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Barry Paul
-4th December 2003, 11:45
The congress have voted for a new foil point which has to have a stroke of 2 mm before a hit can be scored.Will it ever happen?

The F.I.E. congress were shown a mangiarotti new tip, which like a epee point has a 2.0 mm travel before a hit is scored.
There was a demonstration at which every one was told this would eliminate flick hits. In a voting paper one of the 15 or so questions voted on by every country was 'should Magiarotte points be used/trialed.'?

The points I think that were not considered were:
1. Cost?
2. Reliability?
3. Did they work?
4 Is there an overwhelming problem with flick hits?

As on of the major world Manufactures we have not yet seen the point so it’s difficult to give a measure reply. However I would guess.
1. 50% more.
2. Many foil points are already unreliable; keeping the same point diameter will be very difficult and result in a thin wall thickness that already gives problems on continental points.
3. Will it work? Probable not or only prevent an insignificant number of flick hits registering. The question you must ask is, Can you flick hit at epee (the answer is yes)? Certainly fencers will adapt hitting technique to follow the point through ensuring the hit has traveled and dwell time (defeating the effect of the proposed increased timing before hits will register).
It is likely the point will be heavier which will make flick hitting easier. (Smart move)
4. Is there a problem. Not at International senior level, at the last world Champ final there were only one or two flick hits.

So we have a proposed. un-tested change in point design, to cure a fault that does not exist, voted on by people who have no idea and technical expertiese, which probably doesn't work. About par for the F.I.E.

Barry Paul M.D. Leon Paul.

Prometheus
-4th December 2003, 12:37
Barry, in complete agreement. Talk about [half] shutting the gate after the horse has bolted.......

Didn't epeeists invented flick hitting....?

Juniors will have to alter their technique to.... then back.... again, that can't be good for them!

The only people who seem to think this is a good idea on this site are either:

a) epeeists (thise who were failed foilists)
and
b) foilists with no timing/footwork

neither who IMO are qualified to comment on this subject.

The essence is that referees are confused as to how the definition applies in practice - of the extension (straightening). The changes should be addressing this [and some are] not flick hits which are a seperate issue. For instance I can still advance with a bent arm and hit square and the president be confused as to the degree of straightening involved! The mere fact that you can flick at the end or hit square is merely a question of timing and distance...

The only rule that can address this problem is the timing change. Fine, but not indirectly banning flick hits [which actually alters the whole sense/character of foil].....

Give it two years and the whole thing will be reversed after everyone (manufacturers/fencers/coaches) have spent a lots of time and money on this white elephant).

squeak,squeak

Prometheus

Sophie
-4th December 2003, 16:16
I agree with you both (although I am entirely unqualified to do so, being totally unable to flick-hit myself and probably a little confused as to the in's and out's of all this.

Thanks for keeping us up to date with your thoughts Barry. However, although we are all keen to know what is going on, the forum is only here for us all to swap ideas, moan, grunble, gossip etc.

I would be really interested to know who else you have discussed this information with. Are the BFA taking any sort of stand? What are you / the BFA doing to get the FIE to drop the idea etc etc.......?

Thanks

Prometheus
-4th December 2003, 16:23
Barry's off.......

in his Aston Martin.......

to the sound of the 007 theme.......:cool:

ready to deal with the evil FIE........[cut to picture of President stroking pussy cat] and his henchmen the SEMI committee:mad:

who are blackmailing all free foilists with their unreasonable demands!!!

Sounds like a great movie!

Pointy stick
-4th December 2003, 16:50
Originally posted by Prometheus

The only people who seem to think this is a good idea on this site are either:
a) epeeists (thise who were failed foilists)
and
b) foilists with no timing/footwork
neither who IMO are qualified to comment on this subject.


You may or may not be right, but you can't justify this statement as it stands. Unless you know them personally, or have watched them fence (or have similar evidence from a suitable intermediary) how can you say that someone is an (a) or a (b)?

Perhaps some, many, most, or (unlikely) all people who think it's a good idea fall into one or both categories. However, some people genuinely think that the flick hit is an example of the game developing to meet the requirements of the scoring equipment.

Flick hits could not be reliably presided in steam matches, so it follows that when the first boxes were designed, little or no consideration could have been given to the flick hit. If the development of the flick hit had been foreseen, would the design of the box have been different in the first place?

Instead of persuading the eye of a judge with a feel for the sport, the foilist now only has to depress an insentient switch the required distance for the required time. The flick hit cannot do the former, but it can do the latter.

The inevitable result was the development of a style of fencing which could exploit this, followed by a design of blade which makes it easier to exploit it. In short: the game has changed.

That may or may not be a Good Thing. Compare it to lawn tennis, where the larger, more tightly strung raquet has changed the emphasis of the game making the serve more powerful. Many people think this has changed the character of the game for the worse; others might well think it's made the game more exciting.

There is room for both opinions and all shades in between. For example, I don't like the idea of flick hits, but I recognise that they are part of the game. I need to learn to defend myself against them with improved footwork and a modified range of parries. I can choose whether or not to learn to execute them. Inevitably, I will use them occasionally as I improve. That doesn't change the fact that when I read Barry Paul's comment <<at the last world Champ final there were only one or two flick hits.>> I felt a little bit better about the world.

reposte
-4th December 2003, 18:10
Didn't epeeists invented flick hitting....?

