Why are there interpretations..

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by jkormann, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    Figured we'd get this out of that other thread.. This may be me looking for a simple answer to a complex question, but why are there interpretations of the rules which run counter to the text of the rulebook.

    Case in point, if a foil fencer makes an attack by withholding the blade, which usually means their front arm is bent. From t.83.4,
    That seems pretty clear if the arm is bent during the attack, it's prep. What led to the interpretation allowing for a bent-arm attack establishing priority?

    Note -- I'm not trying to re-hash the age-old argument. I actually want to understand the WHY and HOW this came into being.
     
  2. Linkbane

    Linkbane Made the Cut

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    Oh boy, this one again.
     
  3. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    No. I specifically said the interpretation is how it is called. That's is settled and I'm not arguing it.
    Even the "mouse hole" had a reason behind it.

    I want to know how the interpretation came into being.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
  4. Gav

    Gav is a Verified Fencing ExpertGav Moderator!!

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    Because we're human beings.
     
  5. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    The original interpretation of the rules was written when everyone was taught to parry at the last moment of the attack. Fencers mostly fenced close and didn't do a lot of aggressive footwork. This late parry approach was an unspoken assumption built into the rules when they were written in the 1900's. Watch a few classical videos. All the defenders allow the attack to develop before they make a defensive action.

    This approach to making the parry at the last moment worked fairly well up until the 1960s/1970s when fencers begin to use more speed and athletic ability to score. Full on electification allowed attacks to score from any angle, and that didn't help. So fencers learned to "clog the zone" between themselves and the opponent with early, sweeping parries. Attackers responded by 'hiding the blade' and powerful national coaches pushed referees to recognize the attack as taking the initiative of the distance.

    If fencers want to return to the "arm must be fully extended on the attack" interpretation, there has to be a way to prevent the defender from making early, sweeping parries to disrupt the attack.

    I talk a little bit more about it here: https://www.coachescompendium.org/BENTARM.HTML
     
  6. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    Not sure about some of the posters on this forum recently...
    Ah. Thank you!
     
  7. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    Frankly, my go-to argument against the people who argue "arm extended" is the exsistance of early, sweeping parries. If someone is actively searching for your blade on your first step, it's practically impossible to "thread the needle" through their defense with a fully extended arm. The only way to bring back "arm extended on the attack" is not to demand that the referees "enforce the rules", but to create a new rule to punish the early parry.

    I just don't see that happening.
     
  8. posineg

    posineg Made the Cut

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    I argue that statement. I love derobement(sp?) and deceive, use them all the time. Is not a failed searching of the blade a pass of priority by default? I do love your origins story for our current game-state.
     
  9. ChrisL

    ChrisL Made the Cut

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    No a search for the blade is a preparation, this doesn't grant priority to the other fencer it simply means they are not attacking.
    In general a common mistake with preparation is the moment people hear the word they associate "preparation therefore my turn/go/attack", this is not the case. Preparation simply means not attacking.

    As such a search for the blade does not grant priority and if a fencer then attacks perhaps moving smoothly from the search into the attack then the length of time doing the search (preparation) before their attack begins is not very long. If an attack into a search is to have priority it has to be an attack during the search, as you can imagine this is difficult. Most fencers can move their blades in a search quicker than their opponents can move their arm,legs,body to launch an attack into it. Hence the rarity of the action.

    Looking at it through lens you can more commonly understand some of the most common situations in foil related to this call. One very regular one is where a fencer searches for the blade, the other fencer sees this and attacks going into an opening line. However often the attack may arrive after the search and the new attack begins, this is even more so the case if the fencer searching does so with their blade progressing forward meaning the time between the first tempo (the search) and next tempo (the progression of the arm directly from that search into an attack) is short and for most fencers not possible to see.

    The solution to this is many derobements are executed on the first presentation of the search or pre-meditated in order to find the right timing.
     
  10. posineg

    posineg Made the Cut

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    @ ChrisL: Good points. So, anytime that a fencer who is on the march and under current convention more than likely has the priority of attack makes a search and fails, then priority passes... this is all assumed that the director has awarded that fencer as attacking.

    This brings the whole conversation around in a circle. In the "older days", as you stated, a search for the blade not during attack is just nothing. As opposed to current times, would most failed searches by the aggressive fencer be a pass in priority? Me guess is that most directors should be calling this as a failed search and award the other fencer the point... if the directors are calling forward motion as attacking.
     
  11. ChrisL

    ChrisL Made the Cut

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    I suggest you reread the post but I hope I can clarify a little further.

    Priority does not pass.
    The search does not grant priority to the opposing fencer, it gives them an opportunity to attack into that search, however they have to be attacking into a search (not a change of line), they also have to attack into the motion of the search itself and not after the search has been completed. This is very difficult.

    Most fencers marching who search for the blade will score the point if the opponent attempts to derobe that search, the mechanics of scoring this point are extremely challenging. Many fencers would use that moment to launch a counterattack rather than an attack on preparation as a more effective way to score.

    Referees should only grant this point if the fencer launches an attack disengaging a search while the search is taking place. This is quite unlikely and it is far more likely they will launch after the search or make some other timing error. Choosing to err against this action is a safe bet.

