FENCING IN THE SCHOOLS
WOMEN’S FOIL TEAM SILVER MEDALISTS, 2008 BEIJING OLYMPIC GAMES
WE HAVE BEEN PRODUCING GENERATIONS OF OLYMPIANS AND WORLD AND NATIONAL CHAMPIONS FOR OVER 125 YEARS
MEN’S SABRE TEAM SILVER MEDALISTS, 2008 BEIJING OLYMPIC GAMES
Keeth Smart Fencers Club/PWF
James Williams Fencers Club 2004-2007
Tim Morehouse Fencers Club 2000-2007
The Fencers Club is the oldest and largest fencing club in the United States. Comprised of a diverse group of people united by a common passion for fencing, the Fencers Club’s main goal is to foster and support the pursuit of excellence in fencing, academics and community service. With the generous support of, and volunteer efforts by, our dedicated members, we provide a variety of services to our members while sharing our resources with the community at large. The Fencers Club Mission and Goals:
Provide the highest level of instruction and state of the art facilities for the sport of modern fencing. Promote the social and athletic interaction of our members through the sport of fencing.
Preserve the history and tradition of fencing in the United States.
Broaden the base of support for fencing in the United States, and especially New York City, by actively developing and offering fencing-‐related community outreach, scholarship, and educational programs.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
CHAIRMAN Rex Chung PRESIDENT Julio Mazzoli VICE PRESIDENT Erinn Smart SECRETARY Michael Nissan TREASURER Eric Pho Anne Mathews
Inspire and assist our scholar-‐athletes to achieve at the highest levels in fencing and academics.
Promote a culture of sharing and community outreach through fencing and academic activities.
Produce fencers of Olympic caliber through the active sponsorship of world-‐ class training programs, competitions, and teams.
Simon Gershon (coach rep.) Alan Getz
Jean-‐Marc Oppenheim Paul Oratofsky
Kathleen Reckling Peter Westbrook Julia Whitehead
Fencing in the Schools
The Fencers Club's Fencing in the Schools program embodies all aspects of the Fencers Club’s mission and goals. It is a comprehensive program that teaches fencing to students in their own schools while imparting the character building values, discipline and strategic thinking that are integral to the sport. By working closely with students in a sport that is physically, intellectually and
emotionally challenging, our highly trained and motivated scholar-‐athlete coaches will encourage the students to work through difficulties to achieve their goals and develop perseverance that can enhance the students’ ability to perform in non-‐fencing pursuits.
TEACH CONNECT INSPIRE MOTIVATE MENTOR
PHOTO BY PAUL ORATOFSKY
Our vision is to offer fencing, with all its easily transferable skills for learning and discipline, to a wide range of students across racial, socio-‐economic and cultural divides. We are committed to building strong partnerships with schools that share our vision and to implementing sustainable fencing and mentoring programs in schools with limited resources.
Every child deserves a high-‐quality, broad-‐based education, which should encompass a thorough grounding in academic subjects, an introduction to the arts, the fostering of personal growth and rigorous and interesting physical education. Through Fencing in the Schools, we seek to partner with schools to facilitate students’ physical, intellectual and emotional growth, especially during highly formative years.
Fencing in the Schools
Fencing in the Schools is a comprehensive fencing curriculum that partners with schools to implement on-‐site coaching/mentoring sessions to facilitate students’ physical, intellectual and emotional growth, especially during highly formative years.
The Children’s Storefront School
Lower Manhattan Community School
Grace Church School
For The US Army Fort Hamilton Youth Services
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We have been coaching fencing as part of the gym curriculum and as an afterschool program for over 10 years. OUR CURRENT IN-‐SCHOOL PROGRAMS
The Children’s Storefront School 70 East 129th Street, NYC Integrated into the 3rd and 4th grade P.E. curriculum Mott Hall II, 235 West 109th Street, NYC Integrated into the middle school P.E. curriculum Bronx Expeditionary Learning HS 240 East 172nd St, Bronx, NY 10457
Lower Manhattan Community Middle School 26 Broadway, New York, NY 10004 Brooklyn Expeditionary Learning HS Integrated into the high school P.E. curriculum Fort Hamilton Child & Youth Services USAG Fort Hamilton, NY 11252 Part of Fort Hamilton Youth Services
The Caedmon School, NYC
Kew-‐Forest School, NYC
Scarsdale After School Clubs, Scarsdale, NY
Geneva School, NYC
Grace Church School, NYC
Village Community School, NYC
New Partner Schools for 2011-‐2012 (as of 6/2/2011) The Speyer Legacy, 15 West 86th Street, NYC
George Jackson Academy, 104 Saint Mark's Place, NYC 4
THE BENEFITS OF PHYSICAL FITNESS Physical fitness is not only strongly linked to good health but, as many studies demonstrate, can also be a significant element in achieving academic success and emotional well-‐being.
