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plewis66
-12th December 2003, 19:52
Recently, I've heard a couple of comments along the lines of:

'If fencer A attacks B, and B responds in such a manner, then it is A's hit, but the rules say it is B's hit'.

And:

'Imagine the chaos that would ensue if the rules were thoroughly enforced'.

I've paraphrased both of these from threads on here, and from conversations at my clubs.

I'm confused. If the rules say it is B's hit, then how can it 'actually be' B's hit?

Do we not follow the rules? Are the rules so bad they need to be ignored and overruled, deliberately and consciously?

I hope not, becuase that would mean that people are fencing to their own rules, and not the FIE's. Obviously, any set of rules will be interpreted by every individual in slightly different ways. But if the accepted state of affairs is that the 'real rules' are not the ones written down, but the ones in your head (that directly contradict those written down), then how can there be any basis for appeal? Or for resolution of interpretation? How, in fact, can there be any organisation at all?

Surely, it is if the rules are not properly enforced that chaos will follow?

When I hear people say things like 'Imagine the chaos that would ensue if the rules were thoroughly enforced', I wonder if they really mean 'Imagine how much I'd have to change my fencing if I had to stick to the rules'...

sparkymark567
-12th December 2003, 23:57
Yep, that's about it. You seem to have a pretty good picture.
It's mainly how you interpret the rules that's the problem.

The rule causing all the fuss, goes something like this:

For an attack: the guard must be moving foward with the point threatening the target.

Question is, what actually is a threat?. If your foil is pointing towards the ceiling, is the point threatening the target????

Logically, the answer would be No. But in modern (British) fencing the answer is arguably yes, since that's how many flick hits are executed. If your oponent's foil is waving above your shoulder, you should be worried, flick hit will arrive in a blink. So is it threatening: YES , but point threatening the target ????????????

and, that's the way I fence. It's a completely different ball game to traditional foil. Problem is, go back to traditional foil and you're going to piss a lot of peole off. I like many others have spent a long long time training in this modern flicky way. Change the rules to eliminate flick hits and you've completely ruined the sport to which I and many others have become accustomed.

That's why we do what we do, it's not really ignoring the rules. The FIE on the other hand, aren't so sure what to do. and hence all the discussion e.g. "The FIE are about to kill foil" etc.

Australian
-13th December 2003, 01:47
t.56
1. The simple attack, direct or indirect (cf. t.8), is correctly executed when the straightening of the arm, the point threatening the valid target, precedes the initiation of the lunge or the flèche.

Muso440
-13th December 2003, 09:46
Originally posted by sparkymark567
For an attack: the guard must be moving foward with the point threatening the target.


Maybe you could answer a confused newbie on this one.

Say that my opponent is threatening me and moving forward, so I'm moving backward. I beat, or somehow otherwise engage her blade, and then hit (while still moving backwards). She counterattacks and hits, but hasn't parried.

Is it my point because I beat and got ROW, or does that not count because I wasn't moving forward at the time?

:confused: :confused:

Robert
-13th December 2003, 09:48
Originally posted by Australian
t.56
1. The simple attack, direct or indirect (cf. t.8), is correctly executed when the straightening of the arm, the point threatening the valid target, precedes the initiation of the lunge or the flèche.

Plewis,

Australian has really summed it up by posting the most important rule in the book, and the one that causes greatest problems right here. For a start the English is ambiguous. Take this rule in context (ie read it alongside books on how to fence from the last century) and it means arm must be extended before the lunge and a line drawn from guard through point and beyond must pass through the oponents target area. The grammar will bear that meaning. However, it is interpreted as your arm must be straigtening (since the point can hit from anywhere it is threat the moment the arm begins to straighten), not fully extended. Also a legitimate reading.

So yes, the rules are poorly written. However, that is not really the main problem. The main problem is that a president has to make the mental jump from what he sees to what happended (according to the rules) and this 'phrasing' isn't covered in the rules. This depends on a mental model whose development runs something like this:

Beginners: If my light comes on first I was attacking.

Club Fencer: If I initiate and my oponent reacts, I am attacking.

Then at the club fencers first comp someone attacks them with a running flick. The clubee tries to open the distance doesn't find a blade to parry because it is being held at the shoulder, point at ceiling, so they attack, the flicker reacts by flicking to the shoulder. This leads to the next stage:

Poor Comp Presiding: Any forward movement equals an attack.

Importantly, none of these people are ignoring the rules, they are simply trying to find something to look for that tells them which fencer did what the rules say.

And yes, if you enforced the rules strictly on things such as feints, threatening the target, etc. Then most of what are called counters against flicks would be hits on preparation. And I have seen an argument in which a fencer got into a shouting match with a president because the the president was 'an idiot' to be calling things 'correctly'. The fencers complaint being that everyone else called it wrong (ie gave the fencers point to ceiling rush priority) this president was under an obligation to maintain that consistency.

Of course the dynamic is more subtle than not wanting to upset people. Most fencers are presided by other fencers, who are not going to give a call against their own favourite move.

Robert

allthree
-13th December 2003, 10:21
Having just read the referees FIE advice on how to preside the attack at foil there is indeed a difference, to how many attacks are defined in opens in this country. This makes coaching foil according to a rule book very dificult. A fencer running forward towards me with elbow bent and point up in the air or out to the side should be dealt with by simply extending my arm at their target and then ignoring their reaction to hit me. This gives me an attack on the preparation, especially as the FIE declares I do not need to move my feet for this attack. How many times would I get that one in an open? Perhaps that is one small reason for the growth of epee and sabre?

plewis66
-13th December 2003, 11:04
Thanks Robert.

I (think) understand exacty what you are saying.

And the discussions about the consequences of the current situation are dealt with elsewhere, as you point out.

What I would like to know is: what's being done about it?

It's quite clear to me (though that doesn't make it absolutely true, of course), that the rule quoted was intended to mean that the arm must be straight, point in line, directed at the target. The rule might not be so clear as that (in it's English interpretation, at least!), but looking at how fencing was played when the rules were written, that was probably the intended meaning.

So, two things:

1) What does the rule say in French? Is it the translation into English that makes it ambiguous?

I don't speak French, but it would be interested to give the rule as written in French to someone who is fluent in both languages, and ask them for an interpretation. It will probably be very different from the 'official' English interpretation. If this is the case, then however much it might be hated, the proper rule should be completely enforced. Otherwise we are not playing foil, but something different.

2) What are the FIE doing about it?

It seems to me that they are attempting to address flick hits directly, when, possibly, they should actually be addressing the ambiguity in the rule.

If the ambiguity was resolved, then this would help referees faced with problem Robert described. Either right of way would be as it was intended (first person to achieve straight arm, point in line directed at the target) or it would simply become first person moving forwards.

Also, to be honest, a set of rules that does not give clear and precise definitions of its terms of reference IS so badly written it should be thrown away and rewritten. It's incredible to me that such a key term as 'threat' or 'threaten' is open to interpretation within the rules!

I agree with althree, in that this is surely going to make foil very unpopular to people entering tournaments. I don't think I would ever compete in foil whilst the sport is in such disarry.

Another question is, how did it ever get started? Why was anyone ever using a flick hit against what I'll call a 'valid right of way' ever awarded a point? Surely the argument cannot be 'well if it hits, of course its a threat'. Thats just specious. If we were going to allow that, the row rule would never have been devised in the first place.

And a final question. What about other countries? More interestngly, what about other countries with 'official' interpretations other than English? And most of all, what about in France?

3 Card Trick
-13th December 2003, 12:49
Not "straight" but "straightenig".

3 Card Trick
-13th December 2003, 13:00
So the lnguists out there can consider the point, here is the rule in English and French.

"1. L'attaque, directe ou indirecte (Cf. t.8) est correctement exécutée quand l'allongement du bras, la pointe menaçant la surface valable, précède le déclenchement de la fente ou de la flèche.

1. The simple attack, direct or indirect (cf. t.8), is correctly executed when the straightening of the arm, the point threatening the valid target, precedes the initiation of the lunge or the flèche."

I find the english used for "l'allongement du bras" to be correct,

Don't forget that "straightenng" denotes action and "forward" action at that.

I had hoped that what was written in the "Guidance for Referees" made that clear.

plewis66
-13th December 2003, 14:17
Originally posted by 3 Card Trick
Not "straight" but "straightenig".

t.56
1. The simple attack, direct or indirect (cf. t.8), is correctly executed when the straightening of the arm, the point threatening the valid target, precedes the initiation of the lunge or the flèche.

If someone said to me ' the straightening of the ladder must precede your climbing up it', I would assume they meant that the strightening must be completed before I start to climb, not that i must simply begin to strighten the ladder before i climb. And I would bet that this is what was originally meant by the rule, at that is the way in 'classic' foil, and when the rules were written, everyone was a classic foilist.

