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#114011 - 01/02/05 08:17 PM Questions on Foil and Sabre Fencing
Anonymous
Unregistered


About two years ago I started fencing at my college in a small club that had started the previous year. The club is only six or seven people, many of whom are completely inexperienced in martial arts or swordplay; it didn't take long to figure out my opponents weaknesses.

It turns out that every member of the club, the instructor excluded, is vulnerable to low thrusts or slashes to the torso (the stomach, actually). These low attacks are nice, in that they let me score uncontested hits, but I've found that the rear of my legs will burn for a day or two after a good set of matches. Is this the result of poor stretching, poor technique, a combination of both, or some other factor?

Furthermore, I've heard bits and pieces about tai-chi and, while I'm by no means experienced enough with a rapier to consider a second style, I was hoping someone could tell me a little bit about it.

Be gentle, it's my first post. Do not rend the noob.

at least not too much.

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#114012 - 01/03/05 12:12 PM Re: Questions on Foil and Sabre Fencing
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by Rags:
About two years ago I started fencing at my college in a small club that had started the previous year. The club is only six or seven people, many of whom are completely inexperienced in martial arts or swordplay; it didn't take long to figure out my opponents weaknesses.

It turns out that every member of the club, the instructor excluded, is vulnerable to low thrusts or slashes to the torso (the stomach, actually). These low attacks are nice, in that they let me score uncontested hits, but I've found that the rear of my legs will burn for a day or two after a good set of matches. Is this the result of poor stretching, poor technique, a combination of both, or some other factor?

Furthermore, I've heard bits and pieces about tai-chi and, while I'm by no means experienced enough with a rapier to consider a second style, I was hoping someone could tell me a little bit about it.

Be gentle, it's my first post. Do not rend the noob.

at least not too much.
[/QUOTE]

Low thrusts are easy to get on a fencer with too high of a guard/stance. You are probably making use of a lower stance and are thrusting off your rear foot, so its plain to see why your points are surfacing there. Add a little feinting, and you'll get that target every time. The burning and soreness in your legs can actually be attributed to your low stance and shuffling footwork. This is normal in both eastern and western fencing, but If it bothers you that much, try supplementing a MA that uses a lot of low stances (E.g. Some of Shaolin, Shotokan, Hung Gar, etc.). This will get you used to moving around in a lower stance comfortably (and give you a real nice ass, lol). Remember, the secret to fencing is...1, 2, Die!

Peace out,
Skyler.

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#114013 - 01/03/05 06:25 PM Re: Questions on Foil and Sabre Fencing
Anonymous
Unregistered


Being sore is to be expected, but after that much experience, your legs should not be "burning". I would suggest increasing your stretches and if it continues, see either a doctor or fencing master. There could be a problem with either your stance (are you lunging with your toes pointing backwards?) or your muscles themselves (is something sprained or pulled?). Good luck

Also, keep hitting them like that until your guys learn to circle 8, being weak enough for it to work every time in unacceptable.

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#114014 - 01/03/05 08:41 PM Re: Questions on Foil and Sabre Fencing
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by Rags:
About two years ago I started fencing at my college in a small club that had started the previous year. The club is only six or seven people, many of whom are completely inexperienced in martial arts or swordplay; it didn't take long to figure out my opponents weaknesses.

It turns out that every member of the club, the instructor excluded, is vulnerable to low thrusts or slashes to the torso (the stomach, actually).[/QUOTE]


Why are they "vulnerable"? Are they simply inexperienced fencers?

[QUOTE]These low attacks are nice, in that they let me score uncontested hits...[/QUOTE]

Again, why are the hits "uncontested"? Are these folks unfamiliar with low-line parries? Sounds strange.

[QUOTE]Furthermore, I've heard bits and pieces about tai-chi and, while I'm by no means experienced enough with a rapier to consider a second style, I was hoping someone could tell me a little bit about it.[/QUOTE]

Whoa, hold on there--your post speaks of "Questions on Foil and Sabre Fencing", and now you're talking about a "rapier".

These are all different weapons.

What exactly do you train in?




[This message has been edited by Armed_Man_Piker (edited 01-03-2005).]

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#114015 - 01/03/05 08:43 PM Re: Questions on Foil and Sabre Fencing
Anonymous
Unregistered


The foil was originally designed to simulate rapier fighting. A person skilled in fencing should, in theory, be skilled in rapier combat.

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#114016 - 01/03/05 09:18 PM Re: Questions on Foil and Sabre Fencing
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by Benjamin1986:
The foil was originally designed to simulate rapier fighting.[/QUOTE]

No.

The "foil" (fleuret; floretto; et al), as it is defined today, is a practice weapon that was originally used for teaching the use of the smallsword, NOT the rapier.

[QUOTE]A person skilled in fencing should, in theory, be skilled in rapier combat.[/QUOTE]

Modern fencing and old rapier fencing share quite a bit of basic actions, but to claim--even "in theory"--that someone skilled in modern fencing should by definition also be skilled in rapier combat is a bit of a stretch.

