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Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

I guess I come from a fencing family, as my parents met in a fencing class when they were in college, but Iíve never done it. A few years ago my son attended a fencing demo at his school and told us he wanted to try it, so we signed him up. He has a lot of fun with it. I take him to the school on Tuesdays and Thursdays and wait on the sidelines while he fences. He does foil. While there I watched a few sabre classes and they looked like fun.

This past Saturday the school had two tournaments, a three-weapon tourney and an individual tourney. My son fenced foil in the three-weapon event and did well, especially considering that it was his first real tournament. His team came in fourth out of fifteen teams.

When it was time for the individual event I overheard the schoolís owner talking with the other coaches. They didnít have enough people for sabre to make it an official event. There were plenty of epee and foil people, but no sabre-types. I thought it over for about ten seconds, walked over, and said, ďIíll do it. Sign me up.Ē

Iím in pretty good shape Ė I run five miles per day, lift weights, and have done a lot of martial arts in the past. Iím not saying this to brag, just to point out that Iím not hopeless, condition-wise. They gave me a bunch of forms to fill out (please donít sue us if you get stabbed) and started tracking down loaner gear for me. Before I knew it I was getting a quick ten-minute lesson from a coach in the back room. My registration went through on the USA Fencing website, and they started the match.

Needless to say I didnít win, but I didnít get shut out either. I fenced against five other people and went 5-2, 5-1, 5-1, 5-2, 5-3. Iím quite happy with that. After that was the elimination round; because I had finished last I went against the first place winner. He really looked the part Ė if a movie had a role for ďGerman Fencing InstructorĒ they could have used him. I went in swinging, and I think my flailing caught him off guard a bit; I managed to get a few points against him before he figured me out. I lost, 15-8, and Iím still quite proud of the points I got.

Hereís a photo from the first round. Iím wearing (very smelly) loaner gear on the left. The guy on the right beat me 5-2.



Iím going to stick with it. Thereís a sabre class (in the ďdad leagueĒ) at the same time as my sonís foil lessons, and Iíll be at the school anyway, so why not?

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Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

Anyone have any suggestions on buying sabre gear?

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

I ended up going with what the school had in stock, Uhlman for a sabre and Linea for the jacket/lame/trousers/etc.

I'm still having a lot of fun with it.

Cessna fucked around with this message at 20:49 on Oct 8, 2019

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

Crazy Achmed posted:

Full kit? Nice! My sabre is also from Uhlmann, they make some really nice stuff.

Yeah, I went ahead and got what I need, calling it a late birthday present to justify it.

Everything still feels strange and off-balance, but I'm really enjoying the challenge.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

spacetoaster posted:

Any recommendations on how to loosen up my shoulders?

Yeah, I'm having a hard time with that myself. I KNOW I only have to lightly touch the other person to get a point, but when I try to go fast it ends up in my going hard, like I'm trying to smash an axe through a shield. I want to get to the point where I'm loose and quick, but it's not easy.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

spacetoaster posted:

Do you have to use a different mask for epee, foil, and saber? I see that they are sold that way, but is it really important to have 3?

Sabre is different as your face is a target area, so the masks are bare metal so they can complete the circuit. My son does foil and that's how I can tell our masks apart at a glance; mine is shiny.

Epee and foil - the mask is the same, but in foil the bib/chin is part of the target area so it needs to be metal and clipped/plugged into the lame. In epee it can be plain cloth.

spacetoaster posted:

Also, is it a usual thing for a city's fencing clubs to prohibit membership into any of the other clubs too?

That seems like a bit of a red flag to me. If you're confident in the quality of your school, sure, let people go to others and they'll find out that your club and coaches are better. Or maybe there's some bad blood there, who knows.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

spacetoaster posted:

How is sabre? We're only getting foil and epee training and we're curious if sabre is fun.

I'm absolutely loving it. The school I go to does all three. Keep in mind that (a) these are newb opinions, and (b) they're just opinions.

Sabre seems a LOT faster. Because you can score with any touch at all, not just pokes, it's imperative that you get moving instantly and establish right-of-way. When I watch epee matches they seem to take a really long time, with the opponents sizing each other up tentatively for a while before one of them moves in. In contrast, sabre is like "ready, fence, zap" and if you miss and blow your right of way you jump back fast and hope they blow their attack or you get in a clean counter. Foil seems somewhere in between - it has the right-of-way of sabre, but it's harder to score (you must get in a poke and the target area is smaller).

Here, check this out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKVU7XLFhFY#t=216s

spacetoaster posted:

The rule about having a membership applies to all clubs, not just in our city. I was thinking it might be to prevent competitors from showing up to watch their training maybe?

Dunno. The club/school I'm at is pretty chill and hosts a lot of the tournaments, so people from other schools come in anyway. I don't think we've got any Uber-Secret Ninja techniques that we want to keep secret (unless they haven't taught me them yet ) so there's no objection to having people come in to watch classes.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

spacetoaster posted:

When you guys go to the club to fence, how long do you typically spend?

