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Thread: Historical Fencing

  1. #1
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    Historical Fencing

    I thought I'd spinoff of the fencing discussion that I introduced to Sevenstar's training blog.

    I've gotten into fencing a bit, mostly as an opportunity to explore eskrima with the blade. Eskrima teachers always say that stick translates to blade. And essentially, that's true. But there are technical considerations that have to be made. And I thought fencing would give me a venue to do that (though there are some limitations in fencing that preclude things like footwork off the line, etc.).

    In any event, here's the last post from Fatherdog on the subject to kick things off.
    When you assume, you make an ass out of... pretty much just you, really.

  2. #2
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    "here's the last post from Fatherdog on the subject to kick things off."

    "i would show them 8 hours of animal porn and beheadings in a single sitting then make them write a paper about italy." -GDA
    "he said there were tons of mantids fornicating everywhere. While he was there, he was sending me photos of mantis porn regularly." - Gene Ching

  3. #3
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    Fatherdog:
    I fenced a bit in college too (in fact, I think the trenton state fencing club website may still have "designed by David Moraski" at the bottom of their webpage). I eventually couldn't fit it into my schedule. Working two jobs killed a lot of potential activities in school. I loved sabre, though. But then, I also did midieval reenactment fighting in college, and sabre had a lot more crossover than the others.... although I was surprised at how many foil techniques were directly applicable to polearms.
    I've had the same thought about it translating to longstaff, although as an impact weapon, thrusting as a riposte probably isn't going to get the job done on its own.

    Sabre is beautiful, yeah. First weapon I fenced with, oddly enough. (The fencing club in college weren't sticklers for classic fencing methodology. They were mostly crossover SCA guys. Like you mentioned.)

    My first bout, I fenced the president of the club (also named Stuart, oddly enough) with sabre. Noticed he used what we call a 'roof block' or 'wing' in eskrima. Wouldn't be at all surprised if they called it a roof block in fencing too, of course.

    I actually got disarms on a semi-frequent basis; largely because I have freakishly strong wrists, and when I was pressed I would often panic and parry far too hard.
    I was notorious for resisting disarms in eskrima because of my freakishly flexible wrists. Particularly in competition. You only get a second or two to effect a disarm. And my rubber band wrists usually meant my opponent had to work at it longer than that. In fact, I won one fight in San Francisco based largely on my opponent wracking up something like 20 failed disarm attempts. They don't count against you pointwise, but they do make you look ineffectual after a while. Especially when coupled with all the backpedaling he was doing (mostly to maintain largo mano long range, in his defense).

    The fact that the only other person who showed up as regularly as me was the club president, who was also an honest to god midget, meant that I got pretty good in a disproportionately short time. You try hitting a target that small while defending 6'4" of yourself....
    Well, I'm a mere 6'1" myself. But my friend is about 6'3", and I'm seeing how the height plays into it, yeah. My other friend is... oh, I don't know. Five nine perhaps. Not short. But shorter. And I've noticed that Mike (6'3") tends to attack when he's rightfully at Daws' (5'9") attack range. So he either crowds his own attack (resulting in something more like b!tchslapping Daws with the side of the blade) or getting stabbed by Daws before he gets his attack off.

    But once Mike started to learn how to attack from further away, that changed the equation considerably. Of course, we're all beginners. So Daws is still learning to capitalize on the height difference. He's aggressive though, so as he works on it, I think Mike and I are going to spend more time trying to keep Daws out of our grills.


    Stuart B.
    When you assume, you make an ass out of... pretty much just you, really.

  4. #4
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    Originally posted by Meat Shake
    "here's the last post from Fatherdog on the subject to kick things off."

    Patience, ya sod!
    When you assume, you make an ass out of... pretty much just you, really.

  5. #5
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    How do fencers practice when not fencing?

    Lots of lunging? Escala practice? Box patterns of some sort?

    How do they practice riposte?

    Any mis-matched weapon training? Sabre vs Epee?

    I probably have more.

    Thanks!


    strike!