So to my mind, the correct interpretation is that the arm must be straight. The strightening must have preceded the attack. Doesn't make me write, or make it the best. But I think that's what was meant.

And it is precisely this confusion and difference in interpretation that cuases me so much concern.

Anyway, is it not the case that many people are getting away with attacks in which they are not straightening the the arm at all in order to claim right of way? But are, in fact, countering into an established right of way with a flick, with a rapid strightening of their arm, after their opponent has claimed right of way by a proper straightening? And getting away with it simply because they are moving forward and waving the blade in a menacing manner with a bent, and not strightening, arm?

Or even if the arm is strightening, then the point is not 'threatening' the target in the original sense?

Please be aware, I am not denouncing flicks or defending classics. My question is, with al of this confusion, what is being done to resolve it? I don't believe for one minute that chaning the button will do anything. It certainly won' tclarrify the rules!

3 Card Trick
-13th December 2003, 15:11
Straightening means the act of NOT straight.

It always has and is a seperate issue to anyone's view as regard so called "flick hits".

As regard the "flick hit" provided the weapon is describing it's arc to the valid target (which includes the back) then it is "straightening" and the attack fits he defintion.

If the weapon is raised towards the ceiling and not descrbing i's final arc towards target, or is being "chopped" forwards and backwards, then at best it is a preparation.

However, if "preparations are being made, the other fencer must beware not givng the attacker back ROW by his own actions following the blade.

I hope this helps.

Rdb811
-13th December 2003, 16:02
Originally posted by Muso440
Maybe you could answer a confused newbie on this one.

Say that my opponent is threatening me and moving forward, so I'm moving backward. I beat, or somehow otherwise engage her blade, and then hit (while still moving backwards). She counterattacks and hits, but hasn't parried.

Is it my point because I beat and got ROW, or does that not count because I wasn't moving forward at the time?

:confused: :confused:

Yours - you don't have to be moving forward.

I've heard a right load of old twaddle spouted over the years, not ifrequently by peopel who should know better.

Robert
-13th December 2003, 18:53
Originally posted by 3 Card Trick
Straightening means the act of NOT straight.

It always has and is a seperate issue to anyone's view as regard so called "flick hits".


It does mean exactly that, and has done for as long as I have been involved in fencing. But I am less convinced it meant that in 1905.

The French seems to contain the same ambiguity as the English.



As regard the "flick hit" provided the weapon is describing it's arc to the valid target (which includes the back) then it is "straightening" and the attack fits he defintion.


This is the dubious part. I think we can say with certainty that when the rules were written they meant draw a line from guard to point and extend it on and it must pass through the target. (The case of cut-overs would of course be ambiguous).

Now 3CT is certainly the man to talk to with regard to the present rules, but I think it worth clarifying because the statement above is a little unclear - the arm itself must be straightening, if your arm halts while your wrist moves the blade in an arc (not uncommon) you have just forfeited your priority.

Plewis66,

As far as the FIE goes they did make an attempt to give guidance on interpretation, which largely failed to filter down, thus there more extreme solution now. And the ref's committee does now seem to be taking steps to deal with the problem. In fact we are eagerly waiting an announcement on presiding course for fencers like me at the moment.

Also I shouldn't worry about competitions too much, the situation is not as bad as it might seem. 50% of the time there is only one light so the priority rules are irrelevant. And most of the time you know if someone is trying to hit you, in fact this is part of the problem because this 'feeling' doesn't always mesh with the rules.

The problems are infrequent, and despite vocal complaints to the contrary do not make the difference between winning and losing the fight.

In fact I was surprised at Muso440 comment as I can't imagine someone calling that the wrong way at an open.

Robert

haggis
-14th December 2003, 02:40
Yes, 3CT is right to describe the definition of the attack as he does and the translation from French (FIE rules) to English (BFA rules) is perfectly valid but "real" fencing (as administered and refereed at World Cups, World Champs, Olympics, etc) allows quite a bit more leeway to the attacker than a literal translation of the rules suggests. This leeway has been reduced in recent years and now foil is refereed closer to a literal interpretation of the rules than before but a newbie with a set of rules will still find World Champs foil hard to understand at times. This may explain why 3CT is primarily an epee referee :grin: . Perhaps one day soon, 3CT will be refereeing foil finals, if the FIE has it's way in changing the nature and understanding of foil.

Regards

Haggis

fencingmaster
-14th December 2003, 14:47
1. The simple attack, direct or indirect (cf. t.8), is correctly executed when the straightening of the arm, the point threatening the valid target, precedes the initiation of the lunge or the flèche.

Two points:
1) the French is 'allongement' which translates as 'lengthening' and does not convey to me the same concept as 'straightening'.

2) quote 3CT "As regard the "flick hit" provided the weapon is describing it's arc to the valid target (which includes the back) then it is "straightening" and the attack fits he defintion."

What is "threatening the valid target"? A classical, disengage, counter-disengage or cut-over are accepted as threatening the valid target, although in reality the point passes over non-valid target in the the course of it delivery. In other words the rules recognise that an action is threatening if it passes in one action to the target and can be delivered in an arc-like fashion.Tto paraphrase 3CT
"As regard the "flick hit" provided the weapon is describing it's arc to the valid target (which includes the back) whilst the arm is lengthening and the attack fits he defintion."

allthree
-14th December 2003, 15:35
I feel that ripostes are also subject to this interpretation of threatening the valid target. The problem I see with ripostes is that the parry gives one the right of an immediate riposte only. A picture in this issue of the Sword shows a riposte that was awarded when the attacker has clearly hit with a remise (probably accidently as a continuation of the attack) whilst the riposters' arm is almost straight up pointing nearly backwards. Can anyone explain to me why the remise does not have priority?

Robert
-14th December 2003, 16:28
Oh dear, things are worse than I thought because I thought just about everybody agreed on ripostes, but allthree is the second person today who seems to disagree.

As an exercise I sat last night and wrote a set of rules to cover the question of priority in foil. It taught me two things, one - it is a lot harder than it looks, two - the rules as written belong to a different time and place, and need to be replaced.

Robert

plewis66
-14th December 2003, 16:41
Originally posted by Robert
It taught me two things, one - it is a lot harder than it looks, two - the rules as written belong to a different time and place, and need to be replaced.

1) Is it harder than it looks because you are trying to write rules that incorporate right of way and flicking?

2) Aha! Just as I suspected.

On the other hand, I can't see what's wrong with allthree's post on ripostes. If I catch the attackers blade, I expect that I have to riposte (begin my straightening, bring my point in line) before the attacker can remise, otherwise my right of way is forfeit. That's why small, tight parries are prefreable to big, sweeping, overextended haymaking. Is this wrong?

Robert
-14th December 2003, 18:29
Originally posted by plewis66
1) Is it harder than it looks because you are trying to write rules that incorporate right of way and flicking?
[b]

No, it is just hard. I tried to get at the essence and principles of modern fencing (ie write to reflect the rules) so I was incorporating flicks, but it is all in the details. For example, I realised after I had written them that my attempt gave priority to someone for just advancing (which I hadn't intended at all).



[b]
2) Aha! Just as I suspected.

On the other hand, I can't see what's wrong with allthree's post on ripostes. If I catch the attackers blade, I expect that I have to riposte (begin my straightening, bring my point in line) before the attacker can remise, otherwise my right of way is forfeit. That's why small, tight parries are prefreable to big, sweeping, overextended haymaking. Is this wrong?

You attack (your priority), I parry so now I have priority. If I do nothing you can remise, but if I now try to hit you then you ought to be defending yourself. President's will give the remise if I hesitate, which seems to be what you are saying, and is what the rules say.

However, I parry very deep, wide and point high (probably because you have angulated or flicked). When I detach my blade your point is about 6cm from my chest but mine is half a metre from you. Due to the distance I either have to use my fingers and supinate (french/classical) in order to get my point in, or I flick to you shoulder. One involves not moving my hand forward until my point is in position, the other involved not 'threatening' the target.

What allthree is suggesting is that your overdeep flicky/angulated attack should be rewarded by taking away my priority.

Seperate, neat small parries have nothing to do with priority. You take small neat parries in classical style in order to make your riposte fast, so as to make it harder for the oponent to parry and counter-riposte.

