Don't call it classical fencing but traditional.

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by Spenzario, Aug 22, 2016.

  1. Spenzario

    Spenzario Rookie

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  2. Gav

    Gav is a Verified Fencing ExpertGav Moderator!!

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    Great. An Evangelista article.

    Just ... great. I guess I'll be moderating soon.
     
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  3. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    My company's proxy thinks the link goes to a virus-laden site.
     
  4. LordShout

    LordShout DE Bracket

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    I only have vague pre-coffee thoughts so list format it is.

    1: Like all Evangelista articles he walks you from A to B, B to C and then jumps to F. This is a particular habit of his that I find annoying. He lays out well crafted arguments for 2/3's of paragraph then jumps to a conclusion that does not follow.

    2: This is the best Evangelista article I've read, I own many of his books (free, secondhand) and unlike in his books he seems to be readily admitting the flaws of "classical" fencing, the more limited aims of traditional fencing and even backhandedly praising sport fencing. I get the feeling he's finally snapped, in that it sounds like he'd rather hang out with other traditional fencers who still try and win bouts but if forced would pick sport fencing over classical. This is very much different from his tone and ideas from years ago.

    3: I still don't understand why one would do traditional fencing over sport fencing. Once you've decided to improve yourself, change or eliminate techniques and allow evolution of ideas you're basically just practicing out-dated sport fencing. Witness his allusions to the importance of conditioning or accepting that if you lose to a sport fencer it's you who needs to change.

    4: Like all classical/traditional fencers who stick it out it and try to improve it appears he's slowly evolving into a sport fencer. Look at his first public works, some works from 10 years ago and this article. Extrapolate out another 20 years and he'll be advocating clean shoulder flicks, but not whippy arm back flicks. This is the central problem with classical and traditional fencing. You're either trying to recreate a specific style from a specific time for it's own sake and not asserting that it's better than modern fencing, just different or more fun for you, OR you're going to slowly evolve into modern fencing. Maybe first you'll move to some electric scoring "just to aid the judges". Next, you might add in tighter timings to "block out actions so slow they wouldn't work with sharps, even if you had right of way". Perhaps next you'll consider if an ugly action performed at the right time should score over a beautiful action performed out of time. Finally, one day you'll wake up and realize that if you don't break a rule and you've turned the light on the action was fine, if someone doesn't like it they should fence better and beat you.
     
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  5. erooMynohtnA

    erooMynohtnA Podium

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  6. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    This seems to be just another version of the "No True Scotsman" fallacy.
     
  7. Bonehead

    Bonehead Podium

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    What a twat.

    He is basically the most public driving voice for 'realistic' (i.e. an anachronistic early 1900s style) or fencing, and now that it's created a bunch of self-styled 'maestros' and unathletic nerds explaining their inability to win bouts because they're 'not realistic', he doesn't want to be associated with it.
     
  8. vivoescrimare

    vivoescrimare DE Bracket

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    Best summation of what bothers me about "classical" fencing I've read. I don't have a problem with you making an arbitrary decision about when you think fencing was "at it's best" and deciding that you'll fence that style exclusively. But admit that it's arbitrary. You've decided that 17th century fencing was cool and you'll only use 17th century techniques? Great! Have fun! /end scene
     
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  9. Bonehead

    Bonehead Podium

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    Also, fucking pick a time frame!

    He makes so many allusions to Angelo, an 18th-century fencing master, while simultaneously talking about his teacher, an early 20th-century fencer, as if nothing changed for over 100 years.

    I fucking hate the simultaneous appeal to realism and 'as if they were sharp', while being anachronistic and ahistorical. It's just a egotistical way to justify his importance.
     
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  10. Craig Hustler

    Craig Hustler Rookie

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    The rules as they are constructed, and a lack of people fencing to kill each other has led over time to things changing. If you sportify any martial art, it will change over time to become something that is less grounded in martial "reality".

