Deconstructing the Art and Science of Fencing - Posted

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by Craig, Nov 18, 2009.

  1. Chafunkta

    Chafunkta Rookie

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    Look, can we agree that there is some acceleration when you throw the arm back? I think we can. If you want to reference K'ON's post, if you need proof.

    What I'm saying is you should time the extending of the arm with the lunge, so that the arm throw back adds to the acceleration of the lunge. Once the back arm is straight (when the 'hand' is pulling back on the 'sphere'), the lunge is over.

    The double-benefit of this is that after my lunge is over I get to use the "pull back" argument for the recovery.
     
  2. LordShout

    LordShout DE Bracket

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    Force = mass X acceleration

    If you accelerate your arm (a mass) backwards it will produce an equal and opposite force propelling you forward. The instant that you stop accelerating your arm that force goes away. When your arm slows down and stops, the end of its extension, the acceleration changes sign. This means that the force, instead of aiding you're explosive lunge is now slowing you down.

    This is a nice thing, it helps you get going and than stop at the end of the lunge.


    If you understood the above please feel free to ignore the rest.

    Pretend you're in a car. Put the car in drive and push down on the gas pedal. While you're speed is increasing you have a positive acceleration. You're on the highway now, going 75 mph. You have no acceleration, therefore no force. You gently apply the brakes, slowing you down to 25 mph. While you're slowing down from 75 to 25 you're accelerating, it just happens to be a negative acceleration. Another example: You're on the highway going 75mph and for some reason telk built a brick wall across the highway. Your car hits the wall and goes from 75mph too 0 mph in 1/10 of a second. You're acceleration is extremely high, the force is very large.


    So you're in on guard and you start to lunge, To extend your arm two accelerations must happen. One that throws the arm back, and one that stops the arm. If you throw the arm back with wild abandon the tendons and joints might provide the 2nd slowing acceleration, but it still happens.

    //*The only way to get around this is the rocket ship example. Stand on a skateboard with a pile of lead bricks and start hucking them backwards. The board will roll forwards. The brick leaves the board/ground/you system and so the negative acceleration doesn't effect you, but you're arm stays fixed to the system, hopefully, therefore the net force must be zero.*//
     
  3. keith

    keith Podium

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    ...or sitting on a swing with no-one to push you :(
     
  4. Superscribe

    Superscribe Rookie

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    Sorry, i thought you were Bazul. i thought you were Bazul because you were arguing with erooM.You and erooM are both saying the same thing.

    Your idea of timing the throw of the arm back is sound in theory.
     
  5. eac

    eac Rookie

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    Now that we've fixed our physics issues, perhaps we can mildly reverse some thread drift.

    Here's the important thing I see about this topic. When a random person, of whatever age, decides they want to try fencing, they have no idea what to look for, so they basically choose randomly. And, both on the internet and in clubs, the new person is not unlikely to randomly happen upon a classical site or club and become indoctrinated.

    Because, as many here would argue, the nature of classical fencing is fundamentally delusional, I believe this is a problem that could be addressed better by the sport fencing community. To begin with, classical fencing sites and clubs generally have well-established indoctrinating spiels about what the difference is between them and real fencing, and why you should pick them. Or, at least, classicism is generally a central value for them, and they mention their lineage or tradition frequently.

    Obviously this is a bigger deal for them, since there are more real fencing clubs than classical fencing clubs. But, I think it might help if we had more explanations, both on the internet and in person, about the fact that there is this relatively persistent split, and why ours makes sense and theirs is delusional, and the result of ours is that you become a jedi, and the result of theirs is that you become a dweeb in a hole.
     
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  6. kuroutesshin

    kuroutesshin Made the Cut

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    I think it more has to do with either

    A. problems with authority

    B. the feeling that one possesses some sort of Gnostic "lost art" that only a few understand, but which has many imitators.

    I first learned from a "classical" coach. In the past I've been simultaneously appreciative of what he taught me and extremely unhappy about what he taught me, because in my 7-8 years of fencing I've almost completely re-learned my fencing.

    He was a man who loved to fence, who loved what he did, and loved to teach others about it. However, he also had a tendency to be an imperious know-it-all with a great degree of scorn with other fencers who had differing ideas (a lot of them). He was dismissive (like Evangelista) of "modern" fencing because he felt he had the best way of teaching, the best way of fencing, and would let any referee who disagreed with his supreme interpretation of the rules know just how wrong he was.

