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Woggle
-2nd December 2004, 23:44
Can someone confirm what I've been told, and seems pretty possible from my own point of view, that in the kind of attack where the fencer is simply advancing down the strip, and as long as this fencer finishes his/her action, it's their point in any double hit... the fencer is not actually extending (and therefore has no RoW and the point should no be theirs)? Is this a sort of march? I'm faced with lots of march type attacks, often the type where the opponent is wiggling the blade around/keeping it out of the way. Do marching attacks involve extention of the arm, or is it just benefit of the doubt coming from the ref, that makes them work? I can handle direct attacks, same for my opponents, and think that's possibly why I don't get faced with them very often, and neither do my opponents from me. As you/the opponent gets better, surprise is a harder thing to achieve and so maybe that's the time to resort to marching. But I'm not trained to march (yet), and since non-marching attacks rarely work, I think that might be why I've become a defencive fencer. And like I say, I don't face non-marching attacks very often, so a lot of what my fencing is based on at the moment is counter-attacks because I don't get many attacks that lend themselves to parry riposte.

Thanks for any answers

Chris
-3rd December 2004, 00:06
it's a bit complicated.

From what I understand, a marching attack is essentially a fencer marching down the piste moving their blade back and forth (at times extending). When their opponent attempts an attack on preparation, they finish with a flick. Ultimately, they're responding to the attack of their opponent, but this doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't given the hit. With this kind of attack, they will most probably be attacking with a bent arm (which you can do when you're flicking). Again, it is open to the referee to decide whether or not this constitutes a valid threat to the target (which is the point of ROW), despite bent arm attacks not supposed to be given.

Anyway, if this sounds complicated, then it's something that the new timings are supposed to be rectifying. It's a lot harder to land flicks now, so marching attacks have presumably become less common. There are unpleasant side effects (imo) to the new timings, that I don't think are worth this perceived benefit, but at the end of the day, if you fence on a new box, there should be less double lights, and you'll get given the hit more often (in lieu of a single light (yours)).

ChubbyHubby
-3rd December 2004, 08:57
Originally posted by Woggle
Can someone confirm what I've been told, and seems pretty possible from my own point of view, that in the kind of attack where the fencer is simply advancing down the strip, and as long as this fencer finishes his/her action, it's their point in any double hit... the fencer is not actually extending (and therefore has no RoW and the point should no be theirs)? Is this a sort of march? I'm faced with lots of march type attacks, often the type where the opponent is wiggling the blade around/keeping it out of the way. Do marching attacks involve extention of the arm, or is it just benefit of the doubt coming from the ref, that makes them work? I can handle direct attacks, same for my opponents, and think that's possibly why I don't get faced with them very often, and neither do my opponents from me. As you/the opponent gets better, surprise is a harder thing to achieve and so maybe that's the time to resort to marching. But I'm not trained to march (yet), and since non-marching attacks rarely work, I think that might be why I've become a defencive fencer. And like I say, I don't face non-marching attacks very often, so a lot of what my fencing is based on at the moment is counter-attacks because I don't get many attacks that lend themselves to parry riposte.

Thanks for any answers

All depends on what they are doing the instant YOU *start* your attempted attack on prep. If they are already extending their arm at that moment and two lights come on then yes, you are just counter attacking.

What they were doing before this point is not relevant, hand still, arm bent, extending or not extending doesn't matter. It's no different than them stepping forward and you just going back.

As long as they are already extending (how ever slowly) at the point of you starting your action, it would be their hit.

Tubby
-3rd December 2004, 16:16
... the extension should not be as slow as a glacier so that the ref can see it and therefore give it, otherwise ref sees bent arm "foot before arm" and gives the hit to the attack on prep.....

Woggle
-3rd December 2004, 22:03
So how often are the march type attacks used at club level? Is my situation the norm i.e. your opponents often make march attacks? The march definately seems the norm at higher level, and it's appearing very much the same at my level too.

ChubbyHubby
-3rd December 2004, 23:45
Originally posted by Tubby
... the extension should not be as slow as a glacier so that the ref can see it and therefore give it, otherwise ref sees bent arm "foot before arm" and gives the hit to the attack on prep.....

yes, should have added it depends on the quality of the ref too. The worse the ref the faster/more obvious the extention has to be.

gbm
-11th December 2004, 18:40
Fencers deliberately use slow attacks and attacks punctuated by preparations in order to draw counterattacks.

John Rohde
-23rd December 2004, 14:38
Two points worth noting - but hardly ever noted by presidents - are:
"II. VALIDITY OR PRIORITY OF THE HIT"
"4. Actions, simple or compound, steps or feints which are executed with a bent arm, are not considered as attacks but as preparations, laying themselves open to the
initiation of the offensive or defensive/offensive action of the opponent (cf. t.8)."
and
"8. Continuous steps forward, with the legs crossing one another, constitute a preparation and on this preparation any simple attack has priority."

