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Princeton Comes Out Ahead at the 2017 Ivy League Round Robin Championships

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 01:16

The Princeton fencing team finished up the 2017 Ivy League Round Robins with a 1st place finish in Women’s 3-Weapon Team and a 3-way tie for 1st in Men’s 3-Weapon Team, along with Columbia and Penn.

Full results are posted at Escrimeresults.

c/o The Ivy League

Princeton’s women’s team ended the event with a perfect 6-0 record, anchored by an 18-0 performance from Kat Holmes. On the men’s side, Princeton, Columbia and Penn all ended the event with 4-1 records. This resulted in a 3-way tie for 1st place, which is a repeat of the 2016 event. Despite not finding success on the team level, Harvard had two individual standouts. Eli Dershtwitz (saber; 14-1) and George Haglund (foil; 12-3) both took home individual championship titles.

The championships took place at Penn’s Tse Ping Cheng Cheung Ling Sports Center over the weekend of February 11th. The championships are a long-standing Ivy League tradition, with the men’s event first starting in 1956 and the women’s event in 1982. This event represents Princeton’s 9th total 1st place finish in Women’s team and 15th for Men’s team; Columbia’s Men’s 37th 1st place finish; and number 15 for Penn’s Men.

Princeton Comes Out Ahead at the 2017 Ivy League Round Robin Championships

Boost your fencing workout with Physiclo

Thu, 12/08/2016 - 07:42

Disclosure: Please note that links to merchants mentioned within this post might be using an affiliate link which means that – at zero cost to you – I might earn a commission if you buy something through that affiliate link. That said, I never recommend anything I don’t personally use and find to be valuable.

There’s a new piece of training equipment out that I would highly recommend for fencers looking to boost their speed and endurance.

US Fencing Olympian and overall amazing fencer (just check out his anchor leg bouts during the 2008 Olympics!) Keeth Smart co-founded this company which had the goal of creating workout gear that would make workouts more efficient. After looking at the original pitch and videos on their Indiegogo page, I contributed to the initial funding so that I could get one of the first ones.

Why do I think this is a revolutionary product?

The Physiclo resistance gear incorporates resistance bands to drive more of a workout for key lower body muscles.

Being an over-40 “recovering” fencer and athlete, I’m spending more of my time shuttling kids to their activities or coaching them – not on my own fitness. I’ve long been a believer in using added resistance gear to augment a workout and the Physiclo product fit the bill – it is easy to use, targets muscles I want to get stronger, and makes it easy to get some value out of every day activities (even walking the dog!)

When these came out, I got the Physiclo resistance shorts. Once you put them on you can feel them getting to work immediately – it felt almost like trying to walk in a bouncy-house but I quickly got used to the sensation.

My first workouts were really just putting them on while running a short route around the block and doing some shadow fencing footwork in the basement. For both activities I began to tire more quickly than normal and felt the work. (For me, it was like I was carrying my youngest on my back – not an unbearable workout but a lot more than just pulling my own weight around.)

After the workouts, I had that same spent feeling in my legs that normally would come from a full night of fencing. Attaining that ‘wobbly leg’ feeling lets me know that work is getting done and is satisfying. It tells me the workout – though short – actually did something.

So, for me I’ll keep using these to augment the times where I can do some of my own workouts and get a bit more work than just a normal run, agility, or footwork sets.

Here’s a video where Monica Aksamit takes a treadmill test using the Physiclo resistance gear. Even with just a short treadmill test the added resistance is apparent:

Some notes on the Physiclo Resistance Gear:

  • They run small (at least the initial run from Kickstarter did.) I had to order a size up from what my size was in soccer shorts or regular UA compression shorts. (The company is great about handling size exchanges.)
  • They’re a bit difficult to get on – I understand why as the resistance bands need to be in place and tight but it’s a bit of a process.
  • They feel heavy when you pick them up – that’s due to the resistance bands and durability needed to work.
  • Once on, you can feel the resistance bands getting to work. It’s an odd feeling at first but only takes a minute to get used to.
  • They work!

Where to get them? They’re available via Amazon and directly via Physiclo.

Do you have these? What do you think of the technology?


