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Thread: An amateur seeks your wisdom

  1. #1
    Just Joined Svirfneblic Pimfernickel's Avatar
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    An amateur seeks your wisdom

    French or Pistol Grip for my epee? I'm a complete novice.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Five Rings's Avatar
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    Personally I prefer French, but you have to work hard at it, and resist using it to get the extra length by holding the pommel (you lose control that way). Pistol comes in many shapes and sizes - you should go to a meet where there are vendors and try out all the different ones (weight of an epee affects the balance). If I use pistol for epee, I go with a large Belgian that I modify slightly to fit my hand. Helps if you have a vice and some basic tools to adjust the fit.

  3. #3
    Senior Member VELISARIOS's Avatar
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    I prefer pistol.
    The purpose of tactic is to conquer the enemy with proper war movements and actions.

    -Tactics of Emperor Leon 6th the Wise

  4. #4
    Senior Member Five Rings's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Five Rings
    Helps if you have a vice and some basic tools to adjust the fit.
    I think I meant "vise" - whatever - you know, the thing that clamps onto a workbench in your basement. As for tools, nothing special, pliers, wrenches, etc. Make sure that you wrap the serrated surfaces with some tape to avoid scratching surfaces. Best if someone who has done it before shows you how, especially if you are trying to fit a handle onto an electrical blade.

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    Depends on your style, body type, athletic ability, etc.

    I was started on a french grip, to learn proper blade manipulation technique, before I switched to pistol (I use a large version of the italian visconti).

    I would suggest you stick with a french for now, especially for lessons, until you develop a good solid basics game. Once you start competing in tournaments, you might want to either switch to pistol, or start postin your french (or maybe even stick with the classical french, but that's quite rare, especially at the higher levels).

    Really, it's up to you, but listen to your coach.

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    I started on visconti and have always liked it better than french. With visconti, if you focus on using your fingers to menipulate the blade, a french grip won't have any major advantages.

  7. #7
    Senior Member RebelFencer's Avatar
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    Here's another vote for visconti. Where in Nashville do you fence?

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    Senior Member keropie's Avatar
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    Complete novice to fencing, or to epee? Either way, do you have a coach? If so, I'd probably take his opinion as canon for now, until you develop some comfort in the weapon. Myself, I use French grips to give lessons and nothing else (and that's mainly so I can keep myself from becoming competitive by relex and so I can switch hands when I need to )
    ^^

  9. #9
    Senior Member epeeisky's Avatar
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    I prefer pistol grips, but it is all up to what you learned on, coaches, and personal preforance.
    A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, "I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger."

  10. #10
    Just Joined Svirfneblic Pimfernickel's Avatar
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    New to fencing. I'm currently planning to fence at my university's club and I'm taking lessons from a friend.

  11. #11
    Senior Member RebelFencer's Avatar
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    Which university? (sorry, I'm interested to see where people I don't know from TN fence)

  12. #12
    Senior Member D+F+P=Hadouken!'s Avatar
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    I would suggest starting with french, because it develops your point control, your hand strength, and your sense of distance. Once you can kick ass with a french grip, either learn to pommel, or switch to pistol.
    "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

  13. #13
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    Also, a french grip can be cut down to a pistol grip, but not vice versa.

  14. #14
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    pistol grip gives you more power and overall blade control. people using pistol grip tend to have stronger attacks.
    french grip gives you more tip control and a little extra reach. people using french grips tend to be better on defense/counterattacks.

    your choice.

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    Whatever you decide, I'm sure your opinion will change over time. I started out fencing with frenchies, in foil. Then, since my club was so big on them, Belgians, which I absolutely despise. Now I've been into the Visconti's for a good long time, although I'd love to get a french or two to play with.

    I'd recommend, if it's possible for you, to get a french and visconti, or a variety of a couple of grips on a couple of different weapons, so that you can see how you like them. If you hate one or the other, or want to switch later on, it's an easy process to do. But yeah, I'd say that if you don't have an opinion yet, to leave your options open and try a few for a while, then see what grows on you.
    "Life is like a wheel, where everyone steals, but when we rise, it's like Strawberry Fields."

  16. #16
    Senior Member parrythis's Avatar
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    FWIW, a French grip on an epee does a better job of tucking your hand up behind the bell guard. People that use pistol grips and have larger hands are more likely to get hit on the pinky finger than if they are using a French grip.

    Quote Originally Posted by Five Rings
    Personally I prefer French, but you have to work hard at it, and resist using it to get the extra length by holding the pommel (you lose control that way)...
    While this is good advice while you are learning epee, it is a perfectly valid tactic to take on once you are experienced. In fact, it is one of the things that "equalizes" the tactical advantages of pistol vs. French. Consider that when you are "pommeling" against a fencer that is using a pistol grip, it is the only time that your primary target (your opponent's hand) is actually closer to the tip of your weapon than your opponent's primary target (your hand) is to theirs.

    Try both. Use whichever one suits you best.
    One test is worth a thousand opinions.
    I ain't as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was. - Toby Keith
    Living life without taking the occasional risk is like lemon-pepper chicken without the lemon-peper. It's just chicken.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Five Rings's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by parrythis
    While this is good advice while you are learning epee, it is a perfectly valid tactic to take on once you are experienced. In fact, it is one of the things that "equalizes" the tactical advantages of pistol vs. French. Consider that when you are "pommeling" against a fencer that is using a pistol grip, it is the only time that your primary target (your opponent's hand) is actually closer to the tip of your weapon than your opponent's primary target (your hand) is to theirs.
    I find that the lost leverage when pomeling detracts from the supposed advantage. To each his/her own. But in any event, I agree a beginner should not use this technique.

  18. #18
    Senior Member RebelFencer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Five Rings
    I find that the lost leverage when pomeling detracts from the supposed advantage. To each his/her own. But in any event, I agree a beginner should not use this technique.
    That's why you fence completely different if you're going to pommel...play to your stengths (aka: Increased distance). If you're fencing with a french grip normally against someone with a pistol grip there is only a downside for the french gripper assuming that both are competent.

  19. #19
    Senior Member remise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Five Rings
    I find that the lost leverage when pomeling detracts from the supposed advantage. To each his/her own. But in any event, I agree a beginner should not use this technique.

    It would appear that way because you ARE a beginner. However, if you should find a coach well schooled in the ways of the French Grip, you could become a God among mortals.

  20. #20
    Senior Member DangerMouse's Avatar
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    Wow, the which is better french or pistol argument. This tends to be the dumbest argument out there because everyone has an opinion that one is better than the other. They are both good. Check out these pictures from last year's world championships. Jeannet (#1 in world) vs Kolobkov (#2 in world).
    http://www.printroom.com/ViewGallery...lery_id=273158

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