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rope kid
Feb 3, 2001

Warte nur! Balde
Ruhest du auch.


Zeitgueist posted:

Stabbychat: Do you think that separating tournaments by gender is an appropriate thing to do in fencing? What about a woman's tournament and a unisex tournament both as an option?

This is apparently a hotbutton issue on the historical swordfighting group I read.
When I fenced in college (mid-90s), women's sabre in NCAA literally Wasn't A Thing. I thought it was insane at the time and looking back at it, it seems even more insane. We did eventually fence women but they were effectively just fencing on their schools' men's team.

semihippie posted:

Epee Fencer checking in. Why Epee? You have a longer competitive shelf life. Foil is dominated by very tiny 14 year olds. Saber is too crazy pants. There are older epee fencers who are still competitive at the national levels.
This is very true. At ~34 I decided to hang up the sabre. Years of lovely balestras and bad genes destroyed all of the cartilage in my right knee. I miss it, but it's brutally painful.

rope kid fucked around with this message at 08:13 on Jan 19, 2015

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Neon Belly
Feb 12, 2008

I need something stronger.


Women's épée wasn't in the Olympics until 96 and women's saber didn't start until 2004. This was also reflected in events worldwide. The U.S. having women's sabre in the 90s was considered early adoption and is arguably why they've done so well internationally.

Neon Belly fucked around with this message at 16:00 on Jan 19, 2015

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


I've been a relatively competitive fencer for longer than I care to say, and I've been teaching part-time for a few years. If there's any interest in the professional and/or high level competition side of things, I can tell answer quesions and tell some stories about the world of fencing.

I have also personally used almost every single kind of epee blade and most major brands of equipment on the market, so I can answer questions about gear as well.

Edit: Every intro class I give has one guy who is way too into the "swordfighting" side of things. I can usually identify this guy by just picking out the fattest person, but I've been wrong about that before.

This person will typically do one or more of the following:
1. Interrupt the class with a description of d&d rules.
2. Ask when we get to dual wield.
3. Ask who would win in a fight between a fencer and a...
4. Spaz out during a drill and completely disregard instructions to re-enact star wars.
5. Say "whoosh!", "ting!" or otherwise verbalize what they are doing.

Once I have identified that guy, I can expect them to do something inherently unsafe I specifically told them not to do by the time the intro class ends. They may or may not cry when I yell at them for it. They (almost) never sign up for the next level.

I also spent some time learning, competing, and teaching the historical side of things, but not so much these days. If anyone is interested with that community, I can explain the major differences between it and sport fencing, and why sport fencing was my personal preference in the long run.

Rent-A-Cop posted:

For someone who is more familiar with Hollywood sword fights its amazing how short and undramatic both HEMA and fencing bouts are. Both seem to end roughly half a second after the participants are in range of each other.

I'm sure for the knowledgeable there's a lot of skill on display but if there is it's happening too fast for me to follow.

This is something that comes up a lot in classes, and I like to point out the difference between MMA and hollywood fistfights.

If you want longer fights, watch some epee matches on youtube. Rules for most forms of fencing tend to favor the attacker (see previous discussion on right of way), but in epee the ruleset tends to encourage drawing and reacting to an attack.

The downside to watching epee is that even to a trained eye once something does happen it all goes too fast to appreciate everything going on. Most of the fight is positioning for an advantage.

ScratchAndSniff fucked around with this message at 20:32 on Jan 19, 2015

Above Our Own
Jun 24, 2009

by Shine


What does it take to be a truly great fencer?

EmmyOk
Aug 11, 2013


ScratchAndSniff posted:

I've been a relatively competitive fencer for longer than I care to say, and I've been teaching part-time for a few years. If there's any interest in the professional and/or high level competition side of things, I can tell answer quesions and tell some stories about the world of fencing.

I have also personally used almost every single kind of epee blade and most major brands of equipment on the market, so I can answer questions about gear as well.

