I started fencing, but?

Discussion in 'New to Fencing' started by daniela, Apr 26, 2017.

  1. daniela

    daniela Rookie

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    Hello.
    I decided to start fencing, so I went to a fencing club and had a three hours lesson. All the people in my course are between 14 and 30, and I'm 17, so it's alright.
    The coach taught me basic footwork and attack, lounge, parry 4 and 3, feint-disangage and probably something else I can't remember. I found fencing really exciting so I think I'll continue.
    The thing is, the fencers in my group (especially the ones who are my age or younger) didn't really look happy about me joining the club, or something. I know it's all about competition but they know I'm nowhere as good as them and I stayed humble the whole time.
    The coach later asked me to have a match (I still don't know the fencing terminology? It's probably not called "match", I'm sorry) with a girl that started a month ago so she's a beginner too. I was completely destroyed, I think I was able to score 2 points in 30 minutes. And it was really frustrating, but I tried to learn as much as possibile from my opponent.
    Tomorrow I have practice again and the coach said I'll try the electric thing (again with my poor knowledge of terminology) and I'm kind of anxious and scared to do it in front of unfriendly and ready-to-judge eyes, as I've never used it and I barely know how to put on the jacket.
    Does anyone have advices?


    Also, I'm sorry for the length of this post and my poor English, which is not my first language.
     
  2. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    My advice: no more 3-hour lessons! :eek:
     
  3. Black Widow

    Black Widow Made the Cut

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    Yes, three hours is a bit much.
    It's tough to be the new kid on the block. Just remember that everyone was a beginner at some point, no one is born knowing how to fence (at least I don't think so). Just try to have fun, don't be afraid to ask questions or admit you don't understand something. Getting destroyed in bouts happens. I took it really personally at first but it's part of learning. You seem to have a good attitude, which will serve you well.
     
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  4. Zebra

    Zebra Podium

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    Another thing is that you may have some early success in bouts simply because you're new and you do unexpected things. Once you start learning proper footwork and bladework, you might actually find your results getting worse for a while, as you focus on trying to do things right. Eventually, as the fundamentals become more ingrained, your results will start improving again.
     
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  5. saberist

    saberist Rookie

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    The three hour lesson, isn't that usually the length of time for practice. Typically an hour to hour and half of group lesson, followed by another hour or so of free bouting, so in total about three hours. Anyway, the possible reason the others may not have been thrilled to see a new comer is their skills will not improve by bouting with you, it will be the other way around. They and the club would have been ecstatic if you came in as a high ranking elite fencer. Fencing with better fencers will help to increase your skills and performance. But don't let that discourage you. Fencing is a great sport to pick up, with generally good kids and ultimately will make very good friends along the way. Don't get discourage by early failures. Let that be a fuel to strive to do better. My kid took several years of losing badly at tournaments, before he became good enough now to be competing at world cups and become highly ranked nationally (which only a year ago we never thought would happen).
     
  6. Yannn

    Yannn Made the Cut

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    «The thing is, the fencers in my group (especially the ones who are my age or younger) didn't really look happy about me joining the club, or something.»

    If that impressions lasts over the weeks, I'd consider finding another club.
    In my competing years, some clubs had a reputation for being snobs. Especially clubs that were attached to the more prestigious colleges. Their fencers would always show off bright, shiny new equipment and wouldn't mingle with others at tournaments (so it was even more satisfying when we outclassed them :) ).
    After a prolonged absence, I came back to the sport and landed in such a club. Being older and out of the loop for so long, I sensed that the younger guys almost thought it an unpleasant chore to fence with me. As if I was a loss of their time and energy (the coaches and veterans were a lot more congenial and welcoming though). So anyway, not feeling welcomed, I left after just 1 month.
    Oppositely, the club that I had fenced and competed with the most before quitting was attached to a popular college and a sense of camaraderie prevailed. Plus we always found ourselves among the top 2-3 clubs on the local competition circuit.
    The club that I joined this year (as a veteran) is also great. You've got people from all ages, all levels from beginners to occasional hobby fencers, to people on the national team. Everybody is greeted warmly and the more advanced are always happy to help out and teach the younger and beginners.
     
  7. fdad

    fdad Podium

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    I think the poor English has led you to describe what sounds like a group class, as a lesson (usually one on one with a coach). I have no doubt that the day will arrive when a new student comes to class and you totally destroy them, and eventually you will probably start beating some people that have fenced longer than you. Good luck!
     