Boost your fencing workout with Physiclo

Adidas D’Artagnan V Fencing Shoes – Coming in January 2017

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 17:45

Adidas is releasing another version of the fencer-favorite D’Artagnan line with the 5th version of the shoe launching in January 2017. There’s little information on the specs of the shoe as Allstar.de doesn’t have much of a product description up yet, just some photos to whet your appetite for some new fencing kicks.

These don’t look to be structurally different from the D’Artagnan IV so we’ll need to wait until more information is released for specifications on weight or any changes to materials.

There’s also a Limited Edition color being released in February – those pictures follow the pics of the main shoe. You can find them now at the German Allstar site.

Pictures below and there’s an active reddit thread for discussion.

Adidas D’Artagnan V swaps out basic black for fiery red.

Adidas also seems to be taking a page from Nike as they are releasing a special color for February 2017:


Adidas D’Artagnan V Fencing Shoes – Coming in January 2017

Please Say No to Fencing on Concrete!

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 15:29

This comes from a posting to Mariel Zagunis’ Facebook Page in which she highlights that many world cup events are held in venues where fencing strips are laid out directly on hard flooring (concrete, marble, etc.) which can cause injuries to the lower back and knees.

This isn’t a complaint limited to fencing as other sports have had issues with the playing fields they have to put up with. (The US Women’s Soccer team canceled a match due to a poor field and has protested being made to play on turf fields.)

In here post she closes with:

“We are serious athletes who prepare in every way possible to perform at the highest level. But no one can prepare for this, and it is a detriment to our health and safety. Please treat us like the professionals we are and stop allowing this to happen!”

According to the FIE rule for the pistes, the metallic strips cannot be placed directly on hard flooring, but the rule does not cover the now popular non-metallic conductive pistes!

The FIE rules m.57.5 .d – Pistes made of metallic mesh must never be placed directly on a floor of reinforce concrete or tiles.

Gennady Tyshler suggested that the athletes committee propose a rule change:

Proposal must be made by athletes committee to add – metallic mesh “and conductive pistes made …. “

Here’s the posting from Mariel Zagunis’ page:

Please Say No to Fencing on Concrete!

Cerioni Steps Down as Russia’s Foil Coach

Wed, 11/30/2016 - 13:39

Stefano Cerioni will no longer be coaching Russia’s teams. (via http://pianetascherma.com/)

Big news on the world fencing scene today as Stefano Cerioni has stepped down as the head coach for Russia’s Foil Fencing program and his coaching staff has departed with him.

Cerioni led a successful program while in Russia with the following accomplishments:

  • 2016 Olympics – Gold medal – Men’s Team Foil
  • 2016 Olympics – Gold medal – Women’s Individual Foil
  • 2016 Olympics – Bronze medal – Men’s Individual Foil

It will be interesting to see where Cerioni ends up. His coaching days surely are not done. It will also be interesting to see how Russia holds onto a high level of fencing in their foil program as Cerioni pointed out issues with their training regimen when he took over the program.

Here’s the Google Translation of the article from Planet Fencing:

From today Stefano Cerioni is no longer the coach of the Russian Federation foil. The Jesi, former coach of the Italian foil even before embarking on the adventure in Moscow, today announced its decision:

“I leave today, the direction of the national women’s and men’s foil Russia – Cerioni writes in a note, taken by the Agency Ansa – When, four years ago, together with my staff composed by maestro Giovanni Bortolaso and conditioning coach Maurizio Zomparelli, I began the adventure in Moscow, I knew I was facing a major challenge. On top of the world there was my Italian, male and female domestic and with my guide (I write it with pride) had won the Olympics, World and European. With Russia had to beat their own, and the champions of all samples. Four years later, I can say that on top of the world there are also athletes and athletes of my Russia with whom I and my staff we managed to win it all, with the final pearl of two gold medals and one bronze the Olympic Games in Rio and with the female and male teams at the top of their respective international rankings. Working abroad had read the stories of the great football coaches who had preceded me, like Capello, Mancini and Ancelotti. Now that I have personally experienced, I say that the professional adventure in a foreign country is an extraordinary enrichment that must not fail in the career of a sports manager. It closes the chapter Moscow, as I now, with Bortolaso and Zomparelli (decisive for the success achieved with Russia) are ready to explore new opportunities to take on new challenges.

