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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

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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.

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.

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

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


BirdOfPlay posted:

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


I'll spare you the details of how I ended up at Crappy School of Fencing (not actual name) and why it was a terrible place to work, instead focusing on why it was a terrible place to learn. I had been trained elsewhere, but after moving to the area and fencing in the place for just a few months (free fencing, no lessons), I found myself being offered a job as a coach (which was way easier than it should have been).

Their curriculum was crap, by the way. They had like 4 days of instruction spread out over 8 classes. They did this with "lecture days" where the coach bored students to death with history and stories about fencing. I can agree to disagree on their curriculum, but when students actually went to fence the equipment was horrible. I got to the point where I needed to personally pick out masks and blades for students, since the masks had broken bits which would scratch peoples' heads, and a lot of the blades had rubber points which had worn through, exposing the metal blade underneath. Some of the masks had little holes in the mesh, were just too small to let a blade through, but just big enough that I wouldn't trust them to stop a solid hit. Most of the jackets were all XXL, of course, which was great for the fatties, but in kids needed to race each other to get at the ones which actually fit them.

Did I mention the classes were about 30 students each, with ages varying from 6 to 60?

At the end of my first class, a student had a question about footwork. I showed him how to hold his feet correctly and recommended he practice in front of the mirror to get it right. Head Coach apparently overheard me, and called me into his office after the students had departed. He then proceeded to scream at me for:
1. Giving out free instruction outside of the class period
2. Assigning homework to students.
3. Departing from the curriculum.

This became a pattern with the head coach: He had minimal contact with the students, and he clearly felt that his job was to watch classes and yell at subordinates for how they ran their classes. His motto was "Your job is not to teach fencing. Your job is to sell classes." He yelled at me on numerous occasions for not adequately describing how much students would enjoy the next level of classes, and he discouraged making any corrections to their technique during the intro classes, since that might make them think they weren't good enough for the next level. (A coach should ALWAYS be correcting students' technique, especially at the early stages). I always felt like a used car salesman more than a teacher. He tended to gauge the coaches' success not by how many students kept coming, but rather by the force they used to sell the next level.

The "next level", by the way, involved a year-long commitment to the club, and the requirement that students buy their own equipment, from the club's store, which charged about double what students could find the equipment for online. Coaches were forbidden from even acknowledging the existence of online retailers. This rule was relaxed for the more competitive fencers, who figured out on their own that they could buy the stuff online, but coaches were still not allowed to help them with their equipment options. Needless to say, most students quit fencing or went elsewhere their year was up, but by that point the club had made enough money from them that it didn't even matter. The place marketed like mad and it was in a relatively upscale area, so we always had new students.

Later in my time there, I was called in on a weekend to "fill in for another coach." I found out after I got there that "filling in" meant giving a series of private lessons the coach had scheduled with his students who I had never met before. These lessons were about 20 minutes long, so by the time I had gotten a feel for where the student was, the lessons were over. A lot of coaches will give students their first lesson for free, just so they can get a feel for each other. Considering how much the club charged for these private lessons, and the fact that these students had scheduled the lessons with their coach who knew them, I felt like I was ripping them off.

At one point, we had a visiting coach from abroad. He was a pretty cool guy, but he had a habit of giving students lessons maskless. He said it helped them concentrate, or something. He must have had a lot of trust in these American kids he had never met before, though, since one wrong move could have taken out his eye. After he left, I was horrified to see that these same kids decided practicing without masks was hardcore, and they thought it was a funny thing to do it whenever their teacher wasn't looking. I was there for free fencing at the time, but I immediately jumped in and started yelling at them. When the coach noticed what had happened he thanked me for jumping in, but shortly after I was called into the head coach's office where he yelled at me for "undermining the authority of other coaches."

I will always regret not quitting right there and then. I was right for jumping in, and I should have never remained in a place which had that kind of disregard for its children's safety.

The straw that broke the camel's back was when someone had an idea to invite two local politicians to the club to have a "fence off" for mutual publicity. It sounded like a great idea at first, but the head coach decided it would be an even better idea if it was just the Republican who came and gave a speech about how much he supports local small businesses. I heard they eventually made it happen, but I have no idea how it actually turned out. I had been looking for an excuse to quit by that point, so I was gone before it actually was supposed to happen.

