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Prometheus
-17th March 2004, 21:45
What is the best method for coaching would be Modern Pentathletes?

I recently had a young (U9) tetrathlete (running,swimming,shooting, and riding) come to me asking for training at fencing for modern pentathlon.

The area I coach in has no decent epee clubs (yet) and it's not possible for the parents to travel as far as 70 miles away to find one.

1. Do you start them off doing foil and when they have a sense of timing and tactics put an epee in their hand?

2. Insist on epee lessons but have no one for them to practice against?

3. Send her home and put her in the hands of the regional pentathlon organisation? hmmm.

Marky Irish
-18th March 2004, 00:53
We have some pentathletes at Cambridge university . Most of them have done tetrathlon or pony club and have never picked up a sword in their lives

i would say they are all quite good natural athletes though and have good timing.

they all start off on epee being trained twice a week and after about a year they are pretty nifty. mind you a lot of them just seem to wait around for 50 seconds and then do a fleche!

sessions are pretty standard fencing ones for 2 hours. warm up, footwork, fencing on the box and epee lessons.

in addition during the week they can train with the uni fencing club which has some good epeeists and there is the local town club which is quite decent.

DrT
-18th March 2004, 11:28
We recently had a similar situation. We went for having her join in the group foil session and then giving individual epee coaching whenever possible.

We also gave her some electric fencing experience by introducing some of the more experienced juniors to the truth and light that is epee ;)

aao
-18th March 2004, 11:41
From the pentathletes i know (most of the top girls and some of the guys) most of them tend to settle on perfecting 3 or 4 moves and rather than learning all the nuances of epee, which is probably a sound tactic for a 1 hit epee comp. As a result you could probably coach them to a reasonable standard by picking on4 moves which are common to both foil and epee. e.g. the fleche, sixth reposte to body (not flicked!), octave and quick beat attacks with a lunge (work quite well if you beat the blade hard enough!).

There are of course exceptions to the above with pentahletes like Kate Allenby being good epee fencers in their own right, but at this stage teaching them a few good basic attackes and parries which can be practised at either weapon should be okay.

frazzled
-18th March 2004, 11:52
I would agree with AAO - don't go into too much details and perfect a few moves. Pentathlon sudden death fencing is 60% luck and 40% skill!.

My son is a quite successful Pentathlete. He enjoys the fencing bit the most of the 5 and goes to opens, LPJS, etc. He is quite successful in these too (got 3rd Under 16 at British Champs this year).

When he fences at Pentathlons, he has no problem agains those who fence properly however, most pentathletes don't fence properly.

Some times it is those who haven't got a clue what they are doing that manage to get the lucky hits! Most frustrating.

ceprab
-18th March 2004, 14:19
The team bath (grr) pentathletes seem to follow the 'be very good at 5 things' route. And it is the method that makes sense for a 1-hit competition.

I would also add that they also practice having a very good guard position and practice their distance control i.e. footwork seeing as it doesn't matter what you can do really well if you make the first mistake and get hit.

Prometheus
-19th March 2004, 00:24
Thanks for the responses, pretty much bear out my thoughts too.

It would be best for her to fence with other epeeists, unfortunately there are none her age in this area. It sounds like Dr T has a similar situation.

I was thinking of the LPJS as competition experience too.

In the back of my mind was the old theory that good epeeists start out training at foil, then fencing epee, so gaining a sense of timing but I know that that is not necessarily the case anymore.

Robert
-19th March 2004, 23:35
Prometheus,

Is she too far to come to Wingerworth? Tony has several juniors who are doing epee, so I could ask if the ages are right for her.

Robert

nahouw
-20th March 2004, 00:26
Originally posted by Prometheus
It would be best for her to fence with other epeeists, unfortunately there are none her age in this area. It sounds like Dr T has a similar situation.

I was thinking of the LPJS as competition experience too.

In the back of my mind was the old theory that good epeeists start out training at foil, then fencing epee, so gaining a sense of timing but I know that that is not necessarily the case anymore.

If she doesn't have good épéeists to train with, then you have to train with the foilists and just adjust what is seen as successful to her as opposed to what is successful in a foil bout --while working with foilists, have her restrict her practice to only the most common tactics -- the counter-six riposte, the four riposte with opposition and the eight to the body. If she does hit off-target to arm or leg on the foilist, it is good for her -- obviously bad for foil conventions, but it does work in épée. She will lose bouts in foil, but at least she has people to practice with, and you can watch her and then tell her that her actions are correct for épée. In addition, if she does pick up on the foil ROW conventions by practicing in foil, it would make her a much better épée fencer.

Prometheus
-22nd March 2004, 00:44
Originally posted by Robert
Prometheus,

Is she too far to come to Wingerworth? Tony has several juniors who are doing epee, so I could ask if the ages are right for her.

Robert

Yes, too far. Plus, one of my other juniors does epee in the BYCs so perhaps my epee coaching ain't too bad. It's more that modern pentathlon is not the same as fencing tournament epee so that's why I started the thread.

My club is one of the best foil clubs in the region so I think I can incorporate enough training here for her and I think Nahouw has made some good points with this in mind.