Edit: Every intro class I give has one guy who is way too into the "swordfighting" side of things. I can usually identify this guy by just picking out the fattest person, but I've been wrong about that before.

This person will typically do one or more of the following:
1. Interrupt the class with a description of d&d rules.
2. Ask when we get to dual wield.
3. Ask who would win in a fight between a fencer and a...
4. Spaz out during a drill and completely disregard instructions to re-enact star wars.
5. Say "whoosh!", "ting!" or otherwise verbalize what they are doing.



Trying to score hits on their first ever partner distance drill with no weapons
Wearing jeans to training

Zeitgueist
Aug 8, 2003

by Ralp


EmmyOk posted:

Trying to score hits on their first ever partner distance drill with no weapons
Wearing jeans to training

People who try to "win" drills are fun.

And by fun, I mean a pain.


vvvv Yeah I've had numerous times where I couldn't get a counter drill to work and it turns out one of us being a lovely attacker

Zeitgueist fucked around with this message at 21:22 on Jan 19, 2015

ImplicitAssembler
Jan 24, 2013



My biggest gripe is when practicing counter attacks and the partner doesn't really attack. After a couple of those 'attacks', I usually just lower my guard and let them hit the air in front of me, which usually gets the point across.
Yes, seniors will often not complete the attack in order to let more inexperienced people have a chance at completing the counter, but if you are practicing with any one near (or above) your own level, you need to attack properly. Otherwise the exercise is pointless.

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


Above Our Own posted:

What does it take to be a truly great fencer?

Some combination of:
1. Live near a high-level competitive club. Train there 10+ hours a week, and add in time for extra conditioning like cardio and targeted weightlifting as needed.
2. Pay for regular private lessons from a coach who knows what he is doing.
3. Frequently travel to tournaments.
4. Get started early in life.
5. Have a natural combination of fast reflexes, a tall, athletic body, and a dedication bordering on autism.

Lots of fencers have 1-4 and are terrible. A few have only 5 and do pretty well.

This is why most top fencers come from rich families. You can still get to be "pretty good" without these advantages, of course, and I think that is a much more reasonable goal.

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


ImplicitAssembler posted:

My biggest gripe is when practicing counter attacks and the partner doesn't really attack. After a couple of those 'attacks', I usually just lower my guard and let them hit the air in front of me, which usually gets the point across.
Yes, seniors will often not complete the attack in order to let more inexperienced people have a chance at completing the counter, but if you are practicing with any one near (or above) your own level, you need to attack properly. Otherwise the exercise is pointless.

This is the hardest part of teaching: making them attack hard enough to force a parry, but not in a "Screw the drill, I'm going to try to hit you!" way.

I find that slowing everything down tends to help with that, along with lots of more active drilling to reduce the overeager students' energy.

Verisimilidude
Dec 20, 2006

Strike quick and hurry at him,
not caring to hit or miss.
So that you dishonor him before the judges





ImplicitAssembler posted:

My biggest gripe is when practicing counter attacks and the partner doesn't really attack. After a couple of those 'attacks', I usually just lower my guard and let them hit the air in front of me, which usually gets the point across.
Yes, seniors will often not complete the attack in order to let more inexperienced people have a chance at completing the counter, but if you are practicing with any one near (or above) your own level, you need to attack properly. Otherwise the exercise is pointless.

We call that "keeping things honest". A drill doesn't work if you're attacking someone out of distance or off target, or if you're not applying pressure in a specific way. I do the same thing you do, especially when I'm working with noobs. If I see they're attacking out of distance and there's no reason for me to engage their weapon, I just let them throw a strike that inevitably misses. They usually get the message.

This is a good thing to do in any drill-based exercise, just let yourself get hit randomly from time to time, or purposefully miss a step and if your partner continues the sequence anyway, punish them for it. Just a word of advice for potentially new fencers, it's also a good idea to not get into a rhythm when doing drills. Change distances, take pauses, anything that messes with the tempo of the drill. This way you're still technically doing what you're supposed to be doing, but you're making it more dynamic and you're not prematurely doing movements based off a rhythm.

