My introduction

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by Yannn, Jan 26, 2017.

  1. Yannn

    Yannn Made the Cut

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    Hi,

    This may not belong here, but I thought I'd introduce my self in the main section.
    I also have some questions to ask...

    I'm a returning fencer. I fenced altogether for 15 years. And I've since quit for 15 others.
    I'm now 43 and I've decided that I wanted to fence again. So last weak, I bleached my suit and forced my way into my fencing pants, I checked my épées and I went to a cool club.
    ...
    Man, I realized that I'd been craving it so much!
    The rattle of the iron, the mask, the anticipation, the psychology, the reflexes... And I beat 2 people, including a coach! I mean, not only after 15 years of no fencing, but also of very very bad health and life habits...
    My already aching right knee (I'm a leftie) went berserk after. An old fencing wound from a weak tendon. I'm treating it right now.
    But mmhhh, the smell of the duel... Especially when I planted the tip of my epee so well in my opponent, so precisely that the blade bent in a near circle. That feeling that "I pierced him: He's dead and I'm not... this time"

    I was doing well on the local Québec and Canadian circuits during my competitive years. Then, I travelled far and wide, I practised Asian fencing, but only sporadically European fencing. When I realized that my competition hopes were over, I switched to martial arts (jiu ji tsu). Then, 10 years of no sports, letting my muscles atrophy.
    When I went over to fence last Friday, I thought my head would explode because my body just didn't seem able to cope with high energy efforts anymore. But I pushed on. The physical distress calmed down after a couple of matches.
    My legs are in bad shape. In fact, I attempted a flèche and I fell crashing into the scoring box... That reminded me to remain humble for the rest of the evening. Nevertheless, my muscles panicked and ached so much that I could have walked with a cane since.
    Especially, I never realized before how much I'd missed escrime. I missed the camaraderie, the duelling spirit, the shock and the sport. I'm glad to be back among you.
    :)

    Anyways, so Hi!
    I may come here to chat and ask questions. Of which I have a few right now.

    -First, do you think there's a New Balance shoe that is suited for fencing?
    I'm asking because I have long wide feet and knee issues. I presently have a pair of New Balance shoes that are incredible. It's like wearing clean slippers after a shower. Plus they grip to the ground like magnets. Their only defaults are too soft a fabric above the toes, and a heel that's not rounded enough for the attacking foot. (It is slightly curved though, and it's so cushiony that you can roll on it without strain.)
    Otherwise, the construction is flawless. And they make their shoes in my size...

    -Second, I have pain on my lateral tendon, on my trailing (right) leg knee cap (patella). I had that pain when I competed in my younger years, and I still have it.
    Do you think that a patellar knee band strap is a good idea?

    -Third, an old coach suggested that I do this to get back into it. Do you agree?
    He said that I should fence with a French grip, so as to exercise first my fine dexterity and footwork. And only after I've gotten back into shape, get back to a pistol grip to add lateral force. It appears like not a bad plan. I never fenced with a French blade before honnestly, or never enough. I was initially a sabreur, until I succumbed to the charms of the épée.
    ...

    Happy to meet you all. Please feel free to comment in any way on my questions or on whatever.
     
  2. sdubinsky

    sdubinsky Made the Cut

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    I love new balance shoes. I use them myself, although I need to find a new model as well. I wouldn't worry too much about the cloth toe or the flat heel. The first isn't an issue and you can buy a heel cup for the other. If they're comfortable, and the sole rolls up the side of the shoe so it won't rip off when you lunge, they're good fencing shoes.
     
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  3. Steve Khinoy

    Steve Khinoy DE Bracket

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    Two reasons to fence with a French grip:
    1) You are actively, consciously, regardless of results, trying to develop the dexterity that that coach told you about;
    2) You are preparing to switch to a full-time pommeling French grip (holding the back of the handle or even the pommel to increase reach.)
    If you're not trying to be a serious traditional-techical fencer, and if you're not going to pommel, try to develop dexterity using a pistol grip. Even that's hard enough.
     
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  4. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    The expression on my face right now is that of a man who has just bitten into a lemon. :p
     
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  5. Marc

    Marc Rookie

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    I have wide feet as well and have had good luck with Li-Ning badminton shoes. They have several models in wide.
     
