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FOTC News 2020

Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend

July 25, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

This should be fun! Diamonds as prizes to all who enter. Saturday, November 28. All our fencers are welcome.

Swords in the Round Coming Around

July 22, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

We are hosting a wireless electric foil and epee tournament fenced in a 20 foot diameter circle inside in the air conditioning at the Grange on August 1.

Because of space and time limits this tournament is currently limited to FOTC fencers. If there is still space available when we get close to the day of the tournament we might be able to open it up to other fencers.

Welcome Christian and Savanna

July 21, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Our newest fencers.
They fenced with us last week and Mom says, they loved it.

Bonsai Invitational Results

July 20, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

It was great to get back to competition after so long under quarantine.

In foil, Matthew and Cannon tied for bronze, Andrew took silver, Ashley won gold.
In saber, Matthew takes bronze, Chance silver, and Ashley gets the gold.
In epee, Shelby and Matthew ties for the bronze medal, Graham wins the silver and Ashley takes the gold.

Everyone who participated got to take home a pomegranate bonsai tree in a handmade wood planter.

What do you think? Should we have prizes at more of our tournaments?

Good news and bad news.

July 14, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

First the good news: Welcome to Christian and Savanna who visited our practice last night. We enjoyed teaching you how to fence!

Now the bad news, the City of Philidelphia has announced they are banning all large public gatherings through February 28, 2021. If other cities follow suit, the larger National and Regional fencing tournaments are in jeopardy.

Elvis fenced with us last night!

July 10, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Ashley met Elvis at Our Lady of the Snows Shrine and invited him to try fencing. Elvis is from Zambia and will be in the area for a couple years.

We invited him to fence with us while he is here.

Fencing Shoes Are Dropping.

July 9, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

The Ivy League just announced they are cancelling all Fall sports. I didn't see fencing specifically mentioned but fencing and basketball share the same Fall/Winter season and it looks like basketball is also cancelled. The Ivy League make up a large percentage of all the college fencing programs.

Earlier Brown Univ. and Stanford announced they were dropping their fencing programs.

Weirdly, this might help us. NCAA fencers are not allowed to compete in local tournaments during their season. With no season, they will be more likely to fence smaller tournaments. Good opponents make us better fencers.

The FOTC Tournament Schedule has been updated

July 7, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

The tournament schedule page is up-to-date as much as we can make it. There will be more updates as additional event dates are published by USA Fencing and other fencing clubs.

The main Tournament page also has more info and preregistrations links for our next few hosted events.

Fall events are shaping up

July 5, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Bonsai Invitational - July 18
Swords in the Round - August 1
The Hunger Games - September 19
Rendezvous with Thor - October 10

You can find more details on the Tournaments page and these events are now posted on askfred if you want to pre-register.

Swords in the Round

July 4, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

We have a fencing tournament on August 1 at Bluff Grange.

Fencing not in a line but a circle! Foil at 10:00am. Epee at 3:00pm.
Due to time and space, entry is limited to FOTC fencers. And sorry to our saber fencers. We have access to two different kinds of wireless scoring machine but neither work for saber.

Plus watch this space for news of additional fun events as we get busy planning our Fall.

The Hunger Games

July 3, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

We have a fencing tournament on July 18.

Now it's time to look at August for another fun tournament. Are there any weekends that don't work?

So long ago that only Shelby and Chance are still around from those days, we held our version of the Hunger Games. It is time for a redo. It is a 3 weapon tournament, Fencing, Archery, and Riflery. Best overall score wins.

Bonsai Invitational

June 28, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

3 weapon fencing tournament.
July 18th at the Grange.
With baby pomegranate bonsai trees in a hand made wooden planter as prizes.
USFA membership is not required. Having fun is.

9:00 AM Open Foil.
1:00 PM Open Saber.
3:00 PM Open Epee.
Entry fee is $20 for first event, $10 for each additional event.

What the heck is going to happen next season?

June 26, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

It is only June but already we are seeing hints as to how the 2020/2021 competitive season will play out (or won't play out).

