FIE Arbitrage Sabre DVD - a must see for ALL fencers and referees

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by downunder, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. edew

    edew Podium

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    The main weakness in this video is that a lot of the explanation of what is considered an attack is done in a vacuum. What is the other fencer doing? As I say to my fencers, you can advance with your blade stuck up your 4$$ and it's an attack, provided the opponent thinks it's an attack and is defending (by making parrying actions or retreating waiting for the eventual cut or thrust).

    The point in line after a lunge is also another action that is discussed outside of the context of two fencers. The answer always is (and should be) depends on what the other fencer is doing. The implication I get is that if fencer X23J makes a thrust (point) attack and fencer Bob jumps back and immediately advance lunges, while X23J finishes with a perfect point in line in a lunge position, and if both hits, then X23J gets the touch. I don't have any quibble with that. Indeed, that's what I would call.

    In reality, though, X23J's attack is exhausted and one notices a discernable finality to the attack (upper body swings a bit, the tip or arm drops and then is brought back up). In that case, even if X23J started with the thrust, it is not a point in line (at least not one that is in time). The "bringing the arm back up" is a new action that is being initiated during Bob's advance-lunge, hence, Bob's action has right of way.

    Now, here's a scenario that I would like the maestri discuss (since they all managed to talk in a vacuum): fencers are at the on guard lines. Referee calls, "ready, fence". Fencer X23J makes a (short) lunge with point and ends with the perfect point in line in a lunge position. Fencer Bob makes an advance lunge. Both fencers are doing their respective actions at the word, "fence!" Bob impales himself on X23J's PiL while splitting X23J's head in half with a head cut from the lunge. In this case, I'd say the point goes to Bob. X23J's attempt to make the PiL is not in time, as X23J starts to make the PiL at the same time that Bob is making the advance-lunge. In other words, the PiL has not been established prior to the attack by the opponent.

    This scenario was not discussed or mentioned in the video. And, just from watching the video, I'd teach my fencers to make the shortest lunge (or advance-lunge) from the on guard, using a thrust action and finishing with the perfect point in line in a lunge pose and let the opponent run into the blade. As a referee, I wouldn't give the PiL the call, but in the context of the video, it would imply that the PiL would get the touch.

    As for the low-line attack, that is definitely a new interpretation. Again, it is without context. What is the opponent doing? In the "Phrases d'Armes" replays, it seems to indicate that (well, aside from dissing the russians time and again) if both fencers attack from the on guard line and one stays high and the other goes low, then the one that stays high will get the point.

    To a degree, this is a new interpretation (and I would be very curious as to what will be said at Dallas). On the other hand, since both fencers start at tierce, I've claimed that to hit after going to the low line, it would be a two-tempo action: bring the blade below target is the first tempo, bringing it back up is the second tempo. I've seen many referees call the action simultaneous if fencer X23J make this two-tempo action (drop blade, raise it back up) while fencer Bob makes an advance-lunge action (blade moves straight forward).

    Indeed, in Atlanta last year in the Div II/III/Vet event, one of my fencers would do the part of Bob, advance-lunge with blade starting in tierce (as one should), extending the blade smoothly and finishing with a cut to the head while his opponent dropped the blade so that even the guard was well below the waist then launched a fast attack from the low line to the head. Yes, the opponent was faster, but I couldn't see how it was called attack-counterattack against my fencer. The action occurred from the on guard lines after the call of "fence!". Afterwards, I came up to him and said that, basically, I can't help you change because there's nothing you did that was wrong. If the referee won't give it to you, you might have change tactics altogether to not get called like that.

    Another issue with the "low line" action being called as preparation (aside from the lack of context) is the justification that it's hard to parry. Well, there's lots of attacks that could be very hard to parry, and probably harder to parry than a low-line action. Supposed I pull my blade so that the guard is right next to my chest, blade almost vertical (to the extend that I can make it stand straight up). I march forward, you retreat some, then I start slowly extending my arm from that position. After I start my slow extension, you make a change from retreat to forward movement, extending your arm quickly and making either a stop-hit action or an attacking action. I finish extending my arm quickly, coordinated with a lunge to boot. We both light up. Touch for me, right? It's pretty textbook attack/counterattack.

