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Thread: Common practices in fencing camps

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    Senior Member D+F+P=Hadouken!'s Avatar
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    Common practices in fencing camps

    Okay, in many fencing camps, (usually lasting less than a week), they have fencers run laps, do pushups, situps, endless footwork, ect. Obviously, running a few times isnt going to build any real endurance, a few days doing pushups wont build strength, and a few days doing footwork wont really make your footwork better. What is the logic behind these practices? I can only see it as a quick road to a sports injury.
    "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. And from this side only! The flight of a half-man, half-bird. Dinosaurs nuzzling their young in pastures where strip malls should be. Cookies on dowels. All those moment, lost in time. Gone, like eggs off a hooker's stomach. Time to die" -Phil Ken Sebben

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    If you are thinking of a competitive fencer doing the above, who doesn't practice or cross train outside of fencing then yes, ultimately all those exercises can't be too useful in the grand scheme of things. I think the main reason all types of fencers attend camp is for the lessons and drilling. Ultimately they do gain some skill from a camp but not a great deal.

    Now for the fencer who does practice and cross training and decides to go to a camp, then the camp can do great things. If that fencer times the periodicity of his conditioning to peak on the week of an intensive camp it can help boost his/her performance greatly.

    Of course I have limited credibility of this issue and someone could dissprove what I said. I say this only through my own personal observations and that of Dr. Kogler's in "Planning to Win" (one of my favorite fencing books).
    Last edited by Epee Scherma; 03-09-2006 at 05:34 PM.
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    Senior Member darius's Avatar
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    Okay, in many fencing camps, (usually lasting less than a week), they have fencers run laps, do pushups, situps, endless footwork, ect. Obviously, running a few times isnt going to build any real endurance, a few days doing pushups wont build strength, and a few days doing footwork wont really make your footwork better. What is the logic behind these practices? I can only see it as a quick road to a sports injury.
    First, it's an opportunity to build good habits. Sometimes you can fake it while fencing, but getting wiped out by a moderately challenging circuit is a nice wake-up call. Remember, not all fencers have coaches that challenge them to train outside of practice.

    In my camp experience, the footwork emphasis has been predominantly technical or tactical rather than endurance-based. However, sprinting, plyometrics, and ground-based agility work is significant.

    I don't think it would be particularly earth-shattering to learn that plenty of sports coaches do what they do because that's the way it was done for them.

    darius

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    Senior Member RITFencing's Avatar
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    Darius hit it dead on. While those exercises won't do any good in and of themselves, they provide an excellent model for those attending the camp who don't exercise regularly and allow those who do to keep up with or possibly improve their routine.
    "If I were ever to challenge you to a duel, your best bet would be battle axes in a very dark basement." Misquoted from The Prisoner

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    Senior Member MyrddinsPrecint's Avatar
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    in addition, there are plenty of different conditioning methods..... and different coaches will disagree about the ideal conditioning regimen.

    I would imagine that the kind of conditioning thought to be idea from the person/people running the camp is often better caliber information than has previously been received by some of the people at the camp.... and even if the people there do exercise regularly, the routine at the camp might provide something new......

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    Quote Originally Posted by D+F+P=Hadouken!
    Okay, in many fencing camps, (usually lasting less than a week), they have fencers run laps, do pushups, situps, endless footwork, ect. Obviously, running a few times isnt going to build any real endurance, a few days doing pushups wont build strength, and a few days doing footwork wont really make your footwork better. What is the logic behind these practices?.
    Wow, the young one is asking the "why" question about training practices. There may be hope yet.

    Often the greatest benefits of pushups, situps, laps, dodgeball playing, etc in camp settings are 1) they occupy time and 2) these activities require few or no coaches to run.

    Oh, perhaps you meant what's the logic and benefit in it for you ... :)

    That all depends on what the specific activity is. Asking what's this activity supposed to do for me can enable you to weigh that against your background, needs, goals, etc, etc.

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    Senior Member Mr Epee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by D+F+P=Hadouken!
    Okay, in many fencing camps, (usually lasting less than a week), they have fencers run laps, do pushups, situps, endless footwork, ect. Obviously, running a few times isnt going to build any real endurance, a few days doing pushups wont build strength, and a few days doing footwork wont really make your footwork better. What is the logic behind these practices? I can only see it as a quick road to a sports injury.
    When I was a kid I worked every summer at a Bible Camp...

    It was a free camp with chapel 3 times a day, and activities in between.

    I doubt the camp saved very many kid's immortal souls, but it did a good job of raising awareness, sharing philosophy, letting folks know that they're not alone, and giving them solid belief system for the next few months.

    That and making friends... and those friendships are stronger because they were forged in the process of enduring difficulty.

    Good times.
    Take your time. Read carefully.

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    Needs to get Outside Inquartata's Avatar
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    It's the same reason they do those things to recruits in basic training in the military: indoctrination is easier when the subjects are tired.

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    Senior Member smurfette's Avatar
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    You know, it depends on who is running the camp and what exercises these are. My first coach was an early-aging Soviet era foilist who always decided to have us do a some new repetitive activity without warming up right before a big competition. Like lots of lunges without dynamic stretches beforehand, calf raises cold. Generally speaking, fencing coaches tend to be a step behind the mainstream of exercise science -- not sure why. Take, for instance, the fact that whether to lift weights or not is still an object of debate! DFP -- you seem to know a hell of a lot more than a lot of folks. Glad to hear that you are using your own judgment and being critical. On the other hand, agility drills and plyo can be great, and camps are a great place to pick up some new ideas. My soviety-era coach had some great ones.

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    Senior Member D+F+P=Hadouken!'s Avatar
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    If I was to run a camp, the days would look sort of like.....

