The Future Of Fencing

By 11 November, 2015 Fencing, Sport and Fitness
Le Grand Palais hosts the 2010 World Fencing Championships in Paris

I recently read some posts that my friend, and fellow NYC fencer, Tim Morehouse, shared online with some of his opinions on how to change the rules of Saber in order to enhance the game for competitors and spectators.  I thought I would share a few of my thoughts that could greatly change our sport for the better.

The Idea is to install a best 2-out-of 3, or 3-out-of-5 (15 touch) bouting system.

The idea would be to enhance three aspects of the sport; the athleticism of the competitors, emphasize consistency of results, and increase Spectator enjoyment.

Firstly, I would like to say that yes – this format would greatly increase the time of competition.  A competition may take 4-6 days depending on how the competition was set up. A fencer would fence one opponent per day and depending on how dominating his or her performance was, they could fence anywhere from 2 – 5 bouts. Yes, the workload of a fencer would be raised over a period of days, but not per day.  If a fencer were ranked Top 16 in the World, he or she would need to fence 6 bouts in a day in order to win the competition.  That means that any fencer entering a World Cup event would need to be physically prepared to fence 6 bouts a day.  The amount of rest in-between bouts will obviously be less and force some fencers to raise their level of athleticism.  I personally believe this would only enhance the sport.  Athletes will have to focus on their physicality as much as their technicality.

As any fencer knows, 15 touch bouts are very short in the grand scheme of things – many times these bouts can complete before the first period has expired. In this time period – even simple mistakes can lead to a devastating end.  How many times have we seen upsets of a physically, technically, and more consistent athletes by unorthodox lesser athletes?  A bout that ends by one or two touches can sometimes come out completely differently if the two fencers were to fence again 5 minutes later.  Fencing is, in my opinion, straying away from the age of mastery of the sport and into an age of one or two trick ponies. Fencers are beginning to want to force people to do one thing for a very short amount of time.   Think of the big server in tennis. The big server has an advantage and it can take even some of the best players in the world a set to figure out how to return them.  Yet, while having a big serve may win you a set or two – at most – after an hour of play it becomes a much different game.   Tennis would not be so much fun to watch if every point was scored without any volleys. A longer format competition would truly develop the sport rather than simplify it.  Allowing the physical as well as the technical player to shine, all while weeding out the less trained and under prepared.  This is what you want at the highest level of the sport.

Now, the other obvious benefit would be consistency.  The best of the best in fencing are that way for a reason.  That being said, there are always upsets at each competition.  Don’t get me wrong, I love upsets.  It is one thing that makes sport so enjoyable.  Everyone loves a good underdog story – when an underdog raises up defeats the more heralded opponent.  Why is this so amazing? Because it is so rare! If the Russian Hockey team had only won 3 out of the 10 competitions before the Olympics in Lake Placid, there would be no “Miracle on Ice”.

 Underdog stories are made just as much by the consistency of the champions as by the upset by the underdog.   If Michael Jordan had been playing one game series, his team would have lost the 1991 and 1998 finals because they lost the first game.   What would you want to see?  What brings more attention to the sport.  When the two very best players or teams compete against each other – or when two underdogs play each other?  Spectators want to see the best.  When you go to a fencing competition you are almost guaranteed to see a mixed bag of athletes competing in the final 8 of competition. Who wants to pay for tickets when you are not sure if you will even get to see your favorite fencer, unless of course you get to a cold empty stadium during the first round of competition (very exciting).

Another thing to consider – as an athlete – you face the possibility of fencing one bout and goodbye. An athlete could have spent endless hours training  – then they have less than 9 minutes and 15 touches to show what they are made of.  Why do you think fencing is slowing down? Fencers are playing it safe, AKA: Simultaneous Off the Line in Saber, bouncing around in Epee going to priority. Well, when you only have 15 touches each mistake becomes more and more important.  Not to mention you could be fencing perfectly and suffer technical errors, or Director’s mistakes.  A close bout suddenly seems a lot closer.  If you give fencers more time – you give them more space to play, to create. You allow the best to show why they are the best because of how they fence 90 percent of the time – not only 2 minutes in the first round.

Now, on the other hand if you have two fencers who are evenly matched and a beautiful match ends with that single touch – that is an amazing thing to see.  Something that is almost completely unique to fencing.  Why not have that 3-5 times rather than just once.  Why not let five bouts worth of fencing come down to one final action.  That is worth paying to see.

