Those Ignorant Non-Fencers--Stereotypes and Stupid Questions We've All Heard Before

Discussion in 'Water Cooler' started by vivianerikson, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. vivianerikson

    vivianerikson Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    I bet we've all heard terribly dumb questions that people ask when they want to know more about fencing. Surprisingly, those don't seem to come up much when you're talking about baseball or football, basketball, and so on. Since fencing is such a minority sport (at least where I live), there are more people who seem to rely on myths and popular media for all information, so I've heard my share of questions that seem like they'd be obvious, but we must keep in mind that non-fencers simply don't know what it's like.

    Here are some examples of common and not-so-common one's I've heard:

    "So do you fence like in The Princess Bride, jumping up stairs and stuff? Do you swing from ropes and cut down large light fixtures with your swords?"
    Another example of the lack of really good factual fencing movies.

    "Is it hard to move in your chainmail?"

    "Isn't fencing where you swing thin little pieces of foil around and try to hit each other?"

    "Is it legal to kill someone in a bout? What happens if you do? Doesn't that mean you win?"

    "Do you get to stab people?"
    This one is the one I've heard the most. Yes, I'm a foil fencer. I go for their vitals and trick them into looking to their right while I attack to the left. Feint-disengage-attack works so well with anyone. Feint-disengage x5 works even better to throw off tempo.

    "Do you get hurt?"
    Lemme show you the bruises on my ribs, kid."

    My most favorite non-fencer fencing experience was when a teacher at my school asked me one day during class what I did the previous weekend, which, in this case, was a fencing tournament at my club. The next 10 minutes, I was forced to teach him, in front of the entire class, how to fence using camera tripods that were twice the weight of a typical saber. Throughout the lesson, he asked many things, ranging from "Do you shout 'En garde!' when you begin?" to "Alright, so you go first...now it's my move, so I'll guard myself...now it's your move..." He thought that fencing was a play-by-play, DnD-style, "live-action" "game". Wow.

    Post some of those stupid, typical questions you've heard. I'd love to hear more; it's quite fascinating. :blockhead
     
  2. migopod

    migopod Podium

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    2,723
    Likes Received:
    126
    I was raised by Amish railroad men and never exposed to "football" until I was well into Rumspringa so I have the perspective of being a relative ignoramus about another sport. I kept asking the yeasty smelling wobbly fellows with numerical identifiers on their jersey-shirts why they were bellowing at grown men in tights and helmets who couldn't seem to keep their grabby hands off each others' hind quarters.

    Let me tell you, I was rebuked soundly and escorted bodily from the establishment.
     
  3. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2001
    Messages:
    16,086
    Likes Received:
    541
    "Are the ends sharp?" and "Doesn't it hurt?" are the classic ones that come to mind.
     
  4. migopod

    migopod Podium

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    2,723
    Likes Received:
    126
    Also whilst on Rumspringa I did learn the following witticism which I think is apropos to this situation:

    That sir, is what she said.

    Oh ye English. So quick with a witty insinuation that ones mother is promiscuous.
     
  5. Lady Quindecim

    Lady Quindecim Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Messages:
    4,901
    Likes Received:
    85
    One of my faves was from a classmate a few years ago: "Oh, where they pretend to fight with swords? That's laughable!"
    This as I was explaining to a teacher why I was covered head to tail in bruises. Not literally... my tail was not hit. Nor was my head bruised.
     
  6. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2001
    Messages:
    16,086
    Likes Received:
    541
    Uhhh....yeah.....let him do a little sabre and he'll see how laughable it is.
     
  7. CvilleFencer

    CvilleFencer Podium

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Messages:
    3,619
    Likes Received:
    277
    My favorite would be various takes on "How many people have you killed?". To this I usually start counting on my fingers while muttering names to myself and after I have tapped enough digits to make their eyes go wide I say "Oh, you mean while fencing?"


    In addition to the ones already mentioned by others, I hear a lot about electric fencing:

    "Are they like Taser swords?"

    "How bad do you get shocked when the light goes on?"

    "Will I (or my child) die if someone spills something on the grounded strip while they are fencing?"
     
    Got_Fenced_In likes this.
  8. migopod

    migopod Podium

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    2,723
    Likes Received:
    126
    Not a trivial question when discussing certain Triplette scoring machines.
     
