Many SITS fencers competed at the Neil Lazar ROC in New Haven CT on September 24th & 25th. 

Congratulations to Coach Shane who took a third place medal on Saturday in the A2 classified MEN’S VETERAN EPEE event and earned his B22 rating.  Other SITS fencers who competed were:

Saturday September 24th:

DIV2 MEN’S EPEE: (C3 event)

DIV1A MEN’S SABER: (B2 event)

Sunday September 25th:

DIV1A MEN’S EPEE: (A4 event)

DIV2 WOMEN’S FOIL: (C2 event)

DIV2 MEN’S FOIL: (C3 event)

DIV2 MEN’S SABER: (C2 event)

DIV2 WOMEN’S EPEE: (C2 event)

Congratulations to everyone who competed!

Hi all, Coach Shane here. I’d like to take a moment to talk about competition and the value of a good headspace. I fenced two days in this tournament and, as noted above, did very well the first day in the Veteran’s Epee event. In preparation I had eaten healthy and slept well for several days before and was feeling quite well physically. More importantly I had spent several days thinking about how I was going to fence this event. 

At age 41 I am one of the youngest competitors in the veteran category. “Baby Vet” is what the other guys call me. Which is what they proved me to be in my last veteran event when they all beat the snot out of me. You see, I’m younger, faster, stronger and I thought this could be my whole plan. I was wrong. Dead wrong. These veteran fencers (some of whom were 30 years my senior) had a much better plan than mine. They outlasted my youthful exuberance with conservation of energy. They overcame my speed with efficiency of movement. They avoided my strength by ceding to it rather than fighting against it. They tested, they observed and they executed second (and even third) intentions. And by the end of the day my youthful arrogance had been thoroughly humbled. 

So this time rather than approaching it like a street fight I approached it like a chess match. I observed my opponents and adjusted my style and technique to counter each individual fencer. I didn’t fence the way I wanted to fence I fenced the way my opponent didn’t want me to fence. My mind was sharp and clear and the predominant thought running through my head was, “I can win this whole thing.” I didn’t. I lost my semi final bout to a very good fencer. But I felt I fenced it well and I am satisfied with the day’s result. Sunday was a different story….

I returned Sunday morning to fence in the DIV1A event. This was a larger event. An A4 classification with 99 fencers checked in, most of whom were young A and B rated wippersnappers in the prime of their lives. Was it a harder event? Yes. Was I tired and sore from the day before? Yes. Did it warrant me coming in 95th place? No. I did that to myself. As the veterans had shown me before, you can compete with fencers who are stronger and faster than you are. I have the skill and the knowledge to hold my own against most of these young fencers and on a good day, and in a good headspace, I know this. My headspace on this morning was one of defeatism. I looked around the room and I thought to myself, “I’m gonna get my butt kicked.” And that’s exactly what happened. I made bad choices. I fenced to my own strengths rather than to my opponents weaknesses. As I got down touches I let the fear of losing fill the forefront of my mind rather than the thought of winning. I made rash desperate attacks rather than drawing out what I wanted from my opponents. I finished the day without a single win. 0-6 in pools and eliminated in my first DE. 

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good headspace. A calm collected head took me to third from the top on Saturday and an anxious scattered headspace brought me down to fifth from the bottom on Sunday. This goes to show that you can be on top of the world one day and down in the dumps the next. And that’s ok because tomorrow is a new day with infinite possibilities. Losing is only a negative experience if you can’t learn from it. So I intend to learn from my mistakes and get back in the saddle. I’m already signed up for my next DIV1A event. We’ll see how it goes. Win or lose I intend to love every minute of it. 


Coach Shane.