Which brings me to my final point.  Allow the sport to be seen and allow the culture of fencing to grow.  People have always cast aside fencing because they say it is too complicated and not good to watch as a spectator.   Officials have tried to answer these criticisms by installing lights, changing the target area, and some rules.  None-the-less, this does not change the fact that fencing is still complicated to understand.  Let me ask a question, if I took you out to a baseball game where there were four pitchers and four  batters in a stadium and I asked you to watch and tell me what was going on – could you? No, of course not, because you would try and watch each of the players and they would all look very different.  If you were to watch four simultaneous boxing matches and keep a score card on them could you?  No.  Now, let’s add in the fact that you will only be allowed to see those people box, pitch, or bat for 2-9 minutes – then there will be a break and everyone will change. That would be almost impossible to enjoy.

If the fencing competition format were to be elongated, spectators would be able to watch athletes fence for a much longer period of time. If you decided to put spectators in a room with just two fencers going at it for up to 95-minutes, you would allow the crowd to be engaged and to understand what the heck is going on. From there the crowd would begin to pick their favorite fencers. You would create FANDOM! With fandom you beget merchandise and ticket sales. Allowing people to witness final-like fencing every time, rather than only for the last few bouts, you would also have more air time for each individual athlete, which would allow the athletes to present their potential sponsor with a lot more to offer, days of exposure rather than minuets.

Fencing events over numerous days with single bouts taking place in different rooms would allow spectators to come get a glimpse of their favorite athletes in the best type of fencing environment. Organizers could sell tickets to individual bouts or to full competitions.  We could create a world for fencing not by changing they sport but by changing the way it is presented. Fencing is the best sport in the world. A True sport. Allow its athletes to shine and grow and the sport will follow suit.

White Night With Baryshnikov

By 5 February, 2015 Sport and Fitness, Style and Fashion, Uncategorized

RAG AND BONE F/W15

The City that never sleeps was taking a nap. At 10 o’clock at night in a stark meatpacking district emptied by a blizzard warning, The City was bare without its masses of people that wander the streets at all times of night and day. There were only two of us braving the elements on this night. I walked down the middle of the cobble stone street. Next to me strode a thin man, much shorter than me in stature, wrapped in a long dark pea coat, collar up to displace the gusting winds, and a knitted hat just covering his salt and peppered hair.

Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Easily called the most influential dancer of the last century, I had spent the day admiring Baryshnikov’s skill as he effortlessly expressed himself through movement in a much more modern setting than I had ever seen him in before. We were working together on the rag and bone Fall/Winter 15 menswear presentation. A remix of Billie Holiday’s version of Gloomy Sunday was playing – a spastic mix of 1920’s melancholy with modern drum & bass beats; Öngyilkos Vasárnap’s Venetian Snares . As Baryshnikov first stood on set, his eyes were fixated on the ground – then his foot began to tap, his hands rose and started to form various shapes, then his body jerkily swung into movement.

While on set during the first day of shooting, I didn’t talk to Baryshnikov much until the end of the day. He came in, face dark like the villain from a James Bond movie, worn and blasted from years of experience on the stage. Yet, his smile was childlike and expressed nothing but the purest form of happiness. He did not speak loudly on set. This guy was not looking for attention and if you hadn’t known of his incredible career, fame, and accolades, (we are talking about the most famous ballet dancer of all time here) you would have most likely sat next to the 67 year old Baryshnikov without any clue of his talent. Yet, as he danced there was something tremendous in the way he commanded attention. What I found the most interesting was this man had not danced the way he was now dancing ever before. He did not leap or do an attitude derrière — he was just producing movement as he felt compelled to by the direction of the piece and sound of the music. It was like nothing I had witnessed before. Baryshnikov’s movement was impressive just as talent that shone through, it was not a demonstration of experience, but simply – his ingenuity. He was doing something that I felt had never been done before; dancing in a manner that no one else had ever done before.

As I watched Baryshnikov from a distance I realized that the entire set had frozen. The models, hair and make-up artists, the PR assistants, everyone had all looked up from what they were doing and had been captivated by the simple act of his movement. It dawned on me that the reason this man was great in a way that others could never be was because he was his dance. Baryshnikov is dance. He lets his passion shine through his dance and it spoke for itself. As the music came to a close, the crew applauded and a smile swept across his deeply concentrated face. He slinked away and found his seat on the couch only to go back to reading his newspaper.