Under the guidance of Stefano Cerioni and its completely Italian teamMaster John Bortolaso and trainer Murizio Zomparelli – Russia has won so much in terms of wins , both male – with the World title Alexei Cheremisinov in Kazan and the ‘ Olympic gold team in Rio – and above all for women, with the nes Deriglazova first World champion then Olympic gold . But it is above all the Russian teams that have broken a long fast, arriving in recent years to beat regularly the blue up to take away their European title and world title last season. What will now be the next challenge of the technical Jesi?

Cerioni Steps Down as Russia’s Foil Coach

2016 Fencing Grand Prix Circuit Kicks Off in Torino

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 20:25

The FIE Foil Grand Prix series kicks off this weekend in Turin where Alexander Massialas is expected to be in contention for a medal.

FIE Release:

The FGP Series features three Grand Prix in each of the three weapons – foil, epee and sabre – and visits nine iconic cities around the world.

Next month sees the first three Grands Prix, starting on December 2 with the 2016 Trofeo Inalpi in foil in northern Italy.

Local hero and world No. 2 Daniele Garozzo will be the main draw for the home crowd after winning Olympic gold in in Rio de Janeiro. The man he beat in the final, Alexander Massialas of the United States, will also be challenging for the gold. A total of 156 athletes from 31 countries are registered to compete: A full list of entries can be found here.

On the women’s side, world No. 1 Arianna Errigo will look to build on a successful start to her World Cup foil season after winning in Cancun and claiming bronze in St Maur.

Errigo resumes her rivalry with Russia’s Inna Deriglazova, the world No. 2, in Turin.

The 124 athletes from 24 countries can be viewed here.

The competition for both men and women will be held at the SISPORT ( Via Pier Domenico Olivero, 40 – Torino ) for the preliminary rounds and PALASPORT ( Parco Ruffini – Via Bistolfi 10 – Torino) for the medal matches.

Following Turin, the FGP Series calls in on Doha for the epee and Cancun for sabre.

Other than the Olympics and Fencing World Championships, the Grand Prix is the most valuable event on the FIE calendar in terms of ranking points and draws the world’s top athletes.

You can also follow the tournament via Facebook on the official page.

Follow the tournament on Facebook.

LAUSANNE (November 29) – Turin plays host to the first of nine Fencing Grands Prix this weekend, signalling the start of the FIE’s flagship regular season competition. Photo via FIE

2016 Fencing Grand Prix Circuit Kicks Off in Torino

FIE Extends Russian Box of Death “Test”

Mon, 11/28/2016 - 07:38

Reporting from the FIE Congress in Moscow:

“The FIE has appointed a group of sabre experts (from a range of countries) to observe the testing of the new sabre en garde line and obtain feedback from athletes, coaches and referees at these events. This group will prepare a report which will be considered by the FIE Executive Committee at its meeting in February 2017. The current test period will be extended until that date.”

This update begs several questions:

  • The original goal of the new en garde lines was to reduce the number of simultaneous actions within the box (in between the en garde lines in the center of the strip) by at least 20%. No data has been published as to if there has been any change in simultaneous actions. Where is that data? Why wasn’t it published as part of this decision?
  • Why weren’t there sabre experts appointed before?
  • What is the goal of this rule change now? Is it still a reduction in simultaneous actions in the box or is it something else? When will the true goals and methods for measuring be released?

Here’s the Reddit thread for additional commentary.

This change is being painted by critcs as a way for the fencing world to get used to the changes and then just make them permanent no matter what the “testing” shows. (Just like the foil lockout timing was changed without true scientific testing because the then FIE president mandated it.)

The change is called the “Russian Box of Death” because it is being pushed by Russia. Critics point out that since Usmanov has been re-elected as FIE president, expect changes the Russian contingent wants to push forward to go through.

Sabre fencers need to plan on the RBOD being around for the long term, so get used to adapting to this new en-garde line setup.

FIE Extends Russian Box of Death “Test”

Fencing Visualized – New Video from Yuki Ota

Sun, 11/27/2016 - 15:03

The new video is “More Enjoy Fencing”

Yuki Ota was just elected to the FIE Executive Committee. Hopefully he continues the Fencing Visualized project as this kind of technology makes fencing even better to watch for the uninitiated and can produce some cool videos to recruit new fencers.

