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Northern Ohio

On Target Fencing Team

ON TARGET Hall of Fame

Established 1998

Inductees

2012 Ajay Larkin Fencer Leader Friend

August 13, 2012

I have known Ajay Larkin as one of my fencers for over 6 years. I have seen many fencers of all levels of aptitude come and go in that time. Some only lasted 1 lesson, others lasted longer, and only a select few have lasted as long as Ajay.

Today we are inducting Ajay into the On Target Fencing Hall Of Fame because of character, his personality, the way he does things, his approach and how he learns and solves problems. Ajay is a good example for all of us.

Like all fencers, Ajay had to learn by doing, observing and asking questions. This he has done well. He has pushed himself beyond all the limits he thought he had when he started. And he is not done yet. He is a very hard worker and never complains about being tired or working hard.

Ajay is an accomplished fencer. He can execute all the moves that I have been able to teach him. Even the world champion knows he must continue to practice, or his skills will diminish. Ajay enjoys practicing. Taking my advice, Ajay has sought out other fencing teachers who can offer him a different point of view, and more advanced technique than I can offer. This has profited Ajay with respect from all fencers throughout the region.

Ajay is a leader. A few months ago, a captain position on our foil squad opened up. Knowing what he had to offer our club, I offered the position to Ajay, he accepted it and whenever I need him to lead a few drills or footwork practice, Ajay confidently steps right up and helps with the training and progress of the other fencers. The most experienced fencers in our club seek him out to practice and spar with.

Ajay is a respected and trusted referee of fencing bouts. The fencing referee is the equivalent of a baseball umpire. He must knows the rules and enforce them equally and fairly. He must maintain order between two highly active and sometimes emotional athletes. He must do everything to prevent injury in a sport where the fencers are using the modern equivalent of swords to fight with.

One thing I have not been able to make Ajay do. I am an emotional and aggressive fencer by nature and I have tried to make Ajay be more aggressive to motivate him against some of his more skilled opponents. Win or lose, I have never seen him give up against a better fencer, beat up on a lesser fencer, lose his temper, use foul language or show undue brutality against any of his opponents either in competition or practice. He has never showed unsportsmanlike behavior at any time. When the bout is over, he just smiles and shakes hands just like he should.

We will miss Ajay when he goes away to college. I hope he will come back and fence with us some more. Congratulations to Ajay Larkin on being inducted into the On Target Fencing Hall of Fame.

Ajay Larkin - Fencer, Leader, Friend

2008 JEFF RODACHY Fencer Friend Coach

August 18, 2008

In 1998 I created the On Target Fencing Team Hall of Fame to honor worthy On Target Fencers for their accomplishments as fencers, while with On Target, and for their contributions to On Target Fencing both on and off the strip.

Dave Rabitor was inducted in 1998, Beth Brown in 1999, Rich Hamper in 2001 And Ben Switala in 2005. You just saw Anson Eckel inducted.

Jeff Rodachy is the kind of fencer I want more of here at On Target. He is an adult fencer who starts with nothing but then through 11 years of hard work, superior intelligence, courage, perserverance and sacrifice becomes a truly integral part of this fencing club.

He has done everything expected of him and more. He is proficient in all three weapons, foil , epee and saber. He is a skilled and fair referee who is recruited by tournament organizers throughout the Great Lakes Region. Fellow fencers search him out to practice with and ask advice. He is respected and liked by his clubmates and fencers from other clubs. Without being asked to he will take a fencer and coach him or her with ease, enthusiasm and authority. Rich and I are pretty good fencing coaches but when Jeff walks in, our practices are just that much better. Jeff makes our work much easier.

When I approached Rich Hamper a few weeks ago about this award for Jeff Rodachy , Rich said “It’s about time.”

Rich was right again. Jeff deserved this recognition a while ago. Then Rich and I talked about something else Jeff deserves. So as of this minute, if he accepts, then Jeff Rodachy is an Official Fencing Coach of the On Target Fencing Team.

The On Target Fencing Team Hall of Fame plaque says:

Jeff Rodachy – Fencer, Friend, Coach

2008 Anson Eckel Fencer Friend Leader

August 18, 2008

In 1998 I created the On Target Fencing Team Hall of Fame to honor worthy On Target Fencers for their accomplishments as fencers, while with On Target, and for their contributions to On Target Fencing both on and off the strip.