As the shoot was coming to a close, I was sitting behind the cameras, reading news about the incoming winter storm that never amounted to anything really and looked up to see Baryshnikov standing right in front of me.

“I hear you’re a fencer.”

Somewhat taken aback I smiled and said yes. He was fascinated by the sport and proceeded to bombard me with a deluge of questions, ranging from technical questions about my En Garde position, to what my results were. He was very excited to tell me about his son, Peter, who had taken up fencing, saying it changed his life and turned him into a man. While this was going on I realized that I had seen endless people try and make small talk with Baryshnikov. He never seemed to say much to anyone, yet the sport of fencing had provoked some intrigue in the great dancer.

As we exited the set our conversation continued. Baryshnikov and I walked through the now desolate streets of a snowy New York, like a scene from “White Nights”. It was surreal to say the least. I kept my mouth shut for the most part letting him speak about his feelings for my sport. He was genuinely interested, and to my surprise, complimented me on my fencing accomplishments. Baryshnikov shared his feelings with me on how much it means to have discipline in life. Suddenly I realized that the man walking beside me had done the exact thing I wanted to do with my life – in a totally different field. He dedicated himself to dance without any back up plan. For Baryshnikov – life was, and still is – Dance. While this man commanded attention, sold out performances around the world, graced magazine covers, and millions adored his good looks – his only true purpose was dance.

I only asked Baryshnikov one question that night.

“Now that you are no longer dancing, how are you giving back, are you going to teach it?”

Baryshnikov said, “I am working in the theater”. He is still driving his passion onward. Not teaching – but still creating, which I found very interesting. I have always thought the best was to give back to the thing you have passionately dedicated your life to, is to pass it on. Sport, like Dance, has an expiration date. You can only perform at their highest levels for so long. It is actually quite fleeting when you think about it in the grand scheme of things. But passion – unlike competition – never dies.

We walked on for a couple more minutes. I think both enjoying the silence after a hectic work day, when completely unprovoked Baryshnikov said.

“The theater… It is very humbling.”

And with a short goodbye we parted ways.

Humble is the word I would use to describe Mikhail Baryshnikov above all things. Our short encounter over those two days was a pleasure. In an age where some may look at the results of dedication and performance; Medals, Wealth and Fame, as the greatest part of life – after staring into Baryshnikov’s eyes and hearing him speak, I knew, it is only those who truly live life for their passion who are awarded this lifestyle, and without this passion – life would be worth nothing.

Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook

By 1 December, 2014 Blog, Food, Sport and Fitness

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Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook

Not to long ago I came to the realization that what I believed to be good nutrition was actually far from it. I was quickly turned to Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook as a starting place on my exploration into what it means to fuel properly as an athlete.  If you are looking to take your athletics to a higher level, or just trying to improve that person staring back at you in the mirror, this book will lay a solid foundation.  I personally grew up eating pretty much whatever I wanted.  In between bouts at competition as a young teen you were likely to see me scarfing down chicken fingers with french fries and sipping on a coke. To be honest it wasn’t till I was around 16 that someone actually told me what calories were. Around 20 I was so concerned with looking ripped I stayed away from anything I considered fattening for me aka. Carbs and Sugars.  I got lean, a little too lean. Not knowing that doing that was just as bad for me. Eating as an athlete is something that takes time to master.  Food is fuel, and you have to learn to time your eating along with eating the proper foods. I am not saying that I am perfect by any means, but I do know that I can see drastic improvements in my performance after adding Nutrition in as a serious part of my training. This book is absolutely a good guidebook to follow.

About the Author

Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD, renowned author and board-certified specialist in sports dietetics, is known for her ability to translate the science of nutrition for exercise and health into practical tips to enhance performance, manage weight, and resolve eating disorders. She has a private practice at Healthworks Fitness Center in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, where she offers nutrition consultations to both casual exercisers and competitive athletes. Her more renowned clients have included members of the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Celtics, and many collegiate, elite, and Olympic athletes from a variety of sports. She is also an advisory board member of Mizuno, Medical Wellness Association, and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America.

An internationally known lecturer, Clark has given presentations to professional groups such as the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), as well as team talks to athletes at Boston College and coaches with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program. She offers workshops nationally to health professionals with her sports nutrition workshop series. As a result of her renowned work, her photo and nutrition advice appeared on the back of the Wheaties box after the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Clark received her bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Simmons College in Boston and her master’s degree in nutrition from Boston University. She completed her internship in dietetics at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is a fellow of the American Dietetic Association, recipient of its Media Excellence Award, an active member of ADA’s practice group of sports nutritionists (SCAN), and a recipient of that group’s Honor Award. In addition, Clark is a fellow of the ACSM and a recipient of the Honor Award from ACSM’s New England chapter. She is also the recipient of the 2007 Simmons College Distinguished Alumna Award.

