How to improve the fencing scene in the US.

How to improve the fencing scene in the US.

Post by Jeffrey P. Bodn » Wed, 21 Dec 1994 11:51:39


Greeting Fellow Fencers!

        Ya know, with all the talk recently about fencing being on
the verge of Olympic extinction, the common wish among our ranks seems
to be that fencing become more popular in this country... "like it
is in Europe"  (how many times have you heard that before?) Dare we dream that
we might catch a glimpse of our sport on the tube? And no, that 1/2 second
of fencing on the Offspring video on MTV doesn't cut it.
        So the question I pose to the faithful masses is this: if you were
in charge of the USFA, what steps would you take to heighten the awareness and
popularity of the sport? Do you agree with the recent (and in my opinion weak)
attempt to make the sport accessible by allowing colored uniforms and calling
directors referees? Honestly, the first time I see a pastel pink uniform,
I'm going to hurl big chunks. And a director by any other name STILL won't
call my stop hits in time, darn it.
        So what are we to do? An agressive recruitment campaign? More silly
rules that only take away from the uniqueness of the game? Really, it's
too bad that O.J. didn't use a fencing weapon that fateful night. Think
of the press!!!!

Jeff

--
                         Jeffrey Bodner, CWRU

                             (216) 791-0716

 
 
 

How to improve the fencing scene in the US.

Post by Grandmaster of Fau » Wed, 21 Dec 1994 12:30:36


: Greeting Fellow Fencers!
:       So the question I pose to the faithful masses is this: if you were
: in charge of the USFA, what steps would you take to heighten the awareness and
: popularity of the sport? Do you agree with the recent (and in my opinion weak)
: attempt to make the sport accessible by allowing colored uniforms and calling
: directors referees? Honestly, the first time I see a pastel pink uniform,
: I'm going to hurl big chunks. And a director by any other name STILL won't
: call my stop hits in time, darn it.

Well, I haven't fenced in about 2 years or so, but I heard about them
removing fleching(sp?), at least at the collegiate level, and I think
that is one of the worst possible moves if there is to be any kind of
an increase in popularity of this sport... For me, I always got yelled
at by my high school coach for fleching.  Then I heard about USFA where
\we could flech, and it give me incentive to go to USFA events. Went to
the JO's and to a bunch of otehr thingies... Fleching is the most exciting
part of fencing as far as I'm concerned...
Many people enjoy fencing for the love of the intricicies(sp? again) and
they certainly do add to the sport, but what fencing needs is a drive, a
kick, something where you can just throw all your energy in one big
move... a flech down the strip while shouting a battle cry or something
is pretty exciting if you ask me... ballastras(sp?) dont do it for me.  
Now I was comtemplating joining my school team, but not anymore... no
fleching= much less enjoyment.  Also, the stereotypical fencing image
wont be helped... fencing needs to look more manly, more dangerous, if it
is to gain any converts... sorry if you disagree, but im right. you know
how 99% of the population (at least of the US) thinks of fencing.
Another thing is to stick fencing in high school as a gym thing... and
more importantly than that, make sure that sabre is one of the weapons
used in that gym thing!!! my friends all ragged on me for bein a fag
until i showed them my sabre and how it was used... (no offence to foil
and epee, but sabre rules! ;) )  i know its awfully hard to get a high
school to start a new and probably initially unpopular gym section, but
it is the absolute best way to get people into it.  the stereotypical
image is deep rooted in the US for some reason.  Kids need to see what
its really like if there is any chance of them doing it.
ok well, im done i guess.. flame away :)
-eric

 
 
 

How to improve the fencing scene in the US.

Post by Dillon J Li » Wed, 21 Dec 1994 14:10:44

    I think it is in the inherent American pysche to not give fencing
any popularity.  Our culture and society finds aristocracy abhorrent.
We believe that "All Men are Created Equal" (although you'd never know
this from the way we act).  

    And to top this off fencing can be seen as an "Elitist" sport up
there with polo and equestrian riding.  I saw a commerical for the movie
"Richie Rich" and it had Richie taking fencing lessons.

    Besides being elitist it is also seen as a "European" sport.  And
for the most part it is.  All the "good" fencers and fencing equipment
come from across the Atlantic.

    There is also the military aspects of fencing that may turn off
parents.  I imagine that some parents think fencing is a sport that
condones *** and fighting like boxing and "pro" wrestling may.

    For fencing to be more acceptable it must have its "elitist" image
removed.  For starters, fencing should stop using French as its official
language.  Not all fencers speak French nor are all fencers
Franco-philes.