Robert

allthree
-14th December 2003, 18:46
What I am asking is surely the riposte should be travelling forward before the remise arrives or before the last period of fencing time of the riposte has started.
If the point straight up pointing backwards is seen as a preparation when executing an attack than why is it not seen as preparing a riposte following a parry, ie I am preparing to hit you with a flick as a riposte. The fact that this leaves me open to a remise is part of the tactics of fencing, causing a larger variety of fencing actions, tactics and ultimately enjoyment from the sport. This is the type of action that confuses beginners after being taught things such as periods of fencing time, immediate ripostes. Of course if I prepare my riposte by lifting my hand, pulling it back, delaying or an over complex series of feints after which I start moving my point forward during which you remise then you are too late with the remise, but the photo I originally enquired about seems not to fall into this scenario.
I would also say that if a referee is always consistant in their phrasing then a good fencer must adjust accordingly!

Robert
-14th December 2003, 21:12
Allthree,

I presume the picture is the Riseley-Masour on p.24. It is hard to tell because of the angle and the stationary nature of the picture but I am guessing this has happened:

Riseley attacks fast and deep (he is clearly off-balance). Mansour takes a parry of prime. From prime he then moves the hand in a forward arc towards the target, flicking the blade towards the target with wrist and fingers (a cut-over, which is defined in the rules as one of the four simple attacks). The moment Mansour has come off the parry Riseley has simply pushed in, which he shouldn't have.

Mansours hand has been moving forwards from the moment he took the parry, and it is defined as a simple attack. It is important to remember that the position of his point is not very relevant at this point. It looks a little odd in the picture because when he took the parry his hand was probably only an inch or two from his face.

It is important to remember that it is the arm straightening or withdrawing that determines priority not the position of the point.

Robert

Gav
-15th December 2003, 06:02
Wihtout seeing the actual actvities of the fencers it is impossible to accurately tell who has scored and for what reasons (for Foil and Sabre at least). As a result speculating on what the picture illustrates is at best a 'best guess' and at worst worthless.

ceprab
-15th December 2003, 10:08
Originally posted by fencingmaster
1. The simple attack, direct or indirect (cf. t.8), is correctly executed when the straightening of the arm, the point threatening the valid target, precedes the initiation of the lunge or the flèche.

Two points:
1) the French is 'allongement' which translates as 'lengthening' and does not convey to me the same concept as 'straightening'.

2) quote 3CT "As regard the "flick hit" provided the weapon is describing it's arc to the valid target (which includes the back) then it is "straightening" and the attack fits he defintion."

What is "threatening the valid target"? A classical, disengage, counter-disengage or cut-over are accepted as threatening the valid target, although in reality the point passes over non-valid target in the the course of it delivery. In other words the rules recognise that an action is threatening if it passes in one action to the target and can be delivered in an arc-like fashion.Tto paraphrase 3CT
"As regard the "flick hit" provided the weapon is describing it's arc to the valid target (which includes the back) whilst the arm is lengthening and the attack fits he defintion."

I'm risking being eve more opinionated than usual, and contradicting a better authority, but.... lengthening to me implies that the arm is getting longer... rubber man? ... so straightening would make a better verb to my mind, indicating that the elbow is being extended. I am interested in your concept of lengthening/straightening (genuine not following argument here).

Threatening valid target and the cut over etc... I would consider that in the classic case the non valid target being threatened here is the sword arm, and that there is a case following the argument of 'substitution of target' that since this arm will be in front of the torso it is effectively target and the opponent remains threatened.

Prometheus
-15th December 2003, 10:16
Originally posted by ceprab
Threatening valid target and the cut over etc... I would consider that in the classic case the non valid target being threatened here is the sword arm, and that there is a case following the argument of 'substitution of target' that since this arm will be in front of the torso it is effectively target and the opponent remains threatened.

Wow - your cutovers must be really fine if your point doesn't go out of line at all!:rolleyes:

randomsabreur
-15th December 2003, 14:55
Surely the back is valid target, otherwise, why would there be lame there?

You know that a flick if correctly executed will finish to back, your back is therefore threatened.

In my mind, there is no problem with the flick hit per se, but at a risk of repeating myself once more the problem is in the definition of what is a preparation!!!

plewis66
-15th December 2003, 14:59
Originally posted by Robert
For example, I realised after I had written them that my attempt gave priority to someone for just advancing (which I hadn't intended at all).


Wat was the reason you ended up giving someone priority for just advancing? I would suspect it was because you were trying to incorporate flicks...?

Blade Runner
-15th December 2003, 17:09
Interesting comments about flick hits. Modern foil seems to allow these, although it's not what I've been taught.

If you regard foil as training for épée, which is what it was originally intended for, then you will not see épéeists with the tip of their weapon pointing at the ceiling, as their entire forearm would be exposed to attack.

Maybe there is something to be said for reintroducing classical foil, as the training and discipline it was meant to be?

rory
-15th December 2003, 17:35
There are groups who practise "classical foil", but they're mainly (and thankfully, in my opinion!) in the U.S.A.

If foil is intended to be practice epee (and btw this is incorrect - it's practise rapier, and epee is a bastardised form of the rapier introduced *after* foil, if I recollect correctly), then the flick is a perfectly valid move - didn't you know that the flick was first used in epee?

Anyway, this business of making fencing "more like it used to be" - how far back do you go? It's only 300 years or so since the disengage was invented - shall we disallow that too? How about the lunge - it's a recent invention!

I only wish there were some way of distinguishing between those who wish for foil to be returned to "the golden days" - I'd love to know how many people truly believe there's something *wrong* with foil, and how many just can't play the game the modern way, and think that limiting the tactics employed will allow them to progress more than the good honest hard work the rest of us have employed for years.

Blade Runner
-15th December 2003, 18:32
Rory,

Fair enough, epee is based on the old duelling rapier and did come after foil.

Changing rules to improve my performance? Not at all - suspect that only divine intervention could do that, and as an atheist am at a bit of a disadvantage there.

Is really about avoiding confusion. Typical scenario: flick fencer steps forward, arm bent and not straightening, point aimed at ceiling. I step forward, arm straightening and point aimed at target (telescopic sight on my guard, so no argument).

Both go in for attack and both land.
a) hit to flicker
b) hit to me
c) simultaneous

Seems to depend on which club we are fencing at.


Stinky fencing kit? Try the washing machine, another modern invention of which I entirely approve!

Robert
-15th December 2003, 19:51
Originally posted by Blade Runner
Is really about avoiding confusion. Typical scenario: flick fencer steps forward, arm bent and not straightening, point aimed at ceiling. I step forward, arm straightening and point aimed at target (telescopic sight on my guard, so no argument).

Both go in for attack and both land.
a) hit to flicker
b) hit to me
c) simultaneous

Seems to depend on which club we are fencing at.


b. The FIE, and plenty of people better qualified than me have made that perfectly clear on this board. In practice this is rare, the flickers hand would be moving forward which is what makes the call difficult. What you describe as a typical scenario isn't a typical scenario.

Two routes to avoid confusion: provide lots of training and clear guidance OR strip away all the rules. If you think flicks are the only reason for confusion you have never tried to teach beginners how to preside.

One further point, as I have more expertise in history than fencing, it really gets on my nerves when people talk about foil as practice for epee. This is garbage. Foil *was* training for killing somebody else with a sword, it evolved into a pure sport a long time ago. Epee is what happened last time a group of people who didn't know any better got together and said 'this modern foil isn't like it was in the old days'.

Robert

Prometheus
-16th December 2003, 01:18
One further point, as I have more expertise in history than fencing, it really gets on my nerves when people talk about foil as practice for epee. This is garbage. Foil *was* training for killing somebody else with a sword

Why, Robert, I'm impressed. Well said....sincerely

Mark
-16th December 2003, 02:00
I've been doing some experimenting.

I set up a demo where my opponent steps forwards with the arm bent then lunges. I stand my ground but start straightening as my opponent steps so that my arm is straightening well before my opponent's. Both of us hit each other at the same time. According to the rules this should clearly be my hit. The difference with this demo is that I asked my opponent to play his part with a lot of confidence and loads of positive body language. I played the part of the nervous novice and 'cowered' i.e. loads of negative body language.

Asking the audience, everyone said the hit should go to my opponent but no one could give a good reason why. "It looked like he was attacking" is as close as we got.

Conclusion: I think this reflects the way foil is refereed a lot of the time. Referee's (I'm talking about the average poule ref here, not your fully qualified ones) go on gut feeling more than the rule book.

You frequently hear of foilists being robbed of hits because the 'better' fencer has been given benefit of the doubt by the ref. I think body language plays a big part in this. If I'm right, then whoever can put on a better show has an unfair advantage.

Should we train our fencers in body language skills as well as fencing?

Pointy stick
-16th December 2003, 06:33
Originally posted by Mark

Should we train our fencers in body language skills as well as fencing?

In my first competition a few months ago, I found myself up against a vastly superior fencer.

