Fencing vs. Sword

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by PercyWeasleyGrl, Jul 20, 2003.

  1. PercyWeasleyGrl

    PercyWeasleyGrl Rookie

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    Hi there! I've recently been thinking of getting into fencing. After 10 yrs of karate, I decided I need a change, and since I'm still young (18) I think I might be able to survive fencing! I've always been facinated with sword fighting and wondered how similar the two are? And also, if anyone knows of a fencing school in Montreal, Canada, I would really appreciate if you can tell me!
    Thanks a bunch!
    ~Tonia~:p
     
  2. Talyn

    Talyn Rookie

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    When you mean sword fighting im assuming you mean the whole flashy LOTR, and other stuff you see in the movies where they make big fat strong movements and etc.

    Well, fencing is VERY different from that in terms of technique and style. Anyone can see that the typical sword fighting is incredibly inefficient and although it looks good you'd probably hurt yourself doing some of that stuff.

    Fencing in general relies on good timing, distance, fast SMALL movements and etc. But in general its quite different.

    Since you do karate i think you'll kinda understand, when you see fights in the movies and tvs you're probably saying to yourself, he should be dead by now. Thats pretty much the same with fencing, but i suggest you look at this site and see if you like it.
     
  3. pkt

    pkt Rookie

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    Tonia,

    If you're really interested in SWORD fighting, then kendo is more appropriate.
    http://kendo-canada.com/
    They have videos of the three disciplines: kendo, jodo and laido.
    But if you persist in doing fencing, then do sabre, that's the closest to sword fighting.

    The weapons we use in sport fencing are, alas, but 'sword-like instruments'. Even if you sharpen the edge on a sabre you'd not be able to slice up someone like they do in a samurai movie. Waht you'll give your opponent is a thin slash. None of this business about him falling into two pieces.

    On the other hand, since you're already in karate, taking up kendo is culturally related, unlike fencing which is European based - more specifically, French, Italian and Hungarian.

    The moves in kendo and sabre are very similar - there's only so much you can do with a stick... But there is one major difference:

    In kendo, like any self-respecting swordsman, a cut is executed with the intent to cut your opponent into two pieces. Try the cross cut starting from the opponent's left shoulder at the base of the neck and ending, coming out his right flank. This is what samurais practiced using a bundle of straw atop a post.

    In sabre, on the other hand, a properly executed cut should be done with the thumb and fingers. If you try to execute a cut like in kendo, you'd have been cut on your arm before you know what hit you. In fencing, the idea is to make a 'touch' not to chop up your opponent. Hence the 'swordlike instruments' not the inch-wide blade of a proper killing sword - small sword excepted.

    [In another thread it's been pointed out that when someone is stabbed or shot, the victim doesn't always die immediately. Not so when you're in two pieces... :D]

    Having tried to stear you towards kendo, you're in the city that has the strongest sabre clubs in Canada. There's the Brebreuf club with the Banos brothers as coaches. There are at least two other good sabre clubs, not tomention the other, non-sabre clubs. Look at
    fencing.ca
    the website for the Canadian Fencing Federation.
    Since you're new to fencing, start here:
    http://fencing.ca/newfencer_eng.htm
    or en francais
    http://www.fencing.ca/newfencer_fr.htm

    Oh, I almost forgot, there's the Chinese 'Wushu', literally, martial arts.
    Start here:
    http://www.thewushucentre.ca/
    There seems to be a United Wushu federation of Canada, but their website seems to be down...


    Welcome to fencing in Canada. I'm in Vancouver.

    PK
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2003
  4. Wizardly

    Wizardly Rookie

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    Remember the duel scene in the movie "Rob Roy;" cutlass versus rapier...fencing and "sword fighting" are just two different animals.

    Fencing is also going to be somewhat different from your karate experience in a lot of physical ways. For example, the fencing strip has fewer degrees of freedom (relative separation and absolute distance) unlike the many more of karate (relative left/right separation, orientation, relative separation, and absolute distance, just ot name a few). Also, your stance is going to be more closed but more stable.

    Asside from physical differences, which you'll have to train your body for, the tactical training you already have will aid you greatly as you learn to adapt to a new tactical situation. Since you've already some experience (I would think) at analyzing how the body moves and the reasons for moving a certain way and experience forming your body to a stance/movement, you'll pick up the stance and movements quicker than average.

    Something fencing has over sword fighting though is very little hack and slash. Give a Joe Schmoe a sword and he'll hack away at his opponent until he hits something. In fencing you wont be investing those huge amounts of power swinging a sword like a golf club or baseball bat in fencing. There is a great deal of emphasis on manipulating your opponent and his blade, making it an extremely mental sport. It definitely wont give you the same satisfaction as cutting down a tree or cutting a man in half...the machismo is not in the violence but in the exertion (but don't get me wrong, it can be violent exertion).
     
  5. PercyWeasleyGrl

    PercyWeasleyGrl Rookie

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    Thank you guys so much for your replies! It gave me a better idea of what I want to get into and I will definately check out kendo as well. Thanks again for your help!
    ~Tonia~
     
  6. SJB

    SJB Made the Cut

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    Tonia,

    I would reccomend two clubs in MTL.

    1) Olympia Montreal, which is in Longueuil

    and

    2) Les Seigneurs de la Rive Nord, which is in Blainville.

    There's also Les Mousquetaires at University de Montreal.

    Good luck.
     