The Benefits of Physical Activity, CDC, published February 16, 2011
“Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health.”
Is There a Relationship Between Physical Fitness and Academic Achievement? Journal of School Health, January 2009 “Results show statistically significant relationships between fitness and academic achievement.”
a Photos by Serge Timacheff Photos by Serge Timacheff Photos by Serge TimacheffPhotos
“Results show statistically significant relationships between fitness and academic achievement.”
Improving physical fitness and emotional well-‐being in adolescents of low socioeconomic status, Oxford Journals, Health Promotion International, Volume 20, Issue 2 “Among adolescents, physical activity is associated with benefits in the prevention and control of emotional distress, and improvement of self-‐esteem.”
Statement of Dorothy G. Richardson, M.D. President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
“Physical activity and sports involvement are important developmental opportunities for both boys and girls. Contributions include increased strength and power, better cardiovascular functioning, enhanced immune system responses, opportunities to develop moral reasoning, positive self-‐concepts and social interaction skills.” 5
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FENCING IN THE SCHOOLS Q&A
A. Why Fencing? Almost uniquely, and in contrast to many other physical fitness activities, fencing marries its
physical elements with the stimulation of emotional and intellectual development that can generate
positive benefits in other areas of a student’s life.
Ø Fencing promotes discipline: •
Successful fencers learn to control their emotions as they formulate and reformulate their strategies over the course of a bout.
Fencing is grounded in a long tradition of discipline and respect for oneself, one’s
opponent and the rules of engagement. Elements of these traditions are highly visible in
the conduct of the sport.
Fencing encourages resilience. Even the best fencers lose many bouts; learning from ones’ losses and retooling for the next round is essential.
Ø Fencing is a highly inclusive sport; students and athletes of all body types and personalities can succeed at fencing, and anyone can reach the proficiency level necessary to enjoy the
Ø Fencing is safe, inexpensive to implement in schools, and can be practiced in a limited amount of space. It does not require special or permanent structures. 6
Fencing fosters complex problem solving skills and requires students to use their powers of observation, deduction and reasoning to understand and accurately execute actions during
Fencing encourages mental agility and fast thinking as fencers must constantly analyze the
complexities of the bout in the context of their own physical and psychological capabilities
and the opponent’s strengths. This analysis must occur over the course of seconds.
As a physically demanding sport, fencing provides substantial cardiovascular benefits and
the associated training emphasizes the development of flexibility, agility and coordination of
footwork and eye-‐hand movements.
Fencing is an exciting sport that is often appealing to kids who don’t normally like physical
pursuits; it can also be immensely empowering to shyer or smaller kids who normally don’t stand out in physical activity but who can often find ways to succeed at fencing against
bigger and stronger opponents.
B. Who will serve as coaches for
D. What is the cost of implementing
Fencing in the Schools?
Fencing in the Schools and who will
All of our School Coaches are highly
pay for it?
selected for their passion for fencing and their
with its partner schools in Fencing in the
accomplished scholar-‐athletes. They are
The Fencers Club is committed to working
commitment to teaching, being role models and
Schools to meet the needs of the students and
mentoring students. Fencers Club’s own world-‐
the school’s budget.
renowned coaches will instruct the School
For more information, please contact:
Coaches. They will work with a carefully
Liz Cross, Executive Director
planned curriculum designed by Fencers Club.
Fencers Club will work with the schools, donors and sponsors to implement a sustainable program.
The School Coaches will meet regularly to
discuss their students’ progress and any issues that may be useful in teaching and mentoring.
