pool bouts

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by shantelikes 2 fence, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. shantelikes 2 fence

    shantelikes 2 fence Rookie

    May 25, 2011
    Likes Received:
    What is your strategy in being succesful in a pool bout. Also, where does your head need to be during pools? I ask this because I want to start practicing at fencing practice but we always do 15 points.

    drills to do during practice
  2. IanSerotkin

    IanSerotkin DE Bracket

    Jul 22, 2004
    Likes Received:
    I try to score 5 touches.
    MBalderson likes this.
  3. Goldgar

    Goldgar Podium

    May 12, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Sorry, but that's stupid. Unless you clearly outclass everyone else in a competition, you want a decent seed going into the DEs so as to avoid meeting too many tough opponents too early. How do you get that seed? By winning bouts in the pools. So you'd better practice winning pool bouts, not just DE bouts.

    The big difference in pool bouts is that you have pretty much only one chance to change strategy. In a DE, you get two or three. So in a pool bout, you need to be very alert to whether your current strategy is working, and whether your opponent has made a significant change, and adjust as needed right away. You can't afford to burn a few touches "just to see".
  4. tlucente

    tlucente DE Bracket

    Aug 10, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Even if you're fencing 15 touch bouts at practice, in your head consider it (3) 5-touch bouts and try to win each.
  5. malediction

    malediction Made the Cut

    Feb 20, 2010
    Likes Received:

    Pools invite two approaches, a defensive and offensive one. The primary thing to bear in mind is that a pool bout is 3 minutes, meaning that you rarely have time to learn all the nuances of your opponent's style and habits. This means that the fencer with more initiative often wins.

    Aggressive Postures:

    I don't really fence foil outside of practice, so my foil advice should be taken with a grain of salt. The basic idea for an aggressive posture is to attack and hit so quickly that the opponent cannot react. Generally, you need only one or two intentions to do this. I find (in both weapons) that a probe followed by a disengage and a bind or beat often does the trick. The entire motion is smooth and small, and if done with the proper distance it leaves no room for a response. If you can create a 2-0 lead using these simple actions, the rest of the bout should be easy enough. A warning: committing to an action in this way often leaves you open to counter-attacks in epee, where you might get doubled once or twice during the bout. I find that this works well against higher level opponents, since they will often try to do the same to you (and you don't want to give control to the opponent).

    Defensive Postures:

    In foil, I try to close the distance a bit, provoke an attack or excessive preparation, and then parry-riposte with a step, or attack in prep. You don't push if you do this, you only bait them. Patience is paramount. In epee, a strong engarde will often slow an opponent down, and not attacking will often bring out their impatient side. Weaker opponents tend to become frustrated with the pace and lack of feedback, and will attack from incorrect distance or with excessive blade motion. Simple counterattacks are usually sufficient to hit them. I find that, in epee, this leaves me with many 5-0 or 5-1 victories in pools, against the low level opponents, but the slow pace means that high level opponents will see the distance and attack in a way that makes a response difficult to deliver. Thus I recommend mixing up your approaches depending on the opponent.


    Pools are incredibly important. A strong showing in pools means an easy first, and sometimes second, DE. Therefore, remain patient for as long as possible. You want to attack and defend methodically; avoid blind committment and "hail mary" attacks. Never let yourself lose control or focus, and don't take risks unless you have to.


    Not much to say here. Try hitting opponents with one or two intentions before they can react. You'll naturally develop a sense of timing and distance, and you may find yourself intimidating opponents who expected less of a fight.
  6. tbryan

    tbryan Podium

    May 6, 2005
    Likes Received:
    You may find this thread useful: http://www.fencing.net/forums/thread25086.html

    How "fixed" is practice? It seems odd that all of your bouting practice at club would be 15-touch bouts. You should train for what you need to do in tournaments. I would expect either part of each practice to include 5-touch bouts or maybe just some days to include 5-touch bouts. We've also sometimes pulled together a group of 5 or 6 fencers, and we run a pool on one of the strips. Everybody gets to fence everyone else, but the competitors can really focus on fencing it like a real pool.

    It's also useful to fence various bout "games". For example, I liked 1-3-5-3-1. You fence five "bouts" in a row. The first is to 1 touche. The next to 3 touches. And so on. If you're keeping track of the winner, it's whoever wins at least 3 out of 5 of the bouts. The point of the game is to practice getting in the right mind set in different scoring situations. How do you fence at 4-4 when you need a one light touch? Is that different from fencing a full 5-touch bout? How? The game also gives weaker fencers a chance at being more "successful" against a much stronger opponent compared to fencing a 15-touch bout.
  7. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

    Oct 25, 2003
    Likes Received:
    All other things being equal, you win your first DE in the pool.

  8. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

    Aug 14, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Several people have said already that two touches in a pool bout is a bigger deal than two touches in a DE, which is true.

    Another difference is that in a pool bout you get to sit and watch your future opponent for one, two three, whatever bouts before you fence her. Often in a DE you'll fence someone you've never seen, or someone you haven't seen for months. Her last DE was at the same time as your last DE, so you go into the bout have not seen her fence that day.

    The ability to watch someone fence and learn something from it is useful but non-trivial. You have to practice it. Watch your opponents before you fence them, try to see how your fencing will intersect with theirs. Are there things they're good at you should stay out of? Are there mistakes they make you can take advantage of? Something as simple as, is her emergency parry 6 or 8? When she's pressed does she counter or parry? Does she always try a foot touch early in the bout? Paying attention and learning to translate what you see from the sidelines to something you can use on the strip is a really good skill to develop. Sadly, it's something that's hard to do at practice, since you know everyone there.

    Of course there's stuff you can't see until you start fencing the person. But it always surprises me when I see people in pools not watching future opponents fence, as though there's nothing to be learned there.

    K O'N
  9. Craig

    Craig Administrator Staff Member

    Dec 7, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Hadn't thought of it exactly that way but yes.

Share This Page