In this video, “More Enjoy Fencing”, Ota breaks down epee, foil, and sabres showing the basics of how to score in each.

Looking forward to more of these!

Here’s the video:


I will launch a new video.

Please share and enjoy the future of fencing!https://t.co/F5MGkMRnx9

— 太田雄貴 (@yuking1125) November 27, 2016

Fencing Visualized – New Video from Yuki Ota

Miles Chamley-Watson Wins Tokyo World Cup

Sat, 11/12/2016 - 07:21

Miles Chamley-Watson won the Tokyo World Cup. (Photo via FIE / Bizzi)

Miles Chamley-Watson defeated Giorgio Avola (ITA) 15-10 to win the Prince Takamando Men’s Foil World Cup in Tokyo, Japan. This is Chamley-Watson’s first medal finish of the new season and his second time to the top-8.

The Prince Takamando World Cup is the second event in the FIE Men’s Foil circuit.

Chamley-Watson was joined in the top-8 by teammate and Olympic Silver Medalist Alexander Massialas. Chamley-Watson is currently ranked 15th in the world and will see his placement move up as a result of this world cup gold.

The US Men’s Foil team competes today in the team fencing event, where they are ranked 1st in the world.

Miles Chamley-Watson faces off against Italy’s Avola in the finals of the Tokyo World Cup. (Photo via FIE / Bizzi)

Final Results:

Rank Points Name Nationality Birth Date
2 26 AVOLA Giorgio ITA
3 20 PAROLI Alessandro ITA
5 14 MASSIALAS Alexander USA
6 14 GAROZZO Daniele ITA
7 14 KLEIBRINK Benjamin GER
8 14 LLAVADOR Carlos ESP

Full results including pool and DE bout scores are available at the FIE web site.

Miles Chamley-Watson celebrates on scoring the winning touch in the finals. (Photo via FIE / Bizzi)

Miles Chamley-Watson Wins Tokyo World Cup

The Comprehensive Guide to Fencing Shoes

Wed, 11/02/2016 - 13:05

Just what are the best fencing shoes?

What are the best shoes for fencing? Do you need to purchase high-end fencing shoes, or can you go with a budget model?

One of the most asked questions in the Fencing.Net forums seems to concern fencing shoes.  Just what are the best shoes for fencing and what type of shoes should you get, should the top-end fencing shoes be out of your budget range?

First, keep in mind the dynamics of the sport.  Fencing requires sudden changes of direction and the fencing lunge exerts a force of up to 7 times the fencers’ body-weight onto their leading heel.

When asked, fencers say they want shoes that are low to the ground and give them a good “feel” for the strip.  Fencers also demand lateral stability in their shoes to accommodate the changes of direction.

Many epee and foil fencers also demand good cushioning at the ball of the foot due to the amount of bouncing that they do in setting up for points.  (Just watch a few videos of high-level epee fencing for examples.)

In 2008, Nike released their answer to the fencing shoe question – all based on 18 months of research.  That research (link to article) found the following:

  • Fencing has among the highest force applied to heel of lead foot in all sports.  Up to 7x body weight.  Close to the level of impact of a big man (like Shaq) after a dunk!
  • The trailing foot takes a lot of damage.
  • The lunge impacts the foot at an extreme angle: up to 45 degrees
  • Fencers spend a lot of time on their forefoot when in preparation

This means that the shoes need to have:

  • Good heel cushioning set at an angle to the heel strike of the lunge
  • Flexible uppers and sole to be comfortable when in preparation and “bouncing”
  • Durable inner edge to deal with foot drag on the lunge, especially with metal strips
  • Traction: wood floors and gyms.

Keep in mind that NACs and larger tournaments are held with strips on top of a concete floor with minimal padding.

Some of the most popular fencing shoes:

PictureNamePrice Nike Zoom Air (Ballestra)$$$ Adidas Fencing Pro 16$$$ Asics Fencing London$$$ Adidas En Garde$$ Asics Gel Rocket (Court)$

What type of shoes should you get?

