CISM Fencing: En garde in Cuba

CISM Fencing: En garde in Cuba

The CISM Fencing Program is gearing up for their first World Military Games (WMG) to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 13-26th 2011. In preparation for this major military and sporting event, the CISM fencing program is venturing south for some environmental sport-specific training at the Cuban National Fencing Training Centre in Havana. There they will train along with Cuban coaches and athletes as well as engage in two friendly matches between the countries.

Learning from their heat-wave experience of the Military World Championships in Venezuela last spring, the staff of the CISM Fencing program has decided to better prepare their athletes for the potential temperatures and humidity of Brazil in July. The team learned that wearing all that protective fencing gear, and having to train and compete in a completely different climate, is a huge challenge. Last year, the athletes sweated so much that their non-conductive fencing clothing actually became conductive from their salty sweat, making hits on the entire body valid, instead of just the isolated vest or electric jacket. Drinking litres of water each day and sweating it out is not something most Canadian fencers have experienced or are acclimatized to very often. Therefore, learned to deal with such environmental issues such as differences in climate, food, travel, accommodations, language, culture and simply day-to-day function, is an important part of this teams preparation for WMG,

The group will depart Canada on Monday February 21st and return March 1st. The agenda for the week is packed with 3 hour fencing training sessions as well some friendly exhibition matches with the Cubans. A key goal of the trip is to uphold the CISM motto of Friendship through Sport. The trip also includes cultural experiences and historic tours to such places as Old Havana, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While in Havana the Canadian delegation has been fortunate enough to be invited to the residence of the Canadian Ambassador to Cuba, for an evening of social and cultural exchange. This will give the members of the delegation a chance to brush up on their diplomatic skills as representatives of the Canadian Forces.

Unique to the CISM Fencing Program is the strong connection with RMC Fencing. A large portion of the CISM fencing program are RMC ex-cadets who got their start in fencing at the college in the Ontario Athletics University(OUA) circuit under RMC fencing masters Patricia and David Howes. They later went on to become successful fencers at the provincial, national and international levels. Ex-cadets participating in this Cuba TC include; Capt Marilyne Lafortune, Capt Sarah McCrae, S(Lt) Chantel Helwer (nee Lemay) Lt Jacqueline Power, 2Lt Michael Dubois-Boudazza and 2Lt Michelle Guertin. Current RMC students who are participating include; OCdt Eric Castellani, OCdt Tucker Densmore, OCdt Luc Abel, OCdt Chantal Boucher, OCdt Ryan Bearss, OCdt Steven Morris, OCdt Marcus D’entremont-Wapen, and OCdt Vianca Libongco.

When the CISM staff and athletes return in March from Cuba, they will have gained valuable experience and knowledge, on how to be better prepared for Brazil. In May, RMC will host one final spring training camp for the CISM Fencing Program. At that time, the lessons learned will be shared and passed on to those fencers who were not able to attend the Cuban training camp. CISM Fencing wants to be psyched and well-prepared for their first World Military Games in Brazil, where the heat will be tough, but the competition will be tougher. En garde, prêt, allez…

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Submitted by:

Maître Patricia Howes Ch.P.C. (Photo upper left margin)

RMC Head Coach

CISM Head Coach

Fencing Escrime