Epee Fencing 2
Chapter 2: Physical Training
Training is a primary component to winning. Once you've learned the basic moves, you must train your body to execute these moves with precision and speed.
- November 2014
Some training ideas...
Here are some ideas to train your body for fencing.
- Wrist motions - Use a small weight and practice turning your wrist clockwise and then counter-clockwise while holding the weight.
- Climbing and decending stairs - A great exercise for the legs is going up and down stairs. The bigger the steps the better. When I was on the Varsity team at CCNY, our coach will often instruct the team to climb the stairs in Lewison Stadium. Lewson stadium was designed in the style of the Roman Theater. It has these big steps where people can sit and watch the events in the center. It is perfect for practicing our leg muscles to do long lunges.
- Footwork - Footwork has two components. First, you need to be able to move backwards and forwards quickly and with balance. Second, you need to maintain proper fencing distance between you and your opponent. The second is the harder of the two. In order to maintain proper distance, you first need to know what is the proper distance against your opponent.
- Point control - One action that is specific to epee fencing is point control. Point control is the ability to hit a small and moving object with the point of your weapon. This will provide great defense in making "stop" action against your opponent. One way to practice is to attach a golf ball to a string and hang it approximately at waist level. Practice hitting the ball while in motion.
- Bounce - One of the fencing moves is to bounce back and forth or in place. To help practice, it is good to bounce on a trampoline. It will help with both muscle control and timing.
- Aquatic exercise - When in a pool, it is good to practice fleche attacks with the whole body.
- Stamina - To build up stamina, you can use a stopwatch and practice running(sprinting) for 3 minutes, rest 1 minute and run another 3 minutes rest 1 minute and continue running for 3 minutes. These are the duration for a 15 touch bout.
- Fencing grip - First it is a good idea to find a grip that fits your hand. I recommend a "pistol type" grip. It will give you the maximum control and power. There is a proper way to grip your weapon. The way it was explained to me by my coach a long time ago is this - You want to imagine the grip to be like a bird. You want to grip it just tight enough so it won't fly away but not too hard as to choke it to death.
You want also to be able to manipulate the weapon easily using just two fingers- the thumb and the index finger.
- Breathing - Finally, the most important of all exercises is being able to breathe properly. Most people breathe through the nose. I find it easier and more efficient to breathe both through the nose and through the mouth. You will get more oxygen. Practice not to hold your breath. You want to be able to continuously provide oxygen to your lungs while fencing.
- Strategy practice - Once you have mastered all your basic moves, you want to be able to put them together in what I called a compound move. Your practice strategy is to imagine an opponent doing the moves that you anticipate and then performing the counter moves. You can practice this in your head and then with your weapons and on your feet. You will learn the proper timing to react and to counter.
- Stand in front of a mirror - Practice in front of a mirror and check your position. Make sure your on guard position is safe. Watch for exposed areas.