(If you have been to this club, you may be able to guess which one it is. Please don't, though, since I wouldn't want you to guess wrong and have me unintentionally slander a place I have never been to.)

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


BirdOfPlay posted:

Scratch, are you in the east or west coast? Just curious if I could guess at the club, even though it's highly unlikely of course..


You just described every epee fencer I have ever met. Except for the age part, age has no bearing on body type, except the older are more likely to have beer guts.

East coast, but no more hints. You probably could guess the club if you have ever lived in the area.

Lots of fencers are in terrible shape. It's decent exercise, but even doing it every day won't make you swole. That being said, it's a great gateway exercise for otherwise inactive people who want to get off the couch.

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


Don't worry about getting bored of something before you are bored of it. I can't give you exact numbers, but I would guess that the majority of fencers are non-competitive types who fence once or twice a week for fun and that's it.

Here's a question for anyone: What are good ways to market a fencing club? We are having trouble keeping our membership up, and while marketing isn't exactly my thing, the owner has asked us coaches to suggest ways we can get our name out there.

Part of our problem is that the area has a number of larger clubs which somehow do way better than we do at getting people in the door.

Edit:

Completely unrelated, but if anyone here likes Leon Paul stuff they are offering 15% off weapons and parts for today only with the coupon code bringbacksummer. They don't usually offer sales, and their stuff tends to hold up pretty well, so anyone in the market for a new weapon may want to check them out. I would put this in the Coupons and Deals forum, but I doubt most people there know what a Leon Paul is.

ScratchAndSniff fucked around with this message at 15:00 on Jan 30, 2015

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


De Nomolos posted:

Guess I may as well ask: anyone in the DC area been to Virginia Academy of Fencing in Springfield? It's 4 hours away for me, but it looks like a hell of a club and shop and I'm up there a lot.

Would not recommend. DCFC or FSA are probably my pick for competitive clubs in the DC area, along with a range of noncompetitive clubs which will cost you a lot less. Do you have a weapon preference? I would recommend just choosing a place that's close to start out, and then transfer to a competitive club when/if you decide to move to that level. All of them will cost less than VAF.

Maybe the word "competitive" isn't the best way to distinguish clubs... Big, maybe? Well-known? Lots of podunk little clubs have small, active communities of highly skilled fencers who don't like the big club atmosphere. Also, competitive fencers who officially belong to one of the big clubs will often free fence in little clubs, but will claim membership in the club where their main coach works out of.

IMHO going to a decent club 3 times a week is better than membership in a "better" club which is too far away to visit frequently.

ScratchAndSniff fucked around with this message at 18:08 on Jan 31, 2015

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


Crazy Achmed posted:

Do you reprimand people if they try to hand you a snack or drink with a bent arm?

I'm just a casual scrub, will probably be one those beer belly types when I get older. In a club I am basically Brock from pokemon: I can teach some basics, and once the newbies work out how to defeat my onix (counter-six bind) and geodude (beat attack with double disengage) they're ready to venture out into the world and face some real fencers.

This guy gets it.

Sometimes I like to think of myself as a fencing Giant Dad (Dark Souls). When I'm against a new guy I just run up and spam the same move over and over until they figure out how to neutralize it, or until they ask me for help.

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


Siivola posted:

I absolutely don't want to poo poo on you guys' teaching methods, but without contex it sounds like you're really close to teaching to fail.

But really, you're probably alright. I'm just using this as an opportunity to plug Windsor's blog, because he's probably the best teacher I've ever had the chance to learn from. His series about running a beginners' course should be useful if you do that sort of thing.

Good point, but we probably didn't describe the context well enough. I was talking about a free fencing situation with a less experienced peer, not a lesson with a student. I don't think anyone recommends steamrolling students for the hell of it under the pretense of teaching, but in a sparring situation when I am practicing with a teammate I have entirely different priorities from when I am giving a lesson to someone who is paying me to make them fence better. A lot of coaches won't free fence with their students for this reason. I typically teach beginner classes, so I don't have that problem.

Edit: Also, thanks for tipping me off about that blog. It has some great stuff.