Different fencers have some different (and competing) needs in fencing shoes.  Before deciding on a pair, you need to know:

1. Budget
2. Age
3. Level of competition

Age and budget run hand in hand.  Young kids are either going to destroy their shoes or outgrow them.  You’ll have to look at the number of training hours and how had they are on their fencing shoes to gauge which model is going to be the best value.

The higher the level of competition, the better shoe you’ll want to buy – mainly for durability on metal strips and for better cushioning and traction at those national events.  If you are purchasing fencing shoes for your child, keep in mind that you need to get the pair that are going to last the best for them and their training schedules.  An 11 year old that trains 3 to 5 times per week and is traveling nationally is going to burn through the low end shoes, so they’ll need more than one pair per season.

How long should fencing shoes last?

Most shoes in other sports are targeted to last for a single competition season in that sport.  It’s easy for seasonal sports like baseball for kids where you’ll be swapping out cleats each season as your kid’s feet grow.

In fencing, there are overalapping seasons between the youth, junior, and senior ranks and many kids compete across age groups, which muddles the lines between seasons.  The top brands are targeting shoes that have the internal cushioning lasting 9 to 12 months.

For youth fencers with a moderate training schedule, the kids will outgrow even the basic shoes before wearing them out.  Of course, some clubs have a more intense training schedule which will impact your shoe budget.

Durability on the outsoles of fencing shoes is highly variable depending on the level of activity and the fencing conditions in the fencer’s club.

A fencer who is training 2-3 hours 4 days per week plus local events and NACs will burn through a pair of shoes much faster than the fencer who trains 2 hours for 3 days per week and only goes to one tournament per month.

A fencer who has the more active training schedule should shy away from the “beginner” shoes: the AF Elite and MVPs as those will wear out quickly with a lot of training hours.  Opt for something on the higher end for more durability.

Sizing Concerns for Fencing Shoes:

Another thing to keep in mind with fencing shoes is that they are made in men’s sizes only.  This creates issues for the women in the sport since you’ll have to do some conversions to get from a women’s foot/shoe size to pick out the appropriate men’s size.  This is mainly due to the size of fencing as a sport.  We’re hoping that fencing gets large enough to get manufacturers to design female-specific shoes.  Until then, it’s off to size conversions.

Most fencing shoes run on the narrow side.  The various house-brand shoes, Pbt, and Adidas all run narrow, so they’re usually one size different.  (A woman looking for a women’s 7 would order a men’s 6.)  The Hi-Tec/Leon Paul and Nike shoes are a little wider, so that conversion is usually 1.5 sizes different (where our women’s 7 would get the men’s 5.5.)

The best thing is to try on the shoes, or order a couple of pair in different sizes and then returning the ones that don’t fit.

Here’s the rundown on some common models of fencing shoes:

Nike Air Fencing Shoe, AKA the Nike Ballestra:

Yes. Nike has a fencing shoe.

This is the fencing shoe of choice at the FdN offices.  The first disclaimer is that we also sold a good number of them from our online store.  The Nikes run at the top end of the fencing shoe price range and come in at $175.  The shoes have a ton of research and design behind them and were launched with the 2008 Olympic Games.

The retail version of these shoes is in a white/gray/black model with some colors that were made available to NCAA collegiate teams.

The Nike shoes are currently tied with or slightly lighter than the most recent Adidas shoe, the D’Artagnan IV.


Adidas D’Artagnan IV

Adidas newest fencing shoe, launched in 2010, the D’Artagnan IV shoe looks like a bit of a Frankenstein.  The back half is white and the forefoot is black.  The inside edge of the shoe features the traditional leather layer (as opposed to the synthetic materials used by Nike) and Adidas has really worked on the weight of the shoe.  This has been very popular, mainly due to the $115 – $125 price point in the market.

They’re not the most durable shoe, but it’s an Adidas shoe so there’s a lot of fencing knowledge there.  They took their lumps from the D’Art 3 and delivered a much better shoe with the 4.  (The D’Artagnan III was really a re-badged tennis shoe and did not hold up very well for fencers.)

Scimitar Fencing Shoe from Hi-Tec/Leon Paul

Leon Paul Scimitar

The Scimitar is the second shoe produced from the joint venture between Hi-Tec and Leon Paul.  Hi-Tec is known for their indoor court shoes, and given the similarities in sports (see the section on non-fencing shoes below), the design team at Hi-Tec made a good fit for Leon Paul in helping to design and manufacture a good fencing shoe.