  7. Mitchell

    Mitchell hi Staff Member

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    having done several different styles of martial arts, including kendo, for the last 12 years or so, i've discovered that i prefer fencing. it appeals more to my competitive side. i also prefer it to kendo, because, unless you've studied some very hard styles (shotokan, etc), you'll probably prefer the various options you have with sport fencing as opposed to the strict technique involved in kendo. stylistically speaking, kendo is to sport fencing as judo is to chin na (i hope that helps some, martial artist to martial artist :) )

    if you do decide to get involved in fencing, you'll find that you have a leg up over the other beginners, learn quickly, and produce results faster. i've only been fencing for about a year and a half and i qualified for div1a (i'm pretty sure thats good, right?). too bad i couldn't get time off of my summer job to go compete.
     
  8. 741

    741 Rookie

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    Re: Re: Fencing vs. Sword

    Is sabre really closest to sword fighting? I've heard that no ROW makes epee closer to real sword fighting than the other two, even though there is slashing in sabre...

    Here's a question for you guys. If two equally skilled fencers were to face each other with real swords (that can thrust and slash), but one only trained epee all his life, and the other only trained sabre all his life, which one would more likely win?

    Oh, here's another question. Thrusting can be done by sabre right? Why is it that I see almost all slashing attacks in sabre duels? A martial artist once told me that thrusts are harder to defend against than slashes are, so doesn't it make sense for sabre fighters to use thrusts more?
     
  9. bjacobs

    bjacobs Rookie

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    As a sabre fencer who has recently started training epee, I've found that straight attacks are much easier to defend against. All you have to do is deflect the point. But to stop a cut you need to close out an entire line. You also need to open the distance more. That being said, I'm sure a thrust would do more damage than a cut.
     
  10. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    Why so? Can a thrust take off a head or an arm? ;)

    The answer to the "who would win" question will depend not so much on the weapons in which the participants trained, but on differential in skill level, reach, strength, aggressiveness, willingness to kill ( not necessarily a given assuming modern fencers ), the weapons chosen ( ie an epeeist using a cutlass=poor odds...and if it's just sharp epee vs sharp sabre there is no contest---once past the point the sabre fencer is home free ), etc.

    And of course on luck.
     
  11. 741

    741 Rookie

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    Well, a thrust to anywhere on the torso has a chance to do more damage since it penetrates; there's more of a chance of hitting a vital organ. A typical slash on the torso won't cut as deeply as a thrust would penetrate.



    When these kinds of questions are asked, it's assumed that the fighters are identical clones of each other: same skill level, reach, strength, etc., even though that's impossible, but it's assumed for argument's sake.

    For people training in different arts, it can be more than skill that determines the outcome. Here's an extreme example: There are two guys who are both physically and mentally identical, however, one has only trained boxing all his life, and the other trained wrestling all his life. Any MMA and MMA fan will tell you that 90% of the time, if these two guys fought under no holds barred rules, the wrestler will win. Why? Simply because the wrestler has tools that are harder to deal with than a boxer's tools (It comes down to a wrestling takedown being a lot harder to avoid than a boxer's cross)

    Yes, this example is a little extreme since these arts are so different, but it still shows how different fighting styles can affect outcomes of otherwise even fights. Perhaps the epee's lack of ROW rules will make the epee fighter more conscious about getting simultaneous hits, or like what you said, the sabre fighter dominating when he gets past the point...
     
  12. The0ne

    The0ne Rookie

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    Sabre was initially a cavalry weapon, you wouldnt want to stab someone off their horse, then have to lug the body around on your sword!!! =)
     
  13. Wizardly

    Wizardly Rookie

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    Is saber the closest thing to sword fighting?

    Definitely not...
    - Real sabers are waaaaay heavier, and you would definitely not get the blade around as fast as you would a dueling saber.
    - Cavalry sabers were just long axes (chop off the head) and have nothing to do with dueling sabers.
    - (Dueling) Sabers cut, they don't chop. If you want to kill a man with a sword, you either stab (with the point) or chop. If you cut him, you might do some damage, but most likely you'll just make him angry.

    Then again, a lot of these arguments can apply to any of the weapons. For example, if you're in a real duel fencing epee style, you aren't going to pat yourself on the back 'cause you poked a guy in the hand while he in turns tears a hole through your brain basket. Likewise, rapiers don't flick, and your opponent may not be smart enough to not be suicidal and you'll both die.

    I'm gonna say realism factors equally (or fails to factor equally) into all three weapons and should not decide which one you choose.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2003
  14. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    The notion that a sword once thrust into a body is likely to get stuck there is way overblown. It's no more apt to happen than a cut is to get stuck in bone or between ribs.

    Late in the cavalry period armies started issuing staight-bladed sabres and training their troopers to "give point" and use them as short lances, to all intents and purposes. ( And in fact if you go back into some of the medieval sources like Joinville you encounter some curious references to knights putting the grips of their swords under their arms and charging with them as they would with lances! )
     
  15. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    Sure, but it's no more damaging than the penetration of a bullet---in fact, the bullet likely does WORSE damage, as it transmits more energy to the body in terms of impact. Have any idea how many people survive being shot, even repeatedly? How many keep right on being aggressive despite numerous through-piercings? But a large gash, especially if it involves a major artery, much les something as emphatic as a split skull, partial decapitation, or limb removal is another matter entirely. These at a minimum tend to be much more incapacitating to an opponent than a piercing or two, and cause him to desist in trying to harm you---which is the point ( sorry ) of the whole exercise...
     
  16. daeceg

    daeceg Rookie

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    Man...y'all can be pretty dang bloody here...

    I've gotta say...a person training for epee is gonna go for the hand or wrist (or the foot), most likely..

    Of course, saber seems to be moving that way some...
    But, considering the training techniques, I'd put my money on the saber....assuming that both have been trained in modern techniques.
     

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