I had never seen a flick hit, although I'd heard of them.

His point went up, his arm bent. I saw his entire target exposed from armpit down to waist. I lunged (as far as you could call it a lunge at that stage in my career) and was triumphant when my point fixed and the blade made a graceful arc. The perfect hit.

What seemed like hours later, I felt the lightest of taps on the back. He was awarded the hit.

The scenario was repeated several times in the fight. He exposed his entire target, I lunged, I hit, his point came in later,, he was awarded the hit.

I know it felt wrong at the time. Whether it was bad refereeing or my lack of understanding I can't say. What I CAN say is that I was so absolutely convinced that I'd scored a 'perfect' hit on a more experienced fencer that my body language must have been very positive indeed - at least until I started to get dispirited by the third or fourth time, when I really couldn't understand why he was getting the hits.

As for the rules and priority - reading this forum and a bit more experience have told me there's more to this than a simple classical/modern divide, and that legislating for or against flicks is incredibly complicated. (Full marks to Robert for attempting the exercise of writing a set of rules just for his own edification; this is a good way of experimenting with the ideas and finding how many pitfalls there are.)

What I DO know is that when the rules give priority to a good firm no nonsense hit which lands appreciably before a symbolic tap on the shoulder, and when the rules reward the fencer who exposes his body to his opponent's sword point, and who effectively lets himself be stabbed, it doesn't FEEL right.

Gav
-16th December 2003, 06:52
A comment [about Foil] that I heard a long time ago:

"When you are on the piste you are Fencing 2 people."

Blade Runner
-16th December 2003, 08:00
Originally posted by Robert
b. The FIE, and plenty of people better qualified than me have made that perfectly clear on this board. In practice this is rare, the flickers hand would be moving forward which is what makes the call difficult. What you describe as a typical scenario isn't a typical scenario.

Two routes to avoid confusion: provide lots of training and clear guidance OR strip away all the rules. If you think flicks are the only reason for confusion you have never tried to teach beginners how to preside.

One further point, as I have more expertise in history than fencing, it really gets on my nerves when people talk about foil as practice for epee. This is garbage. Foil *was* training for killing somebody else with a sword, it evolved into a pure sport a long time ago. Epee is what happened last time a group of people who didn't know any better got together and said 'this modern foil isn't like it was in the old days'.

Okay, okay, I'm sorry I even mentioned foil and epee in the same sentence. What I was trying to get at is that foil has a convention - the right of attack - which is absent from an actual duel. In epee, a registered hit counts regardless of how it was delivered - flick, lunge, baseball bat swing, or whatever.

Epee is about simulating a duel as far as one can do, bearing in mind that modern fencing is a sport an not a martial art anymore. I guess one persons meat, as the saying goes.

Robert

chortler
-16th December 2003, 09:01
Originally posted by Gav
A comment [about Foil] that I heard a long time ago:

"When you are on the piste you are Fencing 2 people."

Gav, Can you explain that quote, as I'm assuming your opponent isn't schizophrenic?

Prometheus
-16th December 2003, 09:20
Opponent and referee........a very epeeist contribution to the debate

;)

allthree
-16th December 2003, 09:21
Originally posted by Pointy stick
In my first competition a few months ago, I found myself up against a vastly superior fencer.

I had never seen a flick hit, although I'd heard of them.

His point went up, his arm bent. I saw his entire target exposed from armpit down to waist. I lunged (as far as you could call it a lunge at that stage in my career) and was triumphant when my point fixed and the blade made a graceful arc. The perfect hit.

What seemed like hours later, I felt the lightest of taps on the back. He was awarded the hit.

The scenario was repeated several times in the fight. He exposed his entire target, I lunged, I hit, his point came in later,, he was awarded the hit.

I know it felt wrong at the time. Whether it was bad refereeing or my lack of understanding I can't say. What I CAN say is that I was so absolutely convinced that I'd scored a 'perfect' hit on a more experienced fencer that my body language must have been very positive indeed - at least until I started to get dispirited by the third or fourth time, when I really couldn't understand why he was getting the hits.

As for the rules and priority - reading this forum and a bit more experience have told me there's more to this than a simple classical/modern divide, and that legislating for or against flicks is incredibly complicated. (Full marks to Robert for attempting the exercise of writing a set of rules just for his own edification; this is a good way of experimenting with the ideas and finding how many pitfalls there are.)

What I DO know is that when the rules give priority to a good firm no nonsense hit which lands appreciably before a symbolic tap on the shoulder, and when the rules reward the fencer who exposes his body to his opponent's sword point, and who effectively lets himself be stabbed, it doesn't FEEL right.

allthree
-16th December 2003, 09:26
Sorry about messing up the quote bit I'm new to this forum. What i was trying to say is your frustrations at the presiding/interpretation of the rules (although the ref may have been correct) is one of the main reasons more people are taking up the epee. I have nothing against flick hits or the development of foil into its modern version.

fencingmaster
-16th December 2003, 09:53
Ceprab, I take your point about the rubber arm – language is not a perfect science! To answer your question: I prefer not to use the term straight/ening because when teaching novices it confuses the concept of attack with the concept of p.i.l.; it causes young fencers to place more importance on making the arm straight than on directing the point accurately; and encourages younger fencers to fully straighten the arm when it is not appropriate to the distance. “Straight/ening” is instantly interpreted by the majority of novice fencers as ‘to make straight’.

A personal anecdote; xx years ago as a young teen in my first competition, I recall hitting my opponent, quite clearly seeing my point fixed in the centre of his chest but realising my arm was bent, and imagining the constant command of my teacher ‘get your arm straight’ my reflex action was to do so. The poor unfortunate at the other end was then picked up from the floor struggling for breath, and speechless with tears, carried to the side of the room and retired from the competition.

The common misconception is that the arm must be ‘straight’, but as you point out what is required is for the elbow to be extending (would ‘opening’ be a better verb here? touche!) and for the role of the triceps to be understood, rather than allow overuse of the shoulder which is what tends to happen when young fencers try to ‘straighten’ the arm.

So I prefer to refer to ‘lengthen’ because it more accurately reflects the correct technical nature of the action, is closer (in my personal and humble) opinion to ‘allonger’ and also allows for the progressive nature of some compound attacks (as well as those executed in two time).

Regarding the classic attacks. Mike Thornton’s preamble to the referee’s guide makes the point that the concept of right-of-way developed as a means of codifying various fencing actions – these classic attacks not only pass over the sword arm but also may pass over the thigh or void. However they are recognised as simple attacks. Their very initiation makes them a threat. As a coach I would discriminate between a poorly executed counter disengage (windmill) and a well executed one; but a referee makes no such distinction and would give priority to such an attack – i.e it is an action that is moving towards the target in a continuous, unbroken movement from the point where its movement commenced.

Boo Boo
-16th December 2003, 10:11
I agree with allthree. From reading your post, you seem to have an epee mentality (that's not meant to be a put down or anything like that... :) ).

If your opponent is starting first (i.e. his arm is extending and point moving progressively towards the target), providing he doesn't break his time, then it doesn't matter if you hit him first. Foil is not about "who hits first", its about priority. At least not with the current settings on electric boxes....

If you are trying to stop hit into a flick in foil, then you really need to:
- only stop hit if your opponent breaks their time. This is risky, because even if you see the break in time correctly, your reactions may not be fast enough to attack into the preparation before they start progressing towards your target again.
- stop hit with one light. You don't get any arguments here and - if your opponent is hitting as slow as you think - this should be easy ;). To get one light you can, for example: hit then run away, hit then block/parry, or hit and step in.

You could look at other ways of fencing flicks: i.e. using footwork/distance and parries...

If you do what you have described - in foil - then it sounds as if you are giving your opponent a gift (especially if the referee is giving it that way and you do the same thing 5 times....). He is attacking - albeit with a bent (yet, I assume, extending) arm - you are countering and he is just progressively finishing his attack. Of course, without actually seeing it, that's just an assumption from your description...

Boo

randomsabreur
-16th December 2003, 10:22
Just been having a think about the translation of "allongement"

Wouldn't extending, rather than straightening help, as it has less of a connotation of rubber man? I think it works in context. Then you don't have the straight/straightening debate. Admittedly it will be a while before we can entirely forget the idea that the arm must be straight for a valid attack to exist. County championships this weekend, refereeing was of a variable standard to say the least, I never once figured out what was a valid attack at foil, possibly from the fact that each ref had a different idea.

Also, 1 total nightmare fight for me. Basically, if there was a meeting of blades the referee abstained, so try to attack without finding the blade, and everything is my opponents unless I get 1 light. Suggestions for dealing please

Gav
-16th December 2003, 10:24
Originally posted by chortler
Gav, Can you explain that quote, as I'm assuming your opponent isn't schizophrenic?