Clark is the nutrition columnist for New England Runner, Adventure Cycling, and Rugby and is a frequent contributor to sports and fitness publications such as Shape and Runner’s World. Clark also writes a monthly nutrition column called “The Athlete’s Kitchen,” which appears regularly in over 100 sports publications and Web sites. She has authored Nancy Clark’s Food Guide for Marathoners: Tips for Everyday Champions and The Cyclist’s Food Guide: Fueling for the Distance.

Clark has competed at the 10K, half-marathon, and marathon distances. She has led many extended bike tours, including a Transamerica Trip and other tours through the Canadian and Colorado Rockies. She has trekked into the Himalayas and planned the high-altitude menu for a successful expedition. Her newest sport is rowing. She and her husband, son, and daughter live in the Boston area.

“About the author” from amazon.com

 

 

CLYDE FRAZIER

By 28 November, 2014 Uncategorized

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With a nickname taken by a Knicks trainer from the folk-hero robber Clyde Barrow, whose life was chronicled in the film Bonnie and Clyde, Frazier presided over the Knicks for 10 years from 1967 to 1977. He left holding team records for points scored, games played and assists. With the Knicks that Frazier helped redefine the character of professional basketball, significantly boosting its popularity in New York and beyond. While we could all use a few of his tips on the court, it his cloths off the court we really want.  You think basketball players these days have style… think again.

When asked about his Clyde Nickname his response was.

“What happened was, when I first started I wasn’t playing well as a rookie. So to pacify myself I used to go shopping. So I would go out buy clothes, go to my room, dress up, and look in the mirror and say, Well, I ain’t playing good but I still look good! And one day we were in Baltimore, and I’m looking in the window of a hat store. I see this Borsalino hat. Brown velour. But it has a wide rim. And like today, everybody then was wearing the narrow brim. But I never liked the narrow brim. So first time I wore the hat everybody laughed at me. My teammates. The guys on the other team.  And I go hey, man, I look good in this hat, I’m going to keep it on. And as fate would have it, two weeks later Bonnie and Clyde comes out.”

interview from GQ.com

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Six Elements Of Mental Toughness: What Everyone Should Learn From Athletes

By 26 November, 2014 Blog, Sport and Fitness

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 The business world just keeps getting more complex. Indeed, a recent study by IBM of 1,500 global chief executives (Capitalizing on Complexity) indicated that they felt the greatest issue facing them was the escalation of complexity.

Complexity and turbulence in the business environment may be here to stay, but they present opportunities as well as challenges for leaders. As a business school dean, I run a more than $80 million business in an increasingly competitive marketplace. With over 33,000 stakeholders, I know the pressure isn’t going away, and so do other leaders in my organization. More likely, it will intensify. Still, I say, “Bring it on!”

Let me explain.

My son plays soccer in a competitive league. He practices three days a week and trains in specific skills with his coach. Also, he and I train together. Not only do we run sprints and engage in long bike rides to build speed, endurance and strength, we also work on the mental game associated with playing competitive sports.

Research and common sense tell us that top competitive athletes succeed because of their physical talents and their dedication to training. However, they also succeed because of their dexterity in dealing with the psychological pressures of a sport. In short, mental toughness and resilience are tremendously important for any athlete aiming to be the best in a sport.

As a result, many athletes engage in training their psychological readiness. At the root of mental training in sports is this question: Are you mentally tough enough to compete?

It is not simply a matter of my son’s knowledge, ability and skill in soccer. It is also his psychological preparedness for the game, including skill in dealing with the stress of strong competition, recovering from mistakes and failure quickly, determining strategies to tackle tough situations, adjusting with each circumstance and game, collaborating with a team, celebrating successes but not becoming overconfident and keeping positive before, during and after the game.

Using research and literature from sports psychology, such as James Loehr’sThe New Toughness Training for Sports, my son and I actively work each week on his mental game. When we do so, I recognize dramatic similarities to conversations that I have with business executives.