ScratchAndSniff fucked around with this message at 21:51 on Feb 3, 2015

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


IM_DA_DECIDER posted:

What's your opinion on long arms in epee being OP and needing nerf?

It becomes less of an issue past level 20 when you get the dex bonus for short arms.

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


Zeitgueist posted:

In a historical rapier lunge, for instance, your hand, then your arm, then your hips, then your foot. The mechanics are different, I'm told, from a modern lunge, and this from folks who have 10+ years in modern fencing before they got into historical.

I may be speaking too broadly, and if so, my mistake, I'm by no means an expert.

This is true for modern fencing as well. In general, you usually want to lead with the arm or you will run into the other guy's blade. The hips aren't as important for us, since we use the back leg to generate power/speed. FWIW I learned the same thing in the few historical styles I have learned, but in most unarmed martial arts it is the reverse.

That video reminded me of why I gave up on historical stuff. I respect what they are trying to do, but... Look at them.

ScratchAndSniff fucked around with this message at 01:02 on Feb 10, 2015

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


I go back and forth on point celebrations. On one hand, it can look disrespectful and disruptive, but on the other hand it can help release tension, and tension can really slow a fencer down.

It's not usually my thing, unless I win an important bout. I don't really care when other guys do it, but in every tournament there always seems to be at least one woman who screams every few seconds so loud the whole place hears her. That can get pretty annoying.

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


I have always wondered how historical tournaments work. How do these events reconcile competition with the need to demonstrate the traditional techniques?

I know that in sport fencing, if I follow the rules and I win, it doesn't matter if I made a "real" parry or I made up my own thing. Since on the historical side you are trying to (presumably) recreate a dead art, I would think that doing something "correctly" is the goal, and not necessarily hitting at all costs. Do they just not award points for messy hits? How do they reconcile different schools' interpretations of surviving pictures/texts?

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


Interesting. Can anyone else comment on how it's done in their area? I imagine sportifying any martial art is a hard thing to do, and I'm interested to hear different ways how it has been done.

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


Yeah, that sounds like a pretty good way to organize scoring, but I'm curious about how/if the judges enforce "proper" technique. If someone signed up and started using, say, kendo techniques and scored valid hits, would they be kicked out for doing things wrong? Or what if they used an obscure European style nobody there had ever heard of?

I'm not trying to be a jerk here. I'm really interested how this kind of thing is done, and how they balance the sport with the "historical".

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


Thanks for the clarification. I was under the impression that it was more about practicing traditional techniques, but it sounds a lot more like a sport fencing competition that I thought it would be.

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


The historical reason I was told for the narrow strip was that from a self-defense perspective, you would probably be fighting in alleys between buildings instead of open fields. The real reason is probably just to conserve space, and because the electrical equipment makes running around impossible.

When I played with historical stuff, sparring tended to take up a ton more space, just because of all the circular movements. This meant less people could bout at one time., which was kind of a drag.

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


All this talk about realism reminds me of a woman I once trained with who legitimately thought that her fencing experience translated into knife-fighting, and she always carried around a knife "just in case." She swore that she could draw her knife fast enough to fight off any mugger who had a gun.

Anyone else know people who legitimately believe fencing/swordfighting can be used for self defense?

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


Strom Cuzewon posted:

Which means you get to die in the hospital rather than bleed out in the gutter?

No way. If you use Fiore's dagger fighting techniques properly you will walk away without a scratch.

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


curious lump posted:

I don't study a whole lot of the historical manuals, so this'll probably sound ignorant, but how is that block useful? Wouldn't he just draw along your arm and punch you with his free hand, since you've used both of yours to block his single hand?

I don't know. After you block his knife with your wrist you probably just do some really complicated armlock while the apathetic knife-attacker passively stands there.

ScratchAndSniff fucked around with this message at 16:08 on Feb 18, 2015

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


Kim Jong ill posted:

It's actually pretty dumb to dismiss techniques taught by a respected fencing master in a time when fights with the intent of causing serious bodily harm or death were a real and frequent occurrence, just because you saw one simplistic drawing completely lacking any context or further explanation. Unlike every modern martial art taught outside of a military force, what he was teaching was expected to be used in real fighting.

