Posts Tagged ‘Saskatoon’

A Tribute to a True Master

Maitre Claude Seguin

Maitre Claude Seguin

Recently our Maitre Claude Seguin celebrated his 65th Birthday.  A milestone by any means, but for someone like Claude it is also the marking of a 40 year career in Fencing, almost 34 of which have been set in Saskatchewan.  You cannot say the word “fencing” in Saskatchewan and not say the name Claude Seguin in the same breath, for they are one and the same.  We have a presence in this sport thanks to the dedication of this Maitre who was born in Ontario, but chose to head out West to make his mark on the sport.  A Maitre who has been sought the world over for his expertise, but who instead of leading the glamourous life he might have had in New York, or Europe decided instead to create his own legacy right here on the Prairies.

Here are just a few (not all) of his accomplishments:

Claude Seguin – A Timeline in History

  • 1973 – began his coaching career in Ontario.
  • 1976 – coached in Manitoba for the next 3 years.
  • 1979 – became head coach of the Saskatoon Fencing Club and Provincial Coach of the Saskatchewan Fencing Association.
  • 1982 – Coach of the Saskatchewan Team at the Western Canada Summer Games
  • 1986 – The first Canadian to achieve the title of Maitre (Achieved NCI Level IV in all three weapons)
  • 1987 – Coach of the Saskatchewan Team at the Western Canada Summer Games
  • 1988 – Saskatchewan Dairy Producers Coach of the Year
  • 1990 – Coach of the Saskatchewan Team at the Western Canada Summer Games
  • 1990 – 1996 – Vice President of the Coaches Association of Saskatchewan
  • 1990 – 2000 Coach of Saskatchewan Team at 10 World Cadet Championships
  • 1991 – Coach of the Saskatchewan Team at the Canada Games
  • 1991 – Coach of the Canadian Team at the World University Games (Sheffield, England)
  • 1992 – Prepared and successfully qualified one Canadian fencer for the Barcelona Olympics (Allan Francis)
  • 1992 – Fencing Academy of Canada Junior Development Coach of the Year
  • 1993 – Fencing Academy of Canada Junior Development Coach of the Year
  • 1995 – Coach of the Saskatchewan Team at the Canada Games
  • 1995 – Coach of the Canadian Team at the World Universtiy Games (Fukuoka, Japan)
  • 1996 – Fencing Academy of Canada Junior Development Coach of the Year
  • 1999 – Coach of the Saskatchewan Team at the Canada Games
  • 2002 – Coach of the Canadian National Junior Epee Team World Junior Championships (Antalya, Turkey) – where son Jean-Pierre won the World Cadet Championships in epee.
  • 2003 – Advisor to the Canada Games
  • 2003 – Coach of the Canadian National Junior Epee Team World Junior Championships (Plovdiv, Bulgaria)
  • 2004 – Coach of the Canadian National Junior Epee Team World Junior Championships (Linz, Austria)
  • 2006 – Inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame
  • Ongoing – Consistently has placed at least one fencer from Saskatchewan on the National Team each year.
  • Ongoing – Prepared coaches at all levels, including Level IV, and runs a coaching clinic each summer.

From his bio on the SFA Website:

Maitre Claude Seguin

Claude coaching Junior National Team Member Patrik Dula

“Claude has represented Canada in every possible way in the sport from being a team coach, referee, manager, delegate, armourer and medic, frequently all at the same time, and performing well at all tasks. His apprenticeship coaching program is the model upon which other tutelage programs have been established, and he carries on his successful program among such distant cities as Saskatoon, Regina, Moose Jaw and Prince Albert, and Swift Current. Among his best athletes have been 2002 World Champion Jean-Pierre Seguin, 1992 Olympian Allan Francis, National Women’s Foil team member Lavinia Surdu, and Junior National team members Tarsch Bakos in épée, Kent Shirley in foil, and National Team Member of the Women’s Foil Fencing Team Shannon Comerford, as well as many other Cadet, Junior, and Senior National team members.”

Today marks a milestone for Claude’s life, and the continuation of the legacy he has built here in Saskatchewan, but he’s not done yet.  For those who have yet to experience the power of Claude not to worry – he has a new generation of fencers coming up in his Saskatchewan system, either under his direct tutelage, or under the coaches that he helped to train.

