I have returned from my first Grand Prix tournament and a training camp with the rest of Team Canada. I had some exciting experiences and I had a great time getting to know the Canadian fencers a little better.
My goal for this Grand Prix tournament was to bring my fencing game to the world level and see how it matches up. I was aiming to lose a lot of bouts and learn from my mistakes. I was striving to not get last place. I was happily surprised by my fencing. I finished 48th!
I had a great warm-up and I was in a good mental space, I was ready to see what kind of damage I could do. My pool bouts were pretty good, I had 3 victories and 2 losses. My first loss was to a gentleman from Argentina, I was up 4-3 with only one touch left to score but he was able to come back and defeat me. My second loss was to Anton Avdeev, 2009 World Champion. This was my first bout against a world champion, and the score reflected the difference between his fencing skill and my own. I lost 5-0.
My performance in the pool bouts was good enough to carry me forward into the top 64 direct elimination matches that were held the next day. My opponent was Francesco Martinelli from Italy. Martinelli has been on the Italian National Team for as long as I can remember. He is a very talented fencer who has a history of success. I was extremely excited to fence him.
My bout with Martinelli started rough for me. My game plan was to play with the distance and try to figure him out in the first period and then execute in the second. Unfortunately for me, Martinelli didn’t care about what I wanted and he marched down the piste to hit me however he wanted. I finished the first period down by a score of 11-2. After a brief discussion of the tactical change I needed to make I was ready to attempt to redeem myself. I had a plan of being very pesky, poking at his hand until he over-committed. My plan worked a little bit, but Martinelli caught on before I could cover any real ground. The bout, and my first Grand Prix tournament, ended at a score of 15-7.
In retrospect, I would have fenced that bout a little differently. I feel like if I have the opportunity to fence him again I can be more of a challenge and represent myself a little better. This is the journey that I am enjoying; fence the best, lose and adapt. The experience gained from this tournament will help propel me to a higher level in my fencing.
Next stop: Paris and Switzerland in May.
Thanks to Devin Manky at http://www.devinmanky.com/ for the excellent photographs. Please check out his awesome work if you have a chance!