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Yale Fencing 40 th Anniversary of Head Coach Henry Harutunian.

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Presentation on theme: "Yale Fencing 40 th Anniversary of Head Coach Henry Harutunian."— Presentation transcript:

1 Yale Fencing 40 th Anniversary of Head Coach Henry Harutunian




5 You'll learn life resembles fencing in that the timing wins the touch, that self-reliance is like footwork and should be worked on just as much. In fact, the Coach's words are useful in any enterprise you try... (it's never wise to date "chip gills" or trust some "dirty kind of guy"). We're grateful that we know him, we're proud of all he's done-- he's been at Yale for forty years, and we treasure every one. George Bradley 75 FOR HENRY HARUTUNIAN, IN CELEBRATION OF HIS 40TH ANNIVERSARY AS COACH OF THE YALE UNIVERSITY FENCING TEAM If you travel to New Haven and matriculate at Yale, you'll discover many subjects your education might entail: you can snooze in "Vibes & Tribes" or yawn through "Rocks for Jocks," you can sample cups at Mory's and learn to drink outside the box; but wander to Payne-Whitney and reach the seventh floor, and you'll find a font of wisdom who can teach you something more. The maestro there is unimpressed, although he's easy to approach, so students give him their respect with the simple name of "Coach." He's trained Olympic fencers and trained fencers for the stage-- why, he's even trained some fencers to riposte with disengage! He can make a world-class athlete out of an awkward clutz like you, and while practicing your parry you might learn something, too.




9 FOR HIM We fence for him, Sheathed in blue and white, Saluting Judge and Foe, Masked for every fight. We fence for him; Courage proves our might, Advancing gracefully, Footwork swift and light. We fence for him, Dueling left and right, Flashing cross the strip: Our Foes remorseless Plight. We fence for him; La Belle is ours tonight. Mask off and with a shout, His champion for one night. Steve Blum, 74




13 It is an honor as well as a privilege to send my fond wishes to all attending the celebration of Coach Harutunian's remarkable 40 years at Yale. As Yale's fencing captain and intercollegiate saber champion in 1951 under the leadership of Yale's only two other fencing coaches in the past 85 years, Papa and Albert Grasson, I regret not being able to personally attend. Without any second thoughts Yale Fencing provided my best times and greatest enjoyment during my Yale career. Coach, keep up your great work in continuing to elevate fencing at Yale. With warm wishes, Carl Knobloch '51




17 Congratulations Coach. As team captain, I remember it was my job to wake you up at 6:00am for the first of my two individual lessons each day. I trust you are no longer living weeknights on the office cot? Believe me; Yale Fencing was the only thing I took seriously that year, and what an honor it was to team up on a saber squad with Steve Blum and Dave Jacobson. We were good. And then I remember returning for my last year … and they and Edgar House, none of whom had fenced before, were unbeatable! Thats what coaching does!! I also remember driving with Coach in Boston … a feint left and a fleche through the traffic, the lane marking was something you straddled. Best wishes, Rossi Snipper 74




21 Congratulations, Coach! I wish I could be there to celebrate with you. It's funny how my memories of you and the team are far more vivid than my memories of the classroom... perhaps it's because none of my professors ever ordered me to drink pepper vodka and sit in the sauna when I had the flu, or ate their pumpernickel bagels with Vietnamese hot sauce, or refused to wear a helmet while riding my second-hand motorcycle, or cared so much about my general health and well-being. One practice I remember you wore a worried expression, finally cornering me to ask, "Jess, are you smoking?" You had seen a box of candy cigarettes in my bag that a friend had given me as a joke. I didn't know who was more relieved... you looked like you were going to send me to the sauna with the shot glass again. You always paid attention to the details, from fixing our weapons to asking about our studies and our families. I don't know if that is what has made you such a successful coach, but surely it has made you a most beloved and memorable one. With love, Jessica Yu '87




25 "Believe me or not……"




29 To Coach Balanced at the end of strip Out of room Out of breath Grasping for solutions Coming from behind Summoning my courage Creativity and Resolution Comforting myself, vowing to do Better, Try Harder and yet Not beat myself up Its Your voice I hear Cheering from the side Thank you Beth Merritt, 81




33 "Nyeeck, you naive boy!"