You are fencing your opponent - physically. You are fencing the referee - mentally.

or to put it another way...

You must fence your opponent and score the hit in such a way that the referee's is convinced that you have scored the hit.

I always thought it was a nice way of looking at it.

plewis66
-16th December 2003, 12:22
Originally posted by Gav
You are fencing your opponent - physically. You are fencing the referee - mentally.

I get the idea, but surely you are also fencing your opponent mentally?

And if you are fencing your opponent well, then the president shouldn't have to figure in your thoughts at all.

Mind you, this does assume the rules are, clear, well written, well understood, agreed upon and properly enforced...

Hmm. Maybe I get your point afterall.

JohnL
-16th December 2003, 12:55
Sorry but, "Wrong!"

You are fencing your opponent both physically and mentally.

You're not fighting the referee. He's simply there to get it wrong. He always does, he always has, and he always will.

It's what referees are for.

The only thing to do is abuse them. It won't affect the outcome, but may make you feel better.

plewis66
-16th December 2003, 13:01
Originally posted by JohnL
The only thing to do is abuse them. It won't affect the outcome, but may make you feel better.

Sorry, but that represents everything that is bad about the modern sport.

Take it like a man.

If he's getting it wrong for you, he's getting it wrong for your opponent, too.

He's probably doing it in his own time, for no reward, and to the best of his abiilty.

Abusing the referee is bad sportsmanship. It makes you look like a spoilt child and a complete prat. Whilst you are doing that, you can be sure that everyone around you is hating you, regardless of what they might say to your face.

If people didn't referee, then you couldn't be there fencing, so show some darned respect.

plewis66
-16th December 2003, 13:08
Argh!!

I've fallen into a trap!!

TROLL ALERT

Gav
-16th December 2003, 13:08
You stick in something lighthearted and look what happens ...

Robert
-16th December 2003, 14:48
Mark, Pointystick and Gav make good points on this.

Even if the rules were really clear, there would still be times when calls vary from president to president. There are times when the box calls it wrong ('what do you mean no light, you stupid hunk of electrics, I just skewered him!?!?!'). You need to listen to what the president is saying. I have had occasions when this has gone against me but I can recount at least two when it has gone in my favour:

First open, I am fencing someone who flicks. On each flick he winds up by pulling his arm right back. I take seven points in a row by just lunging because I notice this president is calling that a preperation. I even notice that after the first few the president isn't giving him the benefit of the doubt, and any hesitation/backward movement is being called against my oponent. My oponent doesn't listen, I do, I get the points. That experience convinced me to never be like that oponent, if something isn't working then try something else - don't moan at the president.

More recently (and actually this has happened against a few epee people) I take a quarte parry and riposte, my oponent drives through and hits me. Awarded my way. Happens again, and again. And every time it happens I make my quarte parry even smaller, making the riposte even more deadly. My oponent gets upset but after six or seven points shouldn't he at least try a second intention attack?

This is an aspect of the game that will always be there. It is really seperate from questions about the way the rules are enforced.

Unfortunately JohnL's attitude, in this case deliberately provocative, and is far too common for real. I presided a fight where one fencer (quite young) had a real go at me because I didn't award a point (he did a beat flick to shoulder, and I told him I wasn't sure if he hesitated after the beat and didn't want to seperate the two hits). He won the fight 5-0 against a beginner, so you have to ask why he disputed my call at all.

Robert

Robert
-16th December 2003, 14:50
Originally posted by plewis66
Argh!!

I've fallen into a trap!!

TROLL ALERT

Trolling aside, your remarks do you a lot of credit.

Robert

Prometheus
-16th December 2003, 15:23
Refereeing is quite challenging to novices, I remember being one myself - I knew the rules, I saw what happened - I still had no idea what the result was! I was looking at everything and seeing nothing.:mad:

Thankfully with lots of experience, some good advice, and by observing the qualified presidents and presiding as often as I could it began to make sense.:)

I tell my students 'to choose your president carefully'. Of course not really possible sometimes and actually not possible at all in an FIE competition (the referees are chosen by lot).

I have found that adopting the guise of either a semi-classic foilist or a modern foilist (when you have a peculiar president) you can always have a reasonable chance of avoiding poor decisions - in fact odd calls hardly ever happen to me nowadays!

Of course now I lose because of my faults.........I cannot blame the ref, I know I've been hit.........maybe that's better/worse than than blaming the ref?:dizzy:

srb
-16th December 2003, 15:26
Originally posted by Prometheus
novices, I remember being one myself

Nah, I don't believe that.

srb

Prometheus
-16th December 2003, 15:32
Nah, I don't believe that.

Back then when good ole Vicky was on the throne........:grin:

Boo Boo
-16th December 2003, 15:35
Originally posted by Prometheus
Back then when good ole Vicky was on the throne........:grin:

I remember a (mixed) plate competition once (Leicester?), where two people did meet in the L2....

Boo
(glad that has never happened in her relationship...)

Prometheus
-16th December 2003, 15:46
I remember a (mixed) plate competition once (Leicester?), where two people did meet in the L2....


I did the decent thing:rolleyes:

OK,OK...I didn't have to try too hard to do the decent thing!!!

She to rush to a waiting car with a blanket over her head....the shame of it! :o I mean....the plate! Halcyon days of my youth....

His and her medals though......:transport

ChubbyHubby
-16th December 2003, 15:47
I think he means Queen Vic rather than Vicky the fencer...

Prometheus
-16th December 2003, 15:48
Ah...Chub's , I think Boo is more tuned into my devious sense of humour!!

Boo Boo
-16th December 2003, 15:58
EVEN Prometheus (and srb) weren't born when Queen Victoria was on the throne!!!

(sorry, ChubbyHubby is a bit zoned out - sure he has a secret stash of some dodgy herb hidden away in the kitchen somewhere.... :grin: )

Don't mention "his and hers" medals.... we have a few of those (Espada etc.). We went few a stage of getting the same colour medals at regional championships etc. Chubby used to blame me if I didn't get gold - he would say "its your fault - if you won gold, I would also get gold..." (hhhmmmm, wonder where Chubby's medal is from the Nationals this year...? :tongue: )

Boo

Prometheus
-16th December 2003, 16:02
Q Elizabeth was on the throne when SRB first fenced........that's it 'good queen Bess I'......


Imagine....Sir Francis SRB, cooly playing Bowls in Plymouth whilst the first round pools are called......then goes out and smashes the foul opponents etc. etc.

OK, OK...yeah,yeah, I've been borrowing Chubby's stash.....:(

Prometheus
-16th December 2003, 16:04
Didn't Boo and Chubby go the year after Prometheus and her majesty attended the Espada??

Me and the saintly one got trophy there too, haha!!

Prometheus (wondering if SRB has any trophies from Espada??:rambo: )

Boo Boo
-16th December 2003, 16:09
Yes - have done it the past two years that it has ran (it didn't run in 2002): you two weren't there when we did it.

Have never won a trophy at Espada, just medals :( (still, it proved a good warm-up the weekend before the Nationals... :) ).

Boo

gbm
-16th December 2003, 20:15
I used to say that once a flick went over such an angle, it was a preparation. However:
A coupe is a simple attack, but can be executed in a very similar way as a flick. In fact, you can do a bad coupe (go very high) and hit to shoulder, and have it hit, and have scored a point according to the rules, so logically a flick which is potentially better executed must qualify as a threatening attack, as it is an action which is INHERENTLY THREATENING. In the same way that a parry, despite being a defensive action, is also an inherently threatening action as it should always be the precursor to a riposte, and only in the absence of a reposite should a reprise be considered.
But:
I think that flicks as an attack should be prevented in the same way that coupes are allowed. Any action which relies on differences between the 'real' situation (fighting with rigid swords) and the 'artificial' simulation of this (flexible safety maraging swords) should be prevented. This is why I think the increased spring pressure of foil and the contact time of 14-16ms would be an excellent idea. The problem with refereeing foil is that most referees interpret the rules to allow flicks, in accordance with the 'spirit' of the rules (at least regarding coupes and other INDIRECT yet simple attacks), and the rest attempt to 'correct' fencing in accordance with an interpretation of the exact (ambiguous) definition of the attack to prevent the flick, as it is an unrealistic attack.
The only way to deal with the flick is to correct the error in our 'simulation' of a correctly-fenced duel (note the CORRECTLY fenced duel as this is foil), by simply banning flicking or otherwise 'fiddling' the rules and so going against their spirit, or inventing mechanical corrections such as this, which I believe are preferable as they allow the rules, which are based on real fencing, to correct create real fencing.
If somebody came up with a weapon that had some distinct unrealistic modification, surely these would not be allowed (e.g. epees that bend 90 degrees three inches from the tip?)
Prevent the flick and right-of-way will become much easier (although this is only a by-product of banning the flick).
Our national champions are not suddenly going to be beaten by beginners who have learned properly just because they can't flick anymore!
And as for people who say flicking is a beautiful action that requires skill to execute, so would jump-kicking your opponent in the side of the head mid-fleche, but we don't want that now, do we?

gbm
-16th December 2003, 22:40
A quick check of the rules reveals you are hit when making an attack in the instance of a double hit where there is not a period of fencing time between the hits if:

If, during a compound attack, he is stop-hit in time before beginning the final movement.