The Scimitar’s kept going where the Blades left off, adding additional protection against foot drag to the inside edge of the foot, offset laces, lighter weight, and anti-foot stick materials in the inside of the shoe.

The Scimitar runs wide and go for about $160.


Hi-Tec Blades

The Blades are the first model of fencing shoe from the Leon Paul/Hi-Tec venture.  They are more durable than most of the Adidas shoes on the market and accommodate wide feet.

The Blades have a traditional centered lacing and solid upper.  They’ll heat up a bit faster than some newer models of fencing shoe.  The rubber sole is durable against metal strips, but also has good grip on wood floors.  The sole also features a “stability bar” which helps in changing direction when you’re retreating fast and need to stop and go in the other direction.

The first round of these shoes had a harder rubber used in the soles than future models.  The softer rubber being used now increases the grip for the Blades, but at the expense of making the shoes wear out a little bit faster.  At $120, they’re a good upgrade from the entry level fencing shoes on the market.

Leon Paul has released an updated version of this shoe, the Blades II.

Adidas EnGarde:

Adidas answer to the budget fencing shoe. It’s a basic level fencing shoe and has a nostalgic look for those traditionalists out there.  It gets you a brand name fencing shoe without the top-end hit to your wallet.  Better uppers but a soft sole.  Good if you’re going to be sticking to wood or court strips, but metal strips in use in the US will eat these up.  Usually around $99 per pair.

Adidas Asymmetrics: The “holy grail” of fencing shoes.

No article on fencing shoes would be complete without mention of the legendary Adidas Equipment or “Asymmetric” fencing shoes.  These were designed specifically for the asymmetric foot dynamics of fencing, with the front foot made with stronger heel strike and increased ankle flexibility but with the rear foot having increased material on the inner edge going up further to deal with excessive foot drag.

The inventory issues in dealing with fencing shoes for “left” and “right” handed models made this a short lived, but very successful shoe.

Budget Fencing Shoes:

These are the entry-level cheap fencing shoes.  These are all under $100 and trying to get as close to the $50 price point as they can.

AF Elite II

AF Elite II Shoes

The <b?AF Elite II is the second round of fencing shoe from Absolute Fencing Gear.  The NJ manufacturer offers this shoe all the way down to a size 3 to get into the kid’s market.  The shoes run on the narrow / small side, so those with wide feet may need to order a half size up.  These are basic, value shoes and will wear out after a season.  Those who are hard on shoes or train an intense schedule will eat these up faster than once per season.




BG MVP Shoes

The MVP 3 are Blue Guantlet’s $69 Shoe

Blue Gauntlet is targeting the beginner and youth market with their MVP line of fencing shoes.  There are three models ranging from $54 to $69 in price.  We’ve not used them, but reports from the forums are that they hold up okay for a budget shoe.  We’ll look for photos and reviews of this shoe at the next few NACs to update this article.





What are the best non-fencing shoes for fencing?

It’s tough when you have to shell out $120 – $175 every 9 months for new shoes.  It’s worse when you’re one of those who are notoriously hard on shoes.  For that reason, many fencers have turned to their local sporting goods store to find a decent shoe that meets the requirements to fencing and still provides a good value.

There are some types of shoes to look for and some to make sure to avoid.

The most popular shoes to use have been court shoes.  These are shoes made for sports like raquetball, squash, and even volleyball.  Those sports feature lots of lateral motion and lunging actions.

This means that they will be low to the ground and have cushioning set up for the heel strike (for your front foot) as well as the lateral stability for side to side motion (for your back foot).

Nike Indoor Volleyball Shoe

We had a fencer test this shoe out and she loved it.  The gum soles are great for a wood floor fencing club and they held up reasonably well at NACs.  The shoe was used for just about a full season of training and competition at the NACs and Junior Olympics before being retired in favor of the Nike Ballestras.

[Nike: Multicourt available via Amazon.com in the link and also on Nike.com.]