Entirely nothing to do with fencing whatsoever, but this reminded me that after we've had the great Russian immigration we've discovered to our great dismay that it was a Russian who invented Penicillin, TV, the aricraft and almost every other thing in the world...

rory
-5th December 2003, 08:37
Pointy Stick: Prometheus is pretty much correct, but he missed out a couple of categories:

b) Old timers who don't like the way the game has evolved

c) Beginners who don't really know what they're talking about

The reason that international class fencers don't often flick is that once you've got distance and footwork it's very easy to see, counter, parry or simply avoid the flick attack.

It's now usually only used as a simple, direct riposte: if you try to attack with the usual "British junior" wander-down-the-piste-whilst- pumping-your-arm kind of way you'll be hit on preparation, then your opponent will step back three paces and laugh at you as you finish out of distance.

Or you attack for the shoulder, and your opponent steps in, counters and your flick sails over his shoulder to land flat on his ass, no light. You lose again.

Once again, by the time the FIE decides to "fix" something, the game has evolved in its own way. Fencing's like that.

Prometheus
-5th December 2003, 10:10
Quite so Rory, although I didn't want to alienate everyone on this forum.......

It appears that British fencers who are anti-flick hits have found common cause with this decision, although the basis of the decision is to remove the confusion over the interpretation, not because some British Fencers cannot parry a flick hit.

Personally I welcome the possibility of extensions being more 'visible', it is a pity it will be at the demise of the flick hit which has, as Rory states, necessitated the improvement in footwork we see at top levels now.

I suspect that in Britain the foil will return to the poor provincial immobile, remising standards it had over 10 years ago. A pity really.

Pointy stick
-5th December 2003, 16:06
Originally posted by rory
Pointy Stick: Prometheus is pretty much correct, but he missed out a couple of categories:
b) Old timers who don't like the way the game has evolved
c) Beginners who don't really know what they're talking about


Ouch.

My point was not so much that flick hits are either a Good Thing or a Bad Thing, but that it was unfair to generalise that everyone in the forum who is in favour of the proposed changes must be either a failed foilist, or a foilist with bad footwork.

Your two new proposed categories show that there are at least 4 categories of people who might be in favour of the changes. I'd modify that to 'at least 4'. Furthermore, just because you or I fall on one or other side of the 'divide', it doesn't mean that either of us has the right to be dismissive of people who hold the opposite opinion.

It's a game; people can play the same game for subtly different combinations of reasons, and enjoy or dislike different aspects of the game. The rules have to be a compromise between many conflicting demands. If the rules and conventions hadn't changed from time to time, we wouldn't have masks, electric scoring, a 14 metre piste, or identical target areas for men and women. I imagine all of those developments, and others, had their proponents, opponents and alternatives.

In your argument, anyone who does have a few years' experience is dismissed rather patronisingly as an 'old timer'. Anyone who lacks the experience is dismissed as not knowing what they're talking about. So what's the ideal amount of experience?

Substitute the phrase "People with many years of experience participating in the sport" for "old timers", and your proposed category sounds like this:

<<People with many years of experience participating in the sport who don't like the way the game has evolved>> Notice how the emphasis changes, although the facts are the same!

Yes, I'm a beginner who doesn't really know what he's talking about, and that is a fact I'm always ready to acknowledge, or even highlight. It doesn't mean I'm not entitled to an opinion. I'm also a beginner who's willing to stick my head above the wall and risk getting it shot off so that he can learn from people's responses.

I know that flick hits can be parried, and that distance and footwork are a good defence against flick hits. I also recognise that delivering a flick hit is difficult, and requires great precision and practice. As I learn more about the game, I find that flicks predominate less than I was led to believe by one or two of the 'antis' who bent my ear in my first few weeks.

I'm happy for my argument(s) to be dismantled - no one ever learned anything by having his ideas unchallenged - but don't simply dismiss those with whom you disagree as 'obviously wrong'.

uk_45
-5th December 2003, 16:31
I see no real problem with flick hits, we hardly see them at high level comps and also it is a skill that you have to learn wurly that means it is usable. Many moves cames around like this.

reposte
-5th December 2003, 17:15
Have you seen the last broadcasts from Havana? They are not dead and they are here to stay unless some successful method of removing them comes up. Thing is, with the defensive technique now used, you wouldn't want to.

Pointy stick
-5th December 2003, 22:48
Originally posted by reposte
Thing is, with the defensive technique now used, you wouldn't want to [remove flick hits?].

Me in learning mode here. So you're saying that defensive techniques have evolved to the extent that the flick hit is no longer worth it as it can be dealt with fairly comfortably?

So the need for a more accurate scoring system generates the machine, the machine provokes the development of the flick hit, and the development of the flick hit provokes the development of defenses which render the flick hit more or less redundant, and we move more or less full circle? Or have I read too much into this one line?

I'm not being dogmatic or arguing for or against, just asking. In this scenario, the flick hit and its defenses would become no more than a transitory stage in the personal development of each fencer.

Or, as has often been alleged by the unkind, am I talking b*ll*cks?:confused:

reposte
-6th December 2003, 10:19
So you're saying that defensive techniques have evolved to the extent that the flick hit is no longer worth it as it can be dealt with fairly comfortably?