Stolennosferatu
Jun 22, 2012


Zeitgueist posted:

Where in SoCal are you, and what are you looking for?

Historical or Modern?
(if historical) Longsword or rapier?

Northern orange County. I don't really know what I'm looking for. What's the easiest to do if I want to go to a class let's say, once a week at most?
Do I need to dedicate more time than that?

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


Stolennosferatu posted:

Northern orange County. I don't really know what I'm looking for. What's the easiest to do if I want to go to a class let's say, once a week at most?
Do I need to dedicate more time than that?

I can't recommend any particular clubs in the area, but most will let you watch or participate in a class before you join. I would recommend making a few phone calls, visiting some spots, and seeing what places catch your eye.

1 time a week is pretty normal for beginners.

Zeitgueist
Aug 8, 2003

by Ralp


Stolennosferatu posted:

Northern orange County. I don't really know what I'm looking for. What's the easiest to do if I want to go to a class let's say, once a week at most?
Do I need to dedicate more time than that?

Somebody else in the thread would be more qualified to discuss the differences between modern sport fencing and historical fencing, in regards to rapier fencing. As for a longsword or other weapons with no Olympic amateur analogue, you're pretty much only looking at historical groups. I'm not familiar with modern sport fencing clubs but I have no doubt there are several good options in OC.

I'm going tolink the main page for the HEMA club finder for the threads benefit, but scroll down there is a western North America specific one.

Orange Counter is a good situation, there's alike 2/3 clubs in SD, and a good 5 or 6 in LA, and one of the biggest is in Orange County, which is Kron Martial Arts. Kron is the group that runs a lot of the events in SoCal, like SoCal Swordfight which is probably the biggest(by attendance) historical swordfighting event in the US. They are also very inexpensive, and last I checked they held a once a week practice on the CalState Fullerton campus. They have a very large membership as well, which is good and not necessarily common in the hobby. They do a ton of German longsword, but have some folks doing all sorts of things including rapier, wrestling and dagger fighting and even sickle.

There's also Tattershall School of Defense, which is a bit more expensive and runs several structured class sessions throughout the year, and tends do both historical rapier and historical sidesword/longsword in each session, occasionally doing other forms of historical combat as well. They are in Long Beach.

You can also look into the SCA, who do a bunch of historical rapier combat as well. However, they also are into dressing up in historical garb and doing all sort of other stuff that has noting to do with historical combat at all, so that may or may not be your cup of tea. They are free to practice with, though, and have a practice in Huntington Beach last I checked.

There's also Chivalry Today, which is an organization that does historical education and demonstrations in San Diego and the surrounding area, but who also offer classes(paid) in historical swordsmanship.

All of the above have some crossover with each other, the community is still pretty small compared to a lot of other hobbies.

Also yeah, 1 class week is pretty standard, but keep in mind it's like anything else, if you don't practice outside of class you will progress much more slowly.

BirdOfPlay
Feb 19, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Stolennosferatu posted:

Northern orange County. I don't really know what I'm looking for. What's the easiest to do if I want to go to a class let's say, once a week at most?
Do I need to dedicate more time than that?

I'm in the opposite side of the country, but I can point you to the local US Fencing (Olympic fencing's NGB) division to find clubs close to you. There's the Orange Coast Division covering Orange County. From looking through them, most seem reasonable and of a decent enough quality. The only one I can vouch for is Salle D'Asaro for sabre, because I recognize Coach D'Asaro from national events.

rope kid
Feb 3, 2001

Warte nur! Balde
Ruhest du auch.


South Coast Fencing (near South Coast Plaza/edge of Costa Mesa/Fountain Valley/Santa Ana) is a great club for sport fencing. I fenced there on and off for about two years.

http://www.southcoastfencing.com/

Edit: I believe that center is also used by the HEMA South Coast group.