Not to mention that the rapier fencing has been dead for a long time. There are schools that teach reconstructions on rapier combat, but there are no surviving traditions for that weapon.

So, I'm still curious as to what Rags exactly studies.

Does he study sport fencing (foil, epee, & saber--w/ emphasis on electric competition)?

Does he study "classical" fencing (same 3 weapons, but fenced "dry"--i.e., non-electric--and with all bastardized modern sport actions removed)?

Does he study "WMA" (Western Martial Arts)/"HEMA" (Historical European Martial Arts)--i.e., reconstructions of older Western fighting styles?



[This message has been edited by Armed_Man_Piker (edited 01-03-2005).]

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#114017 - 01/03/05 09:29 PM Re: Questions on Foil and Sabre Fencing
Anonymous
Unregistered


In response to Piker:

I'm the only member of the club who attacks from low angles, so, as you said, they have no experience with low parries.

As Benjamin1986 already mentioned, the foil is meant to simulate the rapier. I spar with a foil, but train occasionally with a rapier to realize the weight difference and appreciate the origin of the sport/hobby/style (depending on whom you ask). I don't train with an actual sabre. I assume your confusion was the result of my mentioning both sabre and foil sparring, but only the rapier as a blade?

[edit] Just read your last post. I personally study classical fencing, as you defined it; however, the rest of the club is focused on sport fencing, though we are without electronic scoring equipment right now.

[This message has been edited by Rags (edited 01-03-2005).]

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#114018 - 01/04/05 06:26 AM Re: Questions on Foil and Sabre Fencing
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by Rags:
In response to Piker:

I'm the only member of the club who attacks from low angles, so, as you said, they have no experience with low parries.[/QUOTE]


And that frankly doesn't make much sense, unless you happen to have much more training than the other people in the club. Are they all complete novices? You claim that you started fencing "about two years ago", so I must assume that the other "six or seven people" at the club must have less training time than you, otherwise there should be no reason why they "have no experience with low parries", as you put it.

[QUOTE]As Benjamin1986 already mentioned, the foil is meant to simulate the rapier.[/QUOTE]

NO, the foil is NOT "meant to simulate the rapier". The modern-day foil (which is what I assume you study, based on your answer below) has no real connection with the rapier. Foil and (even more so) epee fencing are derived from the use of the SMALLSWORD. Do you know what the smallsword is?

During the 16th and 17th centuries, there were admittedly rapiers that were blunted (i.e., "foiled") for practice, but they should NOT be confused with the modern fencing foil.

[QUOTE]I spar with a foil, but train occasionally with a rapier to realize the weight difference and appreciate the origin of the sport/hobby/style (depending on whom you ask).[/QUOTE]

OK indulge me--what kind of "rapier" to you "train" with? Swept-hilt? Cup-hilt? Transistional?

[QUOTE]I don't train with an actual sabre.[/QUOTE]

Considering you've only trained for 2 years, that's not a surprise--you should still be rooted in foil fencing, unless you belong to a club which simply throws new students into saber and/or epee classes, simply because they need fencers for those weapons (and that's unfortunately pretty common practice these days).

[QUOTE]I assume your confusion was the result of my mentioning both sabre and foil sparring, but only the rapier as a blade?[/QUOTE]

No, my "confusion" resulted from the fact that you were initially talking about modern fencing ("foil and saber"), and then brought up the rapier. There's no serious continuity there. Foil, epee, & saber fencing still exist as living combat sport traditions. Rapier fencing, on the other hand, has been dead a long time.

[QUOTE][edit] Just read your last post. I personally study classical fencing, as you defined it; however, the rest of the club is focused on sport fencing, though we are without electronic scoring equipment right now.[/QUOTE]

By your reply above, I assume you mean that you are taking a "classical" approach at what is otherwise a sport fencing club?

And I'm still a bit puzzled over where your "rapier fencing" fits in here--it's surely not something you've learned from your maestro or coach, unless he's teaching you some reconstruction outside of the modern fencing curriculum.

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#114019 - 01/04/05 07:58 AM Re: Questions on Foil and Sabre Fencing
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by Rags:

It turns out that every member of the club, the instructor excluded, is vulnerable to low thrusts or slashes to the torso (the stomach, actually). These low attacks are nice, in that they let me score uncontested hits, but I've found that the rear of my legs will burn for a day or two after a good set of matches. Is this the result of poor stretching, poor technique, a combination of both, or some other factor?

[/QUOTE]

Um, have you asked your instructor yet? You should approach him if you have any injuries.


[QUOTE]Considering you've only trained for 2 years, that's not a surprise--you should still be rooted in foil fencing, unless you belong to a club which simply throws new students into saber and/or epee classes, simply because they need fencers for those weapons (and that's unfortunately pretty common practice these days).[/QUOTE]

I agree that new students should start off with foil, for a few weeks or so. Then they should be able to learn epee and sabre.

[This message has been edited by alegria (edited 01-04-2005).]