Quite the contrary. With defensive techniques that favour a round circular prise de fer like parries it is almost impossible to get a blade through using the straight and narrow good old fashion way. A defender must fear the possibility of a flick to expand his defense zone and allow the attacker to feint and enter somewhere which isn't a lucky break.
In the old days where French grip was used it was the basic four six seven eight parries; Nowadays it's gone much further than that. If you look at the semi final Vanni-Cassara and the final Vanni-Joppich you see that all the hits are divided to three categories:
1) Flick hits (Almost all of Cassara's hits and a lot of Vanni's and Joppich's)
2) hits from Prime (Mainly Vanni's) which border on a flick but aren't quite so
3) Hight - hand drawn backwards - thrust low Vanni and Joppich.

I can't think of a single blade forwards - deceive good old fashion way - touch in the entire 48 touches that were broadcasted.
Forgive the spelling btw, my speller's down again.

Prometheus
-8th December 2003, 00:29
I think you both miss the point, no pun intended :), which I was trying to raise - that is, that the flick-hit is alleged to be the problem with modern foil fencing. In my view the problem is indirectly associated with the flick hit.

You can deliver a flick hit easily by not extending the arm which is contrary, as the rules state, for acquiring right of way but you can also flick with an extending or extended arm which is in accordance with the rules as stated in various scenarios.


Now, you can seperate the arguments into two -

a) the confusion is caused by the non-extension. This is the problem referees have currently in deciding priority. Also this can be used to deliver hits square to target and not involving flicking.

b) then you have the people who discern the flick as not being in the character of the weapon.

I welcome correction of (a) and I know a number of experienced and current top foilists who welcome this and I believe this is what was originally sought by the administration (FIE).

As for (b) who can say what is right when the premis of the weapon is based on artifice anyway. I personally feel that removal of this is tantamount to saying the weapon is set and set mainly as epee in character and we accept no development away from that, epee with rules? We become a sub-class of epee?

My annoyance expressed earlier is with those who complain about it under (b) but only because they lack the skills necessary to fence foil well, in general - footwork timing, balance etc. Often these are returning foilists who, understandably cannot easily come to terms with this - these were not top level foilists but common-all garden fencers. They use it as an excuse for their low level of competence in the weapon.

The new rules, I maintain, will induce a reduction in emphasise on the correct technique for many provincial fencers who will habitually remise having had the occasionally lucky victory caused by poor refereeing, giving remises, common at county levels.

Oh, and Pointy Stick, yes, I do know who these people are. When you've been in the game for as long as some of us, you hear every argument from every category......

Pointy stick
-8th December 2003, 16:13
Originally posted by Prometheus
Oh, and Pointy Stick, yes, I do know who these people are. When you've been in the game for as long as some of us, you hear every argument from every category......

Nevertheless, there are important differences between some, many, most and all. I dare say that you know many or most of the people who take part in this debate, but - self evidently - you can't know all of them. It was the sweeping generalisation that prompted my response.

And all the old fuddy duddies whom you disparage would presumably start their arguments with "When you've been in the game for as long as some of us...". All it means is, "I have a strong opinion, and I believe that my long experience makes it more valid." As in, "Listen, Copernicus, when you've been studying astronomy as long as I have..."

I'm not saying you're wrong in your opinion, only that confident assertion is not the same as persuasive argument.

But moving on, I see you now make a very real distinction between perceived problems arising from attacks without the arm extended, and perceived problems arising from simple prejudice. I can see this is a valid and important distinction.

As a beginner, I've had various interpretations of the rules explained to me. My understanding is that in an attack the arm should be extended with the point threatening the target. I once remarked that a point pointing skywards was not threatening the target, and the answer was, "After it hits you, how can you say it wasn't threatening you?" Fair point!

And yes, 'conventional' (non-flick) hits can land without the arm being straight.

The straight arm isn't necessary to make a hit valid, but only to establish priority. The problem with flicks seems to come from disputes over priority where one fencer thinks he's hit the flicker on the preparation, and the flicker thinks he had right of way and was 'stop hit' out of time. I'm neither clever enough nor experienced enough to suggest an answer to this problem. I may not even have properly understood the problem!

But moving to your second category: dislike of flick hits through 'mere prejudice'. You are no doubt right. I came into the sport with quite a strong prejudice about this (I 'knew' what sword fighting 'ought to' look like) and have spent the last few months softening my attitude - not because I can deliver or parry flicks (I wish!) - but because I've seen them in use, and I accept that they take at least as much skill and timing as a 'proper' attack.

However, when we are talking about a matter of taste (and that's all it is) then prejudice is as good a reason to hold an opinion as any. In fact, it's the only reason - whether your prejudice is for 'old fashioned values', or for 'the most effective and competitive technique'. Neither is right or wrong.

Once before in this debate at the pub, a fellow fencer rebuked me: "But it stopped being realistic, and started being artificial, when people stopped being killed." (Or words to that effect.)

I didn't really follow your point about foil becoming a mere sub category of epee. First, I thought that's how it started (training for the 'real thing') and second, I though they used flicks in epee too.