The School Coaches will be evaluated for their
E. Can P.E. instructors and other teachers
commitment, performance and effectiveness.
participate in the program?
P.E. instructors and teachers affiliated with
partner schools and interested in learning more
about fencing are invited to join group classes at the Fencers Club. For those instructors who would like to reach a significant proficiency
level, Fencers Club will be designing a coaching clinic that would be flexible and suitable for teachers with limited time and funds.
C. Can we meet other students in the program and represent our schools?
Fencers in the program’s partner schools will
have the opportunity to fence for their
schools at the Fencers Club. Two annual
competitions, one in December and one in
June, will provide students with a chance to
measure their fencing progress and meet other students in the program. Families,
school administrators and friends will be invited to each event.
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F. HOOKED ON FENCING? WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Fence in the summer: Fencers Club hosts an annual summer camp, combining academics and fencing and run according to the same principles embodied in its Fencing in the Schools program. Substantial financial aid is available for those students with demonstrated need.
Become a member of the Fencers Club: Fencers Club helps new students choose a coach and program that is appropriate to the student’s stage of development, personality and fencing goals. The student will continue to work with his/her School Coach as a mentor at the club.
Apply for the Fencers Club Scholars program: Those students who have demonstrated a passion and aptitude for fencing, but may not be able to afford the membership fees, may apply for the Fencers Club Scholars program. The Fencers Club Scholarship Committee will evaluate the application and the award is based on the student’s commitment to fencing, academic achievements and financial need.
Photo by Serge TimacheďŹ€
FENCERS CLUB est. 1883
Fencing in the Schools Coaches
Benjamin Bratton is currently one of the most successful epee fencers from the United States. Originally from Queens, New York, Ben graduated from the Dwight School in New York City and from St. John’s University. Ben, a three-‐time NCAA All-‐ American and three-‐time national champion, is one of the nation’s top epee prospects for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. He coached at the Caedmon School, and coaches for the Peter Westbrook Foundation and Riverdale Country Day School. Ben is training full time, coaching and mentoring.
Emily Cross is one of the most successful women’s foil fencers from the United States. Emily competed at her first national tournament at the age of 11, and at the age of 13 won a team bronze medal at the 2000 World Championships. She went on to win three world championships and a team silver medal in women’s foil at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Emily fenced at Harvard University, where she became the first Harvard female to win the NCAA championship and was awarded Harvard Crimson Female Rookie of the Year. She was named the Scholar-‐Athlete of her graduating class. Currently Emily is teaching, fencing, volunteering and applying to medical schools.
Luther Clement started to fence when he was five years old and is one of the best men’s sabre fencers in the United States. Luther has been on the US National Team several times throughout his fencing career. He won a bronze medal at the Junior World Championships, earned All-‐American honors, and was named East Coast Athletic Scholar of the Year. He began his coaching career as assistant coach to the head fencing coach of the University of Pennsylvania. Currently he is training to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games and coaching.
Jean Goto, a native New Yorker, began fencing at the Peter Westbrook Foundation when she was ten years old. Since then she has trained with some of the best coaches in the world. Jean has been a successful competitive fencer for many years. As a member of the NYU fencing team, Jean was the winner of the Temple Open and was selected to represent NYU at the NCAA fencing championships and was named All-‐American. She has coached with fencing programs at Gate Hill Day Camp, the Dwight School, Greenwich Academy, Leadership High School and throughout Greenwich, CT and the Cayman Islands. Jean is devoted to working with kids to develop their talent and passion for fencing.
