An Odd Fencing Injury To Share

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by tsbphd, Jun 9, 2018.

  1. tsbphd

    tsbphd Rookie

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    Howdy all.

    I fence several nights each week at my local club with most of those nights dedicated to 2-3 hours of fairly high level epee and one night exclusively with foil. The foil get together is always Wednesday and the small group that gets together is decidedly less accomplished than the epee groups on other nights. Although, we are still all experienced adults with some foil fluency.

    In general, one of the owners or trainers joins us and we work on some aspect of the sport (get-away-go, ROW, absence de fer, etc...) for perhaps 45-minutes and then we fence for an hour or two. Last Wednesday was the flèche. One of the fencers wasn't quite getting enough explosion through her front foot/leg so the owner suggested we attempt to lift our front foot (front foot relative to the en garde position) high enough on the launch or step-though such that it would hit our back (non-weapon) hand as we moved forward.

    I have never attempted that in an exercise and immediately thought to myself "this is a good way to dislocate or break a finger..." and, well, on our second flèche I heard a tremendous crack and I knew my pinky was injured. It's too bad no one took a picture of it as my non-weapon hand pinky was pointing in three directions. I calmly walked over to the instructor and said I thought I had dislocated my finger and at that moment two folks I was fencing with came perilously close to fainting at its sight. I grabbed the ring and pinky fingers together and gently yet firmly pulled outward. Several loud pops came out in succession and my pinky was back in place.

    Since it was my non-weapon hand I merely grabbed an ice pack and continued to fence. Perhaps an hour later I buddy-taped it to the ring finger. There was considerable swelling and blood on Thursday, but x-rays were negative and I am only sporting a removable split, which is annoying the heck out of me while I type! Needless to say, I won't be attempting that particular exercise again.
     
  2. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    Or at least make a fist with that hand if you do.
     
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  3. Privateer

    Privateer Podium

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    how does your front foot hit your back hand?
     
  4. tsbphd

    tsbphd Rookie

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    "how does your front foot hit your back hand?"

    I know, it reads oddly, doesn't it? You'll notice in my post I defined front and back relative to one another in this scenario as "lift our front foot (front foot relative to the en garde position) high enough on the launch or step-though such that it would hit our back (non-weapon) hand as we moved forward".

    I'm right-handed so, as described above, in the en grade position my right foot is my front foot. One way to perform a flèche for a right-handed fencer is to load weight or power down the right (front) leg and to use this leg to help launch the thrust while the left (back) leg follows through and across the body. Once you launch, and your left foot and leg cross your body, you end up with your right arm and hand extended toward your opponent and your left leg becomes the leading leg for the first step. When you are in this position you now have what had been your front foot (as described previously "front foot relative to the en grade position") behind you and on the same side of your body as your back (non-weapon) hand.

    The instructor noticed that at least one of the folks that night wasn't generating much thrust on the launch and likely suggested to have the right foot hit the left hand so that a more exaggerated launch would take place (by having the right foot follow through higher after launch). Since we don't look back to see how high we are kicking our foot, I imagine the idea to hit the back hand was used so that there would be feedback that the kick went high enough.

    In my case, I definitely received feedback that the kick was high enough. :eek:
     
  5. Gav

    Gav is a Verified Fencing ExpertGav Moderator!!

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    This exercise sounds ridiculous and I'd really appreciate a video so that I can see it rather than try to understand the words.

    If you want to get more explosive on the fleche, practise it and do some S&C. We can talk about that if you like.

    The other thing I would do is watch some high-level fencing. No one fleches the way this sounds so I am hoping it's just me misunderstanding the description.
     
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  6. tsbphd

    tsbphd Rookie

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    It's definitely possible that my written explanation of this is poor and absolutely possible that the exercise was originally ill-thought out or incorrectly communicated to us in the first place. I apologize that my thread is not more clear to you and others.
     
  7. jjefferies

    jjefferies Podium

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    I'll chime in and agree with Gav that I would appreciate a short video of this exercise being executed.

    Uh, yeah, I just tried it based on my read of your post and think my right knee isn't going to be thanking me.
     
  8. tsbphd

    tsbphd Rookie

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    Okay...I hope this works and I hope it helps.

    The video linked below is on YouTube and is titled "Basic Guide ToThe Flèche" and features Karim Bashir and James Thornton (James is a right-handed fencer) showing a flèche. At about 15-seconds into the video it shows James in an en grade position without weapon and he launches forward into a flèche. You'll notice that when his right arm extends and his left leg crosses over to lead that he eventually becomes airborne with his left (non-weapon) hand and right (leading leg and foot in the en grade position) both in trailing positions behind his body. This is the body configuration I described in my posts.

    It was in this configuration that the instructor had suggested we should be able to have our back foot high enough (the now trailing right foot at the 15-or 16-second mark in the clip) to make contact with the trailing, non-weapon hand (the left hand). In my mind I thought this exaggerated leg kick was potentially dangerous to the hand and I was correct. I believe the instructor suggested this because at least one person in our group wasn't really getting any drive or thrust at all in the flèche and it was an attempt to get the leg more involved.

     
  9. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    Your instructor should consult with a more senior coach and get some feedback on how to coach this action. Asking the right leg (in the case of a right handed fencer) to contact the trailing arm is not an useful metric in teaching this action.
     
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  10. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    PS- Bravo on being flexible enough to actually touch your back hand with your foot.
     
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