Crazy Achmed
Mar 13, 2001



Slippery Tilde

ScratchAndSniff posted:

I've been a relatively competitive fencer for longer than I care to say, and I've been teaching part-time for a few years. If there's any interest in the professional and/or high level competition side of things, I can tell answer quesions and tell some stories about the world of fencing.
Sure, I'd love to hear any stories you have! I started too late and don't train anywhere near enough to compete, but I'm curious as to what goes on at those levels.


quote:

I have also personally used almost every single kind of epee blade and most major brands of equipment on the market, so I can answer questions about gear as well.
What's your opinion on the SR71? A couple of my friends have those and they feel as bendy as foil blades. I have terrible point control, so I went for a SM blade that feels positively broomstick-like in terms of stiffness. Was this a good idea?

quote:

Once I have identified that guy, I can expect them to do something inherently unsafe I specifically told them not to do by the time the intro class ends. They may or may not cry when I yell at them for it. They (almost) never sign up for the next level.
Oh god, there's always one of those guys. The last beginner's intake we did at my old club, That Guy decided he was going to do a combat roll while holding a foil.

quote:

I also spent some time learning, competing, and teaching the historical side of things, but not so much these days. If anyone is interested with that community, I can explain the major differences between it and sport fencing, and why sport fencing was my personal preference in the long run.
Not a question about the community, but how does the priority/scoring system work in historical? And I can see that you wouldn't expect to come out of a bout without a few bumps and bruises, but how do you deal with thrusts/stabs? The weapons for historical don't look particularly flexible...

Meaty Ore
Dec 17, 2011

My God, it's full of cat pictures!


I used to fence epee a little bit in the early '00s, but never got really good at it and only kept with things for about a year or so. A big problem for me was keeping the blade level--from my perspective, "level" turned out to mean that I was holding it at a bit of a downward angle; consequently I was constantly getting tagged on the sleeve. I did manage to disarm somebody once, however, which was pretty nice.

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


Crazy Achmed posted:

Sure, I'd love to hear any stories you have! I started too late and don't train anywhere near enough to compete, but I'm curious as to what goes on at those levels.

What's your opinion on the SR71? A couple of my friends have those and they feel as bendy as foil blades. I have terrible point control, so I went for a SM blade that feels positively broomstick-like in terms of stiffness. Was this a good idea?

Oh god, there's always one of those guys. The last beginner's intake we did at my old club, That Guy decided he was going to do a combat roll while holding a foil.

Not a question about the community, but how does the priority/scoring system work in historical? And I can see that you wouldn't expect to come out of a bout without a few bumps and bruises, but how do you deal with thrusts/stabs? The weapons for historical don't look particularly flexible...

The SR-71 is a great blade, but I'm not convinced it is worth the price. It is definitely similar to the BFs in terms of balance and weight, but it has the advantage of not breaking like glass. If you like stiff I would avoid them.

I have broken 2 so far, each after approx. 8-12 months of fencing. For reference, that is longer than most blades last for me. The downside is that they both got really whippy as they got older, and while that's something almost any blade will do, leon paul blades tend to bend laterally as they get older, which makes it hard to do proper opposition parries if the other guy hulks through. I assume your friends' blades are older.

Are you referring to the StM blade? In my opinion, they are great blades for the money, and the stiffness tends to soften up as you use them. I have gotten some wild flicks with them, and they tend to gain more vertical flexibity rather than horizontal, so I can still opposition parry. They are definitely solid blades, and their FIE version is just a bit stiffer but with similar balance. They break pretty easily, though.

My main beef with historical is that the community is so fragmented that every region, tournament, school, etc. will have its own set of rules, and "referees" use pretty subjective ways to determine who won a bout. Their weapons can hurt, and while people typically wear more padding, competitions sometimes have rules against hitting "too hard" (which is as subjective as it sounds).

Someone once explained to me that the goal is to learn about the history rather than prove who is better than who, which I can understand, but in practice it made my historical competitions feel even more "gamey" than sport tournaments.

No offense intended to you historical guys. I really respect what you are trying to accomplish.