Many have shared with me that their companies have taken a brutal pounding for the last two years, and even those who have had some success are citing fatigue in this new complex game of business. But, just as with athletes, they don’t rely only on knowledge, skills, ability or past success to traverse difficult situations. They draw on an attitude, a toughness that allows them to push through hard situations and face adversity with confidence. As businesses look to the future, their top people need to think about whether they have game-ready leaders who not only have technical skills in business but mental toughness as well.


There are at least six markers of mental toughness from sports psychology that apply equally well to business situations. As with athletes, business leaders need to ask, am I mentally tough enough to compete?

1. Flexibility. Game-ready leaders have the ability to absorb the unexpected and remain supple and non-defensive. They maintain humor even when the situation becomes tough. If something isn’t going well or doesn’t turn out as expected, they remain flexible in their approach and look for new ways to solve the problem. Just like a quarterback faced with a broken play, a leader may have to decide quickly on a different way to get the ball down the field.

Also, leaders must continually be open to re-educating themselves, even in the basics, which they may have taken for granted for too long. They need to exercise caution in defensively falling back on ideas they know and are comfortable with rather than looking for new ways of doing business.

2. Responsiveness. Game-ready leaders are able to remain engaged, alive and connected with a situation when under pressure. They are constantly identifying the opportunities, challenges, and threats in the environment. They understand that they need to think differently about how their environment and business operate.

The problems we encounter now are messier and more complicated than ever before. They often can’t be solved in the ways others were. Game-ready leaders look for new ways to think about these problems and, more important, look for fresh ways out of these problems. They have a sense of urgency about responding to the changing face of business.

Just as a coach may change strategies at halftime in response to the way a game is going based on the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, game-ready leaders in business must respond to changes in the environment and the players.

We must pay close attention to and understand global, national, regional and local economic trends, market trends, consumer trends, industry trends and competitor responses. Relying on old assumptions about how business operates and assuming that last year’s trends still hold today is dangerous. Leaders make decisions and act based on up-to-the-minute and in-depth knowledge of what is really going on in business now.

3. Strength. Game-ready leaders are able to exert and resist great force when under pressure and to keep going against insurmountable odds. They find the strength to dig deep and garner the resolve to keep going, even when in a seemingly losing game. They focus on giving their best and fighting hard until the end, with persistent intensity throughout the game.

The story of Team Hoyt, Dick and Rick, is an inspirational example of drawing on both inner and physical strength. Rick was born in 1962 to Dick and Judy Hoyt and was diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. His parents were advised to institutionalize him because”there was no chance of him recovering, and little hope for Rick to live a ‘normal’ life. This was just the beginning of Dick and Judy’s quest for Rick’s inclusion in community, sports, education, and one day, the workplace. In the spring of 1977, Rick told his father that he wanted to participate in a 5-mile benefit run for a lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident. Far from being a long-distance runner, Dick agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair, and they finished all 5 miles, coming in next to last. That night, Rick told his father, ‘Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.’ At that moment, they formed Team Hoyt and have run many races together with now impressive times. The 2009 Boston Marathon was officially Team Hoyt’s 1,000th race.” (Adapted from the Team Hoyt website.)


Just as athletes dig deep to find the physical and psychological strength to continue through adverse and tough situations, game-ready business leaders must exhibit the same strength. As James Loehr puts it, top athletes think, “While this is tough, I am a whole lot tougher.” Game-ready business leaders bring the same intensity, through all the continual pounding.

4. Courage and ethics. Game-ready leaders do the right thing for the organization and the team. They suppress the temptation to cut corners or to undermine others so they come out on top. They have the courage to make the hard but right decisions for the organization.

A famous story I share with my son as an example of courage and ethics in sports is that of the tennis player Andy Roddick. In 2008 Roddick was the No. 1 seed at the Rome Masters. He was at match point and about to win. The umpire called his opponent for a double-fault serve. Walking to shake his opponent’s hand, Roddick noticed a ball mark on the clay–in bounds. Roddick got the umpire’s attention and pointed out that the ball had nicked the line but was in fact in bounds. The match continued. Roddick went on to lose the match, and his beyond-the-call-of-duty honesty made him famous as an upstanding person, an opponent who would do the right thing. Game-ready leaders in business do the same. PepsiCo provides a great business example of this. A disgruntled Coca-Cola employee and two other individuals attempted to sell proprietary information to Pepsi. Pepsi received a package containing a sample of a new Coke product and other information. Pepsi immediately informed Coke, which contacted the FBI. Game-ready business leaders ultimately win by making the right and courageous decisions.