Prometheus
-8th December 2003, 16:30
A very eloquent reply Pointy Stick. It seems you have an open and fair mind to this topic which probably explains your stoic defense of others. Fair enough.

I still maintain that it is the poor extension of the arm [in any attack] that is the problem not the flick. Even saying this I can see why the two are associated - poorly performed flick attacks are invariably started with a bent arm. Then again I can show you many classic foilists who regularly attack with a bent arm, break time etc. and claim it as a practical/agricultural coupe-a-coupe!

Despite this the FIE when considering this element are referring to the top level fencers who bent their arms back (going back a couple of years) so as to prevent their opponents parrying the attack. This was not poor execution per se but tactical [ab]use of weak presiding.

I think it important to distinguish between these different points when discussing the pros and cons of each position.

You also say that the flick did not fit with your view of fencing when you started. This is perhaps why it is sometimes suggested it is removed so as to make the sport more telegenic or recognisable to the public.

Anyway, it matters not, the FIE will do what they do and we little people will adapt.

Still I think an Epee tip on top of the blocking time is making it Belt and Braces.

Pointy stick
-8th December 2003, 17:18
Originally posted by Prometheus
This was not poor execution per se but tactical [ab]use of weak presiding.


In a few short months I've heard many people say that you should 'fence to the President' (or words to that effect).

In a negative sense, this would produce what you described. The usual term is 'gamesmanship'. It's the same mindset that produces concerted appeals from fielders when a shout for LBW is particularly speculative.

In a more positive sense, of course, 'fencing to the President' should encourage a fencer to make it absolutely clear that (s)he has right of way. In theory, good style, a good straight arm, and clear parries rather than 'just' finding the blade should make it easier for the President to give you the point.

So when I get a bad call, I think to myself, "OK, so I might be technically right, but not convincingly enough. Do it better next time." Of course, I'll not be fighting for medals or a cup for, er... some time yet, so it's easy for me to be sporting.

And as for: <<A very eloquent reply Pointy Stick. It seems you have an open and fair mind to this topic which probably explains your stoic defense of others. Fair enough.>> Thanks :0)

pinkelephant
-9th December 2003, 07:43
Fencing to the president doesn't actually mean you should do what you're doing better, but that you should change what you are doing. Some foil refs will give what I perceive to be my attack on the preparation. (I could of course be wrong; what we think we are doing and what we are actually doing are not necessarily the same thing - a point many foilists would do well to recognise). Other refs don't. If they don't, I stop doing it and do something else.

sparkymark567
-9th December 2003, 10:04
I agree with pink elephant. As long as the referee is consistent, then that's all that matters. There is really no need to argue.

We just need the FIE to update the rule book, i.e. make provision for the flick attack. and that's the problem solved.

The current rules of foil are:

1. Ignore the rule book.

finished

Barry Paul
-9th December 2003, 13:12
What we need is the presnt rules in some parts to be clairified.
Then referees to stop inventing rules, Tempo for a start. Then at foil we can have a conventonial weapon, based on right of way, attacks with a parrable blade, with the point threatening the target during the attack. Is this concept so difficult for every one to understand?

Barry Paul

randomsabreur
-9th December 2003, 16:07
My understanding of tempo is that it is not an invented rule, but a shorthand way of saying that they are applying an existing rule.

tempo has only 2 syllables!

srb
-9th December 2003, 16:49
I thought Tempo was an electrical store that sells washing machines and cookers. So the only time Tempo and foil meet should be when you put the turkey in the oven on Christmas day.

srb

Pointy stick
-9th December 2003, 17:54
Originally posted by Barry Paul
attacks with a parrable blade, with the point threatening the target during the attack. Is this concept so difficult for every one to understand?


Serious question: what's a parrable blade? (I can think of various slightly blasphemous answers.)

Barry Paul
-9th December 2003, 18:03
For most of the time. the point is threatening the target ( apart from cut overs etc) the hand is eventually in front of the body. the arm is extending with the point threatening the valid target. The attack is capable of being parried, it is called foil. Barry Paul

reposte
-9th December 2003, 18:38
Not to jump start yet another discussion, you know very well Barry that other concepts of a threat are just as viable (a diagonally extended blade is just as threatning as a horizontally extended one) and it's every man under his fig on that. Your notion of parrable blades is presumptuous in the way that you assume that a certain way of parry reposte is more valid then another: Modern fencers CAN parry an absence of blade attack, they just use different methods then the ones you've been tained to counter.
I think that in stead of arguing on what's an attack and what's not, I'm more confortable with concluding that the moment Britain or any other country whose fencers have a problem with the way things are done, carry their weight in the fencing world as Germany and Italy, they can, in their turn, make the norm adapt to them and not vice versa, as the latters have done.

Pointy stick
-9th December 2003, 18:39
Thanks. I just hadn't come across the expression before. I'm still new to all this! :0)

I honestly wasn't aware that 'capable of being parried' was part of the definition of a valid attack. I did know the arm had to be extended, with the point continuously threatening the target. This is where we novices get confused about what counts as 'extended' and what counts as 'continuously threatening'. It sounds simple enough until you try to understand the way it is applied in real bouts.

