First epee configuration question

Discussion in 'Armory - Q&A' started by warrioractual1, Dec 15, 2018.

  1. warrioractual1

    warrioractual1 Rookie

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm new on fencing.net, but have been lurking in the dark for a while. I started fencing 4 months ago and now the time has come to buy my own gear. I thought I'd buy an epee first seeing as I don't want to keep making use of peoples' blades and eventually breaking them (other gear, probably mask, will come soon after). I'm struggling a bit with my epee configuration. I think I've finally decided, after trying out pistol grips, Belgian grips and French grips, to go with a leather French grip on my first epee because I can identify myself with the (supposed) French fencing style (stop hits, hits to the inside elbow and arm, etc.; while I do like to fleche too) and somehow a French grip feels more natural to me .

    However I'm not sure about the following things:
    1) What BF-blue blade stiffness to choose (M - for medium stiffness - or D - for high stiffness)
    2) What bell guard to choose (Aluminum leight weight 90 grams, aluminum 105 grams, titanium 115 grams, or ecoline 120 grams)

    I'm configuring my epee here: https://lieffertz.com/waffen-und-waffenzubehor/degen/degen-komplett-montiert/degen-maraging-bf-blau

    Does anyone maybe have advice?

    Cheers,

    Warrior
     
  2. dcchew

    dcchew Podium

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    Just my opinion. I'd recommend a "D" stiffness epee blade. You want a blade where the tip doesn't lag behind the blade action. A flexible blade will behave like a fly fishing rod.

    You should be aware that there are different grades of stiffness within the "D" and "M" categories. Plus, with use, all blades will get more flexible.

    As for guards, I 'd suggest something like the Schermasport guard. They weight about 85 grams. The Schermasport guards are full diameter and depth and tend to have more offset than other guards.

    The ultra light guards are thinner and more prone to denting and getting bent out of shape. If you decide to go this route, you'll be replacing guards more often.
     
  3. warrioractual1

    warrioractual1 Rookie

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    Hi, thanks. I'll be taking the BF blue D stiffness one then, the Schermasport guard is a not an option in the Lieffertz epee configurator (link in my first post). Only these bell guards are available in the configurator:

    Aluminum leight weight 90 grams
    Aluminum 105 grams
    Titanium 115 grams
    Ecoline 120 grams

    After reading some more, I'm actually now thinking of going with the 120g Ecoline one on account of it being the heaviest and it thus putting the balance of my epee most towards my fingers/hand as opposed to balance near the blade tip. Is this a legit thought?
     
  4. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee is a Verified Fencing ExpertMac A. Bee Podium

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    Save equipment expenditures and spend it on lessons. When you begin regularly competing, then upgrade. Can a Tiny Tims baseball player effectively use high-end bats and glove?
     
  5. warrioractual1

    warrioractual1 Rookie

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    I don't want to come across as arrogant, but yesterday in a small club tournament I wiped the floor with a couple of people who've been fencing a lot longer; and I've got multiple remarks of people who stood in awe and couldn't believe I've been fencing for only 4 months. So it's probably best to quickly at least get a weapon and start training religiously (which I am actually already doing, and planning on extending it to 3 days a week).

    Tl;dr: lesson expenditure is a given and I actually agree with you that training is more important than gear.
     
  6. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee is a Verified Fencing ExpertMac A. Bee Podium

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    Res ipsa loquitur.:rolleyes:
     
  7. warrioractual1

    warrioractual1 Rookie

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    Teehee, I'm from continental Europe: if you're going to throw around legal Latin at least throw around civil law legal Latin :D Also, how do you infer arrogance from intention to "religiously train 3 days a week"?
     
  8. dcchew

    dcchew Podium

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    I wouldn’t worry too much with the belief that you’re better than everyone else in your salle. You haven’t fenced enough different people to determine that yet. One of the cardinal rules in fencing is that there’s ALWAYS somebody better than you.

    Personally, I have the belief that that the only times you get hurt are when you fence REALLY good fencers and beginners. The really good fencers are moving at a high speeds, which is understandable. You learn how to be a better fencer from fencing these people.

    Most beginners don’t know their distance yet and tend to hit with excessive force. So, my goal is to try and survive my bouts with beginners without getting beat up physically. If I can, I’ll try and lower my level of fencing to roughly be slightly better than the beginners. The objective is for them to improve their abilities, not for me to beat them in 30 seconds or less.

    As for component selection for your epee, the balance of a French grip epee is generally altered by varying the weight of the pommel. You want a epee that is light, but is also balanced and durable. So, going the 105 gm guard might be a better option.

    Finding the right combination of components for a weapon that feels “right” to you is a trial and error sort of thing. The best way to start this process is to talk to a good armorer who is already experienced with assembling equipment for people or other more experienced fencers. You can spend a lot of money in the search of the “perfect” weapon.

    By the way, taking lessons from a good qualified fencing instructor is worth its weight in gold. Having ability is one thing, but know how to use it properly is more important.
     
  9. warrioractual1

    warrioractual1 Rookie

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    I didn't say I was better than everyone else in my salle, I only said I beat some people who have been (probably) fencing a lot longer than I have, which of course might be attributed to them lowering their level, but judging from their reactions ("wow, you really caught me off-guard a few times!", "you've got really fast footwork") that was not the case. And, while I really am aware of the fact that I'm a beginner , I think (again, also judging from the reactions) that I actually do have a pretty good sense of spacing and timing already. I am aware of the fact that I need a lot of training, but I am willing to invest a lot of time in fencing and think I have potential (whatever that might mean, seeing as I'll never become a top athlete anyway being in my twenties :rolleyes:). Anyway, I'm not one to go around tooting my own horn. Just wanted to reply to Mac A. Bee.