FENCERS CLUB est. 1883
Hailing from Maplewood, N.J., Ibthihaj is a member of the U.S. World Championship Team and 2012 Olympic hopeful. Muhammad is currently ranked 2nd in the United States and 11th in the world. Her fencing career highlights include two US National Championships, team gold medal from the 2010 Pan American Championship, and a top 8 finish at the 2010 New York World Cup. In addition to training for the 2012 London Olympic Games, Kim, Justin Justin Kim is an accomplished Muhammad is a private tutor and head fencing national fencer from Singapore. coach for Columbia High School, reigning New Jersey State Champions. Ibthihaj is a graduate His career highlights include reaching the finals at the 2010 of Duke University. Singapore Nationals Open 2010. His passion for coaching Ramirez, Yeisser originates from his experience Ramirez is a as a coach at the Singapore Academy of Fencing where he competitive and worked extensively with young children. Justin is a internationally experienced fencer sophomore at NYU. from Guantanamo, Cuba. He was a McTigue, Michael nationally ranked Michael McTigue is a member of the Cuban decorated Veteran fencing fencing team from champion whose career 2005 to 2007. Upon highlights include a gold and arriving in the United silver medal at the 2010 NJ States in 2008, he has Senior Olympics, as well as a been a member of the gold medal at the 2010 NJ United State Fencing Cup Championship in association and is Veteran Men’s Epee. He was currently a nationally an assistant fencing coach at Michigan State. competitive fencer. Michael also managed the fencing program for Ramirez recently the Montclair State Gifted and Talented Fencing received a green card Camp. He is a holder of Moniteur d’Arms in all based on his fencing disciplines from the United States international recognition for his extraordinary Fencing Coaches Association and he is currently abilities. He has been a coach/mentor for the the head coach of Montclair High School. Michael Peter Westbrook Foundation and the Fencers was named by Star Ledger as “2011 Coach of the Club. Year”. Aziza started fencing when she was eleven years old in New York City. She was a member of the 2000 Temple University Women’s Fencing team. Aziza graduated in 2004 with All-‐American honors. She was the assistant coach at Stevens Institute of Technology and helped bring the team to a second-‐place finish at the Eastern Women’s Fencing Conference Dual Meet Championship. Aziza has extensive coaching experience working with college fencers and middle school students.
FENCERS CLUB est. 1883
Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, Adam is a graduate of St. John’s University. Adam fenced all four years during his tenure and was named All American in 2006. Adam placed third at the 2010 National Championships and won a team gold medal at the 2009 National Championships. In addition, Adam has had a number of international successes, including his silver medal team finish at the 2010 World Cup in Tallin, Estonia. He has been a coach and a mentor at a variety of fencing programs in New York City area.
Nicole Ross started to fence at the age of nine and has been competing for the last thirteen years. Under the guidance of Fencers Club coaches Simon and Irene Gershon, Nicole was a member of the 2009 Junior World Championship gold medal team, placed second at the 2010 national championships and won the 2010 NCAA championship. She was the two-‐time captain of the Columbia University fencing team and has been a member of four national teams including the 2010 US National Fencing Team. Nicole has worked with young fencers, often assisting her coaches with their beginner classes as well as after school programs. She is currently training for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Dwight Smith has been fencing since he was 9 years old and is considered one the nation’s top men’s epee fencers. He graduated from Columbia University. While at Columbia, he was a three-‐time All-‐ American and three-‐ time All-‐Ivy League honoree. As a member of the Peter Westbrook Foundation team that won the gold medal at the 2010 National Fencing Championships. Dwight has extensive coaching and mentoring experience. He has taught at The Dwight School, The Village Community School, Lower Manhattan School, The Peter Westbrook Foundation and The Children’s Storefront School. In addition to coaching and training, Dwight works as a high school placement coordinator and mentor at the Children’s Storefront.
Donovan Holtz began his fencing career with the Peter Westbrook Foundation at the age of 10. He very quickly developed into an internationally competitive fencer. At age 18, he began volunteering his time to the Westbrook Foundation by running the epee class with his peers in the program. Donovan studied engineering at Rutgers University then later at New Jersey Institute of Technology where he earned his degree in Mechanical Engineering. While still a student, Donovan was hired to coach the NJIT fencing team for four seasons. Currently Donovan works at the Fencers Club as the Programs Manager, coordinating all Fencers Club programs including the Fencing in the Schools program.
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Fencers Club Coaches
Elterman, Edward – Foil
Born and educated in Belarus; has been a coach at the Fencers Club since 1991; also coaches at New York University and has developed many NCAA All-‐Americans.
Gershon, Irene – Foil
Former Regional and Collegiate Coach in the Ukraine and assistant coach at St. Johns University; received fencing degree with high honors from the Kiev Institute of Physical Education; supervises several youth fencing developmental groups and has developed many top internationally competitive American men and women foilists.
best fencers in the world.
