View Full Version : Tactics

-12th November 2003, 16:58
Ok, question prompted by a discussion at training yesterday. You are facing an opponent who is significantly better than you. Which of the above would you tend to try? I tend to start doing more crazy stuff.

-12th November 2003, 17:04
ooh tricky one. i'd have to go for "try and learn what you can" (except that that isnt an option). i like to try and fence correctly despsite being under pressure and finding it difficult. also its good to try and work out what they're doing to hit you and counteract it so at the very least they have to do a different attck to score points.


-12th November 2003, 17:07
For training purposes your best bet IMO is to fence as correctly as you can and try to learn in order to stop them properly. I tend to give in and try to retain some pride by using a few tricks (which dont work for long against someone good!).

-12th November 2003, 18:28
Almost everybody is better than me, so I voted 'cry'.

(Which is bound to prompt rdb into telling me I'm a negative whinger, but there you go. Actually, I fenced reasonably well (for me) yesterday - I even won one match! So there! :tongue: )

-12th November 2003, 19:07
Fence in a normal and controlled manner (providing opponent is of the type that allows you to do this)

Sadly, I have found that charging down the piste like a lunatic is the only thing that works in certain situations.

Back to what I was saying, if can't get hits, try at least to make the better fencer's first action fail, so you parry but riposte is parried or you are hit on the preparation.

Also do your best not to do the same thing over and over again a la groundhog day

-13th November 2003, 07:34
watch them in a previous bout or whilst they are practicing - they'll often give away their fave attack which you can pick up a few parry-ripostes against

-13th November 2003, 08:31
You are facing an opponent who is significantly better than you

It depends what you mean by 'better'.
Better sense of tempo/timing. Better application/flexibility of tactics. Better technical control of the weapon. Better footwork and control of distance.?? Identify the qualities that make him/her a better fencer - practice both those qualities and the answer.

-13th November 2003, 10:29
A lot of these answers seem to be based on the 'I'm going to lose anyway so may as well learn' British attitude! Everyone is beatable. If you fence conventionally against a 'better' conventional fencer they'll beat you at their own game. IMHO get in their face, try and get ahead, try and rattle them, try something stupid, never give up, believe you can win, celebrate every hit, get a crowd behind you, have some ATTITUDE for god's sake people!

-13th November 2003, 10:42
Originally posted by Marcos
watch them in a previous bout or whilst they are practicing - they'll often give away their fave attack which you can pick up a few parry-ripostes against

sorry Tigger

should have added

"on the way to beating them into the ground!"

come on!

-13th November 2003, 10:56
try what some bloke in the poule did to me on Sunday, run down the piste waving your arm around like a lunatic and then draw you arm back and shove your sword with great force at your opponents err 'bits' while running past! :dizzy: :upset:
Damn near worked for him, got back from 4-1 to 4-4 before I could er 'focus' again :confused:

I think that would work on almost any opponent (well male one anyway) no matter how much significantly better they are!

-13th November 2003, 10:57
Now you're talking my language baby!

-13th November 2003, 11:11
i say try the flashyist thing you possibly can!!
If you're gonna loose anyway you might as well try and humiliate them by getting a flick to wrist or a prime parry etc.
Plus this will build confidence for the next fight.

NLSC Sabreur
-13th November 2003, 11:31
(Not mentioning which of the above posters I am refering to) Its not a good tactic to kick the wall or any of your own equipment during or after the fight.

I would advice trying to move your hand faster whilst trying to keep your footwork neat and not rushing in. Small fast footsteps will make it much harder for them to hit you on preparation.

Stay in the fight mentally, don't give up. If your opponent builds up a big lead they may relax, then if you go all out at them they may start to panic and/or tighten up.

I do believe in always trying to win but learn whenever you can. You can't learn details of actions but you can learn what works when, at what distance and in what area of the piste. You must fence your best so as to improve your best. If you stand and simply watch in awe of a top fencer as they cut you to pieces then you are not going to learn anything about timing your parries or making them fall short.

If your opponent is just vastly better (that means they have a good world ranking or you are a beginner) than you, then sometimes you just have to enjoy fencing them and lose with a smile on your face.

-13th November 2003, 12:01
Tigger- I have more than enough confidence to be going into fights with, I always go all out to win. Getting in peoples faces is something I'm good at. :grin: However, when facing the likes of Chris Farren realism intrudes slightly.