We will have to agree to disagree, then. I would argue that it's pretty dumb to trust techniques developed for renaissance dagger fighting in any modern context, especially considering all you have to go by is a book and not real demonstration or training by the actual master. I would rather just give the mugger my wallet and move on with life.

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


Verisimilidude posted:

Literally every martial artist no matter the style will tell you "just give them your wallet". But "you weren't there so how could you know how it works?" is a pretty weak argument to make when it comes to historical fighting treatises.

You make some good points, and I admit that some training in knifefighting is better than nothing. My main beef is with sport fencers who think fencing epee somehow prepares them for a knife fight.

Edit: I also admit that I really don't know enough about renaissance dagger fighing to judge it one way or the other.

ScratchAndSniff fucked around with this message at 18:36 on Feb 18, 2015

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


Verisimilidude posted:

Sport fencing doesn't even prepare you for a sword fight, let alone a knife fight.


Uh oh! I guess I'm in trouble the next time I find myself in one of those. :spergin:

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


Crazy Achmed posted:

Actual content: I'm thinking of getting a new glove soon, does anyone have any recommendations? I used to have an Uhlmann "champion", which was comfortable if a little thin, and now have a Leon Paul "advanced" 350N, which is weakening at one of the thumb seams after only about a year of use. I haven't tried Allstar or FWF, are they any good?

Allstar and Uhlmann are the same brand with different colors, and they are my favorite. A guy at my club had an FWF glove which he really liked, but it was in tatters in less than a year. He tended to take a lot of hand hits, though.

If you don't mind the duct tape look, it can usually extend the life of a glove for a while.

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


Nektu posted:

Thats what the sword (and its reach) is for.

Closing the distance enough to knock somebody down while he has up to 1.5 meters of bladed weapon (plus the length of his arms) between himself and you is very hard to impossible to do without sustaning a horrible injury/death in the process (unless the fencer fucks up ofc or you are wearing appropriate armor).

Wait, wait... You can bring a sword to wrestling and MMA matches? Why hasn't anyone told me this???

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


Verisimilidude posted:

From my experience you're unlikely to get legit rapier fencing experience with the SCA. They're probably fine as a whole, but you're less likely to get actual martial training. I suppose it's better than nothing, but I would keep looking. And who knows, like Zeitgueist said they could be one of the (few) SCA groups that practices actual fencing.

Agree 100%. SCA varies by region, but in general they don't place much effort into historical accuracy.

As for the dorkery, I hear that also varies by region, but you will be expected to dress up, to an extent, for the events, which are about a lot more than just fencing. If that turns you off, I recommend looking elsewhere.

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


IM_DA_DECIDER posted:

I'm in Edmonton :/. I actually heard good things about the people there in regards to personality.

Knowing nothing about rapier fencing whatsoever, how can I tell if they are doing it properly? What would doing it historically accurate even mean? How does rapier fencing technique differ from olympic fencing?

If you want to sperge about historical accuracy, ask them to quote their sources when they teach techniques. There are a lot of translated manuals nowadays which you can get pretty easily, so if they answer with "we are doing this because it works" or "this is the way I learned it" they are probably just teaching sport fencing with rapiers.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course, if you just want yo have fun.

I really liked Tom Leoni's translations, when I was into that world, so if you are interested in reading up on rapier techniques before you get started I would recommend his stuff. Someone who has studied this stuff recently can probably offer other suggestions.

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


IM_DA_DECIDER posted:

I've done olympic fencing for many years, so I know how game-y it is. Ain't gonna pistol grip twist turn flick someone with a rapier...
I'm more interested in the actual bladework differences. A rapier is much heavier than a foil or even epee, so I imagine it's much more about prise de fer than fast disengages?


Sport fencing with rapiers would be fine with me, even if it's just a less suicidal version of normal epee.

This is mostly from memory, so anyone more familiar with rapier/sport differences please feel free to correct me:

A lot of the stylistic differences depend on the time period and region. The earlier Bolognese stuff I studied was very much about beating and wider swings (and many would argue it isn't technically "rapier"), but the later Italian stuff developed more into thrusting-focused and developed wirh single-tempo movements similar to opposition parries and binding attacks. Giganti and Fabris were very big on taking the blade with single tempo attacks and counters. A nice touch was that you couldn't assume an attack had killed your opponent, so they advocated holding the bind on your recovery, even after you had skewered the guy.

