i know you are all sick of hearing about the zone right? but i still feel i haven't quite covered it so bear with me or don't read this i want to give a list of the different stages of the Zone and of fencing in generally (this does not relate to skill level only to a persons level of focus and assumes the person is fencing an opponent of equal skill) and yes for those of you who know me i am going to be making up names for them as i go along (deal with it!) i will start with the lowest and work my way up.
THE PIT OF DESPAIR: the fencer has become extremely frustrated and has given up all hope of victory and is now wallowing in despair and aggravation. characterized by wild movements, complete loss of point control, scattered violent attacks, & flustered if not crushed facial expressions. often caused by falling way behind in a bout usually only appears in 10 or 15 point bouts were the difference in scours has the greatest potential.
COMATOSE: the fencer is moving slowly and failing to parry or retreat from obvious straight in attacks. This is a normal state that often occurs during a fencers first bout and it quickly disappears as the fencer gets into the correct frame of mind. it can also be caused by extreme fatigue from a long day or from fencing two bouts in a row (the later is not supposed to happen but it occasionally does anyway)
I'M BACK: this is the stage were the fencer is performing at about there normal level making occasional sloppy moves but all in all they are fencing well. this is a good place to be at the beginning & end of a meet when people are most likely to be in a funk or be on the decline.
THE ZONE: this is what is generally referred to when we say someone is in the zone. the fencer is performing better than their average there footwork is fast, there attacks are landing almost entirely on target and they are pulling off BEAUTIFUL moves from time to time. also when in the zone the fencer is not even paying attention to the score they are thinking only about the next touch (point). The fencer can tell by the way their opponent is moving or tensing their muscles or there facial expression when and where their opponent is going to attack with a fair amount of consistency.
THE CHOSEN ONE: Touches are almost if not entirely one lighters (only one of the lights signifying a touch goes off) difficult moves like infighting fleshes or flicks are used often and effectively. the fencer knows they are going to win the bout without being, or feeling arrogant, or cocky. their blade and foot work are at their absolute best. the fencer knows almost without fail when and were their opponents attack will happen and can begin to counter before the attack comes. when you reach this level of focus you are virtually untouchable and so long as you can maintain it you are almost guaranteed to win.