    But note that until my arm is somewhere about 25% extended, where the guard is approximately 6-8 inches in front my chest (to the side, of course), it is impossible for you to parry my blade. Indeed it is probably easier to hit my body than to hit the blade, since my body is probably closer to the opponen't blade. But by the time my arm is 25% extended, my opponent has already fully committed to making the counter-offensive action. He has decided to not make a parry attempt and has chosen to strike instead. We both finish and I get the point.

    So how is this more "correct" than a low-line action where my arm is mostly extended (and is extending) where my blade, while aiming at the legs, is easily parry-able?

    I think, in the context of the low-line action, and the video replays that seems to be almost always against the russians, the italians and others are trying to influence the referees to make calls against Podzniakov. Podz loves to do the low-line flip to the wrist. Now, the coaches are teaches their fencers to attack the moment Podz is in that position and with this influence to the refs, will know that they will get the call.

    (Note that there were no east european coaches interviewed. Nor American coaches like Korfanty or Burdan, despite the attempt to have English translation posted.)

    Lastly, what the heck is a fuet? And what do the mean by "lame"? The subtitles seems to be done by using babblefish or something.
     
  2. seak

    seak Rookie

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    Finally got a chance to watch the video a few observations:

    a) apparently all those low line parries I've learned and been doing for years don't really exist

    b) there's no real concept of tempo in the way they want it called, I find this sad

    c) I understand and to a point agree with those who say that while the blade is pointed at my ankle, I'm not attacking, but once I am starting my extension, such that my blade is moving away from my legs and towards you, that is an attack and I'm moving towards valid target, same as if I was cutting from en gaurde. To deny this to me seems silly.

    d) Despite the fact that in women's saber, Americans dominate, there were (shocking I know) no American coaches or referees on the video. It seems to me that at least on some level this is an attempt to take back saber to the traditional European strongholds, by changing the interpretation towards the way they fence.
     
  3. downunder

    downunder is a Verified Fencing Expertdownunder Podium

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    'feint' is french for lunge
    'lame' is french for blade.

    All the technical terms used by referees are expected to be in french now at FIE competitions. No more covering target, now 'couverture de la surface valable' - even when conversations/exams are done in english.
     
  4. edew

    edew Podium

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    Fente is lunge? Or is it feinte or fuet? Or was the translator bad at spelling? Or are there different spellings or words for lunge?
     
  5. erooMynohtnA

    erooMynohtnA Podium

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    If X23J had completely extended his arm into a point in line before Bob's advance had started, then yes, it would be X23J's line regardless of whether he was lunging or not.

    Seeing as Bob's attack started at the command of fence, hence it was impossible for X23J's point to be in line before it, it's Bob's touch all day. I don't think the video suggests otherwise.

    Now if Bob had waited for a moment, and X23J had managed to completely extend his arm, then the short lunge from X23J and advance lunge from Bob, I would call that X23J's line. I think that's what the video's getting at.
     
  6. rudd

    rudd Podium

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    lame is the weapon. It's French for blade.
     
  7. erooMynohtnA

    erooMynohtnA Podium

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    Then's what's a lame other than surface valable? I thought lame, as in the fabric, was French?
     
  8. sheck

    sheck Rookie

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    Have to agree especially not getting the Russian view.

    BTW Pozdniakov was able to win in SP so he was able to adjust. From watching SP videos I assume this change was in effect.
     
  9. oiuyt

    oiuyt Podium

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    I think you mean lamé.

    Accents matter.

    -B
     
  10. Rick Shellhouse

    Rick Shellhouse Rookie

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    Foc

    Brad,

    I am curious as to your opinion about this. I dont see it as new rules and much as a re-enforcing of the rules on the books already...


    Rick
     
  11. sheck

    sheck Rookie

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    I have had this happen to me too. Just need to change tactics.
     
  12. Joe biebel

    Joe biebel Podium

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    My hope is that "changing tactics" for referees that have a different interpretation of a particular action, will be diminished by videos like this. It won't help the refs that see it wrong (or the fencers on their strips) but stuff like this (video) should go a long way toward having saber refs "on the same page".

    Some of the things I heard did not make a lot of sense to me, since they spoke numerous times about the logic of the game and would an action make sense if these were real blades. Nevertheless, putting thes "controvertial" points out there for all to see is a great step in the right direction.
     
