Foil Switch to Sabre

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by yangweiba, Oct 25, 2017.

  1. yangweiba

    yangweiba Rookie

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    My son has been fencing for competitive foil for 5 years. He recently feel lost interest in foil and consider to switch to competitive Sabre. He is 13 now and I was wondering if it is too late to make such change for competitive fencing. Did anyone have similar experience to share as fencer/parent? Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
     
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  2. Mac A. Bee

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

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    In my senior year, my high school coach switched me from foil to epee. My collegiate sophomore year we needed sabers, so I switched again. My senior year I switched back to be foil captain.
     
  3. InFerrumVeritas

    InFerrumVeritas DE Bracket

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    IIRC Zagunis talked about how she switched to saber when it became an international event. That would have put her at 13/14. Three years was long enough for her to become Cadet world champion.

    It's not uncommon for fencers who are not team anchors to switch weapons when they join a college team, because that team needs to fill out a squad.

    Many fencers don't start until about 13. He's already got quite a leg up on them.
     
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  4. tsbphd

    tsbphd Rookie

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    It's not too late to take up another weapon. I was one of our top epee fencers on my college team, but at times another foil would be required and I would fence that, as well, even though I had fenced epee much longer and much more seriously. It's not as if I forgot my epee technique when I fenced foil...I simply fenced a different weapon at a different level of comfort.

    It sounds like your son might be a little burned out on the sport, given he has fenced competitively from the age of eight and he is now thirteen. Perhaps allowing him to back away and experiment is not such a bad thing and I would hope the adults and coaches in his life might give him some space and time to figure this out.
     
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  5. Grey Sabreur

    Grey Sabreur Made the Cut

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    Considering that fencing is a sport that he can pursue for the next 50 years; he has lots of time to learn sabre (and maybe even epee when he gets middle aged and return to foil when he gets really old).
     
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  6. Mac A. Bee

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

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    But will have to adapt to rules-interpretation changes. Absence-of-blade attack, anyone?
     
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  7. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    Your child is 13, it's silly to ask if he can possibly learn a new physical skill at this age. Of course he can. He's very young, and both his physical skills and mental skills are pretty malleable. Fencing is a simple set of physical skills and a way of thinking. The physical skills transfer over very easily, the "mind set" of each weapon is slightly different. Since you're talking about moving from a weapon with priority to another weapon with priority, the transition from foil to saber won't be painless, but should be pretty straightforward under a good teacher.

    The question you should be asking is: what causing your childto be discouraged with foil and want to make a switch to a new weapon? What is the new weapon going to have (or not have) that foil has now? I think you need to dig a little deeper.
     
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  8. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    I think either other weapon is going to lack the built-in frustration of foil. Foilists seem to be the unhappiest of fencers.
     
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  9. Zebra

    Zebra Podium

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    If your fencer's goal is to win NACs, compete overseas and make the olympic team, changing weapons may be a bad idea. If your fencer's goal is to be competitive, have fun, fence in high school and college, and grow personally, changing weapons or adding a second weapon will be a good learning experience and make him more valuable to his team.
    --Zebra
    [whose best part of his hockey career was the late-career switch from winger to defense and learning to get away with holding]
     
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  10. InFerrumVeritas

    InFerrumVeritas DE Bracket

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    I think 13 is early enough that you have several years to win NACs, compete overseas, and make national teams. Doesn't mean you will (most don't), but I wouldn't see it as squashing your chances.
     
  11. KD5MDK

    KD5MDK Moderator

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    I can assure you that switching weapons at this age will have no negative impact on your son's ability to go to the Olympics.
     
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  12. Peach

    Peach Podium

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    Just to be encouraging: My kid switched from foil to epee somewhere in that general age, and abandoned foil entirely when she put on all her adult height at the age of sixteen. She fenced & medalled nationally, became co-captain of her college fencing team, and made the NCAA championships.*

    *Snarky comment warning: It is now a moot point because life continues beyond fencing, which may come as a surprise.**
    **Now in her thirties, she has finished her doctorate, works for a living, does circus acrobatics, volunteers, and goes on long weekend hikes for entertainment. She doesn't fence any more. ***
    ***I, however, continue to fence. I picked it up when I got bored sitting and watching her. I recommend it.
     
  13. Belegur

    Belegur Made the Cut

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    Given that's been the default interpretation for the last 25-30 years, I don't think you could consider that adapting any more.
     
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  14. Privateer

    Privateer Podium

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    i'm a V40 foilist considering switching to sabre, is it too late for me?
     
  15. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    First you will have to take that one foot of yours out of the grave. ;)
     
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  16. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

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    NEVER!!

    Come to the Dark Side!!
     
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  17. InFerrumVeritas

    InFerrumVeritas DE Bracket

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    No, but you won't make the Olympics.
     
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  18. Gav

    Gav is a Verified Fencing ExpertGav Moderator!!

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    Just let him fence sabre. The competitive side will take care of itself.
     
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  19. Privateer

    Privateer Podium

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    not sure if i want to trade the headache of foil tips, springs, screws, and wires for expensive gloves and expensive lame.

    the physical change might be worth it, however.
     
  20. NewGirlFencer

    NewGirlFencer Rookie

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    I'm 17 and I just joined saber fencing. It's not too late as my coach always says, but it really depends on your goals.
     

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