    The question becomes how much do we as modern fencers care?

    Some fencers care a great deal about martially "real" fencing, and get drawn to historical and classical fencing. Some fencers don't care at all about that, and seek to push what the game has become further along the sport line. We need to understand that sportification will take any martial art away from martial reality, and decide if we care about that or not. The disconnect seems to come when people who want to be "real swordsmen" try to find that in the game that modern fencing has become, and it is simply not there. The 2 have diverged significantly due to rules and points being used in the sport, and injury and death being the reality in real swordplay.
     
  11. tbryan

    tbryan Podium

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    Yes, but it seems like HEMA, where available, is probably a better fit for most of those people.
     
  12. Bonehead

    Bonehead Podium

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    But it's not even as simple as a martial art being sportified. It's a ritualistic blood sport that started drifting from it's strictly martial roots hundreds of years ago, which has then since been sportified.

    If you pretended that you'd never heard of sword fighting or duelling, and just said "okay, pretend they're sharp edged, sharp pointed weapons, and that it's a death match with no rules that takes place in a hypothetical closed off circle - first one who's heart stops loses", then it would look nothing like fencing. People would be swiping at ankles, letting themselves be stabbed in the arm so they could grapple in close and slit the other guys throat, throwing the sword, pocket sand, whatever.

    The reason fencing looks like fencing is hundreds of years of customs built on customs, with all sorts of weird social pressures. It has nothing to do with "Realistic" and it never did.

    Even if you wanted to accurately recreate fencing at some place in the world and some point in history, it would never come down to kill or be killed.
     
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  13. Craig Hustler

    Craig Hustler Rookie

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    Agreed, but even under the stricter conditions of dueling, people still died, so the consequences were certainly different than they could ever be now. HEMA attempts to approach the art as if those consequences are there. Some groups succeed to a degree I think, and others do not succeed at all.
     
  14. Gav

    Gav is a Verified Fencing ExpertGav Moderator!!

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    I just knew I would see one those posts.

    Let's try and keep this civil. If this disappears any further down the head banging CF hole then I will just move this to the WC and you guys can have at it.

    Remember this is a fencing forum...

    Note: Crag may decide to just do that...
     
  15. Craig Hustler

    Craig Hustler Rookie

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    This thread appears civil enough to me. I am aware this topic often stirs things up, but I think the conversation is a valuable one for us to have as fencers, and the history of the development of our sport is important to talk about.
     
  16. Bonehead

    Bonehead Podium

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    I suspect he's mostly just sick of hearing about it - and frankly I don't blame him (my addiction to arguing online grants me some resistance to that feeling).
     
  17. vivoescrimare

    vivoescrimare DE Bracket

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    Well, and we've sort of inadvertently smacked on the crux of the issue as well. By and large, sport fencers just don't care. You want to make ridiculous assertions about how a stagnant 18th century fencer would beat a 20th century fencer if a carefully selected set of biased rules were applied? That's cool. Knock yourself out. The majority of sport fencers I know only even remember "Classical/traditional/whatever" fencing exists shortly after Evangelista (or someone like him) has started another rant about how classical fencing is somehow empirically better.

    So, when you say how much do "modern fencers" care - sport fencers don't. Classical fencers shouldn't, but some seem to, which to me implies they're more interested in spinning the narrative in such a way as to make their hobby more relevant.
     
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  18. Spenzario

    Spenzario Rookie

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    In the rulebook nothing is said about the sportshoes. What would you do, if someone uses sportshoes with spiral springs? Just jumping above your head while flicking. Well it is not forbidden and it is sport fencing. Because of evolution of the sport, everybody trains on jumping. Let's do it.
     
  19. erooMynohtnA

    erooMynohtnA Podium

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    I encourage you to try, but I think you'll find it's not very effective.
     
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  20. Spenzario

    Spenzario Rookie

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    Just a matter of training! Well, just use those spiral spring shoes for your flash (fleche).
     

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