This would mean that in a flick or a coupe, your intial draw-back must have been completed. But, once you have begun your final action (extension), no matter how high your sword is pointing, then you have priority.

Pointy stick
-17th December 2003, 06:53
Not everybody agrees that we are trying to simulate duels.

People who think we are not trying to simulate duels will point to the fact that we seldom fence at dawn, that nobody bleeds, and that dueling was essentially an honourable activity. ;0)

But if we were trying to simulate the swordplay associated with duels, then we wouldn't want flick hits. Flick hits are a product of bendy blades and a scoring system based on a light coming on after a very short contact time.

Making the blades stiffer would be dangerous, and we can't have sword fighting being dangerous, can we? However, we could choose to make our swordplay more realistic by making it necessary for the tip to be depressed for a LOT longer: half a second or so. This would mean that a hit would have to be 'meaningful' and sustained: hard enough and long enough to penetrate deeply. (Oooooooer, Matron!)

That would change the character of the game very substantially. That isn't going to happen. The genie is out of the bottle (for good or ill) and will never go back in.

plewis66
-17th December 2003, 07:44
I didn't think foil was trying to simulate a duel. I thought that was epee.

If it was a simulated duel, then there would be no need for right of way, or a restricted target area. Also flicks would be absolutely fine,because they would draw blood.

I thought the idea of foil was as a training weapon.

chortler
-17th December 2003, 08:05
Originally posted by plewis66
I didn't think foil was trying to simulate a duel. I thought that was epee.

I thought it was the other way around. (In epee) You are hardly going to inflict a fatal injury by stabbing to the hand or foot (the exception being the head). Where as, all targets in foil are much more likely to inflict a fatal injury

plewis66
-17th December 2003, 08:08
But any injury is good in a duel. Stabbing someone in the foot is going to make it tricky for them to fight, and thus make it easier to impale them properly. Attacking the wrist makes blade control more difficult. Remember, getting stabbed anywhere would hurt like hell.

With foil, on the other hand, hits are restricted to the body because that was the place that could be easily padded before modern flexible weapons were around.

gbm
-17th December 2003, 09:37
Note that I said foil was meant to represent a CORRECTLY fenced duel. As in, a duel fenced according to conventions which present themselves so that you don't get skewered, as in avoiding remising. In a real duel, double hits like in epee will get you killed.
Epee is a representation of a duel, but there is no requirement to fence it correctly. In epee, correct behaviour e.g. parries only arises because such behaviour is naturally self-evident for purposes of winning. One-hit-epee is the closest thing, as double hits will cause you to lose? I would imagine one-hit-epee would be fenced much like foil.
The purpose of foil is to train you to fence properly, which originally was for your own protection.
As for flick hits, these are an abberation from the principles on which foil and epee are based. It would not require a significant change in the rules for them to be stopped. In particular, a required contact time in foil of only 14-16ms should remove most flick hits, and 30 ms would remove them all.
But best of all, it is a 14-16 ms contact time that has been discussed and recommended in the FIE and I believe will be carried out in the Junior World Cup, together with other changes designed to bring back the individual character of foil. These are an increased spring strength of 750g and the possibility of a requirement of two mm of travel in foil. These rules will be tested in the 2004-2005 season, and the FIE is very keen to restore the character of the weapon!
As for people who think foil is a sub-category of epee, it's not like sabre, where we are doing something different. Foil was invented first, when people were still killing each other, to train fencers (basically to fence literally one-hit-epee). Epee was created when people stopped killing each other, and you can make your choice as to which weapon you like. Foil merely formalises good fencing behaviour. Nobody would say you shouldn't parry just because you don't get right of way in epee! You parry in epee for the same reason a parry is given right of way in foil - it is an effective defensive move designed to prevent you getting hit while simultaneously establishing an advantage in offensive actions over your opponent (i.e. the ability to riposte).
Foil is very nearly realistic! Flicking is the only major barrier to realistic foil that I can think of.
And as for injuries, the character of the epee is such that hitting your opponent anywhere is good, but the character of foil is to fence correctly, and this is why the target area is the most important areas of the body minus the head for historical reasons (they didn't use to wear masks) which is why the FIE has suggested using electric sabre masks in foil.
Epee is a pretend duel. Foil is how you should fence a duel. The only difference (but a critical difference) is that one is conventional and the other is not i.e. in foil the principles of fencing are codified and given precedence of poor fencing, whereas in epee (like in a real duel) you must allow for poor fencing.
:rambo:

ceprab
-17th December 2003, 09:38
Originally posted by plewis66
But any injury is good in a duel. Stabbing someone in the foot is going to make it tricky for them to fight, and thus make it easier to impale them properly. Attacking the wrist makes blade control more difficult. Remember, getting stabbed anywhere would hurt like hell.

With foil, on the other hand, hits are restricted to the body because that was the place that could be easily padded before modern flexible weapons were around.

And any hit to the wrist is likely to render the opponent incapable by severing either the blood supply to the hand or some of the tendons to the fingers........

Foil is a sport and needs to be properly refereed. Argument over whether a a flick action is inherently threatening because 'x can hit y starting from pointing his sword behind himself' is a red herring. The rules give a definition of what constitutes a threat or an attack, and it is possible to flick within these parameters just as it is possible to hit without flicking outside these parameters (and be given a point against if your opponent attacks properly into it).

To illustrate by taking something everyone would agree (hopefully) is illegal try thinking something like 'my french grip foil held in en garde is inherently threatening because i can easily let go and throw it at my opponent and make the box go beep'. (Don't try this at home or anywhere else, kids). Once you start ignoring the rules there is little point in the sport.

Further, if you want to take the I can hit you from here so its a threat argument you probably ought to take up epee, where you don't have to worry about so many tricky rules.

As many have said, the answer isn't to eliminate a significant part of the modern game (although *perhaps* there is a need to moderate it a little - I'm not expert enough to say), but to simply encourage a sufficient knowledge and understanding of and respect for the rules at all levels of the sport (include a rules knowledge and/or presiding component in the star awards for kids?).

gbm
-17th December 2003, 09:50
I think the FIE should do some research into what target area is preferred for duelling and hence valid target area in foil. Obviously any hit to the torso is both 'easy' to penetrate and effective at killing. A hit to the head would also most likely be effective, but I do not know how easy it would be to hit someone's head (a mask is much larger than a head), but if it was possible?
As for the leading arm, maybe that should be valid target area as well, but maybe this is not preferred because in a real fight people would not attack such a small target. Maybe they would? Maybe it would accidentally prevent foil from having its character? Maybe only hits to the upper/lower arm are dangerous?
Any historians/anatomists here with knowledge of this stuff?

ceprab
-17th December 2003, 09:51
Originally posted by goodbadandme
I would imagine one-hit-epee would be fenced much like foil.

No.



Originally posted by goodbadandme
Foil is very nearly realistic!

That would be why foil parrys must visibly deflect the blade (ie beat about one inch to the side) whereas an epee parry needs to clear or (better) trap the opponents blade so you can't get hit then :grin:, to prevent suicidal leaping onto the opponents sword (which the concept of ROW encourages or [at best] permits)


Originally posted by goodbadandme
And as for injuries, the character of the epee is such that hitting your opponent anywhere is good, but the character of foil is to fence correctly

And fencing correctly and realistic duelling are not really very related. Fencing, since it became an activity done for leisure and not defend ones honour/kill a rival, has been, is and will be a sport and not simulating anything.


Originally posted by goodbadandme
Epee is a pretend duel. Foil is how you should fence a duel. The only difference (but a critical difference) is that one is conventional and the other is not i.e. in foil the principles of fencing are codified and given precedence of poor fencing, whereas in epee (like in a real duel) you must allow for poor fencing.

