Veteran épée fencers had the opportunity to learn from and train with the U.S. Women’s Épée National Team during a three-hour clinic held during Summer Nationals in on July 2 in St. Louis.
In its first year, more than 25 fencers up to age 72 attended the clinic led by Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas), Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas), Kat Holmes (Washington, D.C.) and Natalie Vie (Phoenix, Ariz.), all of whom will travel to Wuxi, China for the Senior World Championships later this month
“I think it went really well,” Holmes said. “We had an amazing group of women here. The level of enthusiasm was insane. This was beyond our expectations for what we thought our first vet clinic was going to be and we’re really excited as to what this can become in the future.”
During the clinic, participants took part in a warm-up and drills that worked on footwork and preparation. Coach, referee and former fencer Lisa Campi-Sapery (Montville, N.J.) also talked to the group about scouting before the clinic concluded with a Q&A.
“The warm-up that Kat teaches is a very good warm-up that is not dependent on being a top-notch young athlete in great physical shape,” said Valerie Asher (Bethesda, Md.), a five-time Veteran World Team member. “I think it’s very adaptable and works well for any of us, and I think there’s some really good fundamentals that Courtney and Kelley gave us on how to think about very basic things that are technical. And Natalie helped us think about tactics and how to train for tactics, so I think we really covered a lot of ground.”
While exercises included a lot of physical training, the clinic was also highly focused on the mental side of fencing.
“That’s one of the most fun things with the vets is that they’re such an incredibly smart group of people and they’re adults,” Holmes said. “They really think through everything. They might not be able to do 10,000 push-ups, but they can certainly problem solve like no other, so the mental aspect is such a huge game and it’s something we can all continue to learn and grow in and share.”
The veteran clinic is part of a larger initiative in women’s épée to create one team – from youth to veterans – with the goal of sharing ideas and helping each other improve to create even greater success on the strip.
“It’s the first time I had met [the members of senior national team] and it was just really great,” said 2017 Vet World bronze medalist Erica Julien (Wilmington, N.C.), who most enjoyed the encouragement shown by everyone at the clinic. “I really needed this. I needed to get pumped up. I was quite down after my épée on Saturday and you have to re-energize and this is good. This is just what I needed.”
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