Fencingmaster - I kinda meant just plain better! As in better everything, not very specific i know. Talking a rankings gap of 100+ not 20.

I do think that you've got to try and do something a bit different while trying to learn from them. If you stick with simple stuff you'll lose 15-0

-13th November 2003, 12:18
Incidentally I find it alarming that "Cry" has three times as many votes as fencing like a nutter. Maybe thats where I've been going wrong.....

-13th November 2003, 14:26
i dont think that a fight with someone who is much better than you is the time to be trying out lots of new things. they are the sort of things to do with people you are much better than and are 13-5 up.

you stick with what you are good at and try to do the best you can. its about havnig belief in what you are trying to do being the right thing. maybe try a few things but nothing too drastic and it should be something you have done in a training a bit.

i will often try some things that i'm not very good at in a fight with someone very good because if you can do it on them then you can do it on anyone. i am not however going out there to deliberately fence in a completely different manor to nornal.

(i know this post manages to contradict itself but i hope it gets the point across)

-13th November 2003, 16:25
unfortunately in Wizz's case its not so much a problem of what happens when he fences someone much better than him, it's waaay more entertaing to watch what happens when he has to fence somebody considerably worse! (especially at the smaller comps!)

-13th November 2003, 16:26
You mean when he goes for flick to wrist six times in a row and it fails six times in a row? :tongue: Only kidding mate!

-13th November 2003, 16:46
In answer to NLSC, I was in a bad mood anyway due to the complete *&*! who removed (on purpose as it was folded on the pavement side of my car) my wing mirror!

Spending 10 minutes reattaching wing mirror with tape as well as 1 hour finding tape in a town without a woolworths or wilkinson's in the centre is not the ideal means of preparing for a fight. That and the drive following people who think that the national speed limit is 40mph!!!!!!

What is more, all the hits I got were either charging down the piste like a lunatic or guessing the right line to parry in and doing a nice heavy riposte.

Incidentally, the correct spelling is advise.

-13th November 2003, 17:57
It probably depends on the situation. If you're at training winning isn't particularly important so if you do go for normal attacks against a good fencer you will know whether or not they work and so you know whether or not to try them against other people.

However, in a competition your best chance of winning is to do all the normal attacks which you are good at and tend to work and then be creative for the rest of the fight and try and get as many hits as possible.

-14th November 2003, 05:53
if you're fencing a better person, that you know you're going to loose to why carry on doing things just to practise them?
You have to experiment with different styles until you find one that works with that particular opponent. You can spend years practising the same moves, and in some cases this has absolutley no positive effect.
If for example you always attack and you opponent always hits you on prep. why not let him attack you?
It dosen't matter how good a person is, if you keep changing your style, get a few points (even out of luck) you're gonna rattle your opponent which then makes them easier to beat.

However just for the record i'm still in favour of standing in the middle closing your eyes and taking big meaty parrys

On another note if something works well ona good fencer the likely hood is that it wont work on a less experienced fencer! their distance, timing, and vision will be completley different not to metion the speed at which things are done!

-14th November 2003, 09:35
if you're fencing a better person, that you know you're going to loose to why carry on doing things just to practise them?

I always go all out to win. Getting in peoples faces is something I'm good at. However, when facing the likes of Chris Farren realism intrudes slightly.

WHY WHY WHY? Why should realism intrude? There is no-one on the planet you KNOW you're going to lose to. There may be better fencers than you, they may be LIKELY to beat you, but you always have a chance. And when you're actually fighting you have to believe you're going to win.

Anyway Doc Farren has cheaty magnetic guards...;)

-14th November 2003, 09:41
hate to be a realist...........but there are always some fights that you know you're not going to win. It is very un likely that a top 10 fencer (or 1 past top fencers that are now drifting down the rankings) will ever loose to a mid ranking fencer say around 60th how many top fencers loose in the 64.
So to be realistic sometimes not winning is a dead cert.
maybe people have a chance of beating previously good fencers that haven't tried for a while and try and turn up to the occasional competition. Then i'm all for trying your hardest, win at all costs kind of attitude

-14th November 2003, 10:27
Ok does not compute..... Tatics in sabre ?

All I know is
1. stick arm out- make sure it's the one with the sabre attached to it.

2. close eyes.