5. Resiliency. Game-ready leaders rebound from disappointments, mistakes and missed opportunities and get right back in the game. They have a hardiness for enduring the downs of a situation. They remain optimistic in the face of adversity and quickly change when necessary.They resolve to make things better and are experts at figuring out ways to do more with fewer resources. How about the resiliency of Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga, who was just one out away from pitching a perfect game when Jim Joyce, the first-base umpire, called a runner safe who was indeed out? Joyce had made an error. Galarraga was certainly deeply disappointed, but he continued to pitch and get the next batter out. Afterward, Joyce admitted the error and apologized. Galarraga shrugged it off, saying, “Everyone makes mistakes.”

6. Sportsmanship. Game-ready leaders exhibit sportsmanship. They don’t let the opponent know when he or she has gotten them down. “Chin up,” I say to my son. Clearly we all experience disappointment, attacks from others, an occasional blow to the stomach. However, the behavior exhibited by game-ready leaders after losing or being attacked by others or the situation sets the tone for the rest of an organization. Additionally, top athletes support their teammates and their roles. If teammates start competing with and attacking one another, it is definitely difficult to win.

Living in Denver, I follow the Denver Broncos. Kyle Orton has done an outstanding job of displaying sportsmanship while under public scrutiny. Brought to the Broncos last year, he has been the subject of constant press speculation about possibly being replaced. The drafting of Tim Tebow brought on another press outcry, that Kyle was out and Tim was in. Kyle handled it with grace and dignity. Putting his mind to the game and the team, he got on the field and simply practiced hard, welcoming his new teammate. In the face of even internal competition, Kyle Orton exhibits the mentality of “Bring it on!”

We all need these same markers of toughness to succeed and lead in today’s business environment. We cannot succeed on technical skill alone. Companies have tough questions and situations to address. Game-ready leaders go into today’s business environment with their best mental game and with the attitude of “Bring it on!” After all, who doesn’t love the challenge and fun of a demanding, complex game?

Christine M. Riordan is the dean and a professor of management at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver.

Movie Night: Renzo Gracie Legacy

By 24 November, 2014 Sport and Fitness, Uncategorized

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Renzo Gracie Legacy 

When it comes to sports, it doesn’t get much tougher than being an MMA fighter.  The Gracie family and their practice of Brazilian Ju-Jitsu has been a long time inspiration of mine.  This video was given to me a few years back by my ex coach Jed Dupree.  Showing me first hand what true passion for your sport looks like.  It is a must watch for all those looking for an inspirational story.  Renzo is one of the most passionate sportsman I have ever seen, he oozes love, and intensity for his art turning Brazilian Ju-Jitsu from the unknow fighting technique of few into a globally known style of fighting that revolutionized combat sports forever.

Editorial Review: Renzo is the third generation of Jiu Jitsu fighters from the famous Brazilian Gracie family, tracing their art back to the last great samurai school in Japan. Renzo and the Gracie name are inextricably linked to the global phenomenon of mixed martial art fighting, currently the fastest growing sport in the world. The film follows him over a 10 year period from the days when Renzo fought bare knuckle in a cage with little or no rules. After the fights are banned from US television he follows the fight scene to Japan where his skill, honour and refusal to give up, even when suffering brutal injuries, make him a huge star. While others fight for fame and glory, Renzo is driven by a will to honour the family legacy. Although he continues to test himself in competition against the best on the planet, his passion for his art is equalled by a need to pass on his skills and experience. As another generation rise under his tuition, Renzo fights on into his late 30s, when injuries and a downturn in his fight record signal an end to his career. He returns to his roots and mentor in Brazil to consider his future and reaches the only decision he can live with. Returning to the US, his comeback catches a new wave of national interest. After being profiled on 60 minutes, the fight attracts 17 million American viewers and becomes the highest viewed in mixed martial art history.

The Grind

By 24 November, 2014 Blog, Fencing, Fitness, Sport and Fitness

Cobra Camp Final Poster

Until very recently the European countries dominated the International World Cup Fencing Circuit in all three weapons.

Now, fencers from the USA have strongly placed themselves on the map and are continuing to grow stronger and more prominent on the international stage.

Team USA Fencing now has the diversity in coaching, and athletes to become the greatest fencing nation in the world.  We just need to add in one small ingredient to the puzzle.

Community.

The European countries make it a priority for their strongest fencers to come together and fence with each other.  While we may not have that luxury in our country as a whole – we certainly do here in the Tri-State area.