So epee is a pretend duel where, just like in a non pretend duel you must allow for poor fencing? Whereas foil is more like a duel because there are a set of rules and precednts to make it different but somehow more like a duel?????? Hm. :tongue:

gbm
-17th December 2003, 10:12
Well, I've never seen one-hit-epee so I guess you're right.
Foil parries must still clear the target. In the rules:
The parry is the defensive action made with the weapon to prevent an offensive action arriving.
And if a attack if launched against a point-in-line:
If the attack is initiated when the opponent is ‘point in line’ (cf. t.10), the attacker must, first, deflect the opponent’s blade. Referees must ensure that a mere contact of the blades is not considered as sufficient to deflect the opponent’s blade (cf. t.60/2a).
Fencing correctly is utterly related to duelling! It is from duelling that the ideas of correct fencing come! They are not just airy fairy actions that look good and come from nowhere! They are self-evident in the fundamental tenet of duelling - hit and do not be hit! This is the essence of a parry-riposte!
In foil, if you fence better than your opponent you are deemed to win. If they hit you by a remise, then they are WRONG because it is a bad idea in a duel! So, as it is training, they are not rewarded, but equally it is not a duel, it is simply based on the principles of a duel.
In epee, if you're opponent 'dies' more often than you, no matter how you have achieved it, you win.
When I said said epee was a pretend duel, I only meant that it is pretend in the sense that you are not fighting to the death. Otherwise, it is the same.
Foil is a training weapon (although a good SPORT in its own right). In fencing you win by demonstrating superior skill over your opponent in that you fence as a duel SHOULD (not as CAN BE) fenced.
People training for duels did not go out and fight random duels. They fought foil, to learn the principles of duelling,and so become better duellists, in the hope that they were better than their opponents!
Of course there were other ways, ways that emphasised strength, but when it came to the crunch, it was the fencers who were more skilled, not more strong, who had timing not speed who survived, and thus created modern fencing (in the sense of not-killing-each-other fencing).

Prometheus
-17th December 2003, 11:10
Forget the bleating about interpretation....it doesn't matter anymore. :(


The FIE are changing the rules so that foil is simpler to understand for the proletariate. i.e less complicated.

You will be losing complex compound actions, cut overs, flick hits etc......the weapon won't need a referee - there will be nothing to ref! The FIE's opinion? If you cannot understand timing, what chance has bert and freda from 33 Acacia avenue got?

The weapon will be tarted up epee with a smaller target.

The FIE doesn't care about the bottom end of fencing , a bunch of remising low life is how they are seen, not the stars!


In twenty years we'll be saying do you remember the days when you needed real skill not like today's youth........:moon:

Au revoir le fleuret......

gbm
-17th December 2003, 11:44
A quote from the magazine Escrime (the official FIE magazine) regarding the "imposing rising star of Italian foil,Andrea Cassara":

Clearly his fencing is particularly effective. Clearly his technique is much more sophisticated than it appears at first sight—he pulled off some derobements and some attacks and parry-ripostes of the highest quality. Clearly he is a real athlete and a magnificent acrobat combined. But to allow him full rein, one would have to be ignorant of all the the basic rules of foil fencing. Two times out of three his point is not in line… Two times out of three he attacks with his arm virtually glued to his body… The technical commission set up by the FIE to examine the evolution of foil fencing is not confused over the need to react. It has made proposals which will be discussed at the Congress in Leipzig and could be trialled in the junior events after the Olympic Games in Athens.
Another quote from the same edition:


CONCLUSIONS OF THE SPECIAL COMMISSION RESPONSIBLE FOR TESTING PROPOSALS PERTAINING TO THE PRACTICE OF FOIL AND SABRE
The Special Commission responsible for testing rules change proposals meant to improve the practice of foil and sabre met in plenary session in Havana on 3 October 2003. The purpose of these proposals was, on the one hand, to preserve the distinctive character of foil and sabre and, on the other, to significantly improve the level of objectivity in refereeing of the conventional weapons, as well as the public’s understanding of their practice.

There is then a list of potential rule changes which are basically blocking times of 200ms for foil (I have seen 300ms given elsewhere), 120ms for sabre, measures to eliminate flicks, and removal of the rule for inversion of shoulders in foil as it is already covered by replacing invalid target.
They also say they reserve judgement on the removal of the fleche, and the use of an electric sabre mask in foil (although there is apparent unanimous wish to include the bib, again I have heard otherwise).
They say further testing will be done on the removal of the invalid hit light (the only one I really strongly object to) at the official junior competitions.

Then they say:

The Special Commission’s final opinion and recommendation are to apply the proposed changes universally at all foil and sabre Junior World Cup competitions of the 2004-05 season. By jointly applying all the changes that have been proposed, we achieve the following results:
– We preserve foil’s distinctive character with respect to the other weapons.
– We maintain the application of convention to fencing while respecting also fencing’s character as a combat sport “par excellence” that is defined by its own natural and universal logic;
– We improve working conditions for the referees in regards to the application and respect of the Rules for Competition. Errors that are the result of subjective interpretation of actions will considerably decrease.
– The athletes will have confidence that the results they achieve in competition are accurate and truly representative of each fencer’s demonstrated ability.
– For non-fencing spectators—whether at the venue or on television—we make it possible for them to better follow and understand foil matches.

Except for preventing invalid lights, which I feel is against the character of foil of a teaching weapon, how does any of this prevent "complex compound actions, cut overs, flick hits etc"? Doing away with flicking will force the mid-class fencers to find new ways of attacks! The top fencers will eventually still learn, as they do today, that the best attack is the straight thrust, it is just difficult to make it work when you are not a top-level fencer! (since it needs perfect technique, distance, timing and psychology).
And for those who worry a short blocking time will prevent a slow compound riposte from counting against a fast remise, what do you need to do a slow compound riposte against a remise for? 200-300ms is plenty of time to riposte, unless you parry very deep, and then the remise will be equally slowed! In which case, the lesson is - make better parries, which is in line with the point of foil, fence better!

For those who would like to read the article, go to http://www.fie.ch/download/magazines/2003/FIE_46.pdf

pinkelephant
-17th December 2003, 13:06
Originally posted by goodbadandme
IAs for the leading arm, maybe that should be valid target area as well, but maybe this is not preferred because in a real fight people would not attack such a small target. Maybe they would? Maybe it would accidentally prevent foil from having its character? Maybe only hits to the upper/lower arm are dangerous?
Any historians/anatomists here with knowledge of this stuff?

You obvoiusly haven't watched any ordinary epee, let alone one-hit. If you so much as twitch, a decent epeeist will hit you on the fingers, wrist or fore-arm.

Prometheus
-17th December 2003, 13:12
No. My point is that the people on this forum who dislike flicks etc. are under the impression this will make, in their view, the playing field more level.

Unfortunately the good fencers will still win using timing and distance and balance and simple attacks just as in the other two weapons.

Why all this, because International referees couldn't agree on a single interpretation and TV/Olympics wants it telegenic i.e. not sophisticated.

To put right one point: Foil was invented to teach people to stay alive in a duel by forcing parries to be studied - to defend the torso therefore to avoid any vital organs being hit. The onus is therefore on defence - the straightening arm/threat drives the priority.

The artifice of classic foil bore little resemblance to the true nature of duelling which is why epee was invented, 1st hit. Be careful that the rules divide the weapons...if not then you will have one weapon - epee.

I see no point in doing foil if it is epee. All that you mention you do Goodbadme is as applicable if not more to epee, you need timing, you need threat for one-two compound actions/simple actions. So why do foil? Sport foil is not a duelling weapon.

To add blocking times (300ms) is to say that referees cannot interpret stop hits correctly. Then what job has the referee to do? You might as well just have the box - QED Epee.

All we need is one more rule change - double lights - double hit. Now we're there - Epee.

Blade Runner
-17th December 2003, 15:48
Originally posted by chortler
I thought it was the other way around. (In epee) You are hardly going to inflict a fatal injury by stabbing to the hand or foot (the exception being the head). Where as, all targets in foil are much more likely to inflict a fatal injury


Yes, foil does concentrate on killing/potentially serious blows to the torso, where all but one of the vital organs are to be found. However, although duels were sometimes fatal, changes in the law necessitated a less serious way of settling matters of honour. As such, honour became satisfied by drawing first blood. So, it didn't really matter where you cut an opponent, as long as they bled. [/I]

Blade Runner
-17th December 2003, 16:14
Originally posted by Prometheus
No. My point is that the people on this forum who dislike flicks etc. are under the impression this will make, in their view, the playing field more level.

Unfortunately the good fencers will still win using timing and distance and balance and simple attacks just as in the other two weapons.

Why all this, because International referees couldn't agree on a single interpretation and TV/Olympics wants it telegenic i.e. not sophisticated.

To put right one point: Foil was invented to teach people to stay alive in a duel by forcing parries to be studied - to defend the torso therefore to avoid any vital organs being hit. The onus is therefore on defence - the straightening arm/threat drives the priority.