3. charge.

about 50/50 hit reaches target- president says "simultaneous".
one time in about thirty "hit to {whatever side I'm on}"

-14th November 2003, 10:31
And employing these 'tactics' your sabre ranking is???

hate to be a realist...........but there are always some fights that you know you're not going to win.

Well I've never been in a fight I knew I wasn't going to win. Maybe that's why I get so gutted when I lose?? Cos I truly believe at the start of every fight that I can win it.

-14th November 2003, 10:34
Doc's guard does seem to attract my blade in a strange and repetitive way! I still say there are fights that its 99.9% certain you are going to lose. If I run into you on sunday for example!

-14th November 2003, 10:45
Originally posted by Homer
hate to be a realist...........but there are always some fights that you know you're not going to win.

Oh Homer you are so wrong. You have to believe in yourself.

In competitons so far this year; a few months ago I beat someone that was ranked 331 places higher than myself. Then a few weeks ago (when my ranking was 142 places higher than above) I beat someone that was ranked 119 places higher than me, and have recently beaten 2 top 20 ranked fencers, and another 2 top 30 ranked fencers.

I have been fencing for 10 months (tomorrow), and in that time my ranking has gone up about 385 places, and will go up about another 20 next month. If I used your logic I would still be sitting at the side of the piste.


-14th November 2003, 10:48
but when you first start doing comps you don't know what level you are going to be at so you have to go into every fight thinking you can win.

when you find a level in a year or so you will know whether you are going into a difficult or not.

-14th November 2003, 10:49
[QUOTE]Originally posted by tigger
[B]And employing these 'tactics' your sabre ranking is???

when training top 4 but when not a little lower

-18th November 2003, 07:45
Remembered this thread when up against a pretty decent Dutch fencer at the w/e and for the first few points I just went nuts, doing bizarre things

He beat me 5-3 but I think it did definately disrupt the bloke's rhythm

-18th November 2003, 08:53
Hmmm, I managed to beat a very handy fencer at the w/e with a final point which consisted of 3 or 4 remises of a PIL lunge (imagine bad epee!) while he staggered backwards, can't believe he didnt just hit me.

-18th November 2003, 09:43
Have to disagree with SRB (especially where Foil and sabre are concerened) domestically up to 5 you are right any fencer is beatable (this is true internationally as well) up to 15 it is unlikely that any of the top 10 will lose to anybody ranked significantly below them. Internationally this is even more true there are fights that you can be 99.9% sure that you have absolutely no chance at as your opponent is that much better than you.
I'm not saying go into a fight and stand there like a lamd to the slaughter go in give it your best shot but don't expect to win.

-18th November 2003, 10:38

The point I was trying to make was that you have to have belief in yourself. Okay - I think you could apply your view to the current top 5 UK foilists, and a smattering of others outside the top 5. Otherwise the top 50 is very open competition (I don't know about sabre).

Also the under dog has nothing to lose. If they lose, they have lost as expected, but still have probably acheived their expectations. Now, if they win, they have exceeded their expectations. So often it can be the favourite that has everything to lose with nothing to gain, whereas the under dog has nothing to lose and everything to gain, and this can lead to entertaining results.

How often do people beat their seeding at a competition? I beat my seeding more often than I equal it, and like everybody, sometimes I don't achieve my seeding, which fortunately happens less often than the other two.

So you have to believe that you can win - or you have already lost.


-18th November 2003, 10:41
As for sabre, I wouldn't even know which end of the stick to hold.

srb (back off to foil for now)

-18th November 2003, 13:40
srb I agree with what you have to say to a point, from your perspective as a new fencer you don't have anything to lose and you will give it your best shot, and upto 5 you might well have a chance of winning against one of the top 10 if they aren't concentrating (which domestically in the poules is often the case). However I'm sure you'll agree that upto 15 you'll currently (based on your current level of ability) have almost no chance of beating somebody like richard Kruse or James Beevers. You will only stand a realistic chance of beating them when you are able to fence at a level close to theirs.
I'm quite a reasonable epeeist there is probably nobody in the country i'll go into a fight against not thinking I've got a good chance against, some are more likely than others to beat me but nobody will be utterly confident of it. Internationally however there are a whole host of fencers who I know I don't stand a chance against up to 15. I know my level I trust in my ability and I know how well I can fence, but I also know how well the top guys can too and they will beat me virtually every time. This isn't a defeatist attitude its just the reality of the situation we all have levels of ability and sometimes they just ain't high enough.