Asics Gel Rocket

Asics Gel Rocket

The Asics make a decent shoe if you’re on a budget.  The Asics have been reported to work out fine as a fencing shoe, but their durability is suspect on rough metal strips.  Older models have actually had the gel come out of the sole after extremely intense use on metal strips!  They’re reported to be a bit heavier than other shoes in their class.

[Asics Gel Rocket available in men’s and women’s versions.]




Adidas Stabil series

The Adidas Stabil series can be seen in many epee tournaments.

The Stabil has received the rave reviews from fencers on the forums, but the entire series has been pretty well received.  These are a staple in the epee fencing community.  The wide foot base and thin sole (relative to other court shoes) allow for a good “feeling” of the strip and fast direction changes.

Typical review quote (for the Stabil Vs): “These shoes, in one word, rock. I will never again use a traditional fencing shoe. Good cushion, etc, and they’ve suffered 1 year of heavy usage on “cheesegrater” aluminum strips without complaint. I replace the insoles about every 6 months, but other than that, no upkeep. I love these things”

You can purchase the Stabil online via Amazon or at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Yonex Badminton shoes

(Power Cushion SHB-101 LX model) – well-cushioned for those explosive moves. They have grippy soles. They have great lateral support and sufficient toe protection.  They’re reported to be a pretty good shoe if you can find them.

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Shoes to Avoid:

Any “fencing” shoe made by a major fashion designer.

There are “fencing” shoes out there by some major designers.  When you take a look at them, they resemble fencing shoes and that’s because they are fashion (read: walking about town) shoes that were inspired by the sport of fencing.

There is absolutely nothing in the shoe designed to hold up to athletic performance or usage.  Wear them out on the town, but take them off in the fencing club.

Wrestling shoes.

Friends don’t let friends fence in wrestling shoes.

Some misguided souls take a look at wrestling shoes and say “hey, that’s *really* low to the ground, I’ll really feel the strip in those” and they get them.  A couple of weeks later they’re complaining about foot, knee, and lower back pain.

Wrestling shoes are made to be used when competing on a 2 inch thick mat.  Nothing about that says “durability on a strip” or “heel cushioning for a lunge.”  Avoid wrestling shoes at all cost.  If you see someone at your fencing club suited up to fence and wearing wrestling shoes, put them in a 3/4 nelson, pin them to the floor, and make them go put on something suitable.

Other things to get:

Once you have your fencing shoes, you may need to go ahead and get a few upgrades.  Things that we’ve found useful over the years:

Hard heel cup. The hard heel cup is a hard plastic heel insert.  Use these for your front foot.  What the hard heel cup does is keeps your heel from flattening out during the lunge, allowing your heel’s fat pad to do more work in cushioning the blow of the lunge.  The Nike shoes have a hard heel cup integrated into the design, but if you have a tendency to get a bruised heel, go ahead and get one.  They’re about $5.00 from most fencing equipment retailers.

Avoid the soft gel heel cups.  They raise the height of your heel in the shoe, plus the grip on your sock, which means you’re a lot more likely to put holes in your socks while fencing.

Cushion insoles. On lower end shoes like the AF and Blue Gauntlet house brands, spending another $15 to $20 on cushion insole will make you feel a lot better towards the end of the day during your fencing tournaments.  Check out the SoftSol inserts and get the one that has a good heel strike and protection for the ball of the foot.  They make several models matching up with different foot-impact styles.

The Comprehensive Guide to Fencing Shoes

Alcohol and Athletes

Sun, 10/30/2016 - 08:23

Athletes are competitive. Unfortunately, too many competitive athletes are also competitive drinkers, not to be outdone by their teammates. Ask any coach or college athletic director, and you’ll hear concern about alcohol and athletes—a dangerous duo, especially among team sports. Excessive alcohol intake is associated with injuries, poor grades in school, arguments, sexual abuse, loss of memory, driving under the influence, and trouble with the law—to say nothing of vomiting, hangovers and poor athletic performance.

Yet, celebrating wins with alcohol is perceived as the norm. Whether athletes feel pressure to celebrate with alcohol or they enjoy drinking, research shows college athletes binge-drink more than non-athletes, and serious recreational runners drink more than their sedentary counterparts. Unfortunately, alcohol is a highly addictive substance and is the most abused drug in the United States.