An hour and a half. First half hour is warmups and calisthenics, second half hour is drills, then half an hour of sparring/matches.

spacetoaster posted:

I ask because the club in my city is open for 5 hours in the evenings. Do people just show up during the open time and fence with whoever is there for however long they feel like it?

Sure. The club/school also does private lessons for 1/2 hour sessions. You get a set number each month. I'll show up, do a private lesson while my son does "open fencing," then drop into "open fencing" while my son does his private lesson.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

Can you buy stuff through your school/club? If so I'd recommend that route, as you'll be able to try on stuff first and, as with any sporting equipment, that's important.

I don't know if the electronic stuff is a requirement, but it's really helpful. One of the big things I'm learning is how subtle things are. You don't have to swing your sword around like you're trying to cleave through someone and split them in half; just a flick and a touch is enough to score a point, and this becomes more clear when you're using the electronic stuff. You don't have to try to swing hard and smack the other guy around, just get fast, quick circuit-completing touches.

Like I said earlier, a sabre mask is different; it's shiny bare metal. You can probably find masks that work for both foil and epee by swapping the bib/chin (or just not plugging it into anything when you do epee). But really, try it on first before you buy it.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

Yeah, I wouldn't buy used gear that I hadn't seen in person and tried on.


Edit: And buying used gear on line sounds like a way to end up with some really stinky stuff.

Cessna fucked around with this message at 15:21 on Nov 6, 2019

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

spacetoaster posted:

Is this a big deal? I now see that the 350n stuff is cheaper. Would it be ok if I'm just fencing at the club with epee?

The 350 stuff is fine for any sort of club-level fencing and it will serve as practice gear for as long as it lasts.

If you're looking to do a higher level tournament you'll need the 800 stuff. But, yes, it is more expensive. You won't need it for a while, so maybe get the 350 stuff until you're sure you're really into it and looking to compete.

spacetoaster posted:

Also, is a plastron meant to add more protection and should I have one?

It's there so that if somehow a blade finds a seam or opening in the side facing your opponent it won't go straight through.

You'll need one; my club/school won't let people fence without one.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

dupersaurus posted:

Yeah, it'll register the whole blade, but I think the ref is supposed to look for the hit being made on the cutting edge (and top third of the opposite edge?)?

Nope, any part of the blade. Link to FIE rules. USA Fencing Rules, which I think are the same - they are in the t. 96 section.

quote:

METHOD OF MAKING A HIT

t.96

1. The sabre is a weapon for thrusting and cutting with both the cutting edge and the back of the blade.
2. All hits made with the cutting edge, the flat or the back of the blade are counted as good (cuts and back cuts).
3. It is forbidden to hit with the guard. Any hits registered by hitting with the guard must be annulled, the fencer so hitting being penalised as specified in Articles t.158-163, t.165,t.170.
4. Hits through the blade, that is to say those which touch at the same time the valid target and the sabre of the opponent, are valid whenever they arrive clearly on the target.
5. Placing the weapon on the piste at any time to straighten it is forbidden. Any breaking of this rule will be punished according to Articles t. 158-163, t.165, t.170.

I think the rationale is that sabre is fast enough anyway for it to be hard for refs to make the right call, let alone determine which edge of the thing hit first.

Cessna fucked around with this message at 19:42 on Nov 7, 2019

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

Yeah, "did it touch y/n" is as good a criteria as any, and even that gets confusing with you get two lights.

I've been trying to ref when I'm resting between bouts and holy crap some of those calls are close. I think half the time I just say "simultaneous" because I just couldn't see who was moving in first.

Any hints or tips on refing are welcome.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

spacetoaster posted:

Where are we allowed to mark on our mask and jacket?

I would like to get my name embroidered on them, but I'm not sure about the rules.

I don't know if there is a rule on what you can't do, but:

1. In big competitions fencers have their name and country on the back of their lame in big blue letters, I'm sure there's a rule covering this:



2. Before competitions they check your gear to make sure it is safe and mark is with a little stamp to show it has passed. Some of the uber-vets at my club have masks with all sorts of stamps on the sides.

Personally I just wrote my name inside my stuff with a sharpie. It isn't visible from the outside, but it's enough for me to see if it's my gear when I'm packing up for the night.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

spacetoaster posted:

Anybody got any pointers on beating kids?

Hell if I know. My 13 year old got me into it, and he slaughters me.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

Crazy Achmed posted:

How are they hitting you?

For one thing my son has been doing this for over four years, and I've been in it for two and a half months.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

I had a great lesson last night. For the first time the footwork felt comfortable and I could concentrate on distance and even a bit of strategy about how I came off the line at the start. It's nice to see what this can lead to.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

I had a really weird practice match last night. I went up against a woman who just started at our club and her footwork was just freaky-weird; she could just spring around.