    Ultimately, fencing may very well never be accepted widely in this
country.  The pistol was a favorite dueling weapon here, not the epee
(another French word), and there is a cultural reason for that.  This
country was founded on guns not swords.  Our images of fencing
(propagated by Hollywood) hinder our acceptance of it as a sport rather
than training for a duel.  To make fencing more popular, our culture
must separate the preconceived notions of the sport from the reality.  I
don't see this happening anytime soon.  Fencing in the US may forever
stay the sport of Romanticists.

______________________________________________________________________

Dillon Jung Lin

Carnegie Mellon University Architecture

    |      |
  __|__  __|__    
   /|\    /|\        
  / | \  / | \      
_______________________________________________________________________

 
 
 

How to improve the fencing scene in the US.

Post by Noah Lee Zuck » Thu, 22 Dec 1994 08:59:13



Quote:
>                                            ...Dare we dream that
>we might catch a glimpse of our sport on the tube? And no, that 1/2 second
>of fencing on the Offspring video on MTV doesn't cut it.

It's funny that you mention the Offspring video; its not the only time fencing
has appeared on MTV. As a matter of fact, little Nicky Bravin and his
coach Zoran Tulum(spelling?)appeared on MTV sports about a year ago.
That's right, you heard me MTV SPORTS. I was innocently sitting there,
having just watched a segment on *** underwater cliff diving, or something
like that, when suddenly the announcer says "next up, meet fencer
Nick Bravin as he hacks and slashes his way to the olympic gold for team usa!"
The segment was awesome. They showed clips of action packed matches with
lot's o' corp a corp and flicking, with headbanging speed metal in the
background! YES! Fencing kicks ass! They said everything I'd want them to
say about fencing: it's not some ballet type thing with men in tights,
its a ***y *** sport with people screaming at eachother, ready to
kill! The best scar he could show off(an MTVsports tradition)was the
callous on his index finger!(ARRGH, if only I was around with my scar form
the chest tube earlier this year...he could at least have made something up!)
Anyway, my bro and I asked Zoran about this whole ordeal when we visited
stanford that summer. It turns out that the USFA had NOTHING to do with that
video. Zoran and Nick called up MTV themselves and got them to do the piece.

Basically, the USFA could have capitalized off of reaching such a huge
audience! But they followed up the show with nothing! No invitations to get
Dan Cortese to fence or lifetime memberships for Kenedy or Jon Stewart!
This is the essential problem of fencing's lack of popularity in the
united states. Marketing. We need to market the sport right. That means
more color, e***ment  and heavy metal!

Look at tennis. They have that guy with the long hair. Basketball has
"air" jordan. If we just had a couple personalities, paired with a big win
in Atlanta(Ann Marsh just won a World Cup, so its possible) we could
start a fencing fad in this country which could give us the opportunity
to make the sport more popular. Granted, I don't think it could ever be as
big as football, but maybe golf and definitely bowling! The only problem
is that our threshold would only be a couple of months, so all the
divisions would have to act fast and coordinate with a USFA master plan.

Quote:
>    So what are we to do? An agressive recruitment campaign? More silly
>rules that only take away from the uniqueness of the game? Really, it's
>too bad that O.J. didn't use a fencing weapon that fateful night. Think
>of the press!!!!

We've already got that dude who bought it in france; what do we need oj for?

-noah

(ok guys, what's the plan?)

 
 
 

How to improve the fencing scene in the US.

Post by David Glass » Thu, 22 Dec 1994 08:47:11


Quote:

>Subject: Re: How to improve the fencing scene in the US.
>Date: 20 Dec 1994 23:59:13 GMT


>>                                               ...Dare we dream that
>>we might catch a glimpse of our sport on the tube? And no, that 1/2 second
>>of fencing on the Offspring video on MTV doesn't cut it.
>It's funny that you mention the Offspring video; its not the only time fencing
>has appeared on MTV. As a matter of fact, little Nicky Bravin and his
>coach Zoran Tulum(spelling?)appeared on MTV sports about a year ago.

[snip]

Mtv also did a segment two years ago at the University of Wisconsin.  
Their vj Kennedy did a half hour of music videos, introducing them from the
floor of one of my sabre classes in progress.  One of my Durendal sabreurs
(Jim Uzgiris) fenced with her on camera.  They aired it right before Beevis &
Butthead. :-P  This all happened because one of my assistants, Eric Vogt, took
the initiative to contact them while they were touring through Madison and
suggesting it might make an interesting set (our gym is in the old Armory,
which looks for all the world like a full size castle with towers and
battlements.  Anyway the Mtv people were very easy to work with.  They also
gave us Beevis & Butthead caps afterwards (oh boy).  I gave mine to my
"couldn't believe her dad was on Mtv" daughter.