Typically by now USA Fencing would have posted the next season's schedule. This year is so very difficult they have not been able to do that. They published a letter earlier this week to let people know they are working hard to get things back to as normal as possible. However as of this afternoon, only the February Junior Olympics and the April Division I and Para-Fencing National Championships are completely posted on the events page at The other National events dates and cities are posted but not the events that will be fenced at those NAC's.

*** Full disclosure: I know nothing official! ***

USA Fencing faces two very difficult problems:

1) No one knows what will be safe, what various Governments will allow tomorrow, much less in 6 months time. What is deemed safe today could change tomorrow. For example, this week Texas and Florida have had to reverse some of their re-opening's due to a spike in coronavirus cases. No one want to put people in health jeopardy.

2) Then there is the financial side. I suspect USA Fencing is or will have trouble getting 'act of God' insurance coverage of event expenses in the case an event has to be cancelled at the last minute. The cost to put on a NAC is high. I seriously doubt USA Fencing can afford more cancelled NAC's on top of the ones they had to eat this Spring.

Hints on changes in the 2020/2021 season come as a detailed explanation of how points will be awarded to athletes in the letter USA Fencing posted this week. Points are earned at various tournaments through the year and help determine who gets to represent the United States in world competitions in different age categories. A detailed plan to pick rosters for world competitions in the case this season's events are impacted tells me to expect some events will not be held.

What does that mean for us?
To train up to 100% ready to compete and stay at that level is hard. To train as hard as you can with a likelyhood that at least the Fall events will be cancelled is heartbreaking.

I have incomplete thoughts but am leaning towards thinking of the 2020/2021 season as a just for fun year. The next Junior Olympics is in San Jose California. We were already unlikely to send any/many fencers on such an expensive trip. As of right now we can compete in local competitions. Local USA Fencing sanctioned tournaments provide an opportunity to earn ratings. And there is no reason not to hold unsanctioned tournaments for fun and practice. Plus we can have the fun unusual competitions like we have in the past with our Opposite Handed tournament, the Adewale Cup 3 Weapon 1920's throwback Gala, and the Hunger Games: Fencing, Archery, and Riflery tournament.

Some have asked if we will pay to be an official USA Fencing Club this year. Being an official club allows us to host sanctioned tournaments but past experience hosting tournaments have shown them not to be profitable for our club. Not every tournament has to be profitable to be valuable but the cost to be an official club is likely more than we will earn back in entry fees on a years' worth of hosting. So at this point I am against it.

I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions for how we can navigate the uncharted waters of the 2020/2021 fencing season.

All Saber All the Time!?

June 25, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Our Wednesday advanced class has pretty much evolved into 1 hour dedicated to foil and 1 hour dedicated to epee.

We had a request to add a dedicated saber class. Let us know if you are interested.

If we have enough who want to do it we can figure a time and get started.

Practice Schedule returns to normal, mostly

June 5, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

We tested some changes to our practice schedule this week. We found that reservations and extended to 10:00pm hours were not needed.

So next week it is back to normal. No reservations needed. Monday and Thursday open practice will run from 6:00 to 9:00pm.

The only change we will keep, at least for a while, is the added open fencing practice on Wednesdays from 7:00 to 9:00.

Using Club Gear

May 29, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Our fencing restart is at hand. We will have to change some of our past practices. We can't allow sharing of gear.

If a fencer taking a class doesn't have a set of their own gear, a set will be assigned out of club inventory. No one else can use that set.

Not a huge change but for safety's sake a necessary one.

College fencing is in trouble.

May 28, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Intercollegiate athletics is a business. If the sport loses money for the school when the financial landscape gets tough that sport is endangered.

The financial landscape for Universities was already looking tough but with the Coronavirus' effect on schools, the date of reckoning has moved closer.

Brown University posted this about their school sports: Brown University Athletics Announcement

I expect more schools to do the same thing.

Fencing Practice Reservations

May 27, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

I posted the reservation list on the Member Only News page. I will keep it updated with adds or changes.

Monday June 1 and Thursday June 4 are full until after 8:00pm.

We have spots available in the 7:00pm to 9:00pm time slot on Wednesday.

We are filling up fast and I have not heard from several of our fencers yet. We have to stay below 10 people including parents watching.

We might have to extend practice hours to 10:00pm. That way we could have 2 shifts (6 - 8pm) (8 - 10pm). What do you think about going to 2 hour shifts?