Thinking out loud here, so if I'm talking nonsense please bear with me, but I can see a distinction between an attack which can be *deflected* with a parry (i.e. a straight or angulated thrust) and an attack that needs to be *blocked* (i.e. any sort of whipping motion). I don't know if this distinction is in any way relevant.

I suppose if I obtained and read a set of rules it would help - but only to an extent as I suspect that most of the people presiding my bouts haven't read the rules very recently.

3 Card Trick
-9th December 2003, 18:39
"Parrable Blade"

Parable - a narrative of imagined events used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson.

Barry - does this mean you have dreamt of a style of fencing, or have you had a revelation?:grin:

reposte
-9th December 2003, 18:43
This goes not against Barry in person of course, reading it it might come off a little strong on the personal side, but it isn't and I wish to clarify that. I think that saying that one way of waging a bout is superior to another is a matter of taste rather than logic. The Germans and Italians have this much going for them: They sat down and actually thought on how to gain an upper hand against the existing schools. this form of revisional thinking is what made the sport a dynamic and exciting sport, one that compells you to acknowledge that in fencing you have to be one step ahead of everybody in order to win.

3 Card Trick
-9th December 2003, 18:45
"Parrable Blade"

Parable - a narrative of imagined events used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson.

Barry - does this mean you have dreamt of a style of fencing, or have you had a revelation?:grin:

Robert
-9th December 2003, 19:08
Originally posted by reposte
Not to jump start yet another discussion, you know very well Barry that other concepts of a threat are just as viable (a diagonally extended blade is just as threatning as a horizontally extended one) and it's every man under his fig on that. Your notion of parrable blades is presumptuous in the way that you assume that a certain way of parry reposte is more valid then another: Modern fencers CAN parry an absence of blade attack, they just use different methods then the ones you've been tained to counter.

I agree with with reposte on this. I am very vulnerable to a number of flicks and the existence of a whole host of additional strokes forces me to learn a whole new set of defences, it is part of what makes the game exciting. If we were restricted to finger only disengages and straight arm attacks the game would have less moves than chess. The open-ended and adaptive nature of foil fencing makes it very interesting.

Robert

P.S Which means in a sense that the proposed rules changes do not matter too much (whatever your preference) as they simply provide an opportunity to adapt.

Pointy stick
-9th December 2003, 19:14
Originally posted by reposte

I think that in stead of arguing on what's an attack and what's not...

In the general use of the word 'attack' outside of fencing, I'd say any move which ends in hitting someone with a sword counts as an attack - whether it's a thrust, a swing, a swash, a flick or whatever.

And even in the rarified world of fencing, the same is true... if only one of the two fencers lands a hit.

It's when each lands a blow more or less simultaneously that we need some sort of 'legal' definition. My understanding of Barry's post was that he feels the written 'legal' definition has suffered a from definition creep in the minds of fencers and Presidents alike. I'm sure he doesn't need me to defend him, but I am interested in the responses to his specific point.

reposte
-9th December 2003, 19:28
I think you can infer from the rest of my posting. To counter an absence of blade requires just as technique as a blade - on parry, added to that is an accute sense of time and motion. It's not just a "play of blades", its a play of minds. You can feint a counter, you can reposte while esquive, you can simply wait for the chip to fall - all that in the world of absence of blade. The immediate reference to aob as inferior to the good old times - i reject it categorically unless it it backed with a specific instance. I for once think that the Vanni Cassara semi final was a wonderful example of almost all that is unenjoyable in modern fencing, as opposed to other much better bouts I've whitnessed. Bad fencing or rather unpleasant fencing - more to the point since neither Vanni nor Cassara qualify as bad fencers - is not necessarily the fault of the system....

Barry Paul
-9th December 2003, 21:17
Parable - a narrative of imagined events used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. I think you are implying my word Parrable with two rr is OK?

I am sorry if I am going over old ground.
I have no-problems with flicks ( I have trouble with them, but I am geting a bit slower and older than I was when I was in the final of the Rommel) Is there a smilie for two fingers in a careing manner?

I do have a problem with an attack which according to the regulations is not an attack but a preperation.

I quote'
In the general use of the word 'attack' outside of fencing, I'd say any move which ends in hitting someone with a sword counts as an attack - whether it's a thrust, a swing, a swash, a flick or whatever.' Outside fencing I am just not interested in what the world thinks is an attack, it's of no interest.
'My understanding of Barry's post was that he feels the written 'legal' definition has suffered a from definition creep in the minds of fencers and Presidents alike.' Not only definition creep but bribery and some curruption. In some ways I think what the President of the F.I.E. thinks is that you cannot stop cheating, therefore we need to engineer a situationn were only one light comes up. It maybe fencing but not what I want foil fencing to be.

As for the view that to counter an absence of blade requires...... what on earth does a fencer want to counter an absence of blade for, sounds a bit like the concept of parrying by retreating.

ITS FOIL STUPID
Barry Paul

Prometheus
-9th December 2003, 23:56
As much as I find it difficult to side with a 'classic' foilist as Barry is/was - he is correct in my view as to the problem.

We are in this problem due to the divergent views of what the weapon is.

As I stated previously the problem is not flicks (Barry says as much above) but the method of delivery.

If you allow an arm to be held back after the opponent starts straightening then you throw into confusion all foil conventions that are stated in the rules. Preparations etc.