Petin, Mikhail-‐ Foil
the National Masters Fencing Academy of France, in foil, epee and saber; has developed some of the !"#"$%"&'(#)*+*#
Spencer-‐El, Akhi-‐ Sabre
Gershon, Simon-‐ Foil
Served as 2008 Beijing Olympic coach; earned his Masters degree in P.E. and fencing at the Institute of Physical Education, Lvov, Ukraine; since arriving in the U.S., has developed students beginning at all skill levels; students have won a Silver Medal in Olympic Games (Beijing, 2008), four Gold and four Bronze Medals at the Junior and Cadet World Championships, and numerous international, national and NCAA titles.
Considered to be one of the best Former coach of both the # sabre fencers in the U.S. from 1995 Ukrainian Men's and Women's %,-./01#2341536# !-,7./689#:;<3/=89>0## to 2004, winning numerous !C,-?D408#B83D=## ",(8.?6@,A88#B88# Foil Squads and the Soviet Union ',';#'9E8/536# !!,F/868#G8/1=.6# national and international Women's Foil Team; coach of the G,H0D4=309#I8E06# !&,J0E30#7K0/## F, ,%4=0#(L86D8/,'9# championship titles; earned his 1986 Gold Medal World # M# coaching degree from Hungary in Championship team; holds a 2009 and joined the Fencers Club Masters degree in fencing from as a coach; has developed some of the best sabre the Kiev Institute of Physical Education; served as fencers in the country with one current student US Men's Foil Coach at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic ranked 11th in the world and 2nd in the U.S. Games; has developed and currently coaches some of the country’s top men and women foilists. Udvahelyi, Kornel-‐ Epee G#
Graduated with high honors from the Masters program at the Hungarian Institute of Physical Education; as Hungarian National Junior Epee Coach, his top student won the Cadet World Championship, Junior World Cup Championship, and a Silver Medal at the Junior World Championships; his American students have enjoyed similar success at Cadet and Junior World Championships, as well as U.S. National Championships and NCAAs; in addition to coaching at Fencers Club, serves as epee coach at New York University.
Kfir, Nitai -‐ Foil
Born and raised in Israel, was a member of the Israeli National Team six consecutive times; two-‐ time Israeli National Champion; NCAA First Team All American with Honors; has been coaching foil since 2002 and joined the Fencers Club in 2005.
Leach, Buckie-‐ Foil
Considered to be the most successful Foil coach in US Fencing history with his students responsible for more international medals in Women's Foil than any US coach or club combined; served as US Olympic Coach in 1996, 2000 and 2004; has placed five athletes on US Olympic teams and two on Canadian Olympic Teams.
Vaksman, Boris-‐ Epee
Formerly, one of the Soviet Union’s most successful fencers; began his coaching career in the Ukraine as a Pentathlon coach with two of his top students qualifying for the Ukrainian National Pentathlon team; has been coaching in the US since 1989; has been a coach at Fencers Club since 2006 and also coaches at St. John's University.
Lee, Seoung-‐Woo-‐ Epee
Former Head Coach of the Korean National Senior Women's Foil Team and former foil and epee coach at the Paris University Club in Paris, France; has two Masters diplomas: one from the Korean National Masters Fencing Academy and one from
FENCERS CLUB GRADUATING CLASS OF 2010
AROUND THE CLUB
FENCERS CLUB est. 1883
FENCERS CLUB PROGRAMS AND SERVICES
Fencers Club is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting excellence in fencing, academics, and character. We actively support a culture of sharing by performing community services that extend beyond fencing.