Not that sport competitions are perfect, as they have their share of bullshit. I'll get one or two stories about them down tomorrow.

ScratchAndSniff fucked around with this message at 05:14 on Jan 20, 2015

rope kid
Feb 3, 2001

Warte nur! Balde
Ruhest du auch.


Well, card-able "Brutality" often seems pretty subjective in sport fencing, especially at the lower levels where competence/control is generally low.

BirdOfPlay
Feb 19, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

rope kid posted:

Well, card-able "Brutality" often seems pretty subjective in sport fencing, especially at the lower levels where competence/control is generally low.

Including how a blow with the guard is "Brutality."

Subjectivity is involving in all refereeing, from foil to baseball. Just be careful about telling epeeists, some of them can't handle that. The trick is to make it so that you can align yourself with what others are, mostly, doing.

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


BirdOfPlay posted:

Including how a blow with the guard is "Brutality."

Subjectivity is involving in all refereeing, from foil to baseball. Just be careful about telling epeeists, some of them can't handle that. The trick is to make it so that you can align yourself with what others are, mostly, doing.

Point taken. I guess I'm just spoiled by the electric machines.

I kind of sounded like I was putting down historical fencing in my original post, which wasn't my intention at all. I was just explaining my perceptions on how they establish priority.

ScratchAndSniff fucked around with this message at 12:23 on Jan 20, 2015

thrakkorzog
Nov 16, 2007


EmmyOk posted:

Trying to score hits on their first ever partner distance drill with no weapons
Wearing jeans to training

What's wrong with wearing jeans to training?

I was taught to wear jeans at the beginner levels of fencing, when somebody might poke you in the leg with a foil. They don't get a point from it, but they will still stab you in the leg, because they are new at this.

Unless you're wearing skinny Jeans that restrict your movements, or saggy jeans, properly sized Jeans are actually the easiest mainstream purchase to make to get into fencing. All you have to do is buy a pair of pants that fit you.

thrakkorzog fucked around with this message at 13:24 on Jan 20, 2015

thrakkorzog
Nov 16, 2007


Q!= edit

Neon Belly
Feb 12, 2008

I need something stronger.


thrakkorzog posted:

What's wrong with wearing jeans to training?

I was taught to wear jeans at the beginner levels of fencing, when somebody might poke you in the leg with a foil. They don't get a point from it, but they will still stab you in the leg, because they are new at this.

Unless you're wearing skinny Jeans that restrict your movements, or saggy jeans, properly sized Jeans are actually the easiest mainstream purchase to make to get into fencing. All you have to do is buy a pair of pants that fit you.

Warm up pants cost $10 and you don't look silly wearing them while doing an Olympic sport.

BirdOfPlay
Feb 19, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

ScratchAndSniff posted:

Point taken. I guess I'm just spoiled by the electric machines.

I kind of sounded like I was putting down historical fencing in my original post, which wasn't my intention at all. I was just explaining my perceptions on how they establish priority.

What makes you think I'm talking about historical fencing? The box doesn't automatically make epee a pure, objective sport.

The brutality thing was a joke at local-only refs and how popular misconceptions can be. As in, I remember being told brutality including things like blow with bell guard. Well, this is patently false as blow with bell is a Group 2, simple red card, and brutality is a Group 4, an automatic black card.

Verisimilidude
Dec 20, 2006

Strike quick and hurry at him,
not caring to hit or miss.
So that you dishonor him before the judges





ScratchAndSniff posted:

This person will typically do one or more of the following:
1. Interrupt the class with a description of d&d rules.
2. Ask when we get to dual wield.
3. Ask who would win in a fight between a fencer and a...
4. Spaz out during a drill and completely disregard instructions to re-enact star wars.
5. Say "whoosh!", "ting!" or otherwise verbalize what they are doing.

