Reporting from the FIE Congress in Moscow:
“The FIE has appointed a group of sabre experts (from a range of countries) to observe the testing of the new sabre en garde line and obtain feedback from athletes, coaches and referees at these events. This group will prepare a report which will be considered by the FIE Executive Committee at its meeting in February 2017. The current test period will be extended until that date.”
This update begs several questions:
- The original goal of the new en garde lines was to reduce the number of simultaneous actions within the box (in between the en garde lines in the center of the strip) by at least 20%. No data has been published as to if there has been any change in simultaneous actions. Where is that data? Why wasn’t it published as part of this decision?
- Why weren’t there sabre experts appointed before?
- What is the goal of this rule change now? Is it still a reduction in simultaneous actions in the box or is it something else? When will the true goals and methods for measuring be released?
Here’s the Reddit thread for additional commentary.
This change is being painted by critcs as a way for the fencing world to get used to the changes and then just make them permanent no matter what the “testing” shows. (Just like the foil lockout timing was changed without true scientific testing because the then FIE president mandated it.)
The change is called the “Russian Box of Death” because it is being pushed by Russia. Critics point out that since Usmanov has been re-elected as FIE president, expect changes the Russian contingent wants to push forward to go through.
Sabre fencers need to plan on the RBOD being around for the long term, so get used to adapting to this new en-garde line setup.