or your family are not obsessed about them (like altogether too many fencing parents), then you and your family probably don't need to spend the time and money going this coming year. With the Bay Cup, you'll get plenty of appropriate competition closer to home.
    When you start making a little noise locally (even if you haven't earned an E yet), then you should consider going. It's a chance to be totally immersed in the sport for a few days, see and talk to (and maybe fence against) national team members, practice with and support your teammates, get your hands on and compare more fencing equipment than you've ever seen in one place, meet top-level refs and BC, and just feel like a cherished member of this very large family.
    2--Appropriate shoes are important, but they don't have to be fencing-specific. If you feel your current shoes inhibit your lunge, then you probably know enough to figure out what kind of shoes will be more suitable. Lots of good fencers use volleyball or other court shoes rather than fencing-specific shoes.
     
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  4. GalmONE

    GalmONE Rookie

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    Thanks man!

    What kind of qualifications would I need for Summer nationals?
     
  5. GalmONE

    GalmONE Rookie

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    also, is it hard to get there? How much experience do I need?
     
  6. jdude97

    jdude97 Podium

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    Check out usfencing.org, the site for all things US Fencing. It'll answer a lot of your questions.

    Summer Nationals is a 10+ day long festival of fencing featuring 80+ events from all 6 weapons/genders. Some events are championship events that require qualification. Some events are called July Challenge (JC) events, which means they're effectively the same as North American Cup (NAC) events but with qualification required. Collectively the championship and JC events are colloquially known as Summer Nationals (SN).

    To qualify for an event, you first must be eligible for that event. Events are by age and by classification (aka rating). This chart outlines the eligibility requirements for all the events at SN: https://cdn3.sportngin.com/attachme...56/2018_2019_Age_and_Classification_Chart.pdf. This website outlines the various qualification paths: https://www.fencingparents.org/qual...9-fencing-summer-nationals-and-july-challenge.

    If you're in high school, you can do cadet (U17) and/or juniors (U20). If you're 21+, you can do division 1A (aka seniors), division 2, and division 3. All these events require qualification at the JC/SN but none of them require qualification at NACs (other than being age/classification eligible). While SN is a great big festival and experience as Zebra said above, and it does feel great to qualify for something and then compete in a restricted event, NACs are plenty good experiences, so I'd encourage you to check out a NAC in your neck of the woods. The next national west coast event is the 2019 Summer Nations in Salt Lake City, not Columbus as said above, so going to a NAC first may not be possible. Here is the NAC schedule though just in case: https://www.usafencing.org/national-events-calendar.

    I'll take your question "Is it hard to get there" to ask if it takes much work. The answer ranges from very much to very little. For the veterans events (age 40+), all you have to do is compete in a single divisional or regional tournament (you could score 0 touches and still qualify). For division 1 (A,B,C classifications), you have to get at least top 64 at a NAC (or some other funky but similarly difficult qualification pathways). Your most likely event and qualification pathway would be to division 3, which would require you to get top 25% or top 3 (whichever is higher) at a divisional qualifying tournament (so a tournament held in your local area). How hard this pathway is varies greatly on region. In many regions, not even 3 fencers register and thus everyone who registers auto-qualifies, while others may hold 50 person qualifies events full of talented fencers.

    To answer the question of how much experience you need, I've known (very athletically talented) fencers to compete at NACs/SNs within 6 months of starting fencing (1 in particular medaled in his 1st year!), but I personally didn't fence at SNs or a NAC for my first 4 years of fencing (I have competed in at least 1 NAC per year since). It's a question of how you wish to spend your time and money. Is it worth it for you to travel to fence division 2 at a NAC (so 0 qualification required)? I personally love fencing so if I had the time and money, I'd do it. In the long run though, you'd probably be better off spending that time and money training, at least at first. National tournaments are an amazing experience, but without knowing how long you've been fencing, how old you are, and what/how many tournaments you've ever done, it's impossible to say if SNs is a reasonable pursuit for you.

    I will finish with what I think could be the motto of FdN: ask your coach! If yours is any good, they should be able to at least point you towards resources to answer your questions and work with you to choose tournaments in which to compete that are appropriate given your experience, skill level, time/money, and goals.
     