Dave Rabitor was inducted in 1998, Beth Brown in 1999, Rich Hamper in 2001 And Ben Switala in 2005.

Anson Eckel came to On Target 8 years ago as a boy. Next week when he starts his college career he goes as a man.

He has done everything expected of him and more. He is proficient in all three weapons, foil , epee and saber. He is a skilled and fair referee. Fellow fencers search him out to practice with. He is respected and liked by his clubmates and fencers from other clubs. When asked to, he can lead a practice with ease and authority.

Few fencers know he is an Eagle Scout, and a proficient Scout Leader. He has attended numerous scouting excursions and learned to not panic when faced with difficult situations with other boys scouts in his charge. He does this with his boyish grin and good humor.

The Boy Scout Law describes Anson :

The On Target Fencing Team Hall of Fame plaque says:

Anson Eckel – Fencer, Friend, Leader

2005 Ben Switala Fencer Friend Scholar

August 16, 2005

In 1998 I created the On Target Fencing Team Hall of Fame to honor worthy On Target Fencers for their accomplishments as fencers, while with On Target, and for their contributions to On Target Fencing both on and off the strip.

Dave Rabitor was inducted in 1998, Beth Brown was inducted in 1999, and Rich Hamper was inducted in 2001.

The time has come for this year’s inductee. Ben Switala.

When Ben first signed up for a beginning fencing class at the North Olmsted Recreation Center 4 years ago, I am not sure he knew what he was getting himself into. He had tried a number of the traditional sports and through his martial arts training he knew that he liked one-on-one competition.

Like any beginner he was all elbows and knees. And like any beginner there were times he didn’t get it. But the one thing that separated Ben from the usual beginner is that he did not quit. I honestly believe that Ben has never ever thought of quitting fencing. From the first time he got hit, from the first time he missed hitting his opponent, from the first bout he lost in competition. He only waited for the next practice and the next and the next. Down deep in his soul, he knew he was going to get it.

I have been told I have nice form. My coaches taught me well and I always wanted to look good fencing, win or lose. There are fencers out there who can make the touch no matter how bad it looks. For them the ends justify the means. Ben is not one of those fencers. Ben is a pleasure to watch fencing, and he makes the touch.

I have tried a number of things over the years to improve Ben’s fencing; I encouraged him to take fencing seriously, but still have fun, I asked him questions, I answered his questions, I pushed him into refereeing and learning the rules, I met him before or after practices for private lessons, I tried to make him learn the moves well, not just good enough. I can honestly say without trying to hurt anyone’s feelings that Ben is my best student ever so far. In fact a few weeks ago, I stopped giving him private lessons because I feel I have taken him as far as my abilities can. Another coach will take him higher. Right now my ego will not allow me to say that he is a better fencer than I. But I can honestly say that I am sure he will be. It is in his nature.

To improve Ben’s fencing, I tried one thing that he would not allow. A number of times I tried to get him angry, to give him a little attitude that I thought would help him with a particularly dangerous opponent. He has failed time and time again to show any anger or vindictiveness towards his opponents. This is something I must learn from him.

The On Target Fencing Team Hall of Fame plaque says:

Ben Switala – Fencer, Friend, Scholar

Rich Hamper 2001 Fencer Coach Friend

May 29, 2001

Three years ago, I created the On Target Hall of Fame, to honor worthy On Target Fencers for their accomplishments as fencers, while with On Target, and for their contributions to On Target Fencing both on and off the strip.

Dave Rabitor was inducted in 1998 and Beth Brown was inducted in 1999.

This next induction is WAY overdue. Since this person joined us, we have been taken very seriously in the fencing community and the outside world in a number of ways.

First, our Epee instruction jumped from the few meager lessons I could give, to someone who is one of the most senior epee fencers and coaches in the Northern Ohio Area. And he is hardly done yet. He attends many local and regional tournaments, cheering for, helping and coaching all those who have earned his friendship. A number of fencers from other clubs, come to On Target from time to time, to practice with him and his students. They know a good thing when they see it.

Second, his insights into fencing psychology, and fencing coaching have made many of us think about our fencing and ourselves in new and different ways.