36 As the Captain of a Winning Team in 1955 I was proud of our performance, but it all pales by comparison to the long line of champions and victorious Yale Teams, the result of Coach Haratunian's work and inspiration. In the name of all of us from those distant fifties..... Many thanks and Congratulations for a life devoted to education, athletics, fencing and Yale. Kris Keggi 55


38 Dear Henry, I am so sorry that other commitments keep me from attending the celebration of your long and wonderful service to Yale and so many of its men and women. You are one of those very, very few masters in our ancient and marvelous and ever-new sport with that special gift which touches the life of everyone you teach. And much more: all of us, who have come to know you, work with you, spend time with you, are aware that every one of us is a better person because of you. But more still. As a parent of Steve, I've had the deep satisfaction and pleasure of knowing that, apart from members of his family, there is no man anywhere who has contributed as much to all the good in his life as you have. Barbara and I are forever grateful to you. Fondly, Bob Blum 64 and 68 Olympic Teams

39 "Alan, you be how chunky boy!"


41 Coach: In some ways 40 years is a long time. So congratulations on a remarkable longevity. But I'm sure for most of us it has gone by in a flash. I remember vividly the day I met you and the second thing you asked me was if I was "lefty hand or righty hand." Your delight in my response worried me a bit, but the excitement of having a sabre thrust into my left hand started me off on a long and joyous road. I should tell you that the reason I was on the 7th floor of the Payne Whitney gym was that Rossi Snipper had convinced me the night before to stop by to see if I might be interested in trying out for the fencing team. I had dreams of being a Renaissance Man and a solid knowledge of fencing certainly seemed like a prerequisite. I might add that I was recovering from a bad case of mononucleosis and was in terrible physical shape. I could barely climb a set of stairs without getting out of breath. When I walked into the fencing room that first day I saw an unbelievably athletic group of college athletes leaping, jumping, running and hopping around the perimeter of the room. My enthusiasm was quashed - I would never be able to compete, especially given my weakened state. And when I realized that what I was witnessing was just the warm-up I decided to make a quick retreat. As I neared the door a powerful hand grabbed my shoulder and turned me around. "You freshman, boy?" It was the first thing you ever said to me and I answered your question with a simple nod of my head as I was too stunned to speak. From that moment on I was under your spell. You taught me many things: how to win, how to lose, how to fight, how to be loyal, how to work hard, how to prioritize, and how to do what is right even when it is difficult. That's quite a list. You are undoubtedly the most important teacher I ever had. So Coach, congratulations again. I am sorry I can't be there to share this occasion with you. Edgar Jay House '75


43 "The Suhab be fencing today."



46 When Ben's first brain tumor was diagnosed in 1990 and he decided to have neurosurgery, it made sense to him that the more fit he was the better he would recover from the surgery. And it was obvious to him that the very best way for him to get in the best physical shape possible was to go to New Haven and spend time working out and training with Coach. It was clear that this plan had a double benefit for Ben: in addition to physical conditioning, Ben got to spend time with Coach and re-visit some of the happiest times of his life, which were in Yale's fencing room. The day before Ben and I were to leave for home, after Ben had spent a week working with Coach, Coach told me that Ben had done him a great honor by turning to him at such a serious time of Ben's life. And that is emblematic of how deeply the fencers that Coach has trained over 40 years feel about him: they bring their intended spouses and their children to meet Coach, and many return to him at turning points and times of crisis in their lives, as Ben did. With love, Paula



49 Coach and Wei-Tai Kwok pose with the Little Iron Man Foil Trophy and the IFA 3-Weapon Championship Trophy, bringing it back to Yale in 1985 for the first time since 1959.

50 On our life journey, each of us has a small handful of individuals who have played pivotal roles in forming the crux of who we are today. In my case, Coach is one of those very special people to me. From Coach, I learned how to learn. That to do a complex action, I had to master its individual parts. That to execute in high speed, I had to execute in low speed first. That in teaching others I also learned about myself. I know of no Yale classroom where I learned more about how to learn than on the 7th Floor of Payne Whitney. From Coach, I also learned true courage. That to conquer my fears and nervousness on the strip, I needed to believe in myself more than I ever dared believe. That when I did achieve more than I could ever imagine, I realized the boundaries that limit us are mostly mental. That one man, Coach, helped me stretch my belief that I would be more than a club level fencer, in fact a national level fencer, or an Olympic level takes a shift of the mind...a willingness to accept the unknown as possible...a belief that with dedication, discipline, passion and faith...we can fight to be the best and that we have every right to the gold medal podium as any other man. In the journey of life, to achieve our dreams, it takes the courage I learned from my fencing Coach. Now I am never afraid of any difficult challenge...Coach taught me the secret of what it means to believe in myself. Thank you Coach, for showing me the way as it is with fencing, so it has been with life. Congratulations on 40 years with Yale. I am so grateful I had the good fortune to be your student. You're the best!" Wei-Tai Kwok Captain '85

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