  13. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    I'm with Eric in regards to his scenario regarding the point in line. This reminds me very much of a fencer I use to referee all the time in the 80's, who -- as he was about to be hit by the lunge -- would snap his arm out, and then claim that he had established a PIL before the cut. It was foolish then, and it seems foolish now.

    I would have liked to have seen the Maitres address this issue. Some of the video was a little disengenous, since the clips involved one-light touches (I understand that the shadow referee made the call in each case, but I would have liked to have seen some two light examples).

    I don't agree with the rulings on the low line attack, but I can certainly adjust to it.

    I'll be looking forward to the statements from the FOC in the next few weeks.

    AE
     
  14. oiuyt

    oiuyt Podium

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    A bunch of the FOC will be meeting tonight (unfortunately my plane arrives in Dallas too late for me to be part of that group) to craft a unified message to be distributed tomorrow morning in Dallas. Until that process is complete I'm not planning on commenting on the calls, what I think, or how they should be interpreted, to avoid a possible muddying of the waters.

    If it's not otherwise (unlikely, given the number of FNetters that will be there), I'll ensure that message is distributed here for those not present at the NAC.

    -B
     
    Craig likes this.
  15. Rick Shellhouse

    Rick Shellhouse Rookie

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    bock bock bock



    *s*


    Couldn't resist but do understand and respect it....



    Rick
     
  16. gladius

    gladius Podium

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    Lost in the translation?

    First of all the subtitles in "English" do not reflect exactly what is said in Italian or French by the Maestri. Here is a list of the "incriminated" terms for those not familiar with French and Italian. Note the spelling of different words in French.

    Feint (En.) : Feinte (Fr.)
    attacking into one line with the intention of switching to another line before the attack is completed.

    Lunge (En.) : Fente (Fr.)
    an attack made by extending the rear leg and landing on the bent front leg.

    Flick (En.) : Coup lancé, "fouet" (Fr.), "fouetto" (It.)
    a cut-like action that lands with the point, often involving some whip of the foible of the blade to "throw" the point around a block or other obstruction

    There are several mistakes in the translation and when I get my hands on the original DVD if of interest I can post the correct English version.

    Needless to say that if one cannot understand the terminology used, the concepts expressed become even more obscure. I am not a great expert in fencing, but I do know the languages in question and I can tell you that most of the discussions in this thread do not address the main points I gathered from watching this video, namely:

    1. Referees (worldwide) must understand what is an "attack" and what is NOT an attack in ROW weapons. While this is applied to saber, it is also valid for foil, i.e., the threat (menace in French, minaccia in Italian) to the valid target (surface valable in French). As Bauer says, and I believe Maestro Antonio Di Ciolo confirms, this "philosophy" is the same for any "opposition sport," one attacks, the other defends: the issue then becomes who attacks first and for how long.

    2. The PIL issue becomes clear once you accept the definition above. Maintaining PIL maintains, i.e., keeps alive your attack, therefore, in the case of a double light, ONLY one has the touch, not the other (unless the action is correctly called simultaneous).

    3. The low line "attack" in saber is against the two points above, and several examples are produced explaining why it is contrary to the fundamental principles of what fencing as a sport is (no new interpretation here).

    4. As a corollary to the definitions above, the issue of the "distance parry" which everyone should know is NOT a parry (see the dissertation some time back by Maestro Bernacchi), but has crept its way in the "refereeing lingo" because -- so say all Maestri in this DVD -- of ignorance on the part of referees and tolerance, laissez faire up to now on the part of the FIE Arbitrage Commission [this is a crude summary on my part of rather long discussions in which the terms "error" or "grave mistake" are often used].

    The conclusion at the end stresses the necessity to have referees and coaches on the same page of the same book. This is the most important point of the DVD, not to make either category happy, but to render this sport understandable to the public at large [and avoid these discussions between people who ought to know but really do not]. A lack of uniform refereeing is something that must be addressed now, according to the FIE, and I personally could not agree more.

    Lastly, the points raised by DEW in his long post require a better expert than me to answer them. I'll try to get the expert opinion and will share it.

    Moral of the story: study French (and Italian first) or petition the FIE to switch to English, then study the fencing treatises, and everything will be clear to you if Polish, French, and Italian Maestri can agree 100% on all this.