-18th November 2003, 13:43
ps seedings rarely have any real value I've been the 1st seed and lost in the 64 and been the 64th seed and won in the 64, the thing to look at is who is in the top 8 at the end of the comp and you'll tend to find most if not all are from the top10-15 in the country

-18th November 2003, 13:55
Originally posted by aao
However I'm sure you'll agree that upto 15 you'll currently (based on your current level of ability) have almost no chance of beating somebody like richard Kruse or James Beevers.

Oh I agree - but I would never start defeated.


-19th November 2003, 13:27
I think that the funny thing about fencing saber is when you try to play a psychological game with your opponent, try to surprise him with some very unpredictable actions.

danishfencers - "may the footwork be with you, foilists"

-20th November 2003, 08:50
After last weekend I stand by my original suggestion! I beat 2 fencers with better technique and footwork than me in the L8 and L4 simply by being incredibly psyched up, taking risks and believing I was going to win.

-20th November 2003, 13:05
belief is everything - just don't be dissapointed if it goes pear shaped...
besdides my normal style is unpredictable and risky... i'd like to think:)

-25th November 2003, 15:31
Well fenced Tigger!!!! I do agree with you. As a younger fencer, I used to think that a higher ranked fencer with more experience was a "better" fencer. Now I believe I can win all my fights. I don't accept that anybody is any better than I am. If I lose a hit I try to think about what I did and not repeat it in the fight.

I think as a fencer you are treading into dangerous ground when you KNOW how a fight will end, whether it's a victory for you or someone else. If you KNOW you are going to win, you are open to serious complacency - this occasionally happens to me. If you KNOW you are going to lose, why bother even fencing? You might as well just stand there and get hit instead of fencing, or even just scratch.

I think that there are no set tactics for competitions - there is no magic formula anyway. You have to judge what you are doing in relation to your opponent. In sabre the psychology is important. And it varies between pooles and DE. Pooles are over quickly - there is less chance for interplay and longer hits. Simple, quick hits are more effective and will win the fight - if you get a 2 or 3 hit lead, then your opponent usually will nto have a chance to fight back. In DEs, this is not a big gap and as you get used to your opponent, (and them to you), you need to adjust yourself to their tactics and evolve yours.

If you are against a steady fencer who can do the basics with ease, then you have to try to do something to make them feel unsure of their ability - one of those wild tactics (flicks a la whizzkid or stop-hits a la Tigger). Doing a successful counterattacking move almost certainly slows your opponent down in the next point as they will feel like they don't want to be hit with a similar move. At this point you should attack fast (by this I mean with tempo, or some other time-gaining movement, not big steps...). This should win the hit (decent refereeing allowing)! This will make an opponent want to come at you fast to prevent you from getting a quick attack in, so you step in-step out and either do a flick/stop-hit, parry-riposte or just step out of range so they fall short and hit 'em. So they will slow down for the next hit... and so on. It's not quite as cleaer cut as this, as a good opponent will realise they are being suckered, and do something unexpected to you. But the main jist is that if you can control the fight, then winning each hit becomes a lot more likely, and so will winning the fight. You're beating them in their heads. ake every hit as it comes, and you MUST WANT to win every point - don't give away cheap hits.

Here endeth the lesson... (for now anyway).

-25th November 2003, 15:31
Having just submitted this i realise how long it is... hope you can all be bothered to read it!

-25th November 2003, 15:36
just about

-3rd December 2003, 15:40
Whenever i start out fencing against someone, i use the same thing (maybe thinking about it putting it down here isn't a great plan) but i use a second intention attack because that is the last thing people are expecting on the first point. Ok i will admit that against some people (Chris Farren, Jon Salfield, Julian Rose etc) a) it doesn't always work and b) it is likely to be my only point.

I do enjoy fencing against people who are a hell of a lot better (in technique, speed and timing) than i am because it gives me an opportunity to learn how they fence and hopefully get more hits on them the next time i see them.

But generally i just stick to what i have seen (and done) to work before and if they are better than me it will be seen in the score and (hopefully although there are notable exceptions) not necessarily on the piste.

-4th December 2003, 14:49
Originally posted by Jambo
Doc's guard does seem to attract my blade in a strange and repetitive way!

Here here. I was training at Centre last night and I could have SWORN I saw him plug his sabre IGS into a electromagnet in his back pocket.

Kian :tongue: