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USFCA Everything You Wanted to know about Epee and     Feb 10, 2021 - Aug 18, 2021
Halberstadt Fencers' Club: San Francisco, CA Master Rob Handelman, assisted by Sandor Mandoki will host a series of zoom USFCA Epee Training programs with certification available at the end.
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   Map to 621 South Van Ness Avenue San Francisco CA 94110
posted 12/16/2020
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Everything You Wanted to know about Epee and More
For an In-depth View of How to Coach Epee
USFCA Coaches Epee Clinics from February 2021 and Ongoing

Three weapon fencing Master Robert Handelman invites all level coaches to join him and Prévôt Sándor Mándoki for a series of zoom epee clinics. Each series will be sectioned into three modules. Each two hour module will run once a week for three weeks in a row.

Every coach will be able to submit an optional 5 minute video for feedback before the next session. Once the first section of modules is complete there will be a one week break and the next module of three sessions will start. We will present a total of seven modules of three clinics (21 two hour sessions).

Each zoom session will be recorded and every attendee taking the class will be able to review the video with an unlisted link that I will give you to YouTube.

At the end of the series Maître Handelman will offer zoom USFCA certification exams for Moniteur in epee. If possible we may be able to offer Prevot zoom exams also. We strongly encourage women to use this series to become certified in epee as there is a need for more certified female epee coaches.

The clinic start date is Feb 10, but may have to change if COVID stops coaches from accessing their clubs and students for the sessions. Day and time is Wednesdays at 12 noon Pacific (3pm Eastern), as it seems to be the consensus of coaches surveyed.

Maître Handelman has written two comprehensive texts on fencing:
Fencing Sabre: A Practical Training Guide for Coaches, Parents, and Young Athletes
Fencing Foil: A Practical Training Guide for Coaches, Parents and Young Athletes
He recommends (not required) reading the appropriate sections in the Foil text before each session since it will have more detail on each topic then is possible to present. Since 80% of the information in the Foil text can apply to epee, these 21 zoom clinics will fill in and cover the rest of the techniques and tactics specific to epee coaching and fencing.

At each session the lead coaches will briefly discuss epee technique as they demonstrate it. The coaches should then repeat the technique with their student or another coach. After trying it, pose any questions or concerns to the leads before continuing to the next action. The lead coaches will also watch the attendees work on the action, and then give general feedback to the group as a whole. This will be a working clinic with as much doing as possible.

At the end of each zoom session the coach will be given an optional assignment to make a 5 minute YouTube video on a topic from the completed class. If the video is received at least three days before the next session, the coach will receive feedback with suggestions for improvement if needed.

The clinics will progress from how to coach and cue correctly, to detailed information on all epee techniques, and finish with Teaching lessons and advanced high level Option lessons.

Outline for Clinic series 1 (material is covered in three two hour sessions):
Fencing Elements
Coach’s (C) positioning, footwork, blade cues, target presentation
On guard, lunge, recovery, redoublement Footwork beginning to advanced (½ steps)
Preparations defined
Teaching Preparations to improve base technique: Engagement, Change of Engagement and
Double Engagement, Searches
Absence of blade
Invitation vs. on guard
Simple attacks: advanced target, deep target, straight and angulated
Coach’s reactions after each action
Eight Coaching cues
Remise Reprise Actions with varied footwork
Six Teaching Distances

Outline for Clinic series 2 (material is covered in three two hour sessions):
Counter-attacks (CA): direct, angulated, no contact, with contact, with blade (opposition, interception)
CA actions with contact
Purposeful errors or correct actions and student reactions
Forced errors w/ distance, technique and timing
Defense: Parry riposte, (6, Counter 6, 8, 4, 2, 1), technical execution, utilization, pedagogy of each
Coach realistic attack cues
Counter-riposte (in lunge, recover from lunge)
Counter ripostes at varied distances
Initiative: Coach Initiative Drills: Offense: student attacks – no blade contact
Defense and Counter-offense: student defense with parry ripostes and counter-attacks

Future series Clinics 3 - 7, each with three two hour sessions, will present step-by-step:
1. Prises de fer, Attacks on the blade, False Attacks, Counter-Time, In-fighting methods, Attacks in the Preparation, Compound Attacks and Compound Parries, Ceding Parries
2. Types of coaching footwork for higher level students
3. How to fix the lesson when things are going wrong
4. How to adjust to the three ways students learn
5. The latest innovations in training using timing, distance, and student initiative in option lessons
6. Technique of all aspects of epee fencing, offense, defense and counter-offense, with detailed coverage of the execution, utilization, pedagogy, and application in various types of lessons
7. Lesson types will include: the Warm-up, Teaching and Option Lessons
8. Basic teaching (tutorial) drill types (demonstration-performance, with practice of each drill)
9. Blocked drills (no reaction, reaction)
10. Serial/sequential drills (tell the order or it is known)
11. Random drills (choice decision drills)
12. Review of information for the themes coaches are required to present in the Moniteur, Prévôt and Master exam lessons.

Our teaching goal is to have each coach learn how to integrate all the above skills and apply them to any level students, beginner to elite.
For example, in the Option lesson series the coach will be given two or three simple actions and taught step by step how to make an Option lesson that is challenging for any level student. Earlier series will give the base technical abilities to coaches so they are able to accomplish the high level lesson. For coaches that have a strong background in Option lessons during the practice sessions the instructors will increase the level to help the coaches use changes of distance, timing, hand and blade orientation, footwork, hand and foot coordination both correctly and purposefully incorrectly executed, foreseen and unforeseen actions, student initiative and varied tactical situations. All this will help to refine their cues and work on speed, perfect distance, shorter reaction time and rapid tempo change.

When you preregister, please send your name, contact information, and certification level if applicable.

Fees: Each coach may sign up for one clinic of three sessions or the entire series. There is a minimum of 5 coaches to hold a series and a maximum of 15.

Payment is through Venmo – user name sfyouthfencing, or email or cell 415-846-2443. For other payment options please contact Maitre Handelman.

For coaches that can commit to the entire series there is a special discount fee:
Full 21 sessions of the seven clinics: USFCA Members: $450 (this price is a 25% discount for members)
Non-Members: $595

For coaches that sign up for one clinic of three weekly sessions at a time:
USFCA Members: $90 (this price is a 25% discount for members) Non-Members: $120

Rob Handelman, D.C. Maître d'Armes
Vice President of United States Fencing Coaches Association
Phone: (415) 846-2443 Email:
Preregistration opens on December 30, 2020.

BE A LIFELONG LEARNER: The day you stop learning is the day you get stale, burned out and treading water…and that’s when other coaches will pass you by. Perhaps the most common characteristic we've seen in all our top coaches is that they never cease to stop looking for ways to add to their base of knowledge. They are always looking for that next little nugget of information that they can use to help them improve the way they can help their athletes. Lifelong learners are always growing and evolving. Let us help you move to the next level or fine tune your current one.