If both these rules regularly were applied, most of the faults of modern foil fencing would disappear IMHO.
The problem isn't *poor* presiding, it is presiding ill-informed by false interpretations.
As to why, my guess would be that these tend to be comfortable misconceptions that remove a good deal of the stress from combats for the experienced competitor and allow hits to be awarded according to pecking order - so removing stress from the president.

gbm
-23rd December 2004, 14:54
4 is only not given by fencers refereeing generally (and bad referees, but I don't think we have to many of them, do we?).
Also it happens much less than you think - most final actions are extending, and stop hits in time don't happen that much (at least to me), except when they are really obvious...
8 rarely happens in foil. A hit made after a fleche is still valid in foil, provided you haven't crossed your feet repeatedly.

Fencers can't/shouldn't referee! (unless they are ALSO referees)...

ChubbyHubby
-23rd December 2004, 14:59
Originally posted by John Rohde
Two points worth noting - but hardly ever noted by presidents - are:
"II. VALIDITY OR PRIORITY OF THE HIT"
"4. Actions, simple or compound, steps or feints which are executed with a bent arm, are not considered as attacks but as preparations, laying themselves open to the
initiation of the offensive or defensive/offensive action of the opponent (cf. t.8)."
and
"8. Continuous steps forward, with the legs crossing one another, constitute a preparation and on this preparation any simple attack has priority."

If both these rules regularly were applied, most of the faults of modern foil fencing would disappear IMHO.

Well, actually they are regularly applied. Come forward with a bent arm at isn't extending at all at any open and you will get done for it.

You seem to be equating "bent arm" with "slowly extending arm that isn't straight yet". The situations above are relating to attacks with slowly extending arm.

Also, how often have you seen an experience fencer do marching attacks with legs crossing? A successful marching attack relies on small fast steps with a slowly extending arm, so you can finish the attack as soon as the distance is correct or the counter attack starts.

John Rohde
-23rd December 2004, 15:06
4. tends to be interpreted as bent = bending not straightening rather than, bent = not straight which was the traditional and more obvious interpretation IMHO.
8. Repeatedly is, surely, any more than once.
BTW if the fleche was interpreted more strictly - can't find the definition in the rules at present - it might help.

gbm
-23rd December 2004, 15:34
Originally posted by John Rohde
4. tends to be interpreted as bent = bending not straightening rather than, bent = not straight which was the traditional and more obvious interpretation IMHO.
8. Repeatedly is, surely, any more than once.
BTW if the fleche was interpreted more strictly - can't find the definition in the rules at present - it might help.

Without meaning to come across too harshly,
"bent = not straight" is wrong, and no.

The rules (apparently) used to say you needed a straight arm. I believe this was a LONG time ago. If you really want to make foil like the worst kind of epee (at least on electrics), do this. Requiring a straight arm makes simultaneous actions far too easy, makes flowing disengages impossible, and basically would almost stop the fencers moving. At best. This interpretation (requires a straight arm) is just plain wrong. If you perform a complete action such as a sweep for the blade with a a bent arm, then you can be successfully attacked (attack incorrect, attack good), but if your arm is extending, then the opponent better do something again.

And as for imposing sabre-style footwork requirements on foil, it would simply be confusing and pointless. In foil, fencers do not advance by cross-stepping. They do attack by fleche, but they do not make continuous crossings of the feet (in general). If they fleche and miss, they will generally either pass each other or occassionally the fencing will degrade into a jabbing match, but the fencers will then have stopped, and so still not be making continuous crossings.

A fleche, after all, is only one crossing (or two with a stop, but that's still not really continuous).

ChubbyHubby
-23rd December 2004, 19:20
Originally posted by John Rohde
4. tends to be interpreted as bent = bending not straightening rather than, bent = not straight which was the traditional and more obvious interpretation IMHO../quote]
No, it has never been like that. Otherwise no ROW will work. Fencer A starts a progressive lunge first, extending the arm and lunge. Fencer B sticks arm out straight and lunge after the extention of A starts but before it is straight. How can that be B's attack, however traditional?

The difference may be "traditionally" A's extention has to be more obvious (ie. faster) than it has to be now.[/b]



8. Repeatedly is, surely, any more than once.
BTW if the fleche was interpreted more strictly - can't find the definition in the rules at present - it might help.

Repeatedly, yes, more than once, yes, crossing legs NO.... there 8 does not apply. Marching attacks are not running attacks, therefore nothing to do with fleching.

John Rohde
-24th December 2004, 00:44
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>No, it has never been like that. Otherwise no ROW will work. >Fencer A starts a progressive lunge first, extending the arm and >lunge. Fencer B sticks arm out straight and lunge after the >extention of A starts but before it is straight. How can that be >B's attack, however traditional?

