Deconstructing the Art and Science of Fencing - Posted

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

  1. downunder

    downunder is a Verified Fencing Expertdownunder Podium

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    Christ.
     
  2. migopod

    migopod Podium

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    The metrics in fencing are FIE and national points lists and whatever ratings system a NGB uses. It's not a measure of touches scored, but bouts won and final tournament results.
     
  3. downunder

    downunder is a Verified Fencing Expertdownunder Podium

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    That's fine, but irrelevant. I'm an international referee with world championship experience, so my obvious bias is towards world class fencing. The reason why top level fencing is what it is is because the fencers are trying to win World and Olympic championships, so they fence within the rules and situations they are in. I have no doubt they could execute perfect lunges and lots of perfect steps all at one speed with huge parries if it was required, but their job is the beat the person in front of them.

    I don't think you have enough respect for the 20+ hours a week these guys put into an amateur sport whilst we argue on the internet about it.

    I have no problem with you guys having fencing as an art form, but it's got absolutely nothing to do with what we're doing. If you really want to compare, and I don't think it's fair to, then show me anything that you would consider the pinnacle of your sport. All 'classical' fencing I get shown is crap footwork with too much bladework. Show me the good fencing you look for.
     
    slow_learner likes this.
  4. Superscribe

    Superscribe Rookie

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    You are quite the hypocrite, aren't you? You making judgements on internationally acclaimed fencers is similarly foolish as some of the posters criticizing Nick for bumbling about with a student. As you astutely pointed out, such video is not comprehensive of the fencers' abilities. I'm sure Nick could tighten up his game a little in competition, the same way vezzali could problem take her game down a few notches to exaggerate good technique and still wreck your club. To think that top sport fencer's don't know or can't implement good technique shows a complete lack of understanding in how sport fencing is taught.

    You have a website to your club?
     
  5. Insipiens

    Insipiens Rookie

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    This thread started off in relatively non-emotive, non-aggressive terms. Early on various people noted that "sport" fencing and "classical" fencing (and "historical" fencing) were all equally valid in their own terms; it seems to be getting a bit less friendly and I cannot help thinking that heading a post "sporties ain't fencers" probably didn't help.

    Bill seems to be arguing that in order to survive in the olympics fencing needs to become more aesthetically pleasing in his terms and implies that the this could be achieved by having better lunges since the footwork of the highest level "sport" fencers is "erratically timed". Bill also seems to have the view that fencing has been degraded because it is too concerned with "scoring points".

    I think many who can bring themselves to read any more of this thread would perhaps like to understand how Bill would suggest retaining fencing in the olympics without a points scoring system. Or if he believes one can be retained how he would propose to do so and reward what he considers to be better lunges. Would that involve some sort of "style marking" like figure skating?

    It is odd that Bill seems to be concerned about the possibility of fencing ceasing to be an olympic sport when the facets it has in common with other sports seem to be, in his view, problematic.

    One of the points made by those who consider sport fencing preferable is that it has evolved based on the training in effective techniques within the rules of fencing. So as long as you have a system based on scoring hits the effective will have precedence. The footwork and timing of Vezzali is devastatingly effective in many of her bouts because she has teh balance and control to launch an attack at just the right moment relative to her opponent's movement.

    Of course her fencing relies on the electronic scoring system fencers would and the lock of any hit subsequently from her opponent: perhaps Bill would rather remove all lock out time or massively increase it such that you had to "hit and not be hit" in a much greater space of time. This would just increase the reliance on the subjective determination of the referee in a right of way weapon. Many would doubt that would make for a less subjective or more popular / easy to understand sport.
     
  6. Gav

    Gav is a Verified Fencing ExpertGav Moderator!!

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    Facepalm.

    Stop feeding the troll!

    ...
     
  7. vivoescrimare

    vivoescrimare DE Bracket

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    A couple of thoughts, in line with Gav's excellent suggestion above -

    1.) This WAS a non-emotional, reserved conversation, centered around differences between the two ideologies. (Notice I said differences, not competition or aggression. For the most part no one was arguing better or worse.) Interestingly, one person dove in and started handing out blanket generalities and attacks. I leave it to the readers to determine that person's identity.

    2.) I find it laughable to suggest that sport fencing needs to evolve to be MORE aesthetically pleasing to be appreciated. I can only speak from my personal experience, but did anyone else see Jason Rogers in Men's Health? Has anyone noticed the myriad of public appearances from Tim Morehouse? How about Mariel Zagunis' being sponsored by Nike? Can you name a classical fencer that ANYONE outside of the fencing universe has heard of? Don't even get me started on the mainstream appeal of Baldini, Montano, Vezzali, and Granbassi in Italy or Ota in Japan. Maybe life's different under the rock some people are clearly living under.

    Short version : Stop feeding the trolls. Trolls, like Chewbacca, don't make a lot of sense.

    Vivo

    Postscript - I'd be delighted to fence a match under any rules that revolve around hitting the opponent with the weapon (not looking pretty) with Evangelista or his designee. I could probably execute a credible lunge, but I refuse to validate the philosophy that looking better matters.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2009
  8. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

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    Deconstruction is a method of criticising a text you think is internally inconsistant or without firm basis; it was coined by Derrida in the 60s.

    A metric is a method of measuring, originally from mathematics but now commonly in use in other areas.

    Neither is being misused here.

    K O'N
     
  9. eac

    eac Rookie

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    Goddamn, a live specimen. I guess the Evangelista strain is a more venomous one from the ones I knew about (and used to be). Evangelista-style ones presumably don't go to tournaments, and so I guess you wouldn't encounter any anywhere except the internet. There are lower-grade kinds that send their kids to tournaments to lose, which are the ones I was thinking of. The latter might be susceptible to explanations about jedi vs. dweebs in holes; the former are clearly trolls to the core.