My Olympic Teammate, Daryl Homer, and I have developed the idea to hold a camp

once a month that would bring together the best fencers in the New York area and allow them to spend a day as a group training, competing, and pushing each other.

The Russian, French, Chinese, and Japanese all train together at their own

national training centers.  The Italians have monthly camps that bring their National Team fencers together in order to allow them to fence each other.  It is time that the USA has something similar.

We call this new training camp:  THE GRIND

THE GRIND will be a two-session one day camp.

THE GRIND Session 1 will be for athletes ages 8-12. This session will give young, developing fencers the opportunity to spend some personal time with Daryl and myself – giving them a sneak peak into the lives of two Olympians currently in training and competing for another games.

THE GRIND Session 2 will be for athletes ages 13 and up.  We will be inviting the top 10 nationally ranked fencers from the Tri-State area to come train together for free.  The idea is to bring these top competitors together and allow some of the top Cadets, Juniors, and Seniors to learn, compete, and grow – while Daryl and I give offer guidance and insight on our training, competitive strategies, and understanding the sport at its highest level.

Spots for THE GRIND will be open for sign up. These spots will be for anyone who is truly interested in being a part of the highest caliber fencing training the New York area has to offer.

The beginning of the camp will be following Daryl and my personal warm up and stretching routine, followed by physical training that has been passed to us through the USOC and other top of the line Professional Sports Trainers.

The warm up and strengthening segments will be followed by drills and competitive bouting.

We are very excited to have the opportunity to not only share our knowledge with

other fencers, but also to grow with them.

You can sign up at askfred.com

If you have the desire to be the best you can be – Join THE GRIND.

Powerful Legs: 3 Exercise That Will Make Your Legs Pop

By 21 November, 2014 Fencing, Fitness, Lifestyle, Sport and Fitness

Tim-Morehouse

I have been asked now countless times what people can do for powerful legs. When it comes to fencing you need your legs popping off on all cylinders to make sure your attacks are quick, and your defense is solid.  I have seen a lot of people immediately resort to heavy lifting with simple straight up and down squats, thinking if they can lift a ton of weight they will be able to move faster lung harder. While you will need to build strength in your legs, power comes from a combination of Hips, Legs, and Core all firing at the same time to create the largest force you possibly can.  So here are some exercises that will train your BODY for explosion not just your legs.

A side note: When it comes to lifting you have to remember you are a fighter, and not a body builder.  Being able to pick up 300 pounds will do nothing for you.  Take your time learning the proper form on all these exercises, with little to no weight.  Then consult a professional to help you figure out the proper amount of weight you should be increasing your load to.

Explosive Leg Exercises

Box Jump

  • Stand facing either a 24- or 36-inch box.
  • Dip your knees and explode up onto the box, landing with both feet together and your knees soft.
  • Lock out your hips on top to stick the landing.
  • Use the momentum of your arms to propel you upward.
  • For an added challenge, do a Depth Jump: start on one box and drop to the ground before exploding back up to the next box. Remember to land soft.
  • Sets/Reps: 3×6 with 2 minutes between sets.

Power Clean

The Clean part of the Olympic lift Clean and Jerk is the most explosive movement you can do in the weight room.

  • Stand over a bar with your shins resting against it. Your feet should be pretty narrow, inside your hips, but point your knees out.
  • Grip the bar outside of your legs and tighten your back. Visualize squeezing your lats and pulling the bar into your body.
  • Take a deep breath in and take the slack out of the bar.
  • Slowly raise your hips and shoulders at the same rate until the bar is just above your knees in the power position. At this point, violently extend your hips, knees, and ankles, while shrugging your shoulders upward.
  • The bar should feel weightless for a split second while you drop underneath it and catch it in the front rack position. The bar should be resting on your anterior deltoids, and your elbows should be up.
  • Extend your hips and knees before bringing the bar back to the ground.
  • Sets/Reps: 3×6 with 2 minutes between sets.

Jumping Lunges

Most sports require unilateral explosiveness. Most athletic movements are single-leg in nature. Therefore, you should perform single-leg exercises as much as possible.

  • Start in a standard lunge position. Your chest should be upright and in line with your toes. Your back leg should be almost fully extended with your knee just off of the ground.
  • Start with a small counter movement and explosively jump up and switch your legs in the air.
  • Land with soft knees by catching yourself before your back knee hits the ground. Use your arms to help propel yourself up.
  • Sets/Reps: 3×6 with 2 minutes between sets.