The two-tempo parry/riposte kind of things were discouraged, but they came back into style as blades got smaller and lighter (i.e. smallswords) and more similar to modern stuff in terms of techniques.

Spain had all sorts of craziness, though, which has little in common with the modern sport.

The historical stance is also different, particularly with weight distribution. Most SCA people just use the more comfortable sport stance. There's also the disarms/grappling/etc. stuff which SCA doesn't even touch.

Another big difference is that SCA has a much different definition of a "cut" than the historical manuals do. For safety reasons, they encourage more gliding cuts, rather than forceful whacks which would actually do damage. They also do the whole "hit person in the leg, then they pretend they can't walk" thing.

SCA fencing isn't "suicidal" in the same way sport fencing is, but it's still a game, and people treat it like one. To me it felt more like a non-electric "4th sport weapon" than a historical fighting style.

Edit: If electric rapier existed I would be all over it.

ScratchAndSniff fucked around with this message at 18:23 on Mar 4, 2015

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


Ko_Sine posted:

There is a percussive element to a cut, but most of your actual damage would happen from a draw. A "whack" would mostly bounce off before doing much damage.
Source my rapier teacher who has been doing swordplay for 15+ years.

I suppose it is a bit of both, now that I think of it. It's definitely harder than than most people might think to do any real damage with a rapier cut.

Source: imperfect memory of old rapier instruction with sharp rapier cutting practice.

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


Turtlicious posted:

On a scale of 1 - 10 how bad is whipping someone on purpose after they accidentally whipped you like 5x?

10. Suck it up, win the bout, and move on with life. If it's a teammate you can let them know what they are doing wrong or not fence them in the future, but in a tournament I wouldn't even put forth that much effort.

Edit: Are the other person's whips scoring legitimate hits? If so, just get better at parrying. If not, take my previous advice.

ScratchAndSniff fucked around with this message at 05:22 on Mar 9, 2015

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


ImplicitAssembler posted:


Again, kendo, kenjutsu, fencing, boxing, karate, whathaveyou....speed/power is generated from the feet/hips first. And no, you don't telegraph your attack by doing so.

So wrong. Stop pretending you know what you are talking about just because you saw some youtube videos. Hand (typically) moves first in modern fencing. If someone moves their feet first, I stick my arm out first and step into them. If they hit it may hurt me more, but it will be after I hit them... usually they will be too close to accurately hit me anyway. This is basic poo poo, and it works in all 3 modern weapons.

In practice there may be hand movement after/during leg action, and the initial movement could be subtle, but the hand moves first.

This is different from most other martial arts, so it screws a lot of people up. I call those people "free points."

On the historical side, I'm surprised no surviving texts clearly explain that kind of thing. Sounds pretty fundemental. If the sources do address it, arguing that something may work "better" kind of defeats the purpose of a historical martial art, doesn't it?

Edit: In case there is still some doubt about what moves first in modern fencing:

"usfa rulebook article t.7 posted:


“The attack is the initial offensive action made by extending the arm and continuously threatening the opponent’s target, preceding the launching of the lunge or flèche “

ScratchAndSniff fucked around with this message at 15:34 on Mar 17, 2015

ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


ImplicitAssembler posted:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRJED1eCXww
0:40 it's in slo-mo. It's what I would call a typical lunging attacks and he moves his feet first.


Lol. I can't tell if you're trolling or just really really dumb. Examples taken from high-level competitions can't be used to describe typical techniques. You keep talking about things you don't have experience in, and I'm actually kind of embarassed for you.

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ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

This game stinks


I'm a big proponent of general strength training with free weights. It can get hard balancing that with training, though, since fencing the day after leg day is a painful experience. Cardio is great too, but I feel like interval training tends to translate into fencing better than long slow runs. Some people swear by plyometrics, but I haven't seen enough success with it to comment on if it really helps.

Pretty much any exercise is good, as long as you can still stand when it's time to practice.

Be careful pushing yourself to the limit when you are practicing technique, though. The occasional 100 point match can be fun, but when you notice your form getting really sloppy you are doing yourself more harm than good.

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