David Glasser  
fencing master %DFB:BLZ/LLZ Bonn  NFF:BSI/BF/NSS Bergen

Department of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin -- Madison

 
 
 

How to improve the fencing scene in the US.

Post by Noah Lee Zuck » Fri, 23 Dec 1994 01:19:45



Quote:

>    And to top this off fencing can be seen as an "Elitist" sport up
>there with polo and equestrian riding.  I saw a commerical for the movie
>"Richie Rich" and it had Richie taking fencing lessons.

You know, one could say the same thing about golf. But they don't. I will
agree that most people percieve fencing as a sport of the aristocrats, but
part of increasing the popularity of fencing in this country is changing
that perception to fit reality. Most of the fencers I know are hip college
student types, not stuffy old men or snobby dandys from some***ens novel.

That's exactly why we need more MTVsports type promos. To show people how
exciting and colorful fencing can be.

-noah

 
 
 

How to improve the fencing scene in the US.

Post by Andrew Mullhau » Fri, 23 Dec 1994 03:26:41




: >                                          ...Dare we dream that
: >we might catch a glimpse of our sport on the tube? And no, that 1/2 second
: >of fencing on the Offspring video on MTV doesn't cut it.

: The segment was awesome. They showed clips of action packed matches with
: lot's o' corp a corp and flicking, with headbanging speed metal in the
: background! YES! Fencing kicks ass!

Where can I get a tape? Our club might be able to make good use of it next
recruiting season...

Later,
Andrew Mullhaupt

 
 
 

How to improve the fencing scene in the US.

Post by Mark C. Ort » Fri, 23 Dec 1994 03:48:37


Quote:
> Another thing is to stick fencing in high school as a gym thing... and
> more importantly than that, make sure that sabre is one of the weapons
> used in that gym thing!!!

This is done successfully in some places.  (New Jersey, if I'm not
mistaken.)  Here in Fairfax County, they tried teaching fencing in 9th
and 10th grade gym classes.  They had major problems:

(1)  The gym teachers were not fencers themselves, and knew little
     or nothing about the sport and about fencing techniques.  (My
     stepson ended up teaching his gym class.)

(2)  They only alloted about 3 days for fencing.  This is not
     enough time to teach anything at all, really.

(3)  The kids didn't think it was serious (probably in part due to
     problem #1), and just hacked around at each other.

They were using foil, not sabre.

--
      Mark C. Orton
      employed by (but not speaking for)
      Pulse Communications, Inc.

 
 
 

How to improve the fencing scene in the US.

Post by Ryan Cheu » Fri, 23 Dec 1994 06:02:31



Quote:

>Greeting Fellow Fencers!

>    Ya know, with all the talk recently about fencing being on
>the verge of Olympic extinction, the common wish among our ranks seems
>to be that fencing become more popular in this country... "like it

[snip]

Quote:

>Jeff

The best way is for an American to win the gold medal in Olympic
fencing.  We would have instant TV converage, Sports Illustrated would
interview the titlist and do a take on the sport.  Then we can hop on
the media wagon and sell, sell, sell.

Ryan

 
 
 

How to improve the fencing scene in the US.

Post by Jeffrey P. Bodn » Fri, 23 Dec 1994 08:03:21


Quote:

>[snip]

>The best way is for an American to win the gold medal in Olympic
>fencing.  We would have instant TV converage, Sports Illustrated would
>interview the titlist and do a take on the sport.  Then we can hop on
>the media wagon and sell, sell, sell.

>Ryan

I agree. BUT, not only must an American win, he/she must be a
dynamic personality to really capitalize on it. I mean, if our champion
had no appeal, no charisma, no charm, we'd get 15 minutes of coverage
and that'd be it. We need a champion like that US soccer player who
looks like Shaggy from scooby do. (I won't try to spell his name, but
you know who I mean) Someone with a story behind the fencing that'll
capture the hearts of the american people. If such a person is out there,
come forward!! I'd be willing, but my fencing still needs a little work. :)

Now you guys have gotten me wathcing MTV in hopes of catching that segment...

Anyhow, the only thing else I have to say is that I hope that in making
the sport more accessible, we don't sacrifice the parts we love the best.

Jeff

--
                         Jeffrey Bodner, CWRU

                             (216) 791-0716

 
 
 

How to improve the fencing scene in the US.

Post by Tim Edwar » Sat, 24 Dec 1994 03:30:05


Quote:

>That's exactly why we need more MTVsports type promos. To show people how
>exciting and colorful fencing can be.

FWIW, about the only (US) TV coverage of fencing in the last Olympics
was a rock&roll montage of winning hits & subsequent celebrations.  It
worked for me...

-Tim