Zivkovic: how to hold?

Discussion in 'Armory - Q&A' started by Mr. Bill, Dec 26, 2008.

  1. Mr. Bill

    Mr. Bill Rookie

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    Ok, this is surely dumb noob question, but I just spent the better part of an hour searching this forum, and the web in general, and haven't found the "for dummies" answer I was looking for. A bit of background first: two weeks ago I hurt the knuckle of my forefinger while engaging in a bit of close-in "sword wrestling" using a French handle. It's getting better, but it still lacks strength and still causes some pain when attempting aggressive blade (epee) movements. I haven't done any bouts since, to give it time to heal. But now I fear, even after it's healed, injuring it again. Out of curiosity I figured I'd try playing around with a pistol grip at home, to see how my sore finger felt when gripping it. Ordered myself an epee with a Zivkovic GII handle, which arrived today. But now, what I figured would be intuitive - how to hold the thing - doesn't look so intuitive after all. There appear to be several possible ways to hold it. When I first picked it up, here's what seemed natural: the GII has pronounced grooves for three fingers, beneath the shaft of the handle, and into these I placed pinky, ring, and middle fingers. The index finger I placed on top of the handle, curled around the spikey thing on top, and the thumb sort of lays alongside it. This leaves the shaft of the handle protruding between the middle and index fingers sort of like a push-knife. My sore knuckle feels comfortable and secure like this, but now, I read about how one should manipulate the blade with the thumb and index finger, which I can't see doing with my fingers in this position. I can lay my index finger beneath the shaft of the handle, and my thumb on top, but this position hurts the sore knuckle something fierce, and even if it weren't for the soreness, the index finger and thumb feel pretty tightly jammed in there, with the index finger trying to push the middle finger out of its groove. The GII, according to the Zivkovic site, is for "medium to small" hands, and my hands are quite small. Is the GII too small, or is my "push-knife" finger position totally wrong?
     
  2. Mitchell

    Mitchell is a Verified Fencing ExpertMitchell hi Staff Member

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    you should be holding the tang area between your thumb and index finger.
     
  3. Nolano

    Nolano Rookie

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    put your thumb on top of the grip, right next to the bell guard. Put your forefinger below the grip, in the same place. This is how you will hold the weapon. The other fingers are just there. They go in the 3 grooves.

    Have a coach show you if it still feels wrong.
     
  4. Rick Shellhouse

    Rick Shellhouse Rookie

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    Ok that does it....

    lol...Ill make a video this afternoon...


    R
     
  5. Slacker

    Slacker Rookie

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    You're gonna like it....!!
    I found that my forearm got a little sore until I got used to the grip and that will probably be the case if you have an epee blade on it, and or grip it too tightly.
     
  6. Mr. Bill

    Mr. Bill Rookie

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    Yeah, despite my first instinctive grip, I figured the thumb-on-top/forefinger below position would be the correct one. Hopefully my finger will soon recover to the point where I can try practicing with the correct finger position. As it is now, placing the forefinger under the tang puts it at an awkward angle; way too painful to do more than just lightly hold it motionless. I think I will try ordering a larger handle from Zivkovic, though. With the GII, laying the thumb along the top leaves the thumb pressing tightly into the pad, and the small knuckle of the forefinger doing the same underneath, and that's with no glove. Apparently my hands aren't as small as I'd thought. Club is shut down until after the New Year, so I'm on my own until then.
     
  7. Mr. Bill

    Mr. Bill Rookie

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    Yes indeed, I believe I will like it, though this is admittedly coming from a total newb with only a few months of fencing behind him. The only issues I've got with it are my sore finger refusing to cooperate, and the fact that I think my hand is a tad too big for the GII.
     
  8. migopod

    migopod Podium

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    Remember also that when you're holding the grip correctly the top spire shouldn't be firmly against the thumb-palm joint. It should be pretty close to the joint where the thumb bends. It initially feels really natural to choke up so that you have a firm hold on the grip, but that winds up making what should be finger actions executed with the wrist, because the top spire digs into the back of the hand instead of being free to pivot up and down when you manipulate the weapon with your thumb and forefinger.

    Holding the grip too tightly, with no space between the palm and the grip, and with the top spire pressed into the thumb-palm joint is really common for people who aren't aware of how to correctly hold an ortho. I probably did this for a few years before being shown the error of my ways. It makes a big difference not only in how comfortable the grip is to use, but also how accurate your point control is.
     
  9. fatfencer

    fatfencer Podium

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    everybody's different

    but I have to tell you.. the zivs are pretty much worthless.

    I have all of them. None of them are really that comfortable right out of the gate.

    Also try them with your glove ON. Seems like a pretty stupid thing to say but it really does make a difference. What fits without it may not fit with one on.


    The reall problem with grips is when you lock the grip into your palm with your lower 3 fingers. Beware of grips that make your wrist bend to hold them comfortably. The best grips leave your hand in a continuous line from your forearm.

    Severe cants don't do much.

    I know a guy who swears by spending hours grinding russian grips. One day I held a visconti next to it....all the prongs had the same angles!!! That means hw could have customized a visconti with jbweld to get the grooves to his liking and then taped over.

    Hours vs seconds....not hard.

    FF

    PS: Our epee coach doesnt even allow them. He's actually removed them from peoples weapons and broke them spectacularly to demonstrate his love for them.
     
  10. Morale Officer

    Morale Officer DE Bracket

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    I actually prefer my KII (I have fairly small hands for being built like a linebacker...got laughed at in my first stint in college 'cause my hands are so small...most music majors have huge hands) to the Belgians I had on my foils (and to the one french grip I have). It's more a matter of preference than anything else. And, just like any other grip or piece of gear, it's a matter of finding what you like, what's comfortable, and what works for you. The lot of us can yack all we like about our own opinions on stuff, but ultimately, it's up to you.
     
  11. Mr. Bill

    Mr. Bill Rookie

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    Well, at this point I don't know if any pistol grip will work for me. This whole thing started off as an experiment to determine which grip might make me less likely to hurt my finger again. The only other pistol type grips I've held at this point are a couple of Belgians they've got in the rack at the club, and a Russian. Neither of these felt good, though admittedly I didn't spend much time with them. I tried the Ziv's because they looked interesting - the pronounced finger grooves and such - and I figured they'd provide more security for my finger. Zivkovic isn't too far away from me, geographically. Honestly, I've been quite happy with the French grip, other than jamming my knuckle with one. From a purely fencing standpoint, the biggest advantage I can see with a pistol type grip would be the ability to utilize the wrist to get some more intense angles on the blade, which might well provide an advantage at close quarters. And though I haven't tried fencing with one yet, I can imagine doing some stronger beats and binds with them. In any event, I've ordered two more Zivkovics to play with: a K and a BII. Hopefully they'll be here tomorrow.
     
  12. Nolano

    Nolano Rookie

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    Pistol grips, in addition to being better than infighting, also give you superior strength to a french grip.
     
  13. parrythis

    parrythis Podium

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    Interesting and surprising comment. Having used both, I have traditionally thought the French grip to be better for infighting because the angles it can adopt are not limited by the wrist.
     

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