We are at this position only because FIE presidents could/would not enforce the old definition of preparation. This in part due to the straightening being a somewhat imprecise value.

You can deal with this as Reposte mentions but it takes a very good level of footwork to draw the final action and still be balanced enough to make the parry riposte.

In Britain there are very few outside the top 50 who are capable of this (and those who are invariably end up inside the top 50 due to this).

Of course this change makes redundant many of the actions that were common to classic foil, pris de fer amongst them.

The FIE have stated there reasons for the change, but it is not to create this scenario as the timing changes would make complex actions very open to remises.

I fear all foilists will lose due to referees' inadequacies.

Is this the penalty for weakness??

PS I think SRB has made one of the moire poignant contributions to this thread:transport

Prometheus
-9th December 2003, 23:57
PPS Hence my comment referring to foil becoming a subset of epee.

Barry Paul
-10th December 2003, 07:34
Some years ago, I floated the idea that for an attack to exsist the sword arm had to be straight more than say 160 degree, with a line down the outside of the sword arm (country colour)? Now we would have some precise measure of the attack (the point has to be pointing at the valid Target.)

ITS FOIL STUPID Barry Paul

sparkymark567
-10th December 2003, 11:18
I'm not sure how you would measure the angle, but in principal it sounds like a reasonable solution.

I have another idea:

Measure the acceleration upon the blade so that the scoring apparatus can determine who is attacking. i.e. give more responsibility to the scoring aparatus.

The acceleration will be measured in the forward direction of the blade, so the angular motion of a flick will also count. But an attack where the blade is pointing towards the ceiling will not count, since no forward acceration will be present.

reposte
-10th December 2003, 12:05
As for the view that to counter an absence of blade requires

I meant "counter" in the widest literary sense, as in tackle, deal with, not a counter attack. I suppose I ought to have used "parry" in the wider sense.

reposte
-10th December 2003, 12:10
Some years ago, I floated the idea that for an attack to exsist the sword arm had to be straight more than say 160 degree, with a line down the outside of the sword arm (country colour)? Now we would have some precise measure of the attack (the point has to be pointing at the valid Target.)

Exactly the type of thinking that is presumptuous in my mind: Why? Why on earth for a sword arm to valid threaten the opponent must you have the arm extended at ~160 deg?
That is a concept which had its place at a certain time in fencing evolution but not any more. I agree btw that a preperation ought not carry the same weight as a direct attack but I've yet to see an international comp that had such an error prevailent, mind you I haven't been around for long.

foilerist
-10th December 2003, 13:54
what annoys me is that in the earlier stages of a comp(i havent been much higher), if you get a "flicker" presiding then most attacks on preparation won't get given as the point goes to the fencer who is moving forward albeit scratching his ear with the foil. by the time you figure this out you've lost the fight. i don't think that a new point will change much. maybe a rulebook on application for membership of the bfa could be an idea, i don't know many who have one. its chinese whispers to an extreme as to whats allowed and what isn't

Robert
-10th December 2003, 15:35
Foilerist,

I doubt your solution will work. Getting hold of a copy of the rule-book is easy but it isn't enough. Remember an arm has to be extending before footwork commences, with the blade threatening the target. Take that in one sense and what we call a counter would in 99% of cases have priority over a flick.

There is a significant gap between the rule book and the rules. The ref's committee are taking steps to resolve this problem after considerable criticism, and hopefully we will see the fruits of this next year.

Robert

P.S I've had a fight presided by a classicist at one comp and I took 9 points in a row from a flicker who was too dumb to listen to the president.

Prometheus
-10th December 2003, 15:49
Remember an arm has to be extending before footwork commences


Robert, you are in fact too general, if not incorrect in what you say. The rules state the following:

3. The attack with a step-forward-lunge or a step-forward-flèche is correctly executed when the extending of the arm precedes the end of the step forward and the initiation of the lunge or the flèche.

This implies that the arm extends before the end of the step prior to the final action.

This is actually the rule which is most often in contention if you consider a slowly executed step lunge against a fast counter attack, many fencers incorrectly give the counter merely because it lands first and there is a discernable gap timewise (I mean in seconds not fencing time) between the two hits. There is no limit in time except any blocking time which is what the FIE propose changing.

Bear this rule and it's interpretation in mind next time you rob someone of a hit when presiding!

:moon:

Barry Paul
-10th December 2003, 15:49
Toatally meaningless concept. Foil is a convential weapon. The attack has right of way. What is an attack? (It's not a valid threat?) If referees cannot or will not accept an attack as a continuous threatning of the point. Let make it easy if the arm is not straight it's not an attack. How straight does it have to be? don't care lets say 160 degrees or 162.5 . To be discussed.

ITS FOIL STUPID Barry Paul

Pointy stick
-10th December 2003, 16:51
The idea about the arm being at 'at least' (say) 160 degrees is interesting but there are two obvious problems:

1) Some people go on guard with their arms fairly straight. Many fence with absence of blade with the arm almost straight (typically in a sort of wide octave position). With this proposed rule, both of these things might become more widespread. Given these starting positions, how would ROW then be established? We would be no better off; in fact, we might be worse off, because there would be less 'straightening' to be seen during the initial part of an attack.