Our beginner classes are structured in such a way that it usually weeds out the crazies (at least the offensive crazies). No blade-on-blade contact until intermediate classes is the biggest part, and you're only allowed to take intermediate classes once you've finished the three beginner classes, but sometimes we get some smug guy who has watched too many movies and thinks fighting with a sword is easy. I beat one up once after he kept hitting a noob way too hard with a padded sword, and he never came back.

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


BirdOfPlay posted:

What makes you think I'm talking about historical fencing? The box doesn't automatically make epee a pure, objective sport.

The brutality thing was a joke at local-only refs and how popular misconceptions can be. As in, I remember being told brutality including things like blow with bell guard. Well, this is patently false as blow with bell is a Group 2, simple red card, and brutality is a Group 4, an automatic black card.

I agree with you, and I wasn't trying to claim epee is perfect. I was just mentioning how the box spoiled me a bit before I got into the historical side of things.

ScratchAndSniff fucked around with this message at 17:48 on Jan 20, 2015

Zeitgueist
Aug 8, 2003

by Ralp


ScratchAndSniff posted:

2. Ask when we get to dual wield.

They should know that only comes at higher levels.

Verisimilidude
Dec 20, 2006

Strike quick and hurry at him,
not caring to hit or miss.
So that you dishonor him before the judges





Zeitgueist posted:

They should know that only comes at higher levels.



I know you're joking, but in a lot of rapier treatises they actually say you should only learn rapier + dagger after mastering the single rapier. So it's /basically/ like being high level.

Zeitgueist
Aug 8, 2003

by Ralp


Verisimilidude posted:

I know you're joking, but in a lot of rapier treatises they actually say you should only learn rapier + dagger after mastering the single rapier. So it's /basically/ like being high level.

Nicoletto Giganti has some fairly elaborate rapier/dagger drills towards the end of the book.

ConfusedUs
Feb 24, 2004

Bees?
You want fucking bees?
Here you go!
ROLL INITIATIVE!!


I've always loved the idea of fencing, but I've never tried. Thanks to this thread, I discovered that there is a local fencing club!

I think I want to go sign up for their next set of intro classes.

I'm kind of concerned about the fact that I'm a really short guy (5'5") and about 20lbs overweight. I want to make sure I'm not just throwing money away as I'm hardly the ideal physical specimen for the sport. Still, I just want something active to do once or twice a week to help drop that last excess 20lbs, and I hate running.

Verisimilidude
Dec 20, 2006

Strike quick and hurry at him,
not caring to hit or miss.
So that you dishonor him before the judges





ConfusedUs posted:

I've always loved the idea of fencing, but I've never tried. Thanks to this thread, I discovered that there is a local fencing club!

I think I want to go sign up for their next set of intro classes.

I'm kind of concerned about the fact that I'm a really short guy (5'5") and about 20lbs overweight. I want to make sure I'm not just throwing money away as I'm hardly the ideal physical specimen for the sport. Still, I just want something active to do once or twice a week to help drop that last excess 20lbs, and I hate running.

Everyone can't be a fencing master, but if you dedicate yourself to it and set short and long term goals you'll be great at it regardless. If anything, let it be a motivation to lose that extra weight on your own as well as in the school.

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


ConfusedUs posted:

I've always loved the idea of fencing, but I've never tried. Thanks to this thread, I discovered that there is a local fencing club!

I think I want to go sign up for their next set of intro classes.

I'm kind of concerned about the fact that I'm a really short guy (5'5") and about 20lbs overweight. I want to make sure I'm not just throwing money away as I'm hardly the ideal physical specimen for the sport. Still, I just want something active to do once or twice a week to help drop that last excess 20lbs, and I hate running.

Congrats!

Being short is a bit frustrating at the beginning before you can close distance quickly, but if you stick with it you will be fine. 20 lbs overweight is no big deal either.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



You probably won't be making the Olympics any time soon, but really, that's the worst reason not to try something cool. I'd say aside from body shape, pretty much everything you need in fencing you can work on. Poor reflexes get faster, coordination improves and your sense for spacing becomes sharper just by practicing diligently. You'll probably lose some of those pounds too.

Just make sure the club's a respectable one that offers a free introductory session. I hear there are places that don't, and you probably shouldn't go to those.

ConfusedUs
Feb 24, 2004

Bees?
You want fucking bees?
Here you go!
ROLL INITIATIVE!!


Thanks for the encouraging words everyone!

Siivola posted:

Just make sure the club's a respectable one that offers a free introductory session. I hear there are places that don't, and you probably shouldn't go to those.

Hey, that's a good point. What should I look for, and what should I avoid?

I'm fairly starved for choice here in Tulsa, OK, so beggars/choosers/etc.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



I've been very lucky that all the various martial arts clubs I've been to have been super chill and nice, so I don't really know any "avoid at all costs" signs. If the first time's free, just go and give it a shot. I guess number one thing is, you should feel safe practicing. Some nervousness is natural, but the club should be some safety precautions and rules of conduct and stuff. Number two is that you should feel comfortable asking questions, especially from the head instructor. Third, I dunno, I personally don't think it's really fair to ask newcomers to invest in a lot of equipment, so I hope the club's got spare gear for you to use.

Besides those, just trust your gut. You're going there to have fun, after all.

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


I have had good luck with clubs, but at one point I taught in what I believe is the Worst Club in America. It had a bunch of warning signs I stupidly ignored for too long, since they were paying me. Make sure you run away if you see:

People fencing without masks

An on-site equipment store which the coach requires students to shop from, exclusively.

Clearly damaged or nonexistent rental equipment.

(I can give more details/stories if anyone wants.)

That being said, don't worry if you see a bit of quirkiness, such as:

Lots of Russians.

The facility is in a strange place (community center, above a gym, or a seemingly abandoned warehouse)

The coach offers "private lessons". It isn't as creepy as it sounds.

Separate "club/floor fees" along with "lesson fees". This is a pretty standard practice, since some people just want to fence but don't take group classes.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



ScratchAndSniff posted:

The facility is in a strange place (community center, above a gym, or a seemingly abandoned warehouse)
The first lesson at the School of European Swordsmanship in Helsinki is finding the bloody place. The salle's above a shady-looking car repair shop in the rear end-end of Helsinki, and the entrance is hidden behind the building, marked only with a tiny, faded sticker.

It's seriously the coolest club I've gone to thus far.

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


Siivola posted:

The first lesson at the School of European Swordsmanship in Helsinki is finding the bloody place. The salle's above a shady-looking car repair shop in the rear end-end of Helsinki, and the entrance is hidden behind the building, marked only with a tiny, faded sticker.

It's seriously the coolest club I've gone to thus far.

That sounds awesome. The best clubs are the hardest to find.

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Crazy Achmed
Mar 13, 2001



Slippery Tilde

ScratchAndSniff posted:

I have had good luck with clubs, but at one point I taught in what I believe is the Worst Club in America. It had a bunch of warning signs I stupidly ignored for too long, since they were paying me. Make sure you run away if you see:

People fencing without masks

An on-site equipment store which the coach requires students to shop from, exclusively.

Clearly damaged or nonexistent rental equipment.

(I can give more details/stories if anyone wants.)
Holy gently caress, that's absolutely terrible. Tell us more

Even the more broke-rear end student clubs I've been to have had decent, safe spare gear for beginners to use, free of charge, so hopefully equipment won't be an issue.

I'm pretty short myself, but it's not usually much of a problem, surprisingly. In priority weapons (foil, sabre) it's a matter of seeing a counterattack coming and taking your opponent's blade, pushing it out of the way as you close distance for the hit. In epee, just remember that everyone's blade is the same length, so even lanky people are as vulnerable to getting hit in the hand or arm as the rest of us)

[Edit]I have tried fencing with two sabres once, and having that sort of speed and coordination is very bloody hard. The dominant tactic ended up being having one hand dedicated to defence/sweeping your opponent's blades away, and the other for attacking only.

Crazy Achmed fucked around with this message at 00:55 on Jan 21, 2015

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