This post is NOT about fencing…per se.  It is about opportunity, marketing + promotion, branding, shifting paradigms, self-promotion, ambassadorship, achievement, influence, sacrifice, and a little philanthropy. Oh, and an elite fraternity of (rather handsome) men and (beautiful, kick-ass) women.

Last weekend, the Coupe du Monde (World Cup) of Fencing was held in New York City; Brooklyn, to be exact.  I wasn’t able to attend the entire weekend-long event, but I was able to spend several hours on Saturday watching the Men’s Sabre Finals and the Women’s Direct Elimination (DE) Sabre bouts. For me, it was an incredible opportunity to see the top sabre fencers from around the world compete in my backyard.

Steve Mormando (my coach), Dagmara Wozniak (seated) + Daria Schneider (on strip)

While I have only been fencing for a few years, I have been blessed to hold incredible proximity and association to these world-class athletes whom I respect and admire, and whose influence and mentorship inspire my journey in ways that they are largely unaware. Peter Westbrook, Steve Mormando (my coach), Tim Morehouse, Jason Rogers, Keeth and Erinn Smart, Dagmara (“Daga”) Wozniak, Daria Schneider and Mariel Zagunis have all touched my life in some way.  The privilege to watch them perform in this hemisphere and on this side of Greenwich Mean Time was a rarity and a treat.

But as I said, this post isn’t about fencing…really.

Opportunity is knocking down the damn door. Can somebody please answer it?

I have been to my share of fencing tournaments. For a sport that triggers association with attributes like chivalry and elegance, the reality of the event, itself, is decidedly neither of these. When en garde is demanded by a referee at the commencement of a bout, indeed, chivalry and elegance serve as the standard to which all most fencers engage their opponent. But most tournaments are unglamorous, sweaty, hurry-up-and-wait, eat-when-you-can, multiple day happenings. I don’t know why, but I expected to see at least some level of elevation at this event. Read the rest of this entry »

(Can’t be treating my academic essays like redheaded step-children. I have to put ALL of the work on the fridge! Enjoy!)

100 years into our post-industrialized, modern existence and technology is most often reconciled in beneficial terms (“progress” and “advancement”) that can be utilized for personal or consumptive profit.  However, we often fail to recognize the impact of emergent technologies in shaping the politics of identity, as well as the sociopolitical trajectories of our habitus.  Like an awkward teenager, we have struggled through the formative rites of passage.  When performance and technology synchronized well, progress proved a momentary coup.  But we have realized in retrospect that these moments were greatly evanescent and not maintainable by the antiquated expectations of behavior we, as the audience, posit to those who perform for our idealistic benefit on an ever-amplifying stage of technological succession.  Old doctrines of information exchange must be reconsidered; instead of changing our performance in an attempt to project and reinforce an outdated and constructed ideology, we must strive for a level of maturity allowing both the active and passive participants the freedom to exchange in an authentic and trustworthy manner.

If we compare how tenets of ritual and rhetoric were the means of integrating technological systems in the mid-19th Century as suggested by the sociological observations of de Tocqueville, Veblen and Hawthorne (Marx) Read the rest of this entry »