Fencing Restart: How do we make this work?

May 26, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

UPDATE: Monday is full. We have spots available for Wednesday and Thursday open fencing practices.

Monday, June 1st our fencing practices resume. However, the State of Illinois Coronavirus rules currently in effect limit gatherings to fewer than 10 people at any one time. So we ask you to please reserve your spot.

Wednesday classes don't require any changes as we already have fewer than 10 in the Wednesday advanced class. So if you only come to Wednesday class, no change. See you Wednesday June 3 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm.

Mondays and Thursdays' 6:00pm to 9:00pm practices: Please RSVP.

We will drop the TaiChi class for a while to open up another night for open fencing practice on Wednesdays from 7:00pm to 9:00pm to make sure everyone has a chance to come to practice. Wednesdays' 7:00pm to 9:00pm practices: Please RSVP.

Also, since we all lost 3 months, we are extending everyone's tuition and club dues 3 months. If you are unsure where that puts you in terms of when your next club dues need to be paid you can find that on your FOTC Member page, or just ask.

Coronavirus Challenge reward party.

May 24, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Did you participate in our Fencers of the Corn Coronavirus Challenge? If so (even if just part of it) you are invited to our pizza, rootbeer float, and fencing is back party.

Friday May 29th at 6:00 pm.

But please let us know if you are coming so we have enough pizza and rootbeer floats for everyone!

We can fence.

May 20, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Based on news reports I read today, it sounds like the Governor of Illinois is relaxing the quarentine rules. I think effective May 29 we can restart fencing practice with the limitation of fewer than 10 people in attendance.
I think we can work with this limitation.

Member Only News update

May 11, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

We need your input. Go read the lastest Member Only News post. Let us know your ideas.

Good location for practice?

May 5, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

We are looking for safe places to hold fencing practice. We have ruled this one out.

When can we restart fencing?

May 2, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

I checked with the Belleville YMCA: closed until at least May 31.
I checked with BelleClair Soccer: closed until at least May 31.

Last night we tested fencing in the grass in the field and trails behind the barn at my house. We followed what we THINK are the current State of Illinois rules. Not exactly like fencing inside but still fun.

But it was all adults. Bringing minors into the equation becomes much more difficult.

We hope we can restart normal practices in June. But for now we are trying to figure out how to safely have outside fencing. Because weather is such a big factor, we can't plan too far ahead.

Watch this space for short notice practice dates and places.

In the time of Corona: Old Route 66 Chain of Rocks Bridge in the Rain

April 26, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part.
Bonus points if you know the movie this quote is from.

Fencing restart right around the corner.

April 25, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

We will restart fencing in May. Bill and I fenced VERY early this morning in the rain on the old Route 66 Chain of Rocks Bridge. I felt rusty but it felt good to get back to fencing.

There will be some changes to practices. Fencing outdoors is probably safer. So we will try that for a while. And as the sign says, 'Keep your distance.' ... a wise strategy for fencers anyway!

More bad news.

April 23, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Illinois' Governor extends stay at home order to May 30.
There are some changes allowing more businesses to operate but reading the news article from "Capital News Illinois" it does not appear we can restart the fencing club yet.

Google Hangout footwork practice scheduled.

April 21, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Bowing to unrelenting pressure of hordes of our fencers (or at least from one very persistent fencer.) we will have another Google Hangouts group footwork practice on Thursday from 7:00 to 7:30pm.
All are welcome. If you need connection info, let us know. See you then.

Website Maintenance: Blocking bad guys.

April 15, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

We have been getting slammed with spammers and hackers. I've rewritten some of the blocking code to try and stop them. If you have any issues with the website not loading a page correctly let me know.

Upcoming International Competitions Cancelled

April 14, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

The FIE (international fencing governing body) just announced that all international competitions previously scheduled for April, May and June are cancelled.

I expect the United States Fencing Association to do likewise shortly.

Last week USA Fencing announced the postponement of the Summer National Championships to late July or August. But at the time of the announcement they did not have a venue booked. I am skeptical the 2020 Summer National Championships will be held at all.