>The difference may be "traditionally" A's extention has to be >more obvious (ie. faster) than it has to be now.[/b]

IIRC my lessons of twenty odd years ago, a fleche or lunge, to be properly executed, was a single action that began with the straightening of the arm and ended with it straight. Any of the older manuals of fencing will illustrate the point., e.g.,
"Attack. The rule states that at foil and sabre the fencer whose arm is first extended *with the point or edge in line* [my emphasis, J.R.] threatening his opponent's target, has the priority to attack." (E. D. Morton, A-Z of Fencing, Queen Anne, 1988).

>Repeatedly, yes, more than once, yes, crossing legs NO.... there >8 does not apply.

8. applies precisely to crossing the legs %-(

>Marching attacks are not running attacks, therefore nothing to >do with fleching.

The modern marching attack - an indefinite number of steps with a never straight but infinitesimally extending arm - differs from its old definition, e.g.
"En Marchant. Stepping forward while simultaneously straightening the sword-arm for an attack. With a simple attack, the arm is extended with blade in line and point threatening the target as the step is taken, then a lunge generally follows. In the case of compound attacks, the step is normally combined with the first feint. The frequency of this sort of attack has greatly declined in recent years, owing to the growing popularity of counter-attacks and beat-attacks into the opponent's offensive actions." (E. D. Morton, A-Z of Fencing, Queen Anne, 1988).
As bent arm feints have been read as attacks, counter-attacks and beat attacks were less of a problem - until the new timings, that is.
Let's hope the box can halt the slurring of the rules that has been disfiguring foil fencing.
Most competitive foilists that I know, recognise that the rules of modern foil are interpreted in a different sense that has evolved in competition over the years.
I see no intrinsic problem in that. The modern interpretations yielded us modern foil; the old interpretations would have kept foil closer to its origins. The new timings are IMHO trying to build the older repertoire into the mechanics (electronics?) of the game rather than launching a purge of the rules' interpretation.

John Rohde
-24th December 2004, 00:55
>Without meaning to come across too harshly,
>"bent = not straight" is wrong, and no.

I'm not sure my middling years require your indulgence ;-)

>The rules (apparently) used to say you needed a straight arm. I >believe this was a LONG time ago. If you really want to make foil >like the worst kind of epee (at least on electrics), do this. >Requiring a straight arm makes simultaneous actions far too >easy, makes flowing disengages impossible, and basically would >almost stop the fencers moving.

I'm not sure Aldo Nadi would have agreed with you.
I'm also not sure how the same thing can both make simultaneous attacks too easy and stop fencers moving.
A straight harm is a lot easier to find and parry than a bent one.
It is a lot harder to fence the old way, that I grant you.

>In foil, fencers do not advance by cross-stepping.

Well I have seen it done ....

randomsabreur
-24th December 2004, 08:45
Good foilists do not advance by cross stepping unless their opponent is either so far out of distance, or so off balance running away that there is no chance of being hit on the preparation while you are mid cross and therefore stranded. Alternatively when 1 hit down and 2 seconds left on clock in final period, or when believe that they are so much better than opponent that can deal with attempted hit on preparation despite being slightly off balance.

In the middle of an attack when opponent is balanced and waiting, I don't think it is such a percentage game.

ChubbyHubby
-24th December 2004, 09:24
Originally posted by John Rohde
- differs from its old definition, e.g.
"En Marchant. Stepping forward while simultaneously straightening the sword-arm for an attack. With a simple attack, the arm is extended with blade in line and point threatening the target as the step is taken, then a lunge generally follows.

Yes, that is HOW the attack is executed.

But as far as reffing goes the attack STARTS at the point of the INITIAL straightening.

You are quoting from a book of instructions, not the rules.

Nowhere in the rules does it ever stay right of way starts when the arm is completely straight.

The rules have not changed. It is the *rate* of extension recognised that has changed. Your rate of extension has to be higher in the old days. ie. You have to mean it. Where now it is often used to draw the counter attack.


Originally posted by John Rohde
>In foil, fencers do not advance by cross-stepping.

Well I have seen it done ....


Who are the better fencers at your club? Do they cross step often when marching?

John Rohde
-24th December 2004, 11:04
>Yes, that is HOW the attack is executed.
>But as far as reffing goes the attack STARTS at the point of the >INITIAL straightening.

Yes and formerly that action was completed with a straight arm.

>You are quoting from a book of instructions, not the rules.

To illustrate that the interpretation of the rules has changed.

>Nowhere in the rules does it ever stay right of way starts when >the arm is completely straight.

Which makes sense as it is the completed action that is adjudged to *have had* the ROW. We preside in the past tense.
When an action is initiated, one may intend or hope to be adjudged to have had the ROW but that depends on whether that action was successfully and correctly executed.
Not, "Does he/she have the ROW when he/she start the attack?" but, "Did that action have ROW when it was completed." Is the question a President should ask. That removes those logical connundrums behind which modern foil has been hiding to prove that the foil that their forefathers did for decades was impossible.

>The rules have not changed. It is the *rate* of extension >recognised that has changed. Your rate of extension has to be >higher in the old days. ie. You have to mean it. Where now it is >often used to draw the