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Introduction to Fencing 116

Updated on June 21, 2018
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Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years.

Introduction

I have written quite a few mini lectures on fencing here on HubPages. Some may question my expertise and my credentials. After all, I do not have the accomplishments like some other fencing coaches or competitors with medals and Olympic experience. What I do have is a clear understanding of the sport of fencing and of competitive bouting. This translate into knowledge that can assist any fencer who wish to improve their skills.

- June 2018

Background

Fencing can be practiced on several levels. You start by learning the rules of the game. Next, you take some one on one lessons to hone the basic skills. You practice regularly to perfect these basic moves. You may train to improve your stamina and speed and agility. Finally, you learn advanced techniques and tactics to win.

At each level, you as a fencer and a competitor may encounter some obstacles. You can overcome these obstables and become a great fencer.

The most important part is choosing the right coaching. A well qualified coach will adapt his teaching methods to your particular style and temperaments. He will impart wisdom and strategy that will help you achieve your maximum potential. At the end of the day, you are in control. When you get en-garde, you hold the destiny in your hand. Your performance on the strip is based on all your training and knowledge accumulated over your history. You need to muster all your skills and mental toughness to win over your opponents.

Case in Point...

The stop thrust move.

What is it?

When to use it?

How to improve your game?

How to set-up an opponent?

Execute with precision.

1. A stop thrust is a fencing defensive move. It is executed at the start of an offensive action initiated by an opponent.

2. When to perform a stop thrust is key to the success of your action. You want to do it just after an attack has started in the "preparation step."

A preparation step is very short in duration in most cases. An attack is often done in a surprise. It can be anticipated by the defender by looking for "signs" of a pending attack. Every fencer has exhibited some form of "sign". For example, an attack may start when the fencer lift his weapon just so slightly...

3. You can improve your stop thrust by looking for these "sign" or telegraph moments. Once you study your opponent for a while, you will realize a pattern.

4. You can gain the upper hand if you can also invoke your opponent to initiate an attack. This can be accomplished in several ways. For example, if you expose a target just so subtle. Let your opponent know that you may have a weakness. You can also advance/lean just so slightly to make him think you are within his target distance. Once you have successfully engaged your opponent to initiate an attack, it is up to you to execute the stop.

The actual execution must be practiced and be executed with precision. You want to aim at a fixed target for the stop. In many cases, it is the opponent's forearm or wrist. The risk is that if you miss, you are most likely to be hit. A second strategy is to block out your opponent using your guard as you perform the stop thrust. In some cases, you can deflect the attack using your guard while placing your point in-line to score.

Summary

As often with experts, some may know the proper technique but may lack the physical attributes to execute the move. In fencing, the strategy is half the battle. Once you have the strategy, you need the combination of mind and body to execute precisely at the proper time. That is precisely why fencing is so difficult to teach and to demonstrate.

As someone who has done a lot to study the mechanics of fencing, I have insight into why a certain move is better at a certain point in time. This is the knowledge I hope to convey to other fencers. You can read a lot of fencing instruction books. It is very difficult to gleam the tactic or strategy that will allow one to win.

© 2018 Jack Lee

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