2) The coloured/patterned line on the sleeve would be much more obvious on the arm of the fencer whose sword arm was closer to the President. The stripe on the outside of the arm is more prominent than and at a different angle from any strip on the inside of the arm. Also, most of us don't have stripes on the outside, let alone the inside of our sleeves.

The idea about acceleration sensors in the tip was interesting. Was it serious or tongue in cheek? It would be heavy and expensive. A flick hit would generate centrifugal force which would throw the sensor weight towards the tip. A thrust would throw the sensor weight back towards the guard. A combined flick and thrust might (in a rare fluke) be acceleration-neutral along the line of the blade!

Stepping back a long time, I recall reading that at one time foil was SOOOOOO conventional that ripostes were not allowed until both fencers had returned to on guard. So the attacker could feint, disengage, cutover etc. and retain the right of way until he was parried. Then they went back on guard before the next attack. In those days, perhaps, foil was something akin to the game of physical chess about which we hear so much.

Going back to this would be ridiculous. However, the advantage was that it was always clear who had right of way. Now, under the present rules, right of way is established by TWO things: who makes the attack, and whether it is parried. We have discussed (ad nauseam) the problems with deciding right of way through the movement of the attacker. I wonder about a tidying up of the meaning of "parry".

In a *real* sword fight, simply finding the blade is not enough - you have to stop it hitting you. Many times I've landed a hit exactly as planned, and had the hit awarded against me because of a 'finding of the blade' which had little or no influence on where or when my tip landed. I have no idea of the rights and wrongs of this in terms of the rules (the old Oriental Sussurations again) but I know it *feels* wrong when it happens.

Comments from the experts? :0)

sparkymark567
-10th December 2003, 17:50
Originally posted by Pointy stick

The idea about acceleration sensors in the tip was interesting. Was it serious or tongue in cheek? It would be heavy and expensive. A flick hit would generate centrifugal force which would throw the sensor weight towards the tip. A thrust would throw the sensor weight back towards the guard. A combined flick and thrust might (in a rare fluke) be acceleration-neutral along the line of the blade!

:0)

Oops, obviously it won't work as I suggested.
However, it wouldn't be heavy as you can get acceleration sensors on an integrated circuit. It might however be fairly expensive and over complicated.
I just thought I'd through in the idea.

Barry Paul
-10th December 2003, 20:19
What I want is an attack with a straight arm with the point threatening the valid target for most of the time of an attack. As a defender I have the option of parrying the attack and getting right of way. If my opponent wants to start with a straight arm great.

The attacker with a straight arm has the option of avoiding my parry. This is called Foil Fencing. This is not reality. This is not suddern death. If you want to fence epee or sabre go and fence these weapons, don't mess with the rules of foil unless you understand what foil is all about.

It is Foil Stupid.

Barry Paul

Robert
-10th December 2003, 22:09
Originally posted by Prometheus
Robert, you are in fact too general, if not incorrect in what you say. The rules state the following:

3. The attack with a step-forward-lunge or a step-forward-flèche is correctly executed when the extending of the arm precedes the end of the step forward and the initiation of the lunge or the flèche.

This implies that the arm extends before the end of the step prior to the final action.

This is actually the rule which is most often in contention if you consider a slowly executed step lunge against a fast counter attack, many fencers incorrectly give the counter merely because it lands first and there is a discernable gap timewise (I mean in seconds not fencing time) between the two hits. There is no limit in time except any blocking time which is what the FIE propose changing.

Bear this rule and it's interpretation in mind next time you rob someone of a hit when presiding!

:moon:

Sorry, I was a little sloppy in my wording. However, as you admit yourself it is possible to read the rules in more than one way, and this is the point. The gap between rules and interpretation is quite real and distributing the rules will not help overcome this basic problem.

This was my point, and your condescending remarks about timing aside, it is perfectly valid. As for your suggestion about the way fencers give points it applies to beginners at clubs (who look to see which light comes on first), but not to fencers at opens (whose biggest problem is assuming the person advancing is attacking), I suggest you watch a few more fencers presiding.

Robert

Dave Hillier
-11th December 2003, 09:43
It is Foil Stupid.


unfortunatwly it was foil. Which is why I am now an epeeist.

plewis66
-11th December 2003, 17:10
Or possibly just showing my ignorance.

In what way would 2mm travel eliminate flick hits?

Wouldn't they simply have to penetrate a further 1.5mm?

Wouldn't that just lead to a faster flicking action, and/or more flexible blades?

Pointy stick
-11th December 2003, 17:36
Originally posted by plewis66
Or possibly just showing my ignorance.

In what way would 2mm travel eliminate flick hits?

Wouldn't they simply have to penetrate a further 1.5mm?

Wouldn't that just lead to a faster flicking action, and/or more flexible blades?

I won't argue for or against, but my understanding of it is this:

A traditional thrust hits the target more or less square on, normally with sufficient force not only to depress the tip, but also to bend the blade visibly. Indeed, in steam, the blade MUST bend for a hit to be seen by the Judge. A 'proper hit' with a stiff sharp blade would perhaps penetrate the target an inch or two and be in contact for half a second or more.

Electric fencing was originally a way of making the judging more accurate, and was not intended to lead to the various changes (e.g. flick hits) which have evolved.