These workouts explanations come from Stack.com by Joe Lopez

And He’s Off: Race Imboden Starts Fencing Season On High Note

By 20 November, 2014 Sport and Fitness

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SAN FRANCISCO — Race Imboden could taste it.

He’d racked up three tough wins to kick off the fencing world cup season Saturday afternoon at San Francisco’s historic Kezar Pavilion, and was battling Frenchman Jeremy Cadot to the very end — then it was over.

“One touch away from a medal,” Imboden said. “It wasn’t the greatest day.”

Disappointment, sure. But it wasn’t the worst day either. Imboden was the highest-finishing American at the San Francisco Men’s Foil World Cup, placing sixth after scraping by France’s Jean-Paul Tony Helissey 15-14 in the table of 64, rolling 15-8 over Japan’s Kenta Chida in the table of 32 and advancing to the quarterfinals with a 15-12 win over France’s Julien Mertine.

Plus his parents, William and Fiona, were there to see him fence internationally for only the third time (the first being at the London 2012 Olympic Games). And he was to fence with his buddies on the 2012 Olympic Team in Sunday’s team competition.

And the man he lost 15-14 to, Cadot, ended up winning the tournament. Not so bad, right?

“It’s a start,” said Imboden, who is ranked No. 2 in the United States and No. 10 in the world. “We have some things to correct. I fence with a lot of French guys, and we’ll have to take a look at that. But I think the fact that I’m upping my training is paying off, and I’m raring to go for the next competition.”

Imboden, who at the London Games placed ninth as an individual and was a part of a fourth-place team as well, is using his mid-quadrennium year to find harmony between his rugged training regimen — he is working with a personal trainer doing “explosive work” (legs and upper body work for added power), enthusiasm for yoga and the mental aspects of fencing strategy.

“I’m a big fan of yoga,” Imboden said. “I think it’s important for any sports that you balance physically as well as mentally.”

Imboden’s coach, 2004 Olympian Dan Kellner, marvels at how the kid he first saw as a 10-year-old at Manhattan’s legendary Fencers Club has blossomed.

“He’s an extremely hard worker,” said Kellner, who runs the Brooklyn Bridge Fencing Club near Imboden’s house in Brooklyn, New York. “He does extra workouts after practice. He is really diligent about keeping to his schedule, and his work ethic is like none I’ve ever seen. He has the potential to medal at the (2016) Olympics.”

Imboden, who calls himself “a fencing geek,” has found a unique way of financing his fencing habit. Every fencer has a day job of some sort. Imboden, in fact, is an international model, using his slender, 6-foot-1, 155-pound frame to his advantage on the runways in New York and Paris. He has worked with Louis Vuitton, J.Crew and Marc Jacobs, among others.

“It’s fun, I can’t complain about it,” Imboden said, smiling. “It keeps me funded, and it’s fun to do.”

The San Francisco World Cup, where nearly 200 of the best foil fencers from 35 countries competed, is the first of a long season that stretches into June. Because of that, Imboden is keeping his mind focused on the season and says he’s not thinking of Rio.

“My goals are always to just improve. As long as I’m improving, I’m happy with that,” he said.

But Kellner says that despite his pupil’s modesty, there’s an inner fire burning.

“Look, he’s been in the top 15 in the world for the last three years,” the coach said. “That’s hard to do.”

Kellner points to the story of how he got to be Imboden’s coach as a way of illustrating that fire. Imboden’s coach at the time, noted fencer Jed Dupree, had decided to quit coaching to pursue other interests.

“Race called me up and asked me to go get coffee, and asked me if I was interested in coaching him,” Kellner said. “So we sat and talked about his philosophy of fencing, my philosophy of fencing, where we met in the middle, where we differed a little bit. Luckily, it’s worked out well.”

Imboden said, “I grew up watching fencing. I would definitely call myself a fencing geek. I grew up watching most of the guys I’m competing with now.”

G. Allen Johnson is a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Johnson is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

Article from TeamUSA.Org

Daily Ingredient Challenge

By 19 August, 2014 Blog, Fitness, Food

I have not posted for a few days now so I thought I would give you some assurance that I have not given up.  I have just began to practice again and was swept up with seeing my parents after their vacation, as well as celebrating my fathers birthday.

I can assure you that we have been cooking quite a bit, and will be posting plenty to come.  Although I have to admit I have fallen 2 days behind so I will have a little catching up to do.

Let the challenge Continue.