  7. jdude97

    jdude97 Podium

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    That was long so I'll answer separately about shoes. I've known top level fencers who compete in running shoes, but personally I think they have way too much ankle support to allow for proper footwork. I've used volleyball and tennis shoes in my 12 year fencing career, but I've always fencing-specific shoes the most. Fencers have also been known to use squash, racquetball, and badminton shoes, but those can be just as hard to find as fencing shoes. The issue I've had with tennis shoes is they still have too much ankle support. You want fencing shoes that are lightweight and allow for fast, sharp direction changes. Most importantly, you want something comfortable. I use SuperFeet over-the-counter inserts in my fencing shoes for more nuanced support, if that's relevant to you. You can get some cheaper fencing-specific shoes for as cheap as $60...no need to shell out $200 for a first pair, although the shoe I just bought 2 pairs of today (before they go out of production) is the Adidas Patinando at $163 per. I used my last pair for the last 3.5 years, so here's hoping for another 7 years of Adidas fencing shoe bliss.
     
  8. Zebra

    Zebra Podium

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    Depends on your age and what event you're trying for. Given what you've said so far, you're probably best off fencing your division qualifier in the spring. If you finish high enough (top 25 to 50% depending on the ratings of the other competitors), you qualify for division 2 and/or division 3 nationals. Otherwise, you need to go off to regional and national events chasing points (too complicated to explain here). (Or you could be 40 or older, in which case qualifying for the vet events is a whole lot easier.) If you're good enough by springtime to do some damage at a division qualifier, you're probably good enough to go to SN (though you'll probably be clobbered there like most first-timers). Otherwise, leave it as something to look forward to as you improve your skills.
     
  9. Zebra

    Zebra Podium

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    Huh? Salt Lake is Div 1 champs/April NAC, per above calendar. Summer Nationals/July Challenge is June 28-July 7 in Columbus.
     
  10. GalmONE

    GalmONE Rookie

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    I'm in the bay area. How competitive is that for summer nationals? From what I heard, I want to go and my parents support it.
     
  11. Zebra

    Zebra Podium

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    You didn't say what age group or division, and whether you're in Central California or Northern California Division. But you can look on FRED for the results of the qualifier (search on "qualifier" or "SNQ"). You'll see how many competed in each event, and what their ratings were. From that, you can determine how many out of each event qualified(*). Plus you might be able to see how some of the opponents you have fenced against fared in the qualifier. So for example, in the Northern California Y14, there were 13 men's foil fencers. 1/4 of 13 is 3.25: round up and the top 4 fencers qualified for Y14 SN (assuming none were skipped over because they already qualified via another path--see the USFA Athlete Handbook for details: it can get complicated). But there was only 1 Y14 men's saber registered, so he qualified automatically.
    Of course you could also e-mail the Division Secretary of your division and ask him or her what the numbers of fencers and qualifiers were in your weapon.
     
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  12. GalmONE

    GalmONE Rookie

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    Hmmm? I fence epee and live in San Jose. Could you look that up for me? I can’t locate the right search bar. Thanks
     
  13. GalmONE

    GalmONE Rookie

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    also, does the Bay Cup give me any regional points?
     
  14. GalmONE

    GalmONE Rookie

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    Does being on the nrps mean just competing at a NAC? How many points would you need? I am in the Y14 division.
     

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  15. Zebra

    Zebra Podium

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    1--I think San Jose is Central California, but check with your club manager.
    2--The only tournaments awarding regional points are those indicated as ROC, RJCC, or RYC. They're on event listings at the the USFA website. Regular Bay Cup events are not ROC/RJCC/RYC, though they have their own point structure. National points for youth are awarded only at SYC, NACs, and Nationals.
    3--See the Athlete Handbook for details about how national and regional points are awarded: they differ for the different kinds of events. But to get national points, you need to finish in the top 40% of the tournament field (with some exceptions, which are all explained in the Athlete Handbook--it's complicated). Regional events award points to all participants, more or less on a percentile basis, so you have to finish well enough in your events to earn the necessary number of points.
     
  16. jdude97

    jdude97 Podium

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    Reading is hard :(

    Sorry Zebra. Thanks for correcting me
     
  17. GalmONE

    GalmONE Rookie

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    You didn't answer my question. :p :D Does being NRPS just mean going to one tournament and that's it?
     
  18. jdude97

    jdude97 Podium

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    Short answer: being on the NRPS means having national points --> national points generally awarded to top 40% --> you could qualify from fencing in just 1 tournament as long as you finish higher to get national points in that tournament.

    I would like to reiterate that you should check out the Athlete's Handbook and the US Fencing website. It has the answers to all your questions.
     
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  19. GalmONE

    GalmONE Rookie

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    How do SYCs work?
     
  20. GalmONE

    GalmONE Rookie

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    Also, are there NACs around San Jose?
     

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