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Thread: Bad Habits

  1. #1
    Senior Member Queen of Hearts's Avatar
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    Bad Habits

    I, and several people from my club have developed some really bad habits that are really hurting our fencing. Does anyone have advise on how to work them out? Sorry, I can't say exactly what they are because well, it is pratically everything. Some of us differant than others. One more thing, I fenced left handed last night (only to drill with another youth fencer for about half an hour), and I notice that once I hot used to my feet being "backwards" and using my off hand that I didn't have those same habits. Why is that? Anyways, I would really appreciate it if you could help! Thank You in Adavced!

    Queen of Hearts

  2. #2
    Senior Member edew's Avatar
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    The one bad habit than people must correct in order to do well is not retreating. One must be able to retreat, and retreat fast in order to succeed in fencing. All weapons, all age-groups, all genders.
    =)=///

  3. #3
    Senior Member chiz's Avatar
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    Badddddd Habit

    Queen

    I have broken one habit of attacking with a bent arm, gets me touched on the hand and wrist way too often. Now I use the old habit to bait the trap.

    Reacting to my oponant's plan and not retreating costs me.....

    Distance and point control. A lot of bad habits go by the board if my distance is good and I can put my point on target.

    Chiz

  4. #4
    Senior Member Elendae's Avatar
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    try doing footwork with your eyes closed on a line. open your eyes every few advances or retreats.. you'll soon find out how straight you are. Try to keep your toe pointed in front of you.

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    Senior Member swordsen's Avatar
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    It is hard to say what to work on without examples of what your problems are.

    I am curious as to who you are though since we fence in the same corner of the world.
    If you give a man a fire, he is warm for the night.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Indy4ever's Avatar
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    my coach told me this the other day. supposing you know your footoork isnt perfect, and you want to work out what the problem is. all you have to do is practice stepping back and forth normally and then change hands and fence left handed for a bit. keep alternating and do it slowly, changing back and forth and examining your stepping.
    apparently when you alternate between hands you do exactly what you normally do, except a little less smoothly - thus, any problems you have are magnified and you can see what they are more clearly. all you have to do then is change back and concentrate on this particular aspect of your footwork.
    my coach is ambidextrous and regularly beats me right handed (she is lefty) so i trust she knows what she is talking about here. has anyone else tried this out?
    Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee, and I'll forgive Thy great big joke on me.

  7. #7
    Needs to get Outside Inquartata's Avatar
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    If you can get your fencing videotaped it will give you a solid idea of your faults. Then it's just a matter of drilling yourself out of them. Which is bloody difficult and time-consuming.

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    Senior Member Queen of Hearts's Avatar
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    Alright. Great advise going into all of this. But honestly, my main problem is that I'll do a beat attack without the beat (so I guess you could just call it an attack) and it never works. Another thing is that I'll do a flesh without moving the blade out of the way. So, out of all this I guess you could conclude that I just can't move the weapon out of the way. Also, I can't do parrys verry well and if I do mage to pull one off I can't manage a riposte, ever! Please help me!!!!

    QoH

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    The parry problem is mostly distance, in my opinoin, the best parry is one where no blade contact is needed at all. You only use your blade when you do not pull enough distance.
    -Kevin

  10. #10
    Senior Member whtouche's Avatar
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    Distance parry isn't always the best option, obviously.
    Even the best pull puts you further out of distance than you would be if you had taken a blade parry,which puts you closer to the object of your riposte.

    Then there are those daring parries while going forward..such an exciting accomplishment..
    "Their interpretation is, however, refuted most elegantly by your system of radioactive atom + amplifier + charge of gun powder + cat in a box"
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Queen of Hearts's Avatar
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    Thanks All! Any more advise?!?!?

    QoH

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    Senior Member swordsen's Avatar
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    for the beat attack. get a partner. Stand at a short lunge distnace away from them. Maybe even advance distance. Beat their blade, hit them. do this slowly and carefully. many many times. Gradually start doing it faster. Then from further away. Concentrate on doing a good beat before you attack.
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    Queen,
    Stepping out of distance and back in (distance parry) is risky in epee, scince most of the people you fence will not withdrawn the blade (and if they do, well - - - hit them!), unless you remove the blade before you start the attack part. So try to step back, then take the blade with the step foreward- and control it until you hit.
    Speaking of distance parry (i fence foil), last tournament I was at, one of my opponents said, after I scored by letting him miss his attack (finish his lunge, he left his blade in place, and I stepped back it to hit also), then making a quick advance lunge (right on to his point- great touch but can hurt, a lot!) to score."there is no such thing as a distance parry, and so it should be my touch!". As luck would have it the director agreed with me, he missed, and then I started an attack and scored.
    Cheers,
    B.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Queen of Hearts's Avatar
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    Thank you again! Do any of you have any more advise on how to work on this?