    So, I guess we should differentiate.
     
  10. Bill

    Bill Rookie

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    Aha!

    Craig rang the bell, the bats flew out of the belfry. Downunder, now we have entered the shadow-world of hurt feelings. Somehow I am showing disrespect. 20 hours a week? Is that all? Gosh, too bad. You say "Christ" when I say I lead my students through the use of the free hand from 1610 on. Without that knowledge, they would have to endure the ignoranti of the sport fencing world, whose sole concern is points scored and bouts won, and the "classical" world, which wants us to think it feels pretty and witty and bright. They also have I hope an understanding of questions that elude the post that started all this. But recall--no one has taken me up on my suggestion that what most seem to think "classical" fencing is, is anything but. It might be nice if a thorough grounding in that material were there to come up with something that made better sense than say, fencing between 1850-1920, which is to say, early sport fencing with all its controversies.

    Our motto here is "Come and fence us," Downunder Expert. Visit. See if we are crap, as you put it. You would be expected to fence, however,not pontificate or look down your nose and say things like, "Christ." I would happily fence with you. You will find we penalize the double (yup, minus-minus, because Tempo Comune is a logical contradiction). We are tough enough to go for one-touch epee and sabre. We require a solid hit. We do not automatically dismiss a valid counterattack, so the moment one of those sword arms went up and raddoppio and a real lunge would be hurtling at someone's torso. We do not need a scoring light, or strawberry points, or any other prosthetic to adjudicate fencing. We want to put you out of business, Downunder. Sorry. Good fencing will do that.

    Someone else has accused me of hypocrisy. Say what? Get a dictionary. Which returns to lumping us with the "classical" fencers I have not been shy about criticizing. People have gone on and on here about "classical" fencing without a clue as to what it is (the Nadi duel reveller is my favorite of the ignoranti). I frankly think many "classical" fencers are as clueless, but that's just my take. Not only that, I am not so sure how many of the contributors to this list have actually read any of Nick's books, or even know what the old FQM looked like. Of course, this parallels the "classical" fencers who solemnly refer to texts they have not read. This may shock you all, but I less and less see a difference. This general problem is not because people are stupid. It is because in my lifetime we have seen what one scholar, Alvin Kernan, has called "the technological actualization of Plato's Cave" with television, the internet, the destruction of the old liberal arts curriculum, a general shortening of attention spans and loss of knowledge that parallels the loss of knowledge in fencing.
     
  11. I_luv_saber

    I_luv_saber Podium

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    I'm thinking sockpuppet. Anyone else?
     
  12. vivoescrimare

    vivoescrimare DE Bracket

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    ....I won't waste a thousand words on what Telk could cover with a well-timed picture, so I'll settle for this: "Lol."
     
  13. fencerchica

    fencerchica Rookie

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    I believe this has already been asked by I_luv_saber, but does your club have a website you can refer us to, with photo or video of your fencers demonstrating the qualities you've been describing in your posts? I'd sincerely be pleased to have a chance to see it for myself.
     
  14. Mitchell

    Mitchell is a Verified Fencing ExpertMitchell hi Staff Member

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    so you're saying that the sport fencers on the video would have a tough time fencing at your place, where you've totally changed the rules of fencing to serve your own purposes and world view?

    congrats.

    oh hey, if you come to my salle and fence under *my* rules, i bet you won't get any touches either, because my rules say that i automatically win every time. and because you'll never win, therefore you're a terrible fencer.

    see, i can play too
     
  15. I_luv_saber

    I_luv_saber Podium

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    In his absence, this one is a classic, as well as apt:

    [​IMG]
     
  16. downunder

    downunder is a Verified Fencing Expertdownunder Podium

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    No hurt feelings, just procrastinating from final year university work (sucks :/). It'd be nice if you could answer my questions rather than the same old rhetoric.

    Where in Germany are you? I'm there around 5 times a year for refereeing.
     
  17. Craig

    Craig Administrator Staff Member

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    I would really like to see a video to see some examples of the style and rules you're using here. Doesn't have to be of you, just of any of the group/style that you're using.

    I am truly interested as I've done other forms in the past as well.

    Craig
     
  18. Dev

    Dev DE Bracket

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    Here's what I don't get:

    How does one's own fencing get better when one is spending significant mental cycles trying to make sure their form is perfect? Rather than, say, paying some attention to what their opponent is doing, and sensing opportunities and openings--or creating them? Of course, if you get two such fencers squaring off with one another, you just get both fencers spending an inordinate amount of time paying attention to themselves, and doing everything at the wrong time, and it works--of a sort.

    Were there seriously skewered, dying duelists back in the day thinking to themselves, "Oh, if only I had concentrated more on making a proper lunge and more crisp advances, this would not have happened?" Or similarly kebabed swordsmen saying, "why, that shouldn't count! He clearly was exhibiting sloppy, off-balance technique!" Or do "duels" and "sharps" not even factor into the determination of "good fencing"--leaving the entire fencing world at the mercy of (e.g.) Bill's particular sense of aesthetics?

    If the former, it's ridiculous. If the latter, it's arbitrary wankery--just as arbitrary as our "pretend medals" for "pretend hits." Except there are more of us, and the rest of the world thinks our medals are real. Shame, that.
     
  19. migopod

    migopod Podium

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    If so, this one gets my nomination for SockPuppet of the Year awards.
     
  20. I_luv_saber

    I_luv_saber Podium

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    I wasn't thinking so at first, but I have my suspicions now. Then again F.net can make you paranoid like that :p

    At any rate, agreed.
     

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