As he marks this milestone in his life, we honour our Maitre with words of heartfelt thanks, words of humour, and words that are Claude’s very own:

****************

A few of our favourite “Claude-isms”

(Thanks to John Brunning for sharing!)

“If Joe Schmuck from nowhere Sask. can do it ….”
“Since you are leading the drills anyway perhaps you should take a coaching course.”
The 2011 Saskatchewan Provincial Fencing Team

The 2011 Saskatchewan Provincial Fencing Team

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“Claude has always made me laugh and tells it like it is.  Recently he told me that my “baby” (19 year old) needs to cut off all of his curls (like his team mates did for him when he did his first European epee tour a year and a half ago) and cut the apron strings!  My boy is now a young man who has learned to love fencing from the impact that Claude has had on his life. Justin feels that Claude has inspired him to become a better person through becoming a better athlete.”

~ James Neumeyer

“Claude’s enthusiasm and commitment to the sport of fencing is first rate.  His knowledge and pursuit of athlete development has helped many fencers achieve world class rankings.  He deserves a joyous birthday and a year ahead filled with great memories!”

~ Kathy Nazarali, SFC registrar

“Ah Claude… hearing them call our names at the airport and him casually saying “Good – time for one last cigarette”. Overheard during a lesson: “Relax, relax goddammit or I’ll kill you.” (he meant that the student needed to be relaxed in order to react correctly, but it sounds way better out of context). Getting an exhausting lesson just before pools at an elite circuit tournament in Montreal (and me in way over my head), and consequently roaring through the pools while all my opponents were just starting to wake up. Driving back up from Regina at 2:00 in the morning. It’s endless, really. Fencing + Saskatchewan = Claude. Nuff said.”

~ Jeff O’Brien, Asquith Fencer

“To this day Claude advocates a cold ball of spaghetti as a good pre-competition snack. It makes me laugh every time.”

~ Erica  Emery, Regina  Fencer

“While at the Canadian National Championships in Edmonton In the spring of 1983, Claude was, shall we say, “less than thrilled” to have the Edmonton police come into the gym looking for him.  Evidently, he had been parking illegally and feared the jig was up.  At least, that is the reason he gave for being apprehensive.  He was greatly relieved to learn they were only looking for him to rescue my daughter.  She was one of two kids from Saskatchewan who participated in a program that year to encourage youth to take up fencing.  The program was run by the Candian Fencing Federation  (CFA at that time).  It provided chaperones and brought young fencers to the nationals from across the country.    Due to some mix-up, the Saskatchewan fencers were abandoned at their residence and weren’t taken to the airport for their flight home.  Without cell phones, and barely any computers in use, I had no way of contacting anyone at the tournament other than to call the police.”

~Mike Weaver, Past President Saskatoon  Fencing Club

Claude is the type of coach that will always be there for you no matter what. Whether it be a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, or a word of advice he is always there to help his athletes do their best. His passion and commitment to fencing is unrivalled – on par with his ability to chat!

~Shannon Comerford, Saskatchewan Provincial Team Member and Member of the Canadian Nation Women’s Foil Fencing Team

Living the Canadian Dream and Fencing

Saskatoon Fencer Named to Canada’s National Fencing Team

Patrik Dula in 2011

Patrik Dula in 2011

On March 8th the Canadian Fencing Federation announced its newest team members to Canada’s National Fencing Team and Saskatoon’s Patrik Dula has joined fellow Saskatchewan athletes Shannon Comerford of Saskatoon and Philip Pitura of Regina, as representatives of Canada on the world stage.

Patrik Dula began his fencing career at age 6 in his homeland of Satu Mare, Romania.  Falling in love with the sport instantly because of his competitive nature, he won his first bronze medal fencing in Foil at the Romanian Nationals at age 8, and his first gold medal at Romanian Nationals at  age 11.

Patrik Dula receiving his 2011 Saskatchewan Men's Foil Fencer of the Year Award from President Pat Hayes-Schryer.

Patrik Dula receiving his 2011 Saskatchewan Men’s Foil Fencer of the Year Award from President Pat Hayes-Schryer.

Upset at having to leave both his sport and his country behind at age 12, when Dula’s family decided to immigrate to Saskatchewan, the family’s first order of settling in, involved enrolling Patrik at the Salle Seguin in Saskatoon, where he could continue his love of fencing, under the tutelage of Maitre Claude Seguin, the Saskatchewan Provincial Coach.