    A comment on who is who in the video

    This group gathered by Arturo Cramer (BRA), FIE Vice President, represents the crème de la crème of fencing knowledge in the world:

    Ryszard Zub, many Olympic and world championships medals, Polish national saber team coach. Since the 70's he was brought to Italy as the national coach for saber and foil. He is recognized as one, if not the top world expert of this weapon.

    Antonio Di Ciolo, has coached and trained many fencers to Olympic and world championship medals (Sanzo is his pupil and many other world known champions).

    Christian Bauer, national coach of the French saber team, then the Italian saber team, and now the Chinese saber team. His Olympic gold medalist is Aldo Montano.

    Giorgio Scarso, Maestro di Scherma, President of the FIS (Italian Fencing Federation).

    In this video they ALL agree on the principles expressed above.

    :)
     
  17. edew

    edew Podium

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    With regards to the "distance parry", I am well aware that the term is colloquial. But we all recognize that a cut that falls short because the defender steps away does end the attack and the right of way of the attacker and the defender (the one who jumped back) can take over right of way. Otherwise, the finger-from-the-ear referee hand signal would be meaningless and 90% of saber fencing's defensive actions would have to go out the window.

    I am not going to, based on what was stated on the video about retreating out of distance IS NOT A PARRY (fine, so it's not a parry), tell my students to stand their ground and make parries in saber (and to a degree, in foil as well). That would just be plain suicide.

    The issue is not whether it's called a parry or evasion or fente, feinte, fuet, fark or funky chicken. The issue is whether the right of way of the attack has ended or not. If the forward motion, by cut or thrust, is exhausted by having reached its apex (forward motion has stopped), or the body has stopped by lunge or non-forward motion, then the attack has been exhausted and thus the right of way is relinquished. It's then up to either fencer to take it over. By convention, any "simultaneousness" of taking over the right of way, immediately after the relinquishing by fencer MJO should be given to the opposing fencer, TDK. Hence, if MJO makes an attack that falls short, TDK immediately makes his attack and MJO makes an immediate remise or reprise or redoublement, the RoW goes to TDK.

    If there's hesitation on both parties, then it's a free for all and whichever fencer who goes first gets the RoW.

    Nowhere is there any requirement that either fencer must move fast or with power. Just as long as the takeover is done and a continuous threat to the opponent is maintained, the right of way is effectively passed from the initial attacker to the defender who successfully avoided that attack.
     
  18. Joe biebel

    Joe biebel Podium

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    I think that the FIE is trying to "correct" the notion that After an attack finishes, the fencer that was attacked, "gets a turn". No parry, no turn. Whoever makes the next attack has ROW. It also seemed clear that an attack that ends PIL, even if it is short, maintains ROW unless the counter-attack started before the PIL was in place. I think it is a mistake to suppose that if an attack does not arrive because of distance, that this must be a "defensive" move by the opponant and can take ROW from it.
     
  19. bigdawg2121

    bigdawg2121 is a Verified Fencing Expertbigdawg2121 Podium

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    The hard to parry argument really isn't that senseless or against the spirit of fencing. The idea is that if you are hiding the blade you are not attacking and certainly shouldn't be rewarded for it. I don't like this complete eradication of the low line attack but I do like the removal of right of way for people whose tips are by their feet etc.

    The question that I have is whether actions that still keep the point on frame but are lower than the opposing action will be penalized. I can foresee that being a huge problem especially when these interpretations are first being spread.
     
  20. dekko

    dekko Rookie

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    It had been mentioned before but this seems to be a POV type conversation. Sabre has always had different schools of thought regarding how calls should be made and how it should be taught, usually noted by country or region. I wonder if we may not see a polish or russian or hungarian response to this before the next WC in France(?). I doubt they will do a video though, would be nice.

    I too will need to watch it a few times but the first time through did have a 'feel' problem concerning the pulling distance portion. The point in line reinforcement is interesting and will cause lots of interesting conversations on strip.

    I also want to thank downunder for posting this and his friend for hosting this large file. This will give sabre fencers, coaches and refs lots to think about in the coming weeks and months.

    If anyone in Dallas can video any refs or coaches meeting discussing this and post it that would help lots of us who can't be there understand at least the first step refs are expected to take regaridng this information.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2007

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