Third, his loyalty to his friends and students is without question. A number of times over the years there have been clashes between personalities within and without On Target. His calming voice has been one of reason and understanding. On more than one occasion, he has helped me prevent, notice and solve situations within our club that could have become problems. I am sure he has solved many problems that I don’t even know about.

Fourth, on the Internet, he invented and manages The On Target Forum. The forum is a means by which all internet users, worldwide, can discuss fencing, ask questions, voice opinions and share information. The On Target Forum is the model that other fencing clubs try to imitate. It gives us local, regional, national and international exposure, and brings all the fencers of the world closer together.

This memento for Rich has three words on it that, in a nutshell, describe Rich Hamper.

Fencer -Coach - Friend

Beth Brown 1999 Fencer Student Friend

August 3, 1999. Elyria, Ohio. Beth Brown was inducted into the On Target Hall of Fame today at the Tuesday Night practice at Lorain County Community College.

Head Coach Tom Nagy honored Beth with the following remarks ;

"One Year Ago I created the On Target Hall of Fame, to honor worthy On Target Fencers for their accomplishments as fencers while with On Target and for their contributions to On Target Fencing both on and off the strip.

Last years Inductee was Dave Rabitor.

This years Inductee is someone who if I had to write their report card as a fencer here at On Target I would gladly give her an A+.

Her accomplishments are many; I would like to tell you what I think are the highlights; she was a

If you havent guessed by now, our 1999 Hall of Fame Inductee is Beth Brown.

Over the years, Beth helped me make many fencing demonstrations to promote fencing. She was my first helper at the Great Lakes Medieval Faire. She was interviewed on WEOL Radio where she spoke intelligently (for a 14 year old) about On Target, her experiences as a fencer, her coaches and teammates.

Beth is one of the few fencers I know, whom everyone likes and respects as a fencer.

She was so highly thought of that she was recruited by the Ohio State University Fencing Team, but she decided to pursue academics instead at Hiram College.

Her college future will take her away from us, maybe even for good. But, I hope she returns to us as often as possible and if her career brings her back to On Target I will be very happy.

Good Luck and thanks for being with us."

Epee Coach Rich Hamper then asked if the plaque which Beth received had "Keep your Distance" engraved on it ?

David Rabitor 1998 Fencer Leader Friend

July 21, 1998. North Ridgeville, Ohio

Dave Rabitor was named the 1st Inductee into the newly established ON TARGET Hall of Fame.

Head Coach Tom Nagy honored Dave with the following words "As you know, today is Dave Rabitor’s last day at ON TARGET. He is retiring from his job in the Coast Guard and will soon be moving, probably to Massachusetts where he and his family would like to relocate.

Ever since Dave joined us about 2 years ago, he has been a valuable addition to our fencing club.

In honor of Dave’s efforts and accomplishments with us, I have created the ON TARGET Hall Of Fame. Tonight, Dave Rabitor will be our first inductee.

On this plaque, which I would like to present to Dave, it says;

ON TARGET FENCING TEAM
HALL OF FAME
1998 INDUCTEE
DAVID RABITOR
FENCER LEADER FRIEND

These last three words summarize Dave s presence with us.

He came to us a skilled fencer. During the time with us he has won a number of tournaments representing ON TARGET. He won with grace and style. In other tournaments he has represented us well, while trying his best. He showed us his gift for making new friends while fencing. In some other tournaments, against serious competition, he had the courage to compete, he learned alot about himself and found ways to improve his fencing skills and technique.

Many times during his stay, Dave was called upon by me to lead fencing classes and practices, when I was not able to. He did this more than I can remember. He never complained, even when it meant juggling his schedule to help. I knew that a class or practice was in capable hands when Dave was in charge.

Finally, Dave has been a good friend to me and all of us the last 2 years. This past year has been a difficult year for me personally, and Dave never let me down. I don’t know how many times I asked him for his advice, at all hours of the day or night and he helped me. I know that Dave is an only child. But I consider him my Brother. My Younger Brother.

Thank you Dave for being with us.

We wish you the best of luck."

In addition, Beth Brown presented to Dave a painting of him making a successful fleche attack. Beth also baked a delicious cake in Dave's honor which was quickly devoured.