Some programs that are in place: •
• • • • •
• • •
Annual College Symposium with Head Coaches from Columbia, Harvard, NYU, Princeton and University of Pennsylvania College and other school counseling and recommendations Competitive and need-‐based scholarships Weekly Summer Day Camp and Berkshires Training Camp Training opportunities abroad Fencing in the Schools: A comprehensive curriculum that partners with schools to implement on-‐ site fencing sessions to facilitate students’ physical, intellectual and emotional growth, especially during the highly formative late elementary and middle school years. Volunteer opportunities Fencers Club Pro Shop – all profits go to the Fencers Club Scholarship Funds Tutoring services
Our Community Outreach Fencing Programs: • • • • • • • •
The Children’s Storefront School Mott Hall II Lower Manhattan Community Middle School Fort Hamilton Child & Youth Services Brooklyn Expeditionary Learning School for Community Leaders, Public School Athletic League Training Program Summer Day Camp with 75% financial aid Groundwork Youth Services
ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM ON COLLEGE FENCING Peter Brand, Harvard University; Zoltan Dudas, Princeton University; Emmanuil Kaidanov, Penn State; George Kolombatovich, Columbia University; Steve Mormondo, New York University
The Action Center, Brooklyn Children’s Sports Center, The Children’s Storefront, City and Country, Go Project, Grace Church School, , Hunter College Elementary School, Geneva School Little Baby Face Foundation, Peter Westbrook Foundation and Trevor Day School.
In 2010, we gave more than $125,000 in monetary support and in-‐kind donations to various outreach programs and schools. 17
3. Expect best response
Adversaries are predictable. They never cooperate unless it’s to their advantage or they have no choice. If they see we have an answer, they play differently. We gamble, but not really. Nor do we look for trouble. We’re opportunists, ready to exploit what comes our way. Yet we never expect the opponents to play along. We can’t suppose they’re going to blunder, or fail to see the threat. Even a novice can make a good decision by accident. So we play the odds, expecting the best response, armed for combat against master or lucky beginner.
Adversaries are predictable. They never cooperate unless it’s to their advantage or they have no choice.
4. Beware of self-deception
A Few Thoughts on Learning and Competing By Bruce Pandolfini 1. Just Begin
Start where you are, with what you already know. Don’t look for the right place to begin. Don’t worry about learning the wrong way. Don’t think about finding the right book, teacher, or method. However you go, your opponents will light the path by beating you. We learn best by doing, which is a good way to learn anything. So in the beginning we’re urged to play before we know how. Not everyone can do it, but those who try are ahead of those who don’t. They know some of the obstacles, and that’s a step on the road to conquering them.
We learn best by doing, which is a good way to learn anything. 2. Make a commitment
Our game is demanding. It requires effort and dedication. If we let our minds wander, or play with ambivalence, or lack energy, we lose. We can’t show up and expect to get by. We’re playing people. They play for real. They don’t care about our troubles. They’d exploit any weakness without quarter. So the course is clear. In order to succeed we must fight to the end. That attitude doesn’t always win. But it commands respect, and on a long journey, we need it to point the way.
The player is always striving to know the truth, which can be many things and therefore misleading. For example, truth can be big or small. It can be objective or subjective. Objective truth is true for everyone or no one. Subjective truth works only for a particular player, opponent, observer, or commentator. But it works, as does factual truth, relative truth, practical truth, and truth for truth’s sake. With all that truth, it’s easy to fall back on our own truth, the most deceptive of all. Fortunately, the game can’t be won by a lie.
Start where you are, with what you already know. Don’t look for the right place to begin. Don’t worry about learning the wrong way. Don’t think about finding the right book, teacher, or method. However you go, your opponents will light the path by beating you. 5. Take control
Players clash for the initiative. If we don’t fight for it, our opponent might seize the reins and become us. Whoever wrests control has greater freedom and new choices, which fuels the attack. Feeding off that surge, the aggressor hopes to impose restraints and extract concessions, leading to more rewards and fresh options for the mounting onslaught. From options to control, the process is unstoppable, and each play builds on the one before it.
6. Appreciate small differences
Some games are played the same way over and over. That helps us learn how to win, doing the same things every chance we get. But even the same moves can be played differently. We can play them at different speeds or on different days. We can try them at different times against different opponents. Nor do we ever have to wear the same clothes or feel the same way. And there are many other elements that play a role, if we factor them in. It’s in those illusory differences that surprising creativity can be found.
It’s in those illusory differences that surprising creativity can be found. 7. Make something out of nothing
We start even and what follows is small change. We create tiny differences and turn them to our advantage. We convert the immaterial to the material and the intangible to the tangible. We make the temporary permanent and the fleeting lasting. We gather nuances and favorable transitions into an overall advantage. If we do it right our superiority becomes overpowering. We can’t be stopped and win the game by force. But victory can come so suddenly it’s easy to miss how we got there: by gradually making something out of nothing.
