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Thread: It has begun

  1. #1
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    It has begun

    My wife and I had our first fencing lesson (Virginia Academy of Fencing); mostly history of fencing, including how the tradition of using foil as training came about and we were paired up with other students and asked to hit one another on the head (to overcome the urge to blink). They say it will be the only time we do this.

    The next class they are going to go over footwork. I am anxious to begin my education.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mergs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sundown View Post
    They say it will be the only time we do this.
    Unless you take up saber!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sundown View Post
    The next class they are going to go over footwork. I am anxious to begin my education.
    Ahh, but Grasshopper, your education has aready begun! Wecome to the asylum!
    Available Now!!"The Care and Feeding of All Things Fencing", Third Edition go to The Armorer's Store or Fencing.net

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    Senior Member migopod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mergs View Post
    Unless you take up saber!
    Or epee.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mergs View Post
    Ahh, but Grasshopper, your education has aready begun! Wecome to the asylum!
    Seconded!
    Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem
    ~
    ^[:wq

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mergs View Post
    Unless you take up saber!



    Ahh, but Grasshopper, your education has aready begun! Wecome to the asylum!

    As I understood from other discussion forums, the hitting on the head with Sabre was to encourage the attacker to keep attacking no matter what.

    If I applied the lesson correctly from my teacher, our lesson was to understand we were safe inside our head gear no need to close your eyes when somethign is about to poke you in the face. Although, I suspect the lesson was more for the teacher as such that those that were eager to flail away the moment their hand touched a blade would be granted and they could get on with lessons.

    And I do plan to take up Sabre... and to enjoy a never ending education.

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    The internet makes people so dramatic.


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    Jason, just be glad that I won't be held accountable for the fate of the world simply because I put on a fencing mask.

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    Senior Member Grasshopper's Avatar
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    Does the Virginia Academy of Fencing teach finishing moves?
    FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WON'T YOU BUY MY TACTICAL WHEEL!!!????

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    Grasshopper, I will ask when I go to class this Friday and let you know their answer.

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    I just imagine someone expressing the same intense enthusiasm for taking up knitting, or co-ed slow pitch softball.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StevePirates View Post
    I just imagine someone expressing the same intense enthusiasm for taking up knitting, or co-ed slow pitch softball.
    “Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” Thomas Merton

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sundown View Post
    Grasshopper, I will ask when I go to class this Friday and let you know their answer.
    Please do not ask. You will only feel silly later.
    I now dangle to the left....my tassle. Get your minds out of the gutter.
    "Martin was not an optimist; he was a prisoner of hope." Optimism is about assuming there's evidence that justifies your outlook while hope is about creating the evidence and procuring your own happiness or vision of the world. - Professor West

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdawg2121 View Post
    Please do not ask. You will only feel silly later.
    Thank you for the heads up, now I know how to ask and not feel silly.

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    Learn well, especially the finishing moves. You'll be safe on Holy Ground.


    Remember...

    In the end -- there can be only one.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEJ8lpCQbyw




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    Those kind of finishing moves. :facepalm:
    Well, they do teach historical or as the instructor called it hysterical.
    That would indicate to me that they do teach finishing moves and I am sure that means they could use some more pupils.
    Should I tell them you are interested, Grasshopper?

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    Senior Member Maggie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StevePirates View Post
    I just imagine someone expressing the same intense enthusiasm for taking up knitting, or co-ed slow pitch softball.
    My friend had to get physical therapy for repetitive use injuries from knitting. Couldn't knit for months. She is a very enthusiastic knitter, as are many of her knitting friends. Her story about explaining to the injured athletes and recovering surgery patients she met at PT that she was in therapy for excessive knitting is priceless.
    PeterGustafsson and jkormann like this.
    "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." - Albert Einstein

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    Senior Member Grasshopper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sundown View Post
    Those kind of finishing moves. :facepalm:
    Well, they do teach historical or as the instructor called it hysterical.
    That would indicate to me that they do teach finishing moves and I am sure that means they could use some more pupils.
    Should I tell them you are interested, Grasshopper?
    Just tell him: Press Down, Down, Back, Forward, RT/R2 when in sweeping distance.
    FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WON'T YOU BUY MY TACTICAL WHEEL!!!????

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grasshopper View Post
    Just tell him: Press Down, Down, Back, Forward, RT/R2 when in sweeping distance.
    Wouldn't all Fencing be a study of "finishing moves" one just has to remove the safety tips?