I am beginning to focus on retaining and regaining footwork speed and endurance lost over the past weeks with the expectation that we are done with competition until next season. We can practice footwork on our own. I posted the first of what I hope will be a series of footwork workout and training videos on the FOTC Members Only News page.

Join me online at these fence-a-long workout and training videos.

Hope to see you soon! Pearce

First fence-a-long workout video posted

April 14, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

It was harder than expected but I finally got the first fence-a-long warm up video filmed and posted on the FOTC website.
The video has music playing in the background so we can't publish it publicly.
You have to login before you can see the Member Only News page. If you don't know your login info let us know.

Day 24 Corona Virus Challenge.

April 8, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Join our Google Hangout from 6:00 to 6:30pm Thursday, April 9th for some group footwork and some socializing.
If you need the link to join let us know. All are welcome.

Day 23 of the Corona Virus Challenge

April 7, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Skills training day.

I used the horizontal disengage video game in the Point Control section of the Online Training page for 10 minutes. Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 8, do half of that.

Day 22 of the Corona Virus Challenge...

April 6, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

... is a rest day.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 7, RELAX!

Day 21 of the Corona Virus Challenge

April 5, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Here's what I did today:

1) 30 pushups.
2) 30 curls then lifting over my head with 10 pound weights in each hand.
3) 30 flights of stairs but this time taking two steps at a time.
4) 3 strips of advance and retreat. A fencing strip is 14 meters long, roughly 45 feet. I did 3 times 45 feet worth of advances and the same distance of retreats.

Tomorrow, Monday, April 6, do half of that.

Day 20 of the Corona Virus Challenge

April 5, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Wait a minute you say! What happened to Day 19?

I admit it, I failed you. I spent Friday and Saturday cutting down 30 - 50 foot tall trees and cutting them up into logs and firewood. I was tired.

But I stopped the chainsaw long enough this morning to do 50 pushups and 50 kangaroo hops. Thank you Ashley for poking me in the ribs to get back to it!!!

Today, Sunday, April 5, do half of that.

Day 18 of the Corona Virus Challenge

April 2, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

We did a 20 minute footwork Google Hangout tonight.

It worked pretty good. Caren had a couple good ideas.

First, record a workout(s) so people can work out along with the recording in case they can't be on the call live. Doing it that way also makes for better viewing as I can use our regular video cameras to record various camera angles. We will do that soon.

Second, have some sort of lesson either live or videotaped. I want to do this I just have to figure out what lessons/skills would work well.

Third, it is nice just to have some contact with our friends! The live aspect of the group is fun. We need to keep doing that.

Tomorrow, Friday, April 3, is a rest day.

Day 17 of the Corona Virus Challenge

April 1, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

We have a relatively easy one today.

1) 20 pushups.
2) 20 situps.
3) 20 curls then lift over head with a 10 pound dumbbell in each hand.
4) With dumbbells in hands and hands held wide from sides, twist as far left as you can. Then twist as far right as you can. Do it fast enough you can feel your stomach and lower back muscles tensing to start your twist and to stop your twist. Do 20 twists to each side.
5) 20 flights of stairs. 6) 20 lunges right handed, 20 lunges left handed.

Tomorrow, Thursday, April 2, do half of that.

Day 16 of the Corona Virus Challenge

April 1, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Last night I fenced half a dozen 15 touch bouts against my computer. Go here: and choose the "Fence Your Computer" game. The pictures are all foil but epee and saber fencers can also practice with it.

** Note: Some of our Online training tools are reserved for our fencing club members. This is one of those. You must login to play this one. ** Also something changes recently with Google Chrome. It doesn't display the results of your training correctly. If I have time tonight I'll try and fix it. Safari still works correctly. In any case (even in Chrome), you can still go to your member page and pullup a display of all your past bouts and training results.

Set the program skill level at your desired level, choose left or right handedness and compete. In my opinion, the slides version works better but try the video version if you want.

Pantomime the correct parry and then signal your riposte by tapping the left mouse button. Green means you get the touch. Red means the computer got the touch.

Today, Wednesday, April 1st fence three 15 touch bouts.