We create tiny differences and turn them to our advantage. We convert the immaterial to the material and the intangible to the tangible.
9. Avoid bad habits We keep our minds active, but don’t burden ourselves needlessly. So we assign some tasks to involuntary procedure. That way, certain things get done. Indeed, true ability is implied by the number of operations we can perform without having to think about them; the more, the better. Reactions are important in timed competition, when excessive thinking can hasten defeat. But we must always resist thinking too superficially. It could lead to bad habits, such as undue thinking, or not thinking at all. 10. Look for patterns
The game is fraught with everyday parallels. It’s not that its situations have direct bearing on daily living. They may or may not. But many of the methods and strategies used to solve problems of play, with creative input, may be applied to the real world. Beyond that, we can often use the solution of one quandary as a template for another, even in different universes. It’s surprising how far we can go on a good analogy.
Our game is demanding. It requires effort and dedication. If we let our minds wander, or play with ambivalence, or lack energy, we lose.
8. Think like they think
The bedrock of defense is mindset. Players are cautious, always wary of potential problems. So we look in the mirror, entering the defender from the mind of the attacker. We imagine being where the opponent is, conspiring against us. Suddenly, defense is attack, and attack defense. We become the other side, seeing the idea first to sap it of value. That neutralizes the opponent, who doesn’t know we have until it’s too late.
Reactions are important in timed competition, when excessive thinking can hasten defeat. But we must always resist thinking too superficially. It could lead to bad habits, such as undue thinking, or not thinking at all.
Bruce Pandolfini is one of the best-‐known chess teachers in the world. He is a co-‐ founder of Chess in the Schools, a program that has brought chess to thousands of NYC schoolchildren. Bruce has been teaching chess at the Fencers Club Summer Day Camp for three years. He has written this for our athletes and originally titled it, A Few Thoughts on Competition: Chess, Fencing and Otherwise.
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Fencing in the Schools Leadership
Liz Cross: Executive Director, Fencers Club; Director of High School Placement, The Children’s Storefront School
Michael Nissan: Member of Executive Committee and Board of Directors, Fencers Club; Partner, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
Erinn Smart: 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Silver Medalist; Member of Executive Committee and Board of Directors, Fencers Club; BA, Barnard College; MBA Class of 2013, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Julia Whitehead: Member of Board of Directors, Fencers Club; President, Whitehead Miller
Fencing in the Schools Advisors
Keeth Smart: 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Silver Medalist, Men’s Team Epee; BA, St. John’s University, MBA, Columbia Business School, Columbia University
Ivan Lee: 2004 Olympian, Men’s Sabre; BA, St. John's University; member of the NYPD and Fencing Commissioner for the New York City Public School Athletic League
Fencing in the Schools Administrator
Donovan Holtz: BSET, NJIT; Assistant Coach at NJIT 2006-‐2010; 2009 National Men’s Epee Team
Keeth Smart, Erinn Smart, Ivan Lee and Kamara James Members of the Fencers Club/PWF at the 2000 Olympic Games 20
FENCERS CLUB est. 1883
FENCING IN THE SCHOOLS CONTRIBUTORS
The Founders Circle is compose of those individuals and companies who provided the start-‐up resources to start the Fencing in the Schools program.
VISIONARIES $5000+ Michael Nissan Dr. Elizabeth Poynor Bing and Migs Wright
MENTORS $1000+ Absolute Fencing Gear Fred and Liz Cross Michael Kirch Alan Getz & Barbara Osborne Anne Mathews and Robert Nunziato Dr. and Mrs. Malcolm Moore Michael and Annik Wolfe
FRIENDS Dr. and Mrs. Barry Field Roger Pierro Michelle and Charles Schorin
If you are interested in supporting Fencing in the Schools or sponsoring a school, please contact: Liz Cross, Executive Director
229 W. 28th Street, 2nd Floor New York, NY 10001 www.fencersclub.com | firstname.lastname@example.org | 212.807.6947
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