Turns out she's a professional ballerina. It was like trying to pin down a butterfly.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

Dunno, sabres don't have wires. My son seems to need something fixed every year or so, but I have no idea how typical that is.

I'm having a great time myself, I feel like I'm starting to get to the point where I know enough about the basics to start actively looking at strategies and tactics. I had a really good practice match against an experienced fencer last night that went 14-15. Even though I lost I felt really comfortable and able to think through moves instead of just reacting.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

My club had a tournament on New Years Day and I finished 20th out of 30 Sabre fencers. I'm pretty proud of that!

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

Me at practice tonight:

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

DandyLion posted:

(yes I know its saber, still gonna make Fleche happen)

Flunge! Flunge!

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

HPanda posted:

Wait, are cross steps not allowed for any weapon? Or just sabre?

They're only banned in sabre.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

HPanda posted:

Also, you legit now have a dueling scar/scar from someone charging at you with a sword.

Yes!

- - -

My son was the one who got me into fencing. About a year ago he stayed late after fencing class and had a bout with a kid who also in his class at school. Afterwards I found out that they had the bout to see who would sit next to a particular girl in their math class.

I am very proud that my son fought his first affair of honor at age 12.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

My son got his E rating today!

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

The fencing club is closed due to the epidemic.

I swear, I'm going to start fencing against my son in the driveway once the snow melts.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

Xiahou Dun posted:

How'd that go with your son and that girl in his math class, by the way?

You know, I don't know. I figure that's his private life. I only know about the duel because I heard about it from his coach.

Hopefully they're enjoying sitting next to each other in math class.

Edit: Or, will once they're back in school.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

Xiahou Dun posted:

I naturally want to say that obviously she should get to choose who she sits next to in math class cause it's not 1600,

She's more than welcome to fight duels over seating arrangements herself!

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

Since the club is closed my son and I have started doing drills in the driveway.



Fencing outdoors in the plague ridden city is the most Edgar Allan Poe thing I've ever done.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

Crazy Achmed posted:

What's the deal with the US fencing elections?

Dunno. I keep getting tweets like "remember to vote!" and I have no idea who any of those people are.

Nice work on that prime-flick move. I'm a sabre type, but I've been doing some foil against my son in quarantine and my infighting and flicks are terrible.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

ImplicitAssembler posted:

You guys are actually practicing?

In two ways.

1. My son fences, so we go out and fence outdoors. He's been doing it for a long time, so he slaughters me, but hopefully I'm giving him more of a challenge than a static dummy target.

2. Our club is semi-open. The owner took advantage of the time they were closed to re-do the place; it has a fresh new paintjob and looks really good. About three weeks ago the city lifted some of the restrictions and they did a limited opening. It's only scheduled lessons with coaches. You show up and they (the coach) lets you in. You have to wear a mask at all times and keep distance - no handshakes. Only a max of ten people are allowed in at any time - the place is pretty big (a former auto garage) so there's space to spread out. You go to a strip and do a lesson, then go home. It's well regulated and they're taking it seriously, so I'm okay with it.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

ImplicitAssembler posted:

How are you finding practicing with masks?

You get used to it pretty quick. The big problem is getting it to sit right; it's easy to dislodge it when you put your fencing mask on over it. I think the trick is to keep one hand on your chin keeping the Covid mask on while you pull the fencing mask on and then pull it down by the bib over the Covid mask.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

Our club is open for limited fencing again. Max occupancy of 20 people, mandatory masks at all times, gloves/hand sanitizer and temperature checks at the door, no borrowed or loaner gear, etc.

It's good to be back. You can tell who practiced and who didn't.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

BirdOfPlay posted:

If any of y'all end up at a NAC or (US) regional event, feel free to say "hi."

I'll be the old guy fencing sabre.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7n7joTINmI

I'm on the left, and I get the point.

I know, I need to work on footwork.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

Article on my club's wheelchair fencing program here.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

Yeah, it's all speed, no force is really necessary.

I've been doing some foil on the slide lately. Sabre will always be my favorite, but foil is a lot of fun.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

ImplicitAssembler posted:

Is Absolute Fencing gear worth it? I mean, I'll get the 350N gear, but it still seems very cheap.

They're owned by the same company as Uhlmann; I use a mix of both. The Absolute gear is a bit more modern in cut/style, but it's all good.

Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

I may switch from sabre to foil.

I find myself increasingly frustrated with sabre. It seems like the whole thing is based on (seemingly) arbitrary refereeing of simultaneous attacks in the box. That's not as much fun for me as when things turn into a good back and forth series. Which is pretty much what foil IS, so why not just do that?

Cessna fucked around with this message at 21:43 on Jan 29, 2021

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Cessna
Feb 20, 2013

KHABAHBLOOOM

I'm not going to do HEMA. I picked up fencing because my son does foil already; he's been doing it for years and is quite good at it. After giving him rides to the school for years I figured I could either sit on my rear end and watch or try it myself and get in a workout.

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