The flick hit may or may not hit the target square on. It depends on the angle of attack, and how much the blade bends. There are rules to limit the flexibility of blades. They are imperfect, and imperfectly applied, but they exist.

So, if the flick hit doesn't land exactly square on, how much is the tip depressed? It's not simple, but it's all to do with sines and cosines. Think of cycling up a hill: you have to put more effort in, and travel further across the ground to get the same distance on the map. It's that sort of thing, sort of.

And if the hit 'only' has to depress the tip 0.5 mm, a hit can be virtually instantaneous. A well executed flick may only be in contact with the victim for a bananosecond, whereas a 'proper' hit may be in contact for half a second. In a real sword fight, a blow which was in contact with the opponent for a tiny fraction of a second, and only penetrated the skin by 0.5 mm would be pretty meaningless. 2.0 mm isn't a lot more in mm, but it IS 4 times as far.

So, regardless of whether one agrees with the objective, the effect of the extra 1.5mm of travel would be to make it that little bit harder to score with a flick, it would filter out some of the lighter, less 'meaningful' hits, and tend to shift the balance back towards the more traditional style.

It may or may not achieve its objective, and the objective may or may not be worthwhile, but there will be an effect, be it ever so small.

As far as I understand it (not much further than 2.0 mm!) very good fencers tend to use the flick in moderation as part of a balanced game, and don't regard it as a problem. However, beginning fencers can find the flick hit difficult to cope with and 'not quite cricket'. Meanwhile, some intermediate fencers seem to regard the flick as an advanced and rather macho move, and perhaps use it disproportionately often, and rather badly.

Own cards on the table: I have so far never scored a single hit with a flick, but I have been quite an effective target.

plewis66
-11th December 2003, 20:28
Thanks PS,

After reading your response, I went back and read all of Barry's original post, an di think he was, in fact saying (amongst other things) that the new point won't have much effect (point 3).

So, do the FIE have to justify their decisions in these matters? If so, then what is there justification, and do they have facts, rather than subjective impressions to back them up?

If the FIE don't have to justify their decisions then why not? All too often the governing body of a sport/activity becomes a tyrant: 'What I say goes, and it goes because I say it goes.' A governing body should always be answerable to its members. Their purpose is to serve, protect and represent, not dictate.

How goes it with the FIE?

Barry Paul
-12th December 2003, 14:50
occasionally the subjects rebel, but not offen. Barry Foil.

sparkymark567
-13th December 2003, 00:30
So the new foil point, is going to make flick hits harder, maybe.

O.K, no problem. We can learn to adapt. Just makes it even harder for the newcomer to learn flicks. Thereby, widening the divide and making flick hits even more devastating, oops.

So what's the point in it, increased cost upto 50% more.
750g or 500g; 0.5mm or 2mm, it won't make any difference.

Pointy stick
-13th December 2003, 09:12
Originally posted by sparkymark567
Just makes it even harder for the newcomer to learn flicks. Thereby, widening the divide and making flick hits even more devastating, oops.


Now that's an interesting insight.

It's plausible, but I wonder if it's true.

I think it depends whether ability in flciking cold be expressed as a straight line on a graph, or whether there is a 'hump' in the learning curve.

If flcik hits just got twice as difficult, their use would presumably decrease by about 50%, and they would only come into the game above a certain level - a hicher level than at present.

So the stated objective of reducing their use would be achieved - but at the cost of making them a more powerful weapon, concentrated in the hands of a small elite.

Hmmmm.

nahouw
-29th December 2003, 04:02
Originally posted by reposte
Exactly the type of thinking that is presumptuous in my mind: Why? Why on earth for a sword arm to valid threaten the opponent must you have the arm extended at ~160 deg?

Well, because in the rule book for sabre, an attack has to be presented at a 135 degree angle in order to be considered an attack -- why should foil be permitted to have attack angles of 90 degrees or less, especially since it is supposed to be a THRUSTING weapon as opposed to a CUTTING weapon like sabre which has 135 degrees specified???

nahouw
-29th December 2003, 04:47
Originally posted by Barry Paul
What I want is an attack with a straight arm with the point threatening the valid target for most of the time of an attack. As a defender I have the option of parrying the attack and getting right of way. If my opponent wants to start with a straight arm great.

The attacker with a straight arm has the option of avoiding my parry. This is called Foil Fencing. This is not reality. This is not suddern death. If you want to fence epee or sabre go and fence these weapons, don't mess with the rules of foil unless you understand what foil is all about.

It is Foil Stupid.

Barry Paul

Barry is SO right on.....it is foil stupid -- attackers need to give the opponent the option to parry, and if they are a TRUE foil fencer, they will avoid the attempt to parry (trompement) and hit.

Foil fencers who only flick are sabre fencer wanna-be's who don't have the balls to fence sabre -- this is not a flame; rather, just a statement of fact -- when I fence sabre, I fence sabre; when I fence foil, I fence foil -- I know the difference between the two.

reposte
-29th December 2003, 10:25
nahouw, can you register a touch in an arm pointing to the ceiling or thereabout? (don't work your brain, the answer's yes) - then it is threatning. You want to force the blade down? close distance and counter. The arm will come flying down. Why make it easier?