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#114020 - 01/04/05 08:41 AM Re: Questions on Foil and Sabre Fencing
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by alegria:
I agree that new students should start off with foil, for a few weeks or so. Then they should be able to learn epee and sabre.[/QUOTE]

For "a few weeks or so"? LOL, what is that going to accomplish?

FYI, "a few weeks" of foil fencing isn't proper preparation for saber or epee. It isn't proper preparation for anything, actually.

One is traditionally considered a novice in fencing until about 2 years of training (unless one is some sort of fencing phenom, that is). Therefore, one should engage in at least a couple of years of foil fencing, before moving on to saber or epee.

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#114021 - 01/04/05 01:04 PM Re: Questions on Foil and Sabre Fencing
Anonymous
Unregistered


Correct, the other members of the club have almost no experience. There are two more experienced people who can defend the thrusts, but they were not included in my count because they're not active. Neither are members, nor have they shown up more than once.

The smallsword and rapier are closely related. The smallsword is lighter and slightly shorter, and was used as the basic weapon of the French schools. The rapier was used as the basis of the Itallian schools.

Our club has yet to receive proper funding, and our equipment is in dire need of replacement. Currently we have 5 foils in working order. Our instructor decided to begin teaching some of us sabre as a result of the shortage.

Not that it makes much of a difference, but I train with a cup-hilt rapier.

A quick find-on-page search for "rapier fencing" shows that it's only appeared in your posts; it's understandable that you would be confused where rapier fencing fits in. This will probably be my last post in this thread, seeing as how it doesn't seem to be going anyware. Alegria, Benjamin1986, SifuSkyler, thank you for your help.

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#114022 - 01/04/05 09:48 PM Re: Questions on Foil and Sabre Fencing
Anonymous
Unregistered


Rags,

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Rags:
A quick find-on-page search for "rapier fencing" shows that it's only appeared in your posts; it's understandable that you would be confused where rapier fencing fits in.[/QUOTE]

Excuse me?

YOU are the one who started this thread, which was apparently about "foil and saber fencing".

YOU are the one who then muddled the issue, when you brought up the use of "rapiers".

YOU also echoed Ben86's incorrect notion regarding the foil being a practice weapon for the rapier.

YOU are the one who offered an overly simplistic and inaccurate appraisal regarding the relationship between the rapier and smallsword.

So tell me now, who's really "confused"?

You have been remarkably unclear and/or elusive in your posts. I'm simply trying to find out what you do, fencing-wise. Do you train in the modern weapons, a reconstruction of rapier fencing, or perhaps a combination of both?

It's not a difficult question.


[QUOTE]Correct, the other members of the club have almost no experience. There are two more experienced people who can defend the thrusts, but they were not included in my count because they're not active. Neither are members, nor have they shown up more than once.[/QUOTE]

Fair enough.

Milk those low-line attacks against the neophyte escrimeurs for all they're worth, but keep in mind that you'll ultimately have to bout against more experienced folks too, so you'll have to vary your tactical approach.

[QUOTE]The smallsword and rapier are closely related.[/QUOTE]

They are related, but they are not the same. Considerable differences in their respective designs and use exist. You're also ignoring the FACT that the modern foil is NOT meant to "simulate the rapier". Any fencing historian will tell you that.

[QUOTE]The smallsword is lighter and slightly shorter, and was used as the basic weapon of the French schools.[/QUOTE]

It also typically lacks any real cutting edge--it is a pure thrusting weapon. Rapiers, on the other hand, usually retain a functional edge.

[QUOTE]The rapier was used as the basis of the Itallian schools.[/QUOTE]

No offense meant, but here's yet another example of where you betray your comparative lack of knowledge on the subject of fencing and fencing history.

It is true that the smallsword was a French development, but it was also adopted throughout much of Europe. It was, in fact, widely used by the Italians too, especially in the North (in the South, the Neopolitans and Sicilians--doubtlessly due to longtime Spanish influence--retained the use of the long cup-hilt rapier).

[QUOTE]Not that it makes much of a difference, but I train with a cup-hilt rapier.[/QUOTE]

It can actually make a considerable difference.

Swept-hilts were most prominent in the 16th century, and often featured rather substantial blades that were still capable of very damaging cuts. The rappir used in the German school of the late 16th and early 17th centuries was a stout cut-and-thrust weapon. In Jakob Sutor's manual of 1612, this type of rapier is shown as being capable of severing a hand at the wrist.

Later, thinner cup-hilt rapiers could not cut with such severity, and there was thus an even greater emphasis on the use of the point.

In conclusion, I'm sorry if my posts on this thread have in any way offended you, but you were the person who initially posted questionable material here--I simply asked for clarification on what exactly you do, in terms of fencing.

And I'm still waiting for an answer regarding your work with rapiers--is it a reconstruction taught to you by your maestro and/or coach?

Peace,

A_M_P




[This message has been edited by Armed_Man_Piker (edited 01-04-2005).]

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