Day 15 of the Corona Virus Challenge

March 30, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Great work tonight by Chad. Thank you Chad!
He came up with the idea of a team video footwork practice. And he got the computers talking. We jokingly call him our IT Guy. But he really is good with computers.
We kept the practice to one half hour. Some simple advance and retreat and other things we already know how to do. Then we learned a new one with many false steps.

From the feedback we got from the participants we will do this again. It wasn't perfect. I was trying to hold my phone camera pointed at my feet to show what I was doing. That didn't work too well. We'll get better. Also, it was suggested we look into a program called Zoom. Sounds promising.

Since we did this footwork class tonight, there won't be a workout for tomorrow. So have a safe April Fools Day and look for another workout coming your way for Wednesday.

Day 14 of the Corona Virus Challenge

March 29, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

This is mostly a repeat of Day 3. Light exercises plus stretching.

1) 2 Minutes: Swing your arms like a windmill, around and around and around. First one drection then the opposite. Loosen up the shoulders and upper back and chest muscles.
2) 2 minutes: Sit in a kitchen chair. Bend forward as far as you can. Bend left as far as you can. Bend right as far as you can. Twist left as far as you can. Twist right as far as you can. Twist left and bend forward as far as you can AT THE SAME Time. Etc. Etc. You get it. Expand your range of motion. Both strength and loosen your abdominal and lower back muscles.
3) 1 minute: Stand with your left side by a stair case. Put your left foot on as high a step as you can manage. Hold that position.
4) 1 minute: Stand with your right side by a stair case. Put your right foot on as high a step as you can manage. Hold that position.
5) 1 minute: Stand facing a stair case. Put your left foot on as high a step as you can manage. Hold that position.
6) 1 minute: Stand facing a stair case. Put your right foot on as high a step as you can manage. Hold that position.
7) Dance for the duration of one song! You have all heard me say it, a fencer is a dancer. S/he moves with fluidity. Plus dancing is fun! Dance with your entire body. Move your arms, your torso, your bottom! I danced in my kitchen to "Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina & The Waves. Dance to any song you love but dance!

Day 13 of the Corona Virus Challenge

March 28, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Tough workout today.

Here's what I did:

1) 100 pushups.
2) 50 situps.
3) 63 flights of stairs.
4) Lifted 2000 pounds over my head... LOL! Not all at once. 10 pound dumbell in each hand. Curl then lift over your head. I did 100 repetitions. (100 repetitions x 10 lbs. x 2 dumbells = 2000 lbs.)
5) 100 lunges.

Tomorrow, Sunday March 29th do half of that.

If you're wondering what happened to Day 12 of the Challenge, I posted about it yesterday on the Members Only News Page. I had a couple of questions for you guys about when and how we should restart that I posted there.

Day 11 of the Corona Virus Challenge

March 26, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Skills Practice

We practice how to parry an attack when we are 'engarde' quite often. But what about when you get caught not in engarde? That happens a lot and we have to prepare for it. Today's job is to practice how to parry attacks when you are not in the proper engarde position.

Go to the Parry Practice On-Line Training page and chose the POV Slides option.

Epee fencers, click the boxes for parries 4, 6, 7, and 8.
Foil fencers click the boxes for ALL the parries.
Saber fencers click the boxes for parries 3, 4, 7, and 9.

Set the skill level slow enough you can look at the attack, look at where your hand is, and determine the best parry action to stop that attack. Plus what is the best way to reposte from there?

I ran the exercise for 6 minutes. Tomorrow, Friday March 27th do half of that.

Day 10 of the Corona Virus Challenge

March 25, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Upper body work out. I used 2 ten pound dumbbells. If you don't have that use a couple of bricks or even a couple cans of soup.

25 repetitions: With a weight in each hand, do a full curl then lift your hands straight up over your head.
50 repetitions: With a weight in each hand, rotate at the waist to your left and to your right with arms extended from your sides. Use your stomach and lower back muscles to start, rotate, and stop. Don't swing so fast you hurt yourself! Also don't go too slow. If you can feel your abdominal muscles flexing to start and to stop the rotation you're doing to right.

Tomorrow, Thursday March 26th do half that list.

Day Nine of the Challenge.

March 24, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Fine Motor Control Day. *In the video I say this is day 8. Wrong. It is day nine.