    Evangelista is a man who claims to have some special knowledge, some supreme understanding of fencing, that is dismissive of all others. That's dangerous, and it relegates him not only to the fringe of the fencing world but also to the corners of even the "classical" camp- as I understand it, he's gone through a few "classical" clubs because of personality conflicts. I would presume because of an imperious nature and an insistence on his orthodox teaching.

    It's too often that people like that have power over students, classical or otherwise. I think the real lesson to take away is that coaches aren't, or shouldn't be, free from criticism, and no one person has a monopoly on the meaning or practice of fencing- there is transfer of skill and idea across the board. And, most important, there's always a chance to improve your skill- no matter who you are or how long you've been fencing or how many letters, diplomas, or gold medals you have around your neck.
     
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  7. erooMynohtnA

    erooMynohtnA Podium

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    Anyone have any statistics on the ratio of classical fencers who move to sport versus sport fencers who move to classical? I think that would speak to the strength of indoctrination, and I imagine would heavily favor sport fencing, despite lacking a codified "classical fencing is bullcrap" pitch.
     
  8. eac

    eac Rookie

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    Obviously there are lots of classicists who go sport and very few sport who become classical.

    The concern is that classical fencers are needlessly wasting much more of their lives than they might, possibly because we lack such a counter-pitch. Many mostly-classical fencers go to tournaments and lose miserably, but xenophobia and indoctrination keep them from noticing why, or perhaps from realizing that they should care.

    As an aside, I have known at least one bad fencer who was thoroughly sport on the old timings, sucked on the new timings, and then eventually became a something of a born-again classicist who still sucked, but now was flamingly delusional. It was kind of interesting, as long as you could escape him talking to you too much.
     
  9. Fiat Slug

    Fiat Slug Rookie

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    I think most of us have ideas on what constitute classical fencing. However, I'm not sure I know what modern/sport fencing is? Is it simply how you hold (or not hold) your non-weapon arm? Is modern/sport fencing everything that classical fencing is not? Is it any school of fencing where people are less anal about the fencing form?

    Since I first learned fencing in the last century, I usually consider myself a classical fencer. However, I'm pretty un-anal about my form so does that mean I'm a centrist? Is there room for such an appellation or are there only extremes?

    .
     
  10. eac

    eac Rookie

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    Modern/sport fencing is more or less all fencing involving vaguely regulation FIE-style weapons, masks, and equipment that isn't explicitly classical.

    There are obviously degrees of classical influences, but I think the line is that classicists have classicism come first, and everybody else has winning or at least fencing well come first.
     
  11. touchefriend

    touchefriend Made the Cut

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    The same is true of not keeping the rear foot flat on the piste. I tell my students this is "correct" even though many fencers never do this. I tell them that they can recover a little quicker and are not as likely to injure the ankle or knee but the choice is theirs. With the back arm, the fencer benefits by throwing the arm down along the leg during the lunge but the difference in gain between the starting position of the arm(scorpion vs current) is negligible. Nick E. use this back arm style because thats what he learned.
     
  12. downunder

    downunder is a Verified Fencing Expertdownunder Podium

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  13. I_luv_saber

    I_luv_saber Podium

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    IMO, another distinction needs to be made. There is true classical fencing, what we call classical fencing (what I like to call "classical sport fencing"), and modern fencing. Those who practice fencing as if the blades were sharp and they were in a duel are part of the "true classical fencers" group. This is NOT what is commonly referred to as "classical fencing" - there are specific groups out there that do this. There's nothing wrong with this. These people are usually history buffs or people interested in weapons. I see that as preserving the history of that form of combat, and I dig.

    Then there is modern fencing - I'm assuming all of us here are familiar with that. The sport of fencing constantly evolving and changing as any sport does.

    What we call classical fencing (classical sport fencing, actually) is another animal. It is a frozen period of modern fencing's past. Those who practice it have a love for the sport fencing of that time, aesthetically and technically, and want to continue it in that way. All well and good, but to call it a parent of modern fencing is not really correct. As was pointed out, fencing was already a sport by that time. It's in no way representative of combat, nor is it meant to be. It's nothing but a "fan club" of sport fencing at a certain period.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2009
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  14. Wafath

    Wafath DE Bracket

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    I think the opposite it true.