    Warm up-
    Technical footwork practice with instruction from coach
    Target work
    Lessons
    Situation bouting with an emphasis on applying what you learned in the lesson.
    Lunch.
    Nap.
    2nd lunch.
    Technical footwork practice with instruction from coach
    Target work/Parter Drills
    Lessons
    Situation bouting with an emphasis on applying what you learned in the lesson.
    Free bouting while being taped
    Video tape analysis
    Situation bouting with an emphasis on correcting errors found on taping.

    Alot more improvement potential there than just-
    Run Laps
    Do pushups
    Do footwork till legs cry
    Drill
    Lessons
    Bout

    For example, at the brown fencing camp I believe, they had fencers run 7 miles right off the bat, no build up. Thats just retarded.
    Last edited by D+F+P=Hadouken!; 03-09-2006 at 10:28 PM.
    "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. And from this side only! The flight of a half-man, half-bird. Dinosaurs nuzzling their young in pastures where strip malls should be. Cookies on dowels. All those moment, lost in time. Gone, like eggs off a hooker's stomach. Time to die" -Phil Ken Sebben

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    Senior Member smurfette's Avatar
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    Brown a fencing power-house? You are joking now, right?

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    Senior Member D+F+P=Hadouken!'s Avatar
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    Perhaps they'd win if they had any type IIB or IIA muscle fibers left.....
    "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. And from this side only! The flight of a half-man, half-bird. Dinosaurs nuzzling their young in pastures where strip malls should be. Cookies on dowels. All those moment, lost in time. Gone, like eggs off a hooker's stomach. Time to die" -Phil Ken Sebben

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    Senior Member Mr Epee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by D+F+P=Hadouken!
    If I was to run a camp, the days would look sort of like.....

    Lunch.
    Nap.
    2nd lunch.
    This pretty much kicks ass under three conditions

    1. Your are 6 years old

    2. You are a Mexican

    3. Your are a Hobbit
    Take your time. Read carefully.

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    Needs to get Outside Inquartata's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poulet
    So the subjunctive would be banned at your camp?

    Sounds like the preface to a story. "This one time? At banned camp?"...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Epee
    This pretty much kicks ass under three conditions

    1. Your are 6 years old

    2. You are a Mexican

    3. Your are a Hobbit
    4. You are a teenager

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poulet
    So the subjunctive would be banned at your camp?
    Touché. Unfortunately, like that long-ago move known as the flick, I'm afraid that comment whizzed over most people's heads.

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    Dax
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    I flick... in both foil and epee.

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    I'm with D+F+P=Hadouken on this one.

    I've been to a lot of week-long schools for things other than fencing that involve physical activity. Most of the students know that these schools/camps are tough and they prepare in advance so that they can absorb the material instead of spending their time sucking wind.

    I've been to a few schools that waste time on PT as a time filler. On classes that don't, the students either get their workout while participating in the class or they do it on their own time after class.

    I don't care how hard you work out for a week, you won't see significant improvement. The only thing it will accomplish is showing the slugs what kind of condition they're in. If you're squared away before you show up, it's just wasting class time.

    I'm all for warming up and stretching, but I think anything else is a waste of time for most people in a camp situation.

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    my favourite fencing camps have been sort of like this

    run (3k some days other days wind sprints)
    stretching/core
    breakfast
    warmup
    footwork (30-45 minutes)
    snack
    drills/lessons (1.5 hours)
    lunch
    warm up
    lessons/bouting (possibly conditional) for a couple hours. i mean if it's a club camp it's different but you go to these camps to get the opportunity to fence lots of different people. i have improved a lot in 1 week camps just from fencing new good fencers for a week straight.
    cool down
    dinner
    socialize for a couple hours
    sleeeeeeep
    repeat

    we also got like random visitors like yoga people and sports psychos and that was cool

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    Senior Member jjefferies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DesertFencer
    I'm with D+F+P=Hadouken on this one.

    I've been to a lot of week-long schools for things other than fencing that involve physical activity. Most of the students know that these schools/camps are tough and they prepare in advance so that they can absorb the material instead of spending their time sucking wind.

    I've been to a few schools that waste time on PT as a time filler. On classes that don't, the students either get their workout while participating in the class or they do it on their own time after class.

    I don't care how hard you work out for a week, you won't see significant improvement. The only thing it will accomplish is showing the slugs what kind of condition they're in. If you're squared away before you show up, it's just wasting class time.

    I'm all for warming up and stretching, but I think anything else is a waste of time for most people in a camp situation.
    Eh, My comments probably belongs in a coaches section I won't try to address the pure camp situation which may be a special case. But I was having a conversation at a major club a year or so ago and we discussed their training which featured game playing as well as the kind of calisthenics you are describing. They said that they found that younger fencers were in general just not up the physical requirements of competitive training. Too much time spent in front of computers, gameboys, tv's and such. Doesn't sound like anyone around here does it? So they were being forced to allow for this in their training and spend time with general conditioning.

    Likewise my coach at EBFG, Abdul, believes in physical training. Running, twisting, as well as stretching. On a usual evening we'll play basketball for 2-3 baskets and then spend about 15-20 minutes on aerobic exercise including running and general calesthenics before moving into footwork and/or a group lesson. A typical evening will start with 30-45 minutes of such activities before lessons or bouting. It is interesting that we do very few drills. BTW, the club is all adults.

    At the University of California, Berkeley, where I assist Abdul he splits the startup session between calesthenics and footwork. This because scheduling constraints limit the amount of time we have on two of the nights. While we do run laps to start with he will often turn to running sprints or races across the gym before going into general calesthenics. All the comments I've been getting from the Cal students are that they appreciate the workouts and find them generally desirable. I would guess that most university students outside of the athletic department can use more exercise.

    So my experience suggests that unless you're one of the top couple of percent, that physical training is always useful.
    J Jefferies

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