    I'll probably go with the 105 g guard then.

    Yeah I'm struggling a bit with that: at the salle where I train, there's 2 instructors that I think did fencing on a high level professionally (at least from what I've read). However, since I finished my introductory course (which was taught by just normal club members, not the 2 maitres I mentioned) I've only really done free-style bouts (which is also very useful) without really any coaching/teaching 1-on-1 or even in small groups. I probably should just ask one of them next time how to go about really getting instructions.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
  10. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

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    There's nothing wrong with buying an epee whenever you want one. I agree that stiffer is better.

    If it were me I'd get the lightest bell guard I could that wasn't a superlight aluminum, they get dented too easily. For me, a heavy bell makes the epee feel dead. A 115g bell guard is about like a Vniti, which is fine but is not a lightweight guard. An FWF Ti guard is about 73g. The difference is noticeable, at least to me.

    Get the aluminum core french grip, not the "leather covered" mystery grip. The aluminum core grip on that website is the Allstar, which is an excellent rubber-covered aluminum grip. It's really good. A crappy grip will flex and break your tang, it's a bad idea.

    Pommel weight is a bit of a personal thing, but happily you can buy new pommels pretty cheap and swap them out until you find what you like. The only pommel that site lists is 150g, which is a medium weight. LP carries a lighter 110g pommel and a heavy 200g pommel, so if you want to mess around with the weapon balance you can do that for not too much money or trouble, just unscrew the old pommel and screw on the new one.

    Since that web site does not carry FWF bells (why would a German site not carry FWF?), I'd order components and put it together myself if I were you. Get someone at your club to help you. It's worthwhile knowing how to put your weapon together.
     
  11. warrioractual1

    warrioractual1 Rookie

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    Thanks! Very useful reply.
    Regarding guards: should I look for a lightweight FWF guard specifically or is any lightweight not-superlight-aluminum OK (someone mentioned Schermasport upthread)?

    Regarding grips: would your recommendation of the rubber Allstar change if the leather "mystery grip" were to also be Allstar (which it looks to be: http://www.blue-gauntlet.com/Allstar-Leather-French-GRIP-FoilEpee_p_3559.html)?

    Regarding the pommel: which one should I go with initially in your opinion?
     
  12. InFerrumVeritas

    InFerrumVeritas DE Bracket

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    You want an aluminum core French grip. It keeps the tang from breaking.
     
  13. dcchew

    dcchew Podium

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    My current set of epees are entirely different than the original set I started out with many years ago. Like I mentioned, it 's a trial error process to find what works for you. Since it sounds like you planning on buying the epee online, you're limited in the choice of equipment options.

    Start with a medium weight guard and pommel with the stiff blade and see how that feels to you. The only additional advice I can suggest is try and buy equipment in person. Especially blades. Unless you know exactly what brand and model, you're probably not going to get what you want.
     
  14. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    As others have said, if you do any type of flicking or blade-movement, this will break. I've had two break on me, one took the epee completely out of commission. It's comical to see an epee disintigrate, unless it's happening to you.
    Your choices of alum. core grips are fairly small. I've been transitioning to the Harut grips, which are holding up much better.
     
  15. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

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    The FWF is the lightest durable bell I know of, and it's only about $20. The Schermasport is a bit heavier, I think. It's not a critical difference, but weight in the bell guard is useless.

    No, that's crap. Get a decent grip. The higher end Harut are overpriced but good. The Allstar is very reasonably priced and good. The Schermasport aluminum core is good.

    The Prieur wood french grip is supposed to be good, and is lighter than an aluminum core grip:

    http://www.blue-gauntlet.com/Prieur-Rubber-french-GRIP-w-Wood-inside-wrap-with-metal_p_4171.html

    I haven't tried it, but people who know what they're doing tell me it's a decent grip.

    I have no idea. On the epee you fence with now, what does the pommel weigh? Do you like the balance of the weapon? Do you want it to feel more or less tip-heavy?

    IMO a lot of people like the static balance way far back, which to me can make the tip feel like it's wandering around out there, I have trouble telling where it is when I'm fencing. So I like a more tip-heavy setup. But everyone's different, the only way to tell is to try various pommels. As long as you have only had it for a week or so you may be able to swap it out with the vendor for a different one. I mean, it's a hunk of metal, you're not going to put visible wear on it. If you want a heavier or lighter one call them and ask if you can return it and get a different weight.
     
  16. twisterfencing

    twisterfencing Podium

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    You guys have fun with this one. This very issue-question is on my list of making a tutorial video on. Yes, making them now. I have already written the bullet points for the video and its a long one. The main focus is based on: what is right for you? Balancing a weapon is very much a "what you want" and "what fits your needs" category. What is balanced for Brian is crap to Sam kind of thing.

    When I am making a weapon, which I do a ton of, work on the factor of what are the fencer's strengths and what are the weaknesses. What is going to make that fencer a better fencer? Being able to "flick" is not always the correct answer.

    Each piece of equipment has its purpose, no matter its name of who makes it! I see the Schermasport guard being thrown around on this thread, as an example: yes, this guard is a super light, "deeper" coned guard, I sell it as well, but: it's main focus is a competition guard. It is super light, but crap for long life. A Vniti guard is an OK weight guard, but last a life time and can be passed down to your kids when you die kind of guard. All the parts are specific to the owner on what they want, like and makes sense to help them achieve their goals.

    Try out what feels good to you. No one on this thread is going to give you the Harry Potter magic answer to what is right for you. No matter how long they have been an Armorer, and that includes me!

    Gary Spruill
     
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