While Dula qualified via the Canadian Fencing Federation on domestic points to attend World’s in Jordan two years ago, due to his then immigration status, he was forced to turn down the offer.  Now as a proud Canadian and even prouder Saskatchewan citizen, Dula says “This year I am extremely happy to make it finally because it was my goal for many years in Canada.  I will never quit and I won’t stop until the Olympics because that is what my dream has been ever since I can remember.”

Patrik Dula competing at the Canada Cup in Saskatoon November 2011“Whenever times have been tough in the past,” continues Dula. “The quote that has always kept me going when obstacles out of my control were in my way, was:  “When they knock you down you need to get back up brush the dirt off of your jersey and go for the cup.”

Dula and fellow teammate Philip Pitura of Regina, will head to Porec, Croatia in April, representing Canada as they compete in the World Junior Cup. Following in the footsteps of fellow Saskatchewanian Jean Pierre Seguin who won the Cadet World Championships in 2002, in Antalya, Turkey in the Men’s Epee Division.

We know you’ll do it again!  Best of Luck Patrik!  From Your Canadian Fencing Family!

Mike’s Musings: Judgement Calls

The following is a post written by Saskatoon fencer, and President of the Saskatoon Fencing Club Mike Weaver back in October of 2011, directly following the Asquith Tournament – Looking at officiating from both sides of the piste.

Fencing PHoto by Jessie Jardine

Today is Sunday.  The Asquith Open will have just finished.  I trust it was a great beginning to the year and you all had a good time.  Not being there to participate as either athlete or official, I have no idea what kind of excitements may have occurred.  It was interesting watching the officials at the tournament I was in last weekend.  Some were clearly better than others, but all were doing the best they could to provide consistent, fair officiating.  I didn’t always agree with the official.  For example, I saw a couple of actions called beat attacks when I saw parry repost, but we generally agreed on which way the points should be awarded.

Fencing PHoto by Jessie JardineSome fencers did take exception to some of the calls (big surprise) and, right or wrong, I felt sympathy for the official.  I know from experience that you not only want to make the right calls, you want to be seen to be making the right calls.  In short, you want people to agree with you.  Of course, with a sport like fencing, with lots of judgement calls, there will always be disagreements.  It helps for the official to be supremely self confident, but not everyone is.  The officiating role can be a challenge and yet the sport needs officials.

Fencing PHoto by Jessie JardineThere has never been a fencer that hasn’t disagreed with a call made by an official.  Sometimes, the fencer is right, but often they are not.  I recall a foil pool I was in that was officiated by Kirk Brecht.  It was during the Asquith open several years ago when it was still being held in the Lord Asquith School gym.  Kirk made some terrible calls that, unfortunately, went against me.  Needless to say, I was not impressed.  Never having seen Kirk officiate before, I sat down and watched him work through the rest of the pool.  To my chagrin, I found I was agreeing with all of his calls, even those in which one or the other of the fencers vehemently disagreed.  Kirk is an excellent official although he rarely takes on a foil match.  So, how is it he made such bad calls when I was fencing?  The answer, of course, is that he didn’t.  When we fence, we pay attention to what the other fencer is doing so we can plan good strategy.  When we execute that strategy, we know what we are doing, at least what we intend to do.  However, we are not the only fencer on the piste!  Sometimes our timing is a little off, or our execution fails, or the other fencer steals the time, or something they are trying to do interferes with what we are trying to do.  In those cases, our carefully planned action, which we may think succeeded perfectly, doesn’t look from the sidelines at all like we think it does.  Likewise, the infraction the other fencer so obviously committed may not look like an infraction from the official’s position or it may seem insignificant to what is happening.

Mike Weaver President Saskatoon Fencing Association

Mike Weaver officiating at the Saskatoon Open 2010

When the official makes a wrong call, it is easy to get so fixated on it and so angry that we then screw up several more actions.  If we can be a little more philosophical, we can make other decisions that will be more successful.

On a related note, I have often found myself reluctant to use yellow and red cards as much as I should.  Understanding the fencer’s feelings, I tend to be more tolerant than I should be.  I am coming to understand that the cards are there for the fencer’s benefit as much as for the official.  They are important to the maintenance of good order which is to everyone’s benefit.

Mike Weaver President Saskatoon Fencing Association

Mike Weaver 2010

Mike Weaver

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