    Modern sport fencing is based on a experimentation principle: those who win will be analyzed and/or imitated. Those who loose will be encouraged to train harder. Quite often someone will come up with a "new" idea. Very rarely will this idea be based actual analysis, understanding and hard work. Even less often will this idea change the game, but when it does happen the game can change very quickly. Sometimes the rules will change to block this new technique. Other times it becomes the new paradigm.

    Modern fencing embraces and rewards positive changes the way most sports do in an evolutionary/scientific process. The goal of the fencer is to win the bout/competition/season in the context of the rules & sportsmanship. The techniques we teach are tools to obtain this goal, and not sacred in them selves; we teach them because we believe that they are the best practice. If a fencer could win high-level bouts without, say, ever performing a proper lunge, then they should win the bout and not lunge.

    "Classical" fencing seems to be obsessed with modern fencing, and defines itself in terms of modern actions that are prohibited. So, in a sense, we know more of what "Classical" fencing is not than what it is.

    W
     
  15. eac

    eac Rookie

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    About "true" vs. "sport" classical fencing: I think the proper terms are "historical fencing" and "classical fencing." Overall, my (not very complete) impression of historical fencing is that it's intellectually honest, and is actually about reenacting duels and all that. People who call themselves classical fencers are by and large not historical fencers, but instead sport or nearly sport fencers who have this delusional idea about how things were or how things should be.

    A potentially effective component of a counter-spiel could be knowing about what actually went on back in the day, and disabusing classicists about their fantasies.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2009
  16. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

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    Regarding 'sport' vs 'classical'; first, I don't think we should worry about it. Martial arts has a million divisions like this, they give them names and draw trees of who evolved from what and so on. They don't all compete with each other due to different rules and standards, some do only 'forms', some do sort of pseudo-fighting, some do full contact, some do this and some do that. Fine. Compared to that, 'sport' fencing has a huge market share in the fencing world. Is there really a need to stomp out the tiny remnant that's not 'sport'? No. Don't worry about it. In fact, be nice about it. We get people who started at some little 'classical' school and then decided they wanted to compete, so they come to a 'sport' club and learn to fence. Great! Thanks a lot, you guys keep it up.

    Second, 'sport' vs 'classical' doesn't really capture the dynamics of all the non-sport fencing that's going on. If you get into non-sport fencing there's all sorts of stuff, one group trying to re-create sport fencing from the '30s or so which we tend to call 'classical', one trying to simulate some kind of German saber fencing from a hundred years ago, one reading historical books on fencing from hundreds of years ago and trying to use the techniques described, all the way to the SCA and rattan sticks. So? Great, have at it, go to town. We're not losing people to this, if anything it's mainstreaming the idea of sport with swords, sort of moving the Overton Window so our type of fencing is now no longer at the fringe.

    I sometimes get the impression that sport fencers don't like 'classical' fencing or re-creationists or all that even being around because we're afraid someone will think that's what we do, and we think it's ugly and awful. Lighten up, eh? If you go to a town softball game and the pitcher is pretty clearly drunk, half the team can't hit and two of the guys weigh 300 lbs and can't run around the bases without stopping, do you use that to decide what you think about the local college's Div I baseball team? No? Neither does anyone else, and neither does anyone look at some awful video of someone doing something stupid with a foil and think it's you, don't worry about it.

    K O'N
     
  17. epeeslasher

    epeeslasher Made the Cut

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    Wow, I can't believe how much I hate this thread. 'Modern' fencers making rebuttals against the arguments of a 'classical' fencer, who by the way was never good at either game.

    The real problem is that everyone here thinks there is only one proper way to fence, but in reality different styles=different advantages.

    I'm not pro-scorpion tale, but even many modern european coaches will say the hand up (not shoulder) gives a good feeling of body usage to beginners. I've already posted videos of Vezzali and Fichtel giving beginners a foil introduction, vezzali mentions that it isn't really important where the arm goes (no importante) and I think she said one of her first coaches liked it to be way up, and Fichtel has all the beginners lifting the off-hand (not the shoulder).
     
  18. LordShout

    LordShout DE Bracket

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    They know what softball/baseball should look like. They don't know what fencing 'should', whatever that means, look like.
     
  19. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

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    That's a pretty good argument for more fencing which you think is attractive and fun to watch on youtube and anywhere else you can manage it.

    K O'Nh
     
  20. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    Even top fencers can be wrong. For instance, she should try carrying it in front of her body, and see how long it is before the ref tells her how 'importante' it is that she not cover target with it... :D
     

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