  8. Joshua A.

    Joshua A. Rookie

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    I originally started swordfighting with Kendo, the Japanese version of fencing. We had a small group and they loved bringing in new learners, but they left shortly after. See in kendo, we spent about the first year learning how to fight and ingrain the fundamentals into us. We had armor but were not allowed to wear it till that year mark. Many people who wanted to fight in the armor and spar couldn't wait that long. What you are probably seeing was some people who didn't want to invest time and energy because they have seen the same thing over and over, with new people learning and then dropping out. I know its not always the case, but even after a year of seeing people do the same with me, I was sad to see people with potential to be good leave because they didn't have the patience and like fencing, it is a key part to fighting well.
     
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  9. mpego1

    mpego1 Rookie

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    Proficiency in fencing overall (Footwork, Bladework, Tactics, Strategy) takes years. Be patient, practice your footwork more than anything else, you need to get comfortable moving back and forth and learning to gauge distance, then bladework, then some tactics, like learning how to use Right Of Way, etc. My guess from being taught parry 3 & 4 means that you are learning Sabre, its the weapon that has the curved finger guard and does not have a wire in the blade. Is this correct? Don't worry too much about what everyone may or may not think, they need to get to know you and you them. It's like anything else, it takes time to get to know people. If you are learning Sabre, take the time to learn all of your parries well, and try to use them even if you fail - it will take a long time to train your eye to even see the action, but you can still have a blast having a good time struggling along the way. Be patient, but try to enjoy the ride.....bet you were very sore the next day too (3 hours is a long time)....if that happens just keep telling yourself that this means my legs are getting stronger, and even if hurting, it becomes easier to move once you warm up - your 17 - you can take it and just get better with time. Welcome to a sport that you can have for the rest of your life!
     
  10. pinbot

    pinbot Made the Cut

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    I'd maybe recommend looking for another fencing option sooner rather than later. Three hours is a hell of a long time for a first timer. Fencing involves some unusual positions and muscle use and if you don't ease into it it is easy to find yourself rapidly derailed by an overuse injury even if you are in great shape because you are suddenly stressing small muscles in strange ways. So it's a real red flag to me that you would be asked to fence so long. The 30 minute bout is similarly rather alarming. That's assuming it was sustained activity, if there were a lot of breaks for explanation then it's maybe fine--although still suspiciously long in both cases.
     
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  11. James hall

    James hall Rookie

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    I pick up fencing again last year in may. At a local fencing club in hazelmare called Wellesbourne Sword club. And on the 17th June it in oxford. For my they first fencing competition. It was the flying friendship cup. It was France/Belgium. Uk was hosting it this year. It was oxford fencing club/ Wellesbourne sword club and uk veteran fencing. Really enjoyed myself.
     
  12. James hall

    James hall Rookie

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  13. NewGirlFencer

    NewGirlFencer Rookie

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    Omg... I felt the same way on my first day. Fencing was DAMN fun, but the people seemed like they didn't really want me there. (Maybe it was because I won in all the warm up games or maybe it's because I'm good at the parries especially for my first time.) the older people were very nice though.
     
  14. EldRick

    EldRick Podium

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    "...my poor English..."
    I would describe your English-language skills as excellent.
     
  15. Saucer

    Saucer Rookie

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    They are probably unhappy since you might go off target a lot and waste a lot of time and stamina, but anyways, 3 hours for a beginner is a bit too much.
     
  16. robert

    robert Made the Cut

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    In order to progress you have to enjoy it and it is best if you like the club and the other people as the social aspect is important.

    There are six basic building blocks and you will not get them all on any given night.

    1. Fencing Instruction - which for new fencers is either group classes or small training groups depending on which format your club uses. Once you have basics down then you can look at one-on-one lessons.
    2. Footwork: do group footwork and more footwork whenever you can and it is one of best things you can work on your own at the gym or at home.
    3. Bouting: try to bout or spar 1/2 to 2/3 of the time with fencers at your level and mix the the remaining bouts with fencers better or weaker. You want as much diversity in bouting partners as possible, right/left handed, passive/aggressive style, tall/medium/short, experienced/not so experienced as you need to work on things it is practice after all.
    4. Competition: bouts in competition are different and you see fencers you have never seen before and the intensity is different then in club. Work with your coach to pick the right level of competition as you don’t learn much if you lose all your bouts and are out all the time after the first poule.
    5. Cross training: play another sport, run, cycle, yoga, weight training, tennis, soccer, ultimate etc your fitness should come from more then fencing.
    6. Train your brain: watch bouts and observe other fencers, talk fencing and tactics, strategies, technique, keep a journal, watch YouTube etc
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2018

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