Discussion in 'New to Fencing' started by Rick C. Hodgin, Feb 14, 2011.
Discussions of how fencing *should* be tend to be lively, except that people here have seen enough of them that they often don't even want to talk about it again. FWIW, there's considerable disagreement about whether competitive fencing "in the old days" lived up to its own espoused standards of form, even aside from the question of whether those standards represent "true fencing".
I'd say that modern competitive fencing tends to focus more on timing, tactics, and speed than on complex bladework. Whether that represents a departure from, or a return to, "true fencing" -- or whether the question is totally irrelevant -- is a matter for debate. I'd suggest, though, that if you come into this particular forum saying, "Modern fencing stinks; it's not like it was in the good old days," you're going to find it an unfriendly house.
What is less accurate about a more successful action?
If previous form and technique failed to score a given touch, but modern "less accurate actions" do score a touch, is it correct to term the new techniques less accurate?
Also, where are these 50-year-old videos which show fencing with much superior technique to that on display by the folks in, say, this video?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6qswjYNTbI
The 50-year-old stuff I find at first glance - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2F3tM5YXv1U & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PP_Drw3J1L4&feature=related - does not appear to be significantly different.
You say you're a computer programmer. How often have you seen a movie accurately depict computer programming?
Well, I can't really comment on the YouTube commentary (as I have not necessary seen it), but there is a difference between fencing in a training video, fencing in film or on stage, fencing in local competitions, fencing in national competitions, and world class fencing.
Certainly training videos would feature actions that are performed more slowly and accurately than real world competitive examples. And certainly speed is important in competitive fencing, and sometimes fencers sacrifice technique for speed.
The most successful fencers combine technique and speed. And it is far easier to add speed to good technique than good technique to speed, so your approach sounds like a healthy one.
This is something many people feel passionate about. But you also have to recognise that some just want to "play with swords", or find it an entertaining way to get some exercise.
Leaving the movie moments aside, you will likely find that a large number of fencers on the local/national/international scene have fenced each other often before. They do not need much of a feeling out period.
There is also video, watching previous pool bouts and watching the elimination bout that determines who you will fence next. Conversations with your coach regarding observations, strategy and tactics.
There is trying to take advantage of a perceived weakness noted during these observations, resulting in quick starts to bouts. There is trying to cover up a perceived weakness in one's own fencing that the opponent could capitalise upon, via aggression and pressuring the other fencer.
Complete unknowns (such as the two fencers in the Princess Bride) do not exist on the fencing strip. And movie bouts are nearly always duels -- in a 15 point fencing bout, I am quite happy to be down 6-2, so long as I have learned about my opponent and set up my strategy for the rest of the bout. Sometimes those quick touches *are* the feeling out.
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