How to address the problem of alcohol abuse?

To address alcohol abuse among student-athletes, many college campuses are educating students about social norms—the beliefs about what is normal and expected in social situations. For example, despite popular belief, everyone does not drink nor do most students get drunk all the time.

Calories from Alcohol Add-up Quickly Common Drinks Amount (ounces) Calories Pina Colada 6 380 Mai Tai 4.5 350 Margarita 8 280 Red Bull & Vodka 10 210 Rum & Coke 8 185 Beer 12 140 Wine 5 120 Lite beer 12 110 One shot 80 proof alcohol 1.5 100

A survey at Southern Methodist University asked these questions to students on a Friday about alcohol use on the previous night:

Did you drink last night?

Did you get drunk last night?

What percentage of SMU students do you think drank last night?

What percentage of SMU students do you think got drunk last night?

The answers showed major misperceptions about alcohol norms:

  • Only 20% of students surveyed reported drinking the previous night, yet they believed that over half drank.
  • Only 8% reported getting drunk, yet they believed at least one-third got drunk.
  • Of students who drank, most reported consuming only a few drinks per week. Yet they believed most students were drinking 10 to 15 drinks per week.
  • 35% reported abstaining from alcohol, but very few believed that many of their peers were non-drinkers.

At Dartmouth College, a typical social norms statement might be 74% of Dartmouth drinkers have zero to 4 drinks on the average Friday night.  That means, binge-drinking is NOT the norm! With ongoing social norm education, students will hopefully change their drinking practices. Given that athletes are often role models, reduced alcohol use among athletes can potentially have a positive widespread social benefit.

Minimizing negative consequences 

If alcohol has a big role in your sports diet, take note: 

• Alcohol is a depressant. Apart from killing pain, it offers no performance edge. You can’t be sharp, quick, and drunk. Pre-exercise alcohol hurts reaction time, accuracy, balance, eye-hand coordination, and endurance.

• Alcohol has a diuretic effect; the more you drink, the more fluids you lose. Alcohol-free beer rehydrates, but regular beer sends you running to the bathroom. This is bad for recovery, bad for the next exercise bout.

• Alcohol stimulates the appetite. People who drink moderately tend to consume alcohol calories on top of their regular caloric intake. These excess calories accumulate as body fat. If you want to maintain a lean machine, abstaining is more slimming that imbibing.

• Your liver breaks down alcohol at a fixed rate: about one can of beer or 4 ounces of wine per hour. Exercise does not hasten the process, nor does coffee. Caffeine just makes you a wide-awake drunk.

• Alcohol is a poor source of carbohydrates. You can get loaded with beer, but your muscles will not get carbo-loaded. A 12-ounce can of beer has only 14 grams of carbohydrate, as compared to 40 grams in a can of soda. Eat pretzels, thick-crust pizza or other carbs along with the beer.

• Alcohol on an empty stomach quickly leads to a drunken stupor. Maybe you could enjoy the natural high of exercise instead of getting brought down by a few post-exercise beers?

• Late night partying that contributes to sleep deprivation (as well as a hangover) can easily ruin the next days’ performance.

• Drinks that contain congeners—whiskey, cognac, and red wine—are more likely to cause hangovers than other alcoholic beverages. The best hangover remedy is to not drink excessively in the first place. But if you have a hangover, drink a salted fluid with carbs, such as a sports drink or chicken noodle soup.

Is there any good news about alcohol?

Yes! In moderation, alcohol can have health benefits. Red wine, for example, contains health-protective phytochemicals that can reduce the risk of heart disease.  A drink before a meal might improve digestion. A drink with friends brings social pleasure.

The key word is moderation. Moderation means two drinks per day for men and one for women. To help enforce moderation, first quench your thirst with a non-alcoholic beverage, and then, if desired, choose the alcohol-laden option.

Sports nutritionist Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD has a private practice in the Boston-area (Newton; 617-795-1875), where she helps both fitness exercisers and competitive athletes create winning food plans. Her best-selling Sports Nutrition Guidebook, and food guides for marathoners, cyclists and soccer are available at www.nancyclarkrd.com. For workshops, see www.NutritionSportsExerciseCEUs.com.

Alcohol and Athletes