  6. #6
    Originally posted by apoweyn


    I've had the same thought about it translating to longstaff, although as an impact weapon, thrusting as a riposte probably isn't going to get the job done on its own.


    Interestingly, police officer baton courses teach the thrust. It's considered an effective damage technique, particularly applied to the legs, and it's less likely to go wide and hit a fellow officer than a swing (a consideration when several officers are trying to subdue a suspect).


    Sabre is beautiful, yeah. First weapon I fenced with, oddly enough.


    Ah, so you didn't get to have the First Sabre Match.

    When someone goes from foil to sabre, invariably the first bout ends with him being smacked right on top of the head.


    But once Mike started to learn how to attack from further away, that changed the equation considerably. Of course, we're all beginners. So Daws is still learning to capitalize on the height difference. He's aggressive though, so as he works on it, I think Mike and I are going to spend more time trying to keep Daws out of our grills.
    This is one of the best things fencing does for you, I think - it makes you very keenly aware of distances of attack effectiveness. That and timing.
    "hey pal, you wanna do the dance of destruction with the belle of the ball, just say the word." -apoweyn

  7. #7
    I've been meaning to go check out some classes, but the only people that teach it here are with the sca, and I kinda question what the quality would be... I can't pass judgement till I go check them out though, I suppose.
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  8. #8
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    Originally posted by FatherDog
    Interestingly, police officer baton courses teach the thrust. It's considered an effective damage technique, particularly applied to the legs, and it's less likely to go wide and hit a fellow officer than a swing (a consideration when several officers are trying to subdue a suspect).
    Well, that's a good point. For some reason, though, the idea of just thrusting with a longstaff seems... feh. I don't know. I suck with the long staff. So I should probably shut up.

    Ah, so you didn't get to have the First Sabre Match.

    When someone goes from foil to sabre, invariably the first bout ends with him being smacked right on top of the head.
    I was spared that, yeah. But then, I'd been competing in stickfighting for several years by then, and had already gone through the 'ritualistic beating of the skull' phase.

    This is one of the best things fencing does for you, I think - it makes you very keenly aware of distances of attack effectiveness. That and timing.
    Exactly. Timing and distance. And the subtleties attached to those two things. Like reaction speed (timing) and footwork (distance). If all I ever take from fencing is the increased ability to retreat, defend, and then quickly counter (riposte), I'll consider it time well spent.


    Stuart B.
    When you assume, you make an ass out of... pretty much just you, really.

  9. #9
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    Helio would own a fencer.
    "In the world of martial arts, respect is often a given. In the real world, it must be earned."

    "A stupid man's report of what a clever man says is never accurate because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand. "--Bertrand Russell

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    "A conservative government is an organised hypocrisy."--Benjamin Disraeli

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by SevenStar
    I've been meaning to go check out some classes, but the only people that teach it here are with the sca, and I kinda question what the quality would be... I can't pass judgement till I go check them out though, I suppose.
    My first exposure was with SCA guys too. And I actually think that was one of the biggest strengths of that experience.

    They weren't as 'attached' to the technicalities of fencing as my current group. So on the one hand, I could do a lot of eskrima maneuvers that didn't really fit into competitive fencing. (Footwork, mostly, tended to take me off of any competitive 'strip.')

    On the other hand, I've already learned small techniques in this class that I wasn't taught in the other class. Part of the increased eye on technicality in this group is a genuine improvement on technique. Part of it mostly aids just competitive fencing (which I'm not terribly interested in pursuing).

    So it's a mixed bag. But in my experience, the SCAers do have as much an eye on effectiveness as any other group. And given that the parameters of SCA combat are broader than those of foil fencing, you can have a lot of fun at it.

    In our group in college, they did something they called 'duello.' I don't know how common it is. Hell, it could've been something they made up. (The group did have plans to recreate scenes from Highlander across campus. Bump into another member of the fencing club, scream "there can be only one", and go at it.)

    Anyway, in duello, you could use your empty hand to check, parry, tie up, etc. (Aw yeah!) You could thrust or slash (using the epee). And if you got hit in the arm, you couldn't use it. If it was your weapon arm, you switched to your other hand. If it was the other hand, you lost use of it to check and parry. And if it was the leg, you sat down, etc.