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    Question from my last lesson

    Okay, a bit perplexed here and I am curious to what your thoughts are on the latest of lessons.
    We had our introduction to footwork and learned the following:
    1) En Guarde
    2) Advance
    3) Retreat
    4) Lunge
    It was also discussed that after each step we would return to the En Guarde position.
    After students showed capability of advancing and retreating properly we were instructed to pair off where one fencer would either advance or retreat and the other fencer would perform the opposite technique keeping the distances between each other the same.
    We randomly mixed up the pairing so we got experience trying to match the gates of other fencers.
    After learning the lunge we were once again paired up to perform the following scenario:
    Fencer A would lunge and then return to en guarde and Fencer B would retreat to avoid the contact and then advance and lunge striking Fencer A.
    After this point we were left to fence one another only using the information taught so far. I was paired with a timid fencer who kept retreating until she was struck. While another would attack without lunging (fully extending the arm) it was more of an advance until he was on top of you and always ended up in us striking one another (I would lunge while he was in an advance step, but he would strike anyway).
    So, that brings me to my point of confusion. I have taken Aikido and it is strongly emphasized to work together. One is attacking and one is defending in Aikido but to learn the defense (Aikido) the attacker is doing something specific.
    The way the class was ran I felt like everything was chaotic and we were just trying to do the best we could but there was a lack of discipline to work together to learn. In Aikido, we were taught you can go as slow as you want as long as you keep moving. For the timid student, I wanted to slow down and be at a pace comfortable for her so she could learn to not be timid and for the aggressive student, I wanted him to slow down so I could focus on doing advances and retreats as well. I could easily stand there wait for him to advance too close and then lunge. Maybe eventually he would learn but, I was frustrated.
    Right now my wife and I are just working on perfecting our advances and retreats individually trying to get faster at them. I think eventually we will go back to trying to anticipate one another as our first trial in class.
    I have to admit that I am glad my normal exercise routine has wall squats and single leg wall squats built in to it. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for others who are not expecting that stance for an hour long class.
    Anyway, what do you all typically do when you are trying to work out the particulars of a technique? Do you find a partner and work through the particulars slowly until you figure out the solution and then work faster until you are comfortable with it? Just using a mirror?

  19. #19
    Senior Member DangerMouse's Avatar
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    There is a lot in your post and I am responding from my phone so I won't address it all in detail. I think the root of your frustration is that beginning fencers do not usually show up with an understanding of what fencing actually entails, whereas martial arts students generally do. Ideally fencing could be taught with some slower drills and skills building the first few classes, but I have found that students tend to be bored if they don't have an idea of how the skills apply to bouting. This means there is a difficult line to walk in group classes where you lose students if it moves too slowly, and is chaotic if it moves too fast. Hopefully, now that your class sees where they are heading, the next class will have some slow drills followed by some time to try the new skills in an open environment.

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    First of all, it baffles me that someone would think that hitting people in the head would be a great way to introduce people to fencing.

    If anything, you should work on footwork first. One of my coaches, growing up in Japan, who went on to compete in several Olympics and win multiple national championships, worked on only footwork for his entire first year, before even touching a blade. So it's nice to see that, at least in the second lesson, they get to that.

    I would agree, definitely do things slowly at first. Even when you are more advanced, it is important to learn new moves slowly, and to analyze the economy of your movements, before rushing headlong into things. I never trust a coach that starts you out going as fast as you can. It can be beneficial at times, but as a general rule, I think it should be avoided. Primarily, concentrate on your distance. As you mentioned, different people have different lengths of steps that they take, so for some people, you may need to take three steps to their two, and vice versa. Don't be so concerned with, "well, they took three steps, so I should take three steps", because, as you noticed, that's how you will end up too close together or too far apart. Keep yourself just out of striking distance, so that when one of you lunges, you should be able to hit the other. Also, early on, remember to look at your opponents eyes, and practice watching their hand and feet out of the corner of your eye. You should be able to watch your opponent's eyes and gauge when they look to be on the attack, and where they are looking to hit you at.

    Secondary to distance, you should be concerned with committing proper technique to muscle memory. So again, it's better to go slowly, and commit the correct movements to muscle memory, rather than just flying and flailing as quickly as possible. Continue to concentrate on correct and economical movements, the speed will come as you become more familiar with the movements.

    Hope that helps!
    "Life is like a wheel, where everyone steals, but when we rise, it's like Strawberry Fields."

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