Controlling a bout.

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by sorindc, Mar 24, 2019.

  1. sorindc

    sorindc Rookie

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    I was fencing at a tournament today an during one of my DEs, I felt that the other fencer more or less had complete control of the bout. How can I do a better job to control a bout without necessarily fencing more aggresively?
     
  2. Philix

    Philix Rookie

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    What weapon do you fence?
     
  3. Philix

    Philix Rookie

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    I think what you should do depends on what weapon you fence. However, if you control the distance, then you can also control the bout, at least that’s what I think. In order to control the distance as well as the bout, you should take the initiative to attack and close the distance.
     
  4. Philix

    Philix Rookie

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    I think what you should do depends on what weapon you fence. However, if you control the distance, then you can also control the bout, at least that’s what I think. In order to control the distance as well as the bout, you should take the initiative to attack and close the distance.
     
  5. Philix

    Philix Rookie

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    If you don't want to fence more aggressively then I think you should develop stronger defenses and counterattacks. However I think you will have to fence a bit more aggressively.
     
  6. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    Some ideas, off the top of my head:
    1. Control the space. Manage the space. Do anything but "keep" the space. Touches will occur only when the distance closes between you and the opponent, so the goal is to make sure that distance closes when you want it to and only then. Closing the space can be either active (you move towards the opponent) or passive (you allow the opponent to move towards you). You can be "aggressive" without going forward (watch any good saber fencer on defense).

    2. Deny the opponent the blade actions they want. If the opponent wants to beat your blade, you should hide it. If they want to make simple, direct attacks, you should “clog the zone” between the two of you with disruptive and messy blade work. If the opponent doesn’t like your blade in low line, that’s where you should keep it. Anything you do with your blade should be in direct contrast to what the opponent wants or needs to hit you.

    3. Be engaged in the bout from the start. That means that you should have a plan from the word "fence". If you don't, if you just step forward waiting to "see what the opponent is going to do", you've given up the initiative to the opponent. Again, that doesn't mean you have to start attacking at the moment the referee says "fence", but you should have a plan and be executing it from the start.

    4. Slow the bout down by keeping the distance open and breaking the space on the opponent when they start to prepare/attack. Remember that not reacting to an opponent's preparation (simply opening the space) can destroy their plan. You can speed the bout up by staying close to the opponent and putting in a lot of false actions and preparations that they have to pay attention to. Get in their face. Break the space, and get in their face again. Pressure is just as much psychological as it is physical.

    5. Understand the tactical progression of the bout. The simplest (and dumbest) example of this is the tactical wheel, but of course in real life the evolution of touches is much more complicated. This takes experience and the ability to “read” the opponent's mindset and their psychology. There is no real formula for learning this. Either someone (your coach) is teaching you to think on the strip and manage the bout, or you're going to have to learn to do that on your own by fencing and experimenting. Sorry, but them's the breaks.
    Hopefully this is of some help. Good luck.
     
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  7. Gav

    Gav is a Verified Fencing ExpertGav Moderator!!

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    We don't have any details and for the record this is one of those things I believe is less about the weapon and more about the mindset.

    1. Strategy happens off the piste. Gather information about your opponent, understand your abilities, come up with a plan, mentally rehearse, speak to your coach about your concerns work WITH your coach on a solution....
    2. Tactics happen on the piste: implement your plan. If your analysis off the piste was broadly correct and you know about your own abilities then apply your stratefy. Be aware no plan is 100% foolproof (it famously never survives contact with your enemy) so be adaptable.
    3. Be confident. No I am serious. Be confident. Or at least appear to be confident. Most people are raging bags of insecurity even if (externally) they appear to be confident. Confident people have spent time understanding themselves, they know how to control their inner voices and turn negatives into positives. Mental prep is as important as the physical stuff - do you set aside time to work on that?
    4. Control only what you can control. You can't control everything in life so don't bother trying to control it all. Instead focus on what you can control or through work gain control. Pre prepared. Do all of the work that can be done in advance: make sure your weapons are in good order, make sure you have all of your equipment to hand - make lists. Get a good nights cleep, get a good warm up routine etc.
     
  8. garyhayenga

    garyhayenga DE Bracket

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    The opposite of fencing aggressively is fencing passively, which is bad. The definition of fencing passively is letting your opponent do what they want, i.e. controlling the bout. Assuming that what they want to do is sensible and competently executed you will lose the bout.

    Perhaps you are conflating more aggressive with more offensive. Which, if you're not a sabre fencer, isn't synonymous. One can be a much more aggressive defensive fencer by constantly mixing false attacks, false counter-attacks, invitations and false parries, while constantly changing distances (to distances that your opponent doesn't like).
     
  9. mfp

    mfp Podium

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    Urgh. Pretty sure the answer to the problem of "conflating more aggressive with more offensive" isn't to suggest that people could also conflate "more aggressive" with "defensive fencer".

    A more appropriate and useful term is "assertive". Fencers who want to control a bout should try to assert control and try to deny control to your opponent. Figuring out all the ways to do this is what makes fencing fun. Sometimes the best initial plan for a bout could be simply to mess with your opponent's plan.
     
  10. garyhayenga

    garyhayenga DE Bracket

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    Well, that might be why I didn't suggest anything of the sort.

    I love the messing with my opponent's plan option though.
     
  11. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    Not to be confused with appearing to be passive and letting your opponent think that you're just going to let him have his way. :)
     
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  12. jdude97

    jdude97 Podium

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    In many things in life, if you're going to make mistakes, best for them to be aggressive mistakes. I'd rather go down fighting then just sit back and get hit a bunch of times.
     

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