  15. #15
    Member Millamber's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Queen of Hearts
    .... Another thing is that I'll do a flesh without moving the blade out of the way. So, out of all this I guess you could conclude that I just can't move the weapon out of the way. Also, I can't do parrys verry well and if I do mage to pull one off I can't manage a riposte, ever! Please help me!!!!

    QoH
    Queen,

    Make sure when you parry you are doing it with the back part of your weapon (forte) so your point always stays on target. Parry with the wrist instead of the elbow, and try it against the fencing dummy to get the feel of when you have a good control on the opponent's blade. Or, have a partner hold the tip of your blade, then have them extend their blade and you parry accordingly. The point shouldn't move very far.

    Fleching comes down to timing and distance. If you can control the tempo of the bout, Fleche just as your opponents front foot leaves the floor and they are advancing. I normally do a half check step backwards to draw them in to closing distance then reverse direction into a fleche.

    As far as doing a beat attack when there is no blade, it sounds to me like you are playing the blade instead of the person. Try a couple of quick lunges just like you would in warmup; just extend and lunge.


    Oh, and if someone needed a lefty to practice with, just let me know. I live in Atlanta and am a left handed Epeeist.
    Never *ever* take anyone for granted. Sure, you might have beaten them last time, but maybe, just maybe, they've been practicing;

  16. #16
    pkt
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    Senior Member pkt's Avatar
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    QoH,

    Since you fence epee,
    think POINT.
    Extend the point first be it for an attack or counter-attack.
    Point first.

    Not the hand, but the point.
    One common mistake is that people have stronger legs than arm/hand. So slow down the legs a bit.
    Think point FIRST.

    Don't be lazy with the footwork. Your opp advances you HAVE to retreat the same distance if you wan to hit him. Of course you may run away out of hitting distance, you won't get hit this way but neither can you hit him.

    No one has mentioned doing footwork etc in front of a full-length mirror to check on your footwork. Try that. If you find looking at your own face distracting put on your mask, get used to the weight of the mask.

    TAKE MORE LESSONS. They are really worth the money. Then you work on what your master tells you...

    Don't be afraid about losing in practice. That's what they are for: Try out different things so when you compete you'll know what to do.

    Above all else, LEARN TO RELAX. Relax your sword arm shoulder, relax whichever part you're not using directly. Strengthen up only when you have to make contact with your opp's blade or hit him.

    Good luck and enjoy yourself,

    PK


    PK

  17. #17
    Senior Member broncofencer's Avatar
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    Find someone at your club who will take advantage of these bad habits. fence them every single time you come to the club and keep score. If it helps risk a little something on the matches can of soda after practice whatever. this will force you to break your bad habits in order to win on a consistent basis if it helps you see results bring a note book and record the results everytime. If you can't find a good match for yourself ask your coach or the other fencers to help you out finding an opponent.

    to help with repost I have my fencers repost after EVERY parry regardless of where their opponent is. that way it becomes automatic after a parry you repost if your opponent is not near you at least he knows you are going to repost everytime and you will give up a lot less continuation/remise/replacement type touches.

    Finally try working on your foot speed and attack speed these will help with the flesche and the beat attack but be careful that you do not get into the habit of constant beats if your attack is fast enough their initial reaction is to parry or move so they will get the blade out of the way for you if not you will get the touche worse case it ends up a double.

  18. #18
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    Fencing isn't really a "natural" sport, so it's easy to fall into misalignments. That's why you need a mirror and a "live" coach (ie reliable, experienced fencer), as PKT says.

    The mirror really gives good feedback. If you can practice in a studio with mirror walls, that's really excellent. (I found out how my advance really was in a mirror and through feedback. Most edifying and comical!)

    Most important is to straighten out your en garde. If your en garde is flawed, EVERYTHING you do as a fencer will be off kilter. A coach can "mold" your body into correct form; the mirror will reinforce the instruction and allow you to practice it.

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