David Cook (davidcook) wrote,
David Cook

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The Miller-Hallet Open, pt I - the fencing

Last weekend, rwrylsin and I were in London. I was there to fence and be a tourist, rwyrlsin was there to cheer me on and be a tourist. This post is about the fencing part of it.

There were 144 entries. I came 77th.

The format was much the same as the Welsh Open - 144 fencers divided into pools of 6 or 7. After the pool round, 16 people would be eliminated, and the remaining 128 would fight out the DE (Direct Elimination) rounds.

In my pool, I started with a win, just. My opponent seemed quite young, and somewhat nervous. I was also nervous, but managed to be tall, and won 5-4. Not too bad a start, anyway.
The second bout was against Tom Cadman, 2nd ranked in the UK at the moment. I was 3-1 up at one point. That point probably was the high point of my performance in the tournament, though, 'cos everything went somewhat downhill after that. He won, 5-3. Next was a bout against a Dutch fencer. I fenced well enough, but we ended up tied 3-3 at the end of the normal 3 minutes. We fenced an extra minute, with priority on my side (that is, if we still didn't score in the extra minute, I'd win - this is decided by a coin toss or other random event, and is not to be confused with priority (right of way) in foil or sabre), but I made a mistake in distance and got hit. I won two more bouts, but then lost the last one. By this stage I was starting to feel more nervous, to the point that it was affecting my fencing - I was slower to move, less confident in attacking, and concentration was starting to go.

So, 3 wins and 3 losses from the pools. Remember how I said I had to improve the pool results in these comps ? Well, this was definitely not the way to go about it.

Once again, I finished in the middle of the DE, ranked 66th going in. I got to fence the 63rd ranked fencer in the round of 128, who happened to be the young fencer I'd beaten (just) in the first bout of the day. The bout started well enough, and I got to a 3-1 lead, but then he caught up, and neither of us got more than one point ahead of the other after that. I was more and more nervous and non-concentrating as the bout went on, for no particularly good reason, and ended up losing 14-15.

And that was my day. If I'd been fencing a bit better, my opponent in the 64 would have been the 2nd seeded fencer on the day, who went on to win the competition. But, that didn't happen, because I couldn't get my head together properly. Rather frustrating, that. Over the years, I've fenced everything from casual club competitions to a couple of FIE A Grades (ok, ones held in Australia and so mostly filled with Aussies, but still ... ), and that was probably the worst that nervousness (or whatever it was) has affected me in a long time.

So, on to the ratings :

Equipment : 7/10. I didn't get around to checking everything before we left, and discovered that one weapon wasn't working just before warming up for the pools. Fortunately it was a quick fix, but I should have checked them sooner. Other than that, everything worked ok, and I remembered everything.
Fitness : 7/10. Didn't really fence long enough to test the endurance this time. Felt ok.
Hydration : 8/10. About right.
Food : 7/10. I did have some food for lunch, but there was a long gap between the end of my pool and the DEs, because there were more pools than pistes, so some pools had to wait until pistes became available, so it had time to settle before I fenced again.
(I've renamed "Concentration" to "mental state")
Mental state : 4/10. Gah. Feh. Bleh. I can fence better than that, really I can. I've decided there are 4 words that would be signs of a good mental state : Calm. Concentrating. Committed. Confident. Rather than any of those I got "Confused" and "Chaotic". Oh well.
Sleep : 6/10. Again, a long and tiring day beforehand, and I woke up during the night a couple of times.

Tags: fencing

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