Finishing Strong

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This past Sunday (April the 8th) marked the final provincial tournament for the 2012-2013 fencing season. I had received a medal at every provincial tournament of the year and my goal was to finish the provincial season with a gold medal. I felt like I was riding a hot streak and I wanted to keep it going.

After a good warm-up I felt a little heavy on my feet but mentally I was firing on all cylinders. I finished with all victories in my pool, and ranked 1st going into the elimination matches. My feet still felt heavy but I was hoping they would lighten as I started fencing.

My first elimination match was against Tristan Gratton from Asquith. He is a young fencer and he is very squirmy, which makes him quite hard to hit. I focused on keeping my actions simple and trying to move my feet more to loosen up the cobwebs. I won the bout 15-7.

I had a bye in the first round of elimination, so after winning my first bout I was already in the semi-finals. My opponent was Justin Neumeyer, a training partner of mine from Saskatoon. Justin moves well and has a really good counter-attack. You can’t let up for a second or he will take control of the bout and it is very hard to come back from a deficit. Going into the third period we were tied at 8 hits a piece. I made a tactical change to hold my blade outside of his reach so he had nothing to work with for the start of his attacks, I attacked only when he got too close to me. I won 15-8 to advance into the finals!

My opponent in the finals was Jean-Pierre Seguin, my best friend and training partner. Jean-Pierre was the Cadet World Champion in 2002 and has won a handful of National gold medals on the senior scene. He is a formidable opponent and someone I’ve always looked up to. We have a history of our matches finishing 15-14 in Jean-Pierre’s favor. I was very determined to win this bout and walk away with a gold medal. JP took an early lead, but I was able to recover and pull myself a head of him. We both made tactical changes, adapting to the situation, and the lead swapped hands multiple times. In the 3rd period we found ourselves in a familiar position. The bout was tied 14-14. We fought for position and we launched an attack at the same time, we both missed our touches as we were able to block each other out, there was a flurry of repeated strikes as we both tried to finish the bout. Our guards came together and the force at which this was done was enough to break JP’s handle! As he replaced his blade we had a break in the momentum. I knew JP would be taking this time to plan his next action as he has a plethora of different attacks that he does very well. I was pretty confident he would come at me right as the action started so I needed to plan my move. My plan was to feign an attack off the start to get JP started and then wait for his finish before revealing my actual attack. The ref started the action and JP did exactly as I suspected, he came strong with an attack and tried to finish to my hand, his attack missed because I was too far away. He recovered from his attack and awaited my response, I started my attack hoping for JP to try to parry, I was still at a far enough distance that I was safe. Jp did not try to parry my blade, instead he extended his arm out to threaten my hand but when his point extended it bounced off my guard giving me an opportunity to attack before JP could recover the tip of his sword and aim it at my arm or body. I exploded forward and struck JP before he could get his sword in line with me. I won 15-14! It was a very exciting bout and I was happy to finish on top.

In the end, I never really felt light on my feet like I am used to but I did feel that I was able to execute on my decisions when it mattered.

 

With the provincial scene ending for 2012-2013 I took a moment to reflect back on each tournament, out of all 6 tournaments I received 2 Gold, 2 Silver and 2 Bronze. I was happy to have earned a medal at each event. Next year I will look to better my results.

Thanks for reading and thank you for your support!

 

/leland

 

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