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  6. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    You're not alone - I get the same expression when fencing Sabre.
     
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  7. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    Haha, good one! You should try stand-up. :D
     
  8. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    My coaches tell me to keep my knees bent.
     
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  9. Emfuser

    Emfuser Made the Cut

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    Welcome back.

    A piece of advice on uniforms: Do not bleach them at all unless they are cotton. Not even oxygen bleach (oxy/oxiclean). We've had long discussions on this over in the Armory forum and our resident organic chemist has explained why that instruction is on the tag of every fencing uniform made out of the various poly fibers and why it should be heeded.
     
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  10. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    Then they will match your sense of humor. :)
     
  11. jdude97

    jdude97 Podium

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    What's the tl;dr?
     
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  12. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    Wash cold with mild detergent. Hang dry. Double check the tag on the garment.
     
  13. jdude97

    jdude97 Podium

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    But why bleach is bad? Does it weaken the fibers?
     
  14. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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  15. Fencingmom1

    Fencingmom1 DE Bracket

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    How about bleaching just the knickers? I have seen some disgusting knickers that look like they are urine soaked and I cannot believe that people don't wash their knickers!
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017
  16. ReadyFence

    ReadyFence Podium

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    Nope, FIE is FIE, whether it's knickers, a jacket or a plastron. No bleach. But of course you can wash them.

    I soak in a sink full of water and about 2 cups of borax to try and fight the funk, then wash with Tide or whichever "sport wash" is on clearance at Dick's.
     
  17. PHartman

    PHartman Rookie

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    Oh, please wash your kit. Please! And hang it up to air out/dry out after using it in between washings. Don't shove it in a bag and then leave that in the trunk of your car. The miasma of locker room level funk around some teenagers and not-so-teenagers is stunning. They've gone nose-blind!
     
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  18. Yannn

    Yannn Made the Cut

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    Hi everybody.

    I'm so sorry that I haven't replied before ! I thought that I had set this thread to send me automatic email notifications at replies, but apparently I didn't...

    Thanks for the different answers above (and the humour).

    So I've made some progress.

    I did get myself a French grip épée and have used it exclusively since January and until a couple of weeks ago. It was a good experience, having never really used one in the past. The added length is of course neat, and it forced me to rethink my approach, which is always instructive. There were 2 problems with it for me though. One was that I bought a cheap blade, which took an unpleasant bend near the tip after heavily curving upward. That's doubly my fault from buying cheap and from fencing heavily like a novice, what after so many years away. The other problem was that I started feeling tendon strain in my fencing (left) hand and forearm. I finally realized that I was overcompensating for the lack of strength, compared to the orthopaedic grips that I'd always known. But in the end, that was a good lesson, as I learned to play esquives (slip-aways).

    So I've finally decided to rebuild myself an ortho. I picked up one of my old (20 years old, used for maybe 3 years) FIE Russian blades that is a bit on the heavy side, but well balanced and that has proven extraordinarily durable. You can beat that blade up, yet it always seems to go back into it's nice natural curve with just a little bit of encouraging. So I purchased a new guard and an English grip, and I've been having a lot of fun the last couple of weeks with it, without all the strain in my hand and wrist.

    And then I went crazy on a whim and ordered a BF FIE blade... :) I can't wait to mount that new épée!

    As far as getting back into fencing, the first couple of months were rough. I'm seriously out of shape. And I need to get back into doing cardio. But I've been progressing since January. For one thing, getting my legs back into shape has solved my knee and tendon problems!
    Especially, I seem to have retained some of the old fencing reflexes! The club that I joined has fencers of all ages and levels. A couple épéistes are exceptionally good (it'll take me a while to hope to beat them, even at least once in a while when they have a cold). But otherwise, I'm on par with the majority of intermediates, and in competing mode with the veterans. And those who have beaten me in the first couple of months now fear my capacity to learn, adapt and riposte. :)

    I still have a lot to work on and a lot of shape to regain, but god, I have missed fencing so much the joy of fencing again almost hurts. These are the best endorphins that I've experienced in a long time ! :)
     

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