The Value of Grunting during Competition

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by jjefferies, Mar 9, 2018.

  1. jjefferies

    jjefferies Podium

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    Just an interesting tidbit from that liberal bastion, the NYT

    A revelatory new study finds that yelling during sports could have greater benefits for performance than many of us might expect, even if it might cause spectators to look aghast and cover their ears.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/07/...artial-arts-weights-grunt-grunting-noise.html

    This study also cannot tell us whether consciously deciding to scream during sports would be beneficial, if noise is not natural to you. You might wind up distracting yourself with your grunts and playing worse, Dr. Sinnett says.

    Do you scream or grunt during fencing? Think it worth cultivating?
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
  2. Goldgar

    Goldgar Podium

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    Since power isn't particularly relevant to fencing, I think you can leave that aspect out of it. Distraction/confusion might be, but most of the screaming I hear fencers do occurs after the touch, not before it. The traditional "yell as you touch" might have an effect, I guess.
     
  3. keropie

    keropie Podium

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    Well, I do sometimes, anyhow. It depends on how competitive I'm being at that point in time (the more competitive, the more likely I am to yell). I find it most legitimately helpful when it 'just happens' and comes out as a release of energy and concentration. I do find in that context that there is value in cultivating it in some athletes who are more introverted/withdrawn/repressed, as it may help them release before the next touch. Unfortunately, it can also impact ROW weapons by showing the official a higher level of confidence. This is less true the better the official is, but it's still a thing.
     
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  4. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    I'm not sure that this is the case. It seems to me that the higher the level of competition, the better the fencers AND the better the referees, the more ubiquitous this sort of yelling is. If it's that ineffectual in influencing officials one would expect its employment to diminish as the level of refereeing rises rather than increasing. Assuming that the perception that it "works" is at all accurate.
     
  5. keropie

    keropie Podium

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    IFF the only reason to yell/grunt is to impact the official. And it's not something that exists in a vacuum. If you (or your opponent) yell on every touch, but then don't on one, it's easy for many officials to feel like you don't believe it's your touch. If you never yell, but one a specific action you do, maybe you'll convince someone that you really think it's yours. Though the better the official, the less they care if you think it's yours or not...

    But if yelling/grunting does have positive impact beyond possible influence on the ref, you'd expect to see more as the level goes up for that positive impact, also.
     
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  6. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    Yes. But clearly fencers ( and their coaches ) believe that it can influence officials. I don't see much reason otherwise for the melodramatics which accompany the yell beside conveying the "Yes! I succeeded in what I was doing, it's my touch!" impression. The crouching, the fist-pumping, the over-the-top postures, and of course the expectant turn toward and stare at the referee---none of these are even alleged to have any of the other positive effects claimed for yelling. The only reason I can see for doing any of these things are...to influence the official.
     
  7. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

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    He who screams loudest gets the touch, yes?
     
  8. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    I think that's the dream. Correlation to reality: somewhere between zero and one.
     
  9. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee is a Verified Fencing ExpertMac A. Bee Podium

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    As a competitor, if my (usually younger) opponent constantly yells, I'll yell *quasi*-tauntingly (think "The Joker") when I make a particularly difficult touch or I deceive them badly. As a ref, when a fencer (usually sabereur) "expectantly turns toward and stares", I say "No", then make my call.
     
  10. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    But what if it actually IS his touch?
     
  11. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee is a Verified Fencing ExpertMac A. Bee Podium

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    I've signaled a touch award before the turn-stare.
     
  12. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    Wow, that's not easy to do. Unless you skip over some of the hand signals.
     
  13. Gav

    Gav is a Verified Fencing ExpertGav Moderator!!

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    No shouting in fencing!
    No grunting!
    No clapping from the crowd!
    No Cheering!
    No earthly noises!
    We must be silent.
    As silent as monks on their way to vespers.
    ps. No Chanting.
     
  14. nwtrout

    nwtrout Made the Cut

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    Yell, laugh, whisper, whoohoo... depends on who I'm fencing. I find it can motivate/demotivate the opponent. Especially, high school seniors wondering how the guy 32 years older than battle back to 14-14? Anything legal to get in "their kitchen" and mess with their mental game.
     
  15. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    Most grunting I do is getting on the knickers.
    "These ..oof.. used to ..euf.. fit."
     
  16. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    I altogether agree with you, Gav. Silence is golden. :)
     
  17. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee is a Verified Fencing ExpertMac A. Bee Podium

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    Down 7-13 at first period's end, when I declined the minute break. High school senior looked at me with disbelief. Brought it back to 13-14 before he got final touch.
     
  18. Shivi

    Shivi Made the Cut

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    According to friends in the martial arts - karate and tae kwon do - the kiai shout is an important aspect of a move and contributes to focus or force. Seems to me that in fencing the noises gerally come after a touch is completed so the motivation must be different. I used to like hearing the elegant-sounding "hopela" from the european fencers but it generally accompanied an equally elegant, and successful, move. The screaming vocalizations aren't quite as elegant... not sure what that says about the fencing though.
     
  19. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

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    I've had some young kids tell me I can move pretty fast...faster than they expected.


    I always tell them that once I get the fat moving, Newton's 1st Law is my friend.
     
  20. keropie

    keropie Podium

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    It also makes them mad when you hit them in the back (in foil or epee... it's a different thing in saber). Or when you let them march onto a point in line. Or actually lunge and they just kind of watch you hit them, not realizing that you can occasionally cover distance when you try (I don't really move a whole lot... not because I'm old, just because I'm lazy... didn't move that much when I was in college, either).
     
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