Practice your point control and your disengages with our Disengage 360 trainer. Find it under the Online Training page. Choose epee, foil, or saber they are all the same. Then choose the Point Control game.

Click here to view the video.

Day Eight of the Challenge.

March 23, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

My workout tonight was an easy one. I climbed to the top of the Arch and back down. Almost! 63 flights of stairs is pretty close to the height of the Arch.
Tomorrow Tuesday, March 24th do half of that.

Day Seven of the Challenge.

March 22, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Day Seven is posted. It has music playing in the background that we do not have public performance rights to, so we can't allow public access. It is posted on the Member's Only News page.

Day Six of the Challenge.

March 21, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Day Six is video analysis. I posted it on the Member's Only News page.

Day Five of the Challenge.

March 20, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Today we got another gut punch. You have all probably heard the news by now, Illinois will shut down all non-essential businesses and require you to stay home. Only trips to get food, medicine or gasoline are permitted until April 6th. Of course this means the earliest we can get back to fencing is April 6th. But much more worrisome is the economic effects to our families, friends and neighbors.

After getting the news I was not in the mood to exercise but a challenge was made and I won't quit. So I got off the couch and started climbing stairs. After a few flights I was feeling better. Hopefully exercise will help you too. Even if you're down, or maybe especially if you are down, get up and move. It will help.

Here is what I did tonight:
1) 40 flights of stairs.
2) 40 pushups.
3) 4 minutes of this:
Use the Point Control NOT-SCORED version set at whichever skill level you wish the default is 8 and follow the red ball with a pencil or your finger. If you have a sword at home use that, even better! This will improve your hand/eye coordination. *If you're curious, in the SCORED versions the ball chases you (the mouse). You have to avoid getting caught, but you need a laser pointer mouse for this exercise to be useful.

Tomorrow, Saturday March 21, do 1/2 of this list.

Day Four of the Challenge is a Rest Day.

March 19, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

That doesn't mean you get to spend all day in bed! But besides your normal daily activities, take it easy. Tomorrow, Friday March 20, relax!

Day Three Stay in Shape Challenge.

March 18, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Your workout has to be fun or you won't keep doing it! So tonight is easy and fun!

1) 2 Minutes: Swing your arms like a windmill, around and around and around. First one drection then the opposite. Loosen up the shoulders and upper back and chest muscles.
2) 2 minutes: Sit in a kitchen chair. Bend forward as far as you can. Bend left as far as you can. Bend right as far as you can. Twist left as far as you can. Twist right as far as you can. Twist left and bend forward as far as you can AT THE SAME Time. Etc. Etc. You get it. Expand your range of motion. Both strength and loosen your abdominal and lower back muscles.
3) 1 minute: Stand with your left side by a stair case. Put your left foot on as high a step as you can manage. Hold that position.
4) 1 minute: Stand with your right side by a stair case. Put your right foot on as high a step as you can manage. Hold that position.
5) 1 minute: Stand facing a stair case. Put your left foot on as high a step as you can manage. Hold that position.
6) 1 minute: Stand facing a stair case. Put your right foot on as high a step as you can manage. Hold that position.
7) Dance for the duration of one song! You have all heard me say it, a fencer is a dancer. S/he moves with fluidity. Plus dancing is fun! Dance with your entire body. Move your arms, your torso, your bottom! I danced in my kitchen to "Vamos A Bailar" by the Gipsy Kings. Dance to any song you love but dance!

Tomorrow, Thursday March 19, do half of that list.

The Corona Virus? IN YOUR FACE! Challenge. Day Two

March 17, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

When you read this your Day One may not be over. There is still time to join the challenge! For Challenge details read the 2020 News Archive page.

Day Two of the Challenge has two goals. 1) Break up any lactic acid build up you have from the hard workout of Day One. 2) Exercise new muscle groups.

Day Two, here is what I did to loosen up yesterday's tired muscles:
20 flights of stairs.
20 pushups.
50 lunges.
3 minutes of this:

Plus the new exercises:
40 situps.
100 Kangaroo hops. (hop from both feet on floor)

Tomorrow, Wednesday March 18, do half of that list.


March 16, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

We can't fence. But we can work out on our own at home to stay in great shape.

