Will fencing/learning some epee detract from my foil training?

Discussion in 'New to Fencing' started by anton_fairfax, Jul 18, 2017.

  1. anton_fairfax

    anton_fairfax Rookie

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    I've been fencing for just under 12 months now, just foil (as a personal preference, my club is primarily epee).
    I do love foil, but I have hesitated to try epee (despite clubmates urging!) as I feel it firstly is taking time away from honing my skills as a foilist, and secondly, in case i develop bad or different habits, or a different style of fencing, which actually detracts from my foil work.

    My question is, are these concerns valid, particularly as a new fencer?

    Am i better off being a one weapon fencer for now, or will branching out and doing a bit of epee each week widen my skills and assist my foil fencing?

    Many people at my club do both but they are all long term fencers, and are can pick either weapon up and adapt instantly. Yet there are also "one weapon" specialists. Because i have seen a lot of progress and and growth in the last 6 months, i don't want to jeopardize it. Should i reach a certain skill level before i learn a different style of weapon?
     
  2. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    What are your long term goals in fencing?
    Is it difficult to get bouts at your skill level in foil at your club?
    Is your club a "specialty club" that works in one weapon and "dabbles" in another?
    Didn't you just answer your own question here?
     
  3. ShortFoot

    ShortFoot Made the Cut

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    There are two ways to read that:
    1. "You're clearly a quick learner, therefore adaptable, therefore no, you wouldn't undermine your foil work by trying epee."
    2. "The fact that you're asking the question means you already sense that the answer is yes: you'd undermine your foil work."
     
  4. keropie

    keropie Podium

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    If you plan on being a foilist, doing much training in epee certainly risks some level of confusion and slowing your progress in foil. One night every other month, just to play, probably wouldn't have much impact (other than opportunity cost of time you could be doing foil).
    However, if you're just fencing to have fun and be active, who cares? Go nuts, try epee, try saber, do whatever, as long as you're having fun.
    And this is why Allen started with 'What are your long term goals in fencing?'

    Personally, for me, I'm a foilist. I occasionally fence with a saber in my hand (trust me, it's not really saber that I'm fencing), but epee holds no real interest for me. So I don't ever fence it.
     
  5. neevel

    neevel Armorer

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    One other bit of advice is, when fencing epee as foilist, is to focus on actions that will be most similar to foil. When I fence epee, I tend to work a lot on invitation/parry-riposte to advanced target, since I can execute such an action in a very similar way to a foil parry-riposte (beat parry, detached riposte, fairly low likelihood of getting timed out by a remise). You will, of course, generally be beaten by dedicated epeeists, but you will at least be able to get bouts in that offer some value in practicing foil-relevant actions without ingraining epee actions that will be inappropriate for foil.
     
  6. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    Get the mechanics down first, both share the same actions.
    Tactically there are a lot of similarities. I'd say the differences are specific to parts of target, timing, and tempo. Those will come with practice and unless you're gifted, driven, or have a great coach, you may not realize it for a few more seasons.

    Enjoy each weapon for what it is. And go fence!
     
  7. anton_fairfax

    anton_fairfax Rookie

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    Thank you for the feedback, guys.

    that is an excellent question. i don't really have any... maybe i should set some, but primarily its for fun, and ive been competing in novice comps, i guess my main priority at the moment is to improve as quickly as I can, but it is just a hobby after all.

    Yes, it's an Epee club, however there's been lots of beginners coming in, so numerically its 50/50 foil/epee but most of the advanced/long term fencers are epeeists, and most of the foilists are very new. So I do plenty of foil fencing, but there's limited opportunities to experience challenging bouts, against equally matched fencers, or advanced fencers (though they will fence foil if i ask them). And as I answer this question, it occurs to me that by doing some epee I could fence those fencers more, and more of them, which would probably be a good thing....

    Well, i don't want to jeopardize it, but WILL it jeopardize future improvement, or aid it, is the part I'm unclear on.

    But from a lot of the replies, I think the most important part is that as an amateur, I should just have fun, so I might just dabble in some epee and see how it goes!
     
    mpego1 and ShortFoot like this.
  8. mpego1

    mpego1 Rookie

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    Personally since the weapons are deeply different, meaning conventional (FOIL/ROW), restricted target, with the longest lock out time vs non-conventional (EPEE No ROW), everything is target, shortest lock out time - you may just be able to flip a bit in your head depending on what weapon you are holding. It's really kind of like when you are trying to learn or understand anything that has some depth to it, any sport, any activity, and really good book series set in a wide imaginary universe....you just end up spending a lot of time a little lost and confused, and then click - things come together - and you are not lost anymore. When trying to learn both fencing disciplines this will happen to you as well, and since you are in it for the fun, just sit back and enjoy the ride, and use one to help you take a break from the other. In the end when you pick up a foil you will think Foil, and then when you pick up an Epee you think in Epee - yes it may take a while, but since you are not in any particular hurry - who cares....enjoy the journey and just go with it.
     

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