  9. Lilipad

    Lilipad Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    2
    Actually, I am doing a research paper on something like this (no, I'm not a nerd, just... obsessed :D)
    The thesis for it runs something like: How do movies, and the public's view of fencing actually differ from the real thing?

    The worst thing that happened to me was: I was at school, showing off some new equipment that I had just bought from someone else at my school, who's daughter fenced. I was proudly holding up my new glove, saying something like: "See look, this is where the cord comes out to attach to my sword." An adult, mind you an ADULT, standing close by who heard me said: "Oh, is the cord to prevent your blade from flying out of you hand?"
     
  10. Wizardly

    Wizardly Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 1999
    Messages:
    809
    Likes Received:
    18
    My personal favorite: "Can you see through those masks?"

    "Nope, blind as a bat. You learn to fight by sound and feel."
     
  11. Lilipad

    Lilipad Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    2
    You shoulda said: You learn to fight using the force!
     
  12. Wizardly

    Wizardly Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 1999
    Messages:
    809
    Likes Received:
    18
    "Your eyes can deceive you, don't trust them." :jester:
     
  13. Lilipad

    Lilipad Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    2
    :)

    How many other people have tried to explain to others about fencing, and when you get to the part about electric scoring, the person goes all wide eyed and says "You use an electronic scoring device???" like you've just said that you were from mars. I have had this happen more times then I can count. :rolleyes:
     
  14. CvilleFencer

    CvilleFencer Podium

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Messages:
    3,619
    Likes Received:
    277
    Its because your club is out in Winchester. That newfangled electricty is a relatively recent thing out your way. ;) Tell everyone I said hello and that I hope to see them at the clinic by the way.
     
  15. jjefferies

    jjefferies Podium

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2005
    Messages:
    3,677
    Likes Received:
    157
    Actually that's not particularly stupid. Most military swords do have cords which are intended to keep the swordsman from losing his blade in the heat of combat. And many modern military dress swords will have cords/sashes on the guards which are, well are descended from, those same cords. Don't recollect what they're properly called though.
     
  16. MacDream

    MacDream Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    My favorite is a colleague who thought that the wire trailing behind the fencer is a leash to pull the fencer back if he/she gets too excited and charge the opponent.
     
  17. Lady Quindecim

    Lady Quindecim Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Messages:
    4,901
    Likes Received:
    85
    I like to irritate foil fencers within earshot when my class of little ones asks if it will hurt:
    "That is we you start with foil - until you get used to it. When you grow up, you get to use a real sword - epee."

    I am only kidding. I have never told a beginning class that. I was only messing with my near/dear foil friends.

    But I have said, "No, it does not hurt at all... unless you get hit, but that is what you are trying to avoid." And go on to explain that it does not have to hurt... the better you get, the less it hurts... only 500 grams - so you don't need to hit hard enough to hurt... etc.

    But some other comments born out of misconceptions:

    "Can I switch hands?" (during a bout)
    No. Notice we only wear one glove.
    "If I wear two, can I switch hands?"
    I asked for that one, didn't I?

    "Can I throw my sword at my opponent?"
    "What if I grab their blade like this..."
    "Can I use two swords?"
    "Do I get a point for disarming my opponent?" -- not actually all that unthinkable.
    (comparing pistol to french grip) "Is that one a two handed sword?"
     
  18. D'Art

    D'Art Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2005
    Messages:
    3,273
    Likes Received:
    217
    That's one of the more common ones I've heard too, along with the usual "How many people have you killed?" and "Are you some sort of poof?" (my usual reply being some variation of either "Want to find out?" or "Yeah - a straight one")
     
  19. Triton

    Triton Made the Cut

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2002
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    3
    For a while, the most common response when I mentioned I am a fencer was, "Oh, I can beat you." Always from people who had no idea what fencing is, they just thought they would be automatically good at it. I usually responded by telling them when the next practice time was. They never showed up.
     
  20. Lilipad

    Lilipad Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    2
    :)

    What am I suposed to say? "Oh yeah, this random guy online says hello and that he hopes to see you at the upcoming clinic!"
    That will go over marvolously.

    jjefferies, I must say that I did not know that. Cool!
     

Share This Page