So to make things more interesting, I challenge all our team to do half the work out I do. As a reward once we can get back to real fencing everyone who participates is invited to a fencing, pizza and rootbeer float party on me.

Here's how it will work, each evening I will post my workout and you have all day the next day to complete half of what I did.

If you accept the challenge, here is what I did tonight:

70 flights of stairs.
100 pushups.
200 lunges.
7 minutes of this:

Tomorrow, Tuesday March 17, do half of that list.

Can't fence? What can you do?

March 16, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Every fencing club around the country that I follow has canceled group classes.
Some are trying to figure out a way to have individual lessons. As far as I can tell no one is doing it yet.
Some are looking into live streaming footwork lessons. Maybe that will work. Maybe not.

Here is one thing that will work. Climb stairs. A flight of stairs is approx 10 feet. Go up and down 63 times and you have climbed to the top of the Arch and back!

If we can figure out a way to risk free give individual lessons we will. Right now, we don't know how.

Hope to see you soon.

IMPORTANT: No fencing for 2 weeks.

March 15, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

-- The USFA has stopped all tournaments until April 6th.
-- Area YMCA's have canceled most of their programs.
-- Local schools are closed.
-- The Governor of Illinois today announced the closure of all bars and restaurants in the State until March 30.

I want to believe the coronavirus panic is overblown but the cost of being wrong is too high. We will not hold practice or classes for the next 2 weeks. Our current plan is to reopen for Monday, March 30th practice at 6:00pm.

In the next couple of weeks I strongly urge you to practice your parries and lunges using this tool:
Note: all the photos are foil but the drills work for all weapons.

Epee fencers check the boxes for parry 4, 6, 7, and 8.
Foil fencers check the boxes for all the parries.
Saber fencers check the boxes for parry 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, and 9

Drag the skill level control low enough that you can execute the appropriate parry and lunge with your riposte. You don't need a sword. Just hold a pencil.
There are 3 styles of training available: Photo stills, Point of View stills, and video clips. Use whichever version you like best.

Saber gold medal. Foil bronze.

March 15, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Congratulations Ashley! She earned both a gold in saber and a bronze in foil at her tournament in Missouri yesterday.

Coronavirus effects on large fencing tournaments

March 12, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

The international fencing governing body, the FIE announced today that all international fencing tournaments scheduled in the next 5 weeks are being postponed due to coronovirus concerns.

The United States Fencing Association has not yet canceled anything but did post notification of an emergency Board of Directors' conference call for tonight. My guess is that the larger March and April USFA events will be postponed or canceled.

Spring into Action: One of our favorite tournament hosts just posted.

March 3, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

UPDATE: Senior Saber has been added. We might even be able to convince them to add epee if we can bring a lot of our epee people.

Oxford Mississippi, March 21. They are hosting Senior Unrated Foil plus Senior Open Foil events. Our unrated fencers for sure should consider this one. Click here to check out the details.

Feb 27 training videos are posted.

March 1, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Busy few days... but finally got them edited.
Find them on your member page under the training records heading.


February 20, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

At last night's practice a couple of our fencers were asking about earning ratings. Askfred has a chart you can reference.

It lists the ratings you can earn at different levels of tournaments. Basically you have to prove you can beat fencers at a particular level to get a rating one level higher.

But note that Cadet and younger events normally don't award ratings. The exception is if the event has achieved a 'C' level or above. At least in the Midwest, that is very rare.

The United States Fencing Association has decided (and I agree) it is a mistake for young still learning fencers to fixate on ratings. Instead they should focus on learning the sport and having fun. However, it would be naive to think that those younger still learning fencers don't care about earning ratings. They do. All fencers do! And they can earn a rating, but they have to do it in Junior or Senior competitions.

Two High School fencing tournaments coming up.

February 19, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

We have no current plans to take the team but that could change if we hear from you that you are interested in either event.

Memphis Tennessee: February 29. All 3 weapons.
Nashville Tennessee: March 7. All 3 weapons.

Summer Nationsl Championships Qualifier

February 18, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

The qualifying tournament for the Summer National Championships in our area is typically held in April. However, this year there are many scheduling conflicts in April.

I discussed this with one of our Division officers and I think this year our Division will hold the qualifier sometime in March.