The artifice of classic foil bore little resemblance to the true nature of duelling which is why epee was invented, 1st hit. Be careful that the rules divide the weapons...if not then you will have one weapon - epee.

I see no point in doing foil if it is epee. All that you mention you do Goodbadme is as applicable if not more to epee, you need timing, you need threat for one-two compound actions/simple actions. So why do foil? Sport foil is not a duelling weapon.

To add blocking times (300ms) is to say that referees cannot interpret stop hits correctly. Then what job has the referee to do? You might as well just have the box - QED Epee.

All we need is one more rule change - double lights - double hit. Now we're there - Epee.


Hmmm. Have been following this long trail about flick hits with considerable interest. For my part, I compete with both foil and epee, and am quite happy about foil and epee being distinct and remaining so.

My earlier comments were not meant to be anti-flick, as I do (perhaps attempt is more accurate) flick ripostes from a close-quarter parry such as in prime. This is much quicker than disengaging, stepping back and doing a straight arm riposte. When people say that flicks have long been a part of fencing, I think they are quite right. I would guess (not a historian of fencing) that this is the kind of flick that has long been part of fencing?

Modern attacking flicks from the en garde position seem to work because of the flexibility of modern weapons, and also to the required pressure exerted by the tip and the currently accepted contact time. Some fencers accept this as natural evolution of the sport, others seem to think it goes against the grain.

Prometheus
-17th December 2003, 16:20
I should clarify my position.

I am not too bothered about the flick being used or not but rather more that the FIE are throwing the Baby out with the Bath water.....by altering the nature of the weapon - quite how they think that all these changes somehow keeps it the same I cannot imagine!

Imagine if they did away with the off target lights/changed the target area/decreased the block time etc. as they originally proposed!

Be careful what you wish for....it might come true.:upset:

gbm
-17th December 2003, 16:41
Of course the good fencers will still win! That's because they are good fencers! They will remain good fencers - it is not the fencer's who will change - it is the currently flawed game. Anybody who thinks that foil is okay at the moment only has to look to the swarms migrating to epee, which has no such major flaws. I want to see fencers at the mid-level "win using timing and distance and balance and simple attacks just as in the other two weapons."

The artifice of classic foil bore little resemblance to the true nature of duelling which is why epee was invented, 1st hit. Be careful that the rules divide the weapons...if not then you will have one weapon - epee.
Foil resembles the ideal way to fight a duel, assuming two perfectly equal perfectly skilled fencers of course. It is not the target area or the weight of the weapon that makes foil different to epee, these are only reflections of its character. Foil is different to epee because it is based on the science of duelling as a training tool, not an actual duel where anything goes. Foil rewards the artificially imposed CONVENTIONS of fencing a duel, not simply being hit (although this is still required!). This is the difference between foil and epee.
If you see no point in doing an artificially created training tool, then you are perfectly correct to do epee. I like foil because it imposes control and correct behaviour on me, but also because it is a perfectly valid sport in its own right. Nobody fights real duels anymore, so it's not like epee is any more 'correct' or useful because it is more realistic!
As for adding blocking time, it already exist at 750ms for foil. The rules state that any riposte must be immediate. At the moment, a delayed riposte following a momentary pause can cause a double hit against a valid redouble. While a good referee can separate them, refereeing is very hard, and everything to make it easier and thus more objective that does not reasonably interfere with the fencing should be done! If your riposte is immediate, but at 1/2 mph, so that it takes 5 secs to arrive, it really shouldn't count against a quick remise/redouble (whichever you would call it). The FIE tested this, and found that immediate direct ripostes which is all that is required against a remiser can easily be done in this time. This will not stop someone performing a one-two-three-double-de-double-coupe-coule riposte into the line of septime, as long as your opponent does not remise. If your opponent does remise, then this is a total ridiculous response anyway? Why deceive a blade that isn't there?
And the referee is the most important thing in a foil match. In the event of one light, obviously it does'nt matter if he didn't see what happened (although he is still required to phrase it). He must also be able to see simultaneous attacks, but in the event of a double hit he must decide which, if any fencer has fenced in accordance with the rules, and give the point according. I often see replacement of point after a missed attack in the long blocking time, although it is usually quite easy to see, but that is the only time I see a light come on significantly after the other.
The referee will still be required to phrase double hits, and it will still be hard. He will just not have to worry so much about remises after the riposte.
And changing the rule to double hit - double point would make it epee, as this is THE ONLY significant difference between foil and epee, but it creates two entirely separate weapons, each with their own individual character!
Additionally, the TV likes classical foil because it has repeatable, understandable actions that mean something, so TV is on my side (to a limited extent, anyway)

pinkelephant said:

You obvoiusly haven't watched any ordinary epee, let alone one-hit. If you so much as twitch, a decent epeeist will hit you on the fingers, wrist or fore-arm.

I think you are correct. Making the arm on-target would not help foil retain its individual character, and so would be a bad idea.

(Incidentally, my name was going to be Thegoodthebadandtheme but it didn't fit, so I admit my fencing can be a bit ugly, sometimes.)

Prometheus
-18th December 2003, 09:15
I agree with the facts of your argument.

Rather than the facts of the matter, it is the approach the FIE are taking that concerns me. In the UK it is quite common to see the conventions of foil flouted to take advantage of weak presiding. I hardly see timing recognised by fencers presiding which is such an important part of tactical foil. The alteration of box timing will do nothing to improve the poor state of, as you correctly say, the most important element - the referee (I hate that term - reminds me of football - yuck).

Are you certain that slow ripostes (immediate, but slow) were not the case in classic steam foil? I have to admit I remember seeing them since I started fencing in 1988. Maybe the FIE should test whether it would work with sharps first?????

I also admit that the current situation makes foil difficult to understand by a television viewer, but I disagree that the general public would understand much more by this alteration. Again supposition on my part (I am no more guilty of this than anyone else on this forum). I guess only time will prove this point.

I still maintain the problem is with the presidents and that this change is a drastic last resort that we should view with sadness, not joy. I agree with your points about it applying the rules more strictly - I just don't think it should be necessary this way.

My own opinion is that foil is more than a training weapon for duelling now and I see evolution as a good thing as in general things are better for it (I recognise this point could be turned upon me). This of course is only my opinion and not one I would dare to force on others, unlike the FIE.

Blade Runner
-18th December 2003, 09:18
Originally posted by Prometheus
I should clarify my position.

I am not too bothered about the flick being used or not but rather more that the FIE are throwing the Baby out with the Bath water.....by altering the nature of the weapon - quite how they think that all these changes somehow keeps it the same I cannot imagine!

Imagine if they did away with the off target lights/changed the target area/decreased the block time etc. as they originally proposed!

Be careful what you wish for....it might come true.:upset:


Changing the rules - good or bad? Rule changes happen in every sport, and are rarely universally welcomed. In foil, we need to look at rules and innovations (weapons or techniques) and try to reach a consensus on what is acceptable and what is not.

It isn't simply a case of using a real duel as a benchmark. For example, a foil bout temporarily halts upon corps a corps. In a real fight, shoulder charging, barging and punching could occur, depending on the inclination of the antagonists. I really don't want to see those in foil or epee.

It's always risky arguing by analogy, but consider the rugby union/league divide. There have been many rule changes in the former, and some have felt that you would end up with a game that was pretty much rugby league with lineouts. Some have indeed argued that the two codes should merge. It hasn't happened and I don't think it will. Unionists like their game and leaguers like theirs. Some may actually like both.

There seem to be two camps in foil in particular, and fencing in general.

1. Those who see foil (fencing) as a sport complete in itself, which doesn't realistically have to simulate anything. As an example, chess is a war game, but doesn't realistically simulate war. That doesn't stop people enjoying playing chess.

2. Those who see foil (fencing) as in some way simulating real sword-play. I emphasise 'simulate', as we are all aware that it is not real. Modern foil (fencing) is unquestionably a sport, but a sport descended from a martial art.

I don't believe it is simply a matter of camp 1 doing foil and camp 2 doing epee.

My personal preference is to retain as much of the character of foil (epee) as possible within the confines of a modern sport. But, I most definitely do not want foil and epee to merge. To be good at foil requires good defence (parrying) and accuracy and point control on the attack, as well as timing in both. These qualities will stand any fencer in good stead. I admire the skill and artistry of a good foilist just as I admire the same in a good epeeist.

ceprab
-18th December 2003, 09:46
Originally posted by pinkelephant
You obvoiusly haven't watched any ordinary epee, let alone one-hit. If you so much as twitch, a decent epeeist will hit you on the fingers, wrist or fore-arm.

And if you fail to twitch you will be hit there as well......:grin: