Lunge technique

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by jspierre, Dec 17, 2002.

  1. jspierre

    jspierre Rookie

    Jan 11, 2000
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    I've noticed foil and saber fencers at our club, when they practice lunges, they tend to throw their weapon arm out, and allow it to collapse back when the front foot hits the ground. It looks like you're throwing a hand-shake a some someone then pulling it back like a prankster.

    In epee, you don't see the same thing. Epee fencers at the club seems to keep a stiff weapon arm in the lunge, and while they may relax their shoulders, they don't have the habit of retracking their arms.

    Am I seeing things? Is there some practical/theoritcial reason for this?
  2. edew

    edew Podium

    Jun 15, 2000
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    I'd say, duh.

    In foil and sabre, leaving your arm out there is asking to be hit with the riposte without doing any defending. In epee, it's a remise that might hit before the riposte might arrive.

    In foil and sabre, once you make your lunge, you should be ready to parry, which means bringing your arm back, even if it means flopping it down near the leg. Holding the weapon out there isn't going to make the counter-parry. In epee, leaving your arm out there after a deep long lunge is the best way to keep the opponent at bay from just jumping all over you.
  3. MikeHarm

    MikeHarm Rookie

    Jan 31, 2000
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    I think keeping the arm out was more important in dry fencing foil where you needed it on there for the jury to clearly see that you landed. With electric once you've clicked the button on the lame by keeping your arm extended and not getting out of there and being ready to fend off a counterattack before it times out you risk giving the director the chance to call it against you.
  4. Jason

    Jason Podium

    Aug 25, 2002
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    Actually, pulling your arm back quickly after the attack in foil and sabre is a pretty common mistake.
    Eric's explanation is the usual justification, but it's wholly illogical.
    If you are, in fact, parried, pulling your arm immediately back will make it impossible for you to parry your opponent's riposte (unless, of course, he hesitates a good long time).

    If I attack you (let's say in sabre) and you parry 5 and immediately riposte to my head, the time for me to pull my arm back to an on-guard position and then take my own parry will be much longer than if I had kept my arm out (albeit, relaxed--a stiff extended arm will be too slow as well) and gone immediately to 5. This is based on the idea that 2 movements are slower than 1 :p .
    If I attack you and you parry 5 and don't riposte immediately, I might have the time to pull my hand back and then make a parry, but, by leaving my hand out, I'll have the time to make a remise and escape. Of course, if I try to pull back and then parry, it'll still be very difficult because you can make a slow and careful riposte taking advantage of my opening while I search for a parry or try to quickly get away.
    Of course, if I attack and I'm short, then pulling my arm back quickly may not have any detrimental affect--but it doesn't necessarily have a positive one either.

    The other problem is that many fencers are so keen to get their arms back that they end up shortening their attacks as they pull back before they are even entirely out.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2002
  5. D'Artagnan1673

    D'Artagnan1673 Podium

    Mar 10, 2002
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    Why would you practice a lunge and always retract your arm immidiately? Is every lunge the same? There may be instances when you should pull back quickly, but there will be instances when you should keep extended. I think that each situation is different and will warrent a different reaction.

    I am thinking back to my days of foil fencing. If remember getting killed often by a failure to parry in time. This had to do with at least two main factors. One was that I kept my arm extended TOO long and the other being that I often over extended my lunge. This gave my opponent more time to land his riposte than I had time to parry. I think that I also had a nasty tendancy to drag my feet forward even after the lunge. This of course resulted in me being in perfect position for a quick riposte.

    I can't say yea or nay. I can also remember situations, less albeit, when my extended arm worked out well for a remise or possible redoublement of my attack (Terminology may not be perfect)

    Do remeber that my classical foil style is not very applicable to most modern foilists' technique.
  6. epeefencer74

    epeefencer74 Rookie

    Aug 11, 2002
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    The quirk of dropping the weapon arm upon completing the lunge also occurs in the sabre fencers of my club, but not so with our foilist and epeeist. With epeeist, Edew has already explained. With our foilist, it seems that they are better able to counter parry from a "straight arm" position. The reason I put straight arm in quotes is because although the arm is straight, the elbow isn't locked, I think that is the key for thier quick counter parry. They are more in a habit of lunging and recovering very quickly while leaving the arm out to threaten the opponent.
  7. KShan5[PrFC]

    KShan5[PrFC] Podium

    Apr 27, 2002
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    If you are just saying practicing lunges rather then in bout, it could be that they are lazy. It happens in my cluba lot. People execute a good lunge, then intstead of holding it let everything slacken, the arm sually being the first thing to go.
  8. earlie

    earlie Rookie

    Dec 18, 2002
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    I knew this dude who, hey, grunted! whenever he practiced his lunges. Ausfall. He sounded gross, because it was almost like the sound of ya butt, man, when ya let off a f##t. They couldn't figure this dude out when he like competed, because he like started doing it as a like habit in the middle of a bout.
    That was in Ohio days, and I think it was fairly typical.
  9. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

    Jul 12, 2001
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    I cannot speak to foil ( perish the thought! ), but I think that what you may be seeing in sabre is not the retraction of the arm to guard, or a preparation to make a parry, but rather an invitation.

    Many sabre fencers will, when retreating, drop their guard and let their blade parallel the ground, a foot ot two above it, in order to draw the opponent into beginning his final attack. Then he can either do a quick parry or a distance parry and riposte. If on the other hand you intend to hold your ground after your attack fails and parry the riposte, keeping your guard extended somewhat is your best bet...your opponent's riposte is more likely to get fouled on your guard en route that way, and the farther out you are the less distance you have to move your arm to close any given line. ( And conversely, the closer your guard to your body, the farther it must travel to close a line. )

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