    Probably not "realistic", but an interesting twist.

    In any event, I'd recommend it Sevenstar. In my first bout, sabre v. sabre, I zoned away from the blade (inside triangle footwork), swept the blade with my blade (inside parry), backhand witik to the underarm (in sabre, the back top third of the blade is considered bladed), turned over into a slash and thrust to the torso. In competition fencing, I don't know how much of that I would have been allowed to do. But it was perfect for what I wanted. To do eskrima with a sword.


    Stuart B.
    When you assume, you make an ass out of... pretty much just you, really.

  11. #11
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    Seven, I'd be worried about more then authenticity with the SCA folks. If you think TCMA folks think their shiat don't stink don't get to talking to a SCA guy that thinks his mock combat IS combat.

    Ap, two anecdotes on staff thrusting:

    A - a guy I was sparring with incorrectly blocked a thrust to the chest into his face. luckily it caught him on the bone above the eye instead of the eye itself but it still swelled the eye shut for a week.

    B- I took a staff thrust to the foot, yes the foot. specifically the hollow on the inside of the ankle just below the spur of the ankle bone and a little back towards the heel. don't know what kinda meridian mumbo jumbo chi point that is but it hurt like hell and my vision went to multicolored stars and i fell down on the floor grabbing my ankle and rolling around for several minutes.

    don't know squat about fencing though. there's a guy in town but I need to add another 2 practices a week like I need a hole in the head.
    "George never did wake up. And, even all that talking didn't make death any easier...at least not for us. Maybe, in the end, all you can really hope for is that your last thought is a nice one...even if it's just about the taste of a nice cold beer."

    "If you find the right balance between desperation and fear you can make people believe anything"

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  12. #12
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    Originally posted by Merryprankster
    Helio would own a fencer.
    Granted. But Helio is surprisingly gentle for his size.

    (That joke doesn't work as well when the guy is diminuitive, does it.)
    When you assume, you make an ass out of... pretty much just you, really.

  13. #13
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    Originally posted by yenhoi
    How do fencers practice when not fencing?

    Lots of lunging? Escala practice? Box patterns of some sort?

    How do they practice riposte?

    Any mis-matched weapon training? Sabre vs Epee?

    I probably have more.

    Thanks!


    Interesting question. In my limited experience, they'll practice some footwork as a warmup. Then suit up and go at it. Live, resisting opponent, and all that.

    I'm sure there are lots more drills than I've seen. I only did 8 weeks of classwork. And now, we free spar. But I daresay there are drills similar to box pattern. We certainly learned some very simple counter-for-counter type drills.

    Mismatched weapon training? Not in this group, I shouldn't think. They're competitive. So they mostly train for that ruleset.


    Stuart B.
    When you assume, you make an ass out of... pretty much just you, really.

  14. #14
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    A - a guy I was sparring with incorrectly blocked a thrust to the chest into his face. luckily it caught him on the bone above the eye instead of the eye itself but it still swelled the eye shut for a week.

    B- I took a staff thrust to the foot, yes the foot. specifically the hollow on the inside of the ankle just below the spur of the ankle bone and a little back towards the heel. don't know what kinda meridian mumbo jumbo chi point that is but it hurt like hell and my vision went to multicolored stars and i fell down on the floor grabbing my ankle and rolling around for several minutes.
    Okay. Perhaps my take on staffwork isn't as asenine as I thought it was. Good news for me.

    When you assume, you make an ass out of... pretty much just you, really.

  15. #15
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    hmm, maybe I'm misunderstanding you, I was trying to point out examples where staff thrusts did damage.
    "George never did wake up. And, even all that talking didn't make death any easier...at least not for us. Maybe, in the end, all you can really hope for is that your last thought is a nice one...even if it's just about the taste of a nice cold beer."

    "If you find the right balance between desperation and fear you can make people believe anything"

    "Is enlightenment even possible? Or, did I drive by it like a missed exit?"

    It's simpler than you think.

    I could be completely wrong"

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