It is not clear who will be able to host the event. I did offer our place if no one else can do it but since we are not an official USFA club this year, I'm not sure that is even allowed. Hosting these qualifiers can be a lot of work with little reward so I will be relieved if we don't get to do it!

I'll post more when I know more.

The 2020 Junior Olympics are in the book.

February 17, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Warren, Graham, Chad and Ashley competed in a combination of epee, foil and saber. I'm proud of how they represented themselves and our club.

Poor sportsmanship is rare in the fencing world. However we did see a little bit of bad behavior. And guess what? Those few (frankly minor) incidents are what our fencers' parents were consistently asking me about.

Never forget you are being watched by parents, other fencers and admiring younger kids. You are a role model and have a duty to uphold the highest levels of sportsmanship. I was proud to see that all our kids did just that.

Monday Feb 10th training videos are up

February 11, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

We shot video of Andrew, Cannon, Chad, Cole, Graham, Pearce and Warren.

Schedule Changes

February 10, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Wednesday class is the same as normal.
Thursday practice and Monday practice are canceled.
We will be in Columbus OH for the Junior Olympics.

2/3/2020 training video are ready to view.

February 4, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Last night's training videos have been posted.
We have video of Pearce, Tyler, Bill, Warren, Cannon, Dave, and Andrew.

Older Training Videos moved to local server.

February 3, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

I have removed all the fencer training videos older than January 2020 from our Cloud server. We had exceeded the free account storage limit.

The older videos are still available on our local server and you can watch them online just like before but our local server is slow. I suggest you download any locally served video you want to watch to your own computer where you will be able to view it without the lag time problems our local server has.

"Mistakes were made..."

January 31, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Last night's training videos will be posted shortly. We have video of Dave, Andrew and Pearce. Unfortunately due to technical issues (*cough operator error *cough) we lost the first hour of video with Xander. Sorry Xander! We'll try again next week.

Good luck Warren!

January 31, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Warren fences in Nashville Tennessee this weekend.
"Wait!", you say, "Didn't Warren just fence both foil and epee just last weekend?"
Yes, yes he did and tomorrow he fences foil, epee AND saber. He is definitely our Ironman!

January 27 training videos have been posted

January 28, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

They are available for viewing in each of the individual fencer's involved video catalog on their Member Page. *As a reminder, only the two fencers in the bout plus the referee (if there is one) can see these training videos.

Training Concepts Posted to Member News Page

January 27, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

I have begun posting fencing strategy and technique ideas to the Members Only News page.

Our fencing class students will have heard most of these concepts but our other club members might also find the ideas useful.

You will have to log into with your member login and password to be able to see the Member News Page. Once logged in you will find it under the News tab.

Tennessee State High School Fencing Tournament

January 19, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

A great opportunity for our high school fencers. The Tennessee State High School Fencing Tournament is open to high school fencers from all states.

Saturday, February 1st in Nashville TN.

Thank you to Mrs. Henderson for alerting us to this opportunity.

Meet the FOTC 2020 Junior Olympian Team

January 10, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Four of our fencers qualifed to represent the St. Louis Division of the United States Fencing Association (and our club of course) at the 2020 Junior Olympics. The "JO's" are being held in Columbus Ohio in February.

Warren will compete in Cadet Men's Foil and Cadet Men's Saber. Ashley will compete in Junior Women's Foil and Junior Women's Saber. Graham will compete in Cadet Men's Epee. Chad (not pictured) will compete in Junior Men's Epee.

Fencers of the Corn head to Kentucky

January 10, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Good luck to Andrew and Ashley who are headed to Ludlow Kentucky for an epee tournament tomorrow!

New Page for the FOTC website

January 8, 2020 - Pearce Wilson

Sometimes we have training ideas that we want our fencers to know about but that we don't want to share with our competitors. It won't be anything super secret but we don't want our competitors to know our new tricks!

After you login as a member, click on the "What's New" icon at the top of the home page to go there.


Yes, we absolutely do fence in a cornfield! Literally at Bluff Grange, a farmers' coop building in the corner of a cornfield on the bluffs over the Missisippi River Valley near St. Louis in Southern Illinois.

We have both recreational and competitive fencers of all ages.