    As an example I refereed the British Nationals this weekend just gone up to the finals. I did not see this call nor see any action in any match I watched of both days occur. It just isn't really a realistic action in the current game except in rare situations.
     
  12. Grey Sabreur

    Grey Sabreur Made the Cut

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    A simpler way to handle the "extension" is to not require an "extended arm" but an "extending arm" that is moving the sword towards the oppnent's target. Call the bent arm blade waving what it is; preparation. Once the arm starts (and continues) the extension to the target you have the attack. And you wouldn't have to change the rules!
     
  13. posineg

    posineg Made the Cut

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    I truely must not be picking up what you are laying down:

    t.102
    2. If, when attempting to find the opponent’s blade to deflect it, the blade is not found (dérobement), the right of attack passes to the opponent.

    t.106
    4. The fencer who attacks is alone counted as touched:
    b) If he attempts to find the blade, does not succeed (because of a dérobement) and continues the attack;

    I do not have the speed of youth and often have to aggravate the "attacking" fencer that is using absence of blade, by sticking my blade into a close target, hoping that they will try to swat the blade away. I agree that if the fencer is in prep then they will not lose anything if I dérobe their blade but that is not what the overall argument is. People are arguing that even though the actions should be called prep, the same actions are being called attacking and therefor a dérobe is a fine response.
     
  14. keropie

    keropie Podium

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    Again, this is part of the reality of the rules not being a treatise on fencing.

    At least within coaching terminology, derobement comes from an extension, and trompement begins the extension during the deceive. In my experience, derobement is easier to get called, whereas trompement will only get called if the official feels like the searcher/'attacker' is waiting (so, they search, you deceive, begin extension, they are still not coming, you might get the call; by rule, if they search, you deceive and begin to extend simultaneously, then they finish their search and you both hit, it should be yours, but this is very hard to see. Often the defender sees the search, avoids the search, the attacker finishes the search and continues to finish the attack, and the defender extends either simultaneously to the attackers final extension or afterwards; the time for AoP has been missed).
     
  15. tbryan

    tbryan Podium

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    Or, as it is sometimes explained in tournaments:

    Referee: "Attack. Touch."
    Fencer: "Not an attack into preparation?"
    Referee: "No. You counterattacked."
    Fencer: "But didn't he search?"
    Referee: "Yes. He searched, and then he attacked, and then you counterattacked."
     
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  16. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    I seem to recall having been told by referees and coaches that '2 for 1' actions are not allowed.

    In this case, you search for the blade and find it now you have attaque au fer, if you don't find it you still have the attack. 2 for 1 is now totally OK apparently?
     
  17. keropie

    keropie Podium

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    No; if you search, and while you are searching, they attack, it's their attack; but the window of time in which you're searching (assuming you're doing it reasonably correctly) is very small. If they attack after you're done searching and you've started your attack, well, then they didn't attack.
     
  18. posineg

    posineg Made the Cut

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    Mind Blown. So, you are saying that a derobement is not a valid component in the fencing exchange due to being out of tempo but that a combo derobement-attack is the only solution due to counter tempo? For example what I think you wrote; if I avoided my opponents beat and then we both attacked, the opponent would have the touch? Counter that, if I avoided my opponents beat while counter attacking I would have the point?

    Then I do not understand:

    t.102
    2. If, when attempting to find the opponent’s blade to deflect it, the blade is not found (dérobement), the right of attack passes to the opponent.
     
  19. ChrisL

    ChrisL Made the Cut

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    "the right of attack passes."

    This essentially means you have the opportunity to attack through the search. If they search, you see that search and avoid it, they attack then you attack. Then it's their attack.

    You have the right to attack into a search but you have to actually attack to have the priority. This is universal to right of way in general. You don't get given the priority for free because of someone else's mistake, you have to attack to earn it.

    This is a fundamental tenet of modern foil. The attacker might make mistakes but that doesn't mean the defender has priority because of it, the defender has the opportunity to gain the right of way if the attacker makes a mistake but has to actually attack in that moment to gain it.
     
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  20. posineg

    posineg Made the Cut

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    To keep the vision of this thread "Absence of Blade Attacks"; when a opponent is marching towards me with absence of blade and they attempt a search of the blade (this is prep) and the blade is not found (dérobement), by your reply if I did not attack while they were searching it is still there right of way?

    This whole thread is about interpretations of the rules pertaining to absence of blade. I presented my approach of trying to fence a opponent who uses this technique. Somehow, by your explanation, I have always been wrong.

    To try to explain back to insure I have this correctly: If my opponent who is in prep and searches for my blade, that this moment in the exchange is the only time that I can attack and be sure I will have priority... (Attack into Prep). If my opponent who is in prep and searches for my blade and the blade is not found and then we both attack, touch goes to the opponent?

    Now lets apply the vision of the thread: All actions are considered a attack (via advanced lunge or compound...)
    If my opponent who is marching(modern interp. of foil attack) and searches for my blade and the blade is not found and then we both attack, touch goes to the opponent? I removed the first scenario due to the fencer never is being recognized as being in prep.

    Nowhere in the rules can I find that if a search is BEING MADE that I have to attack into this search to have priority. Maybe it is a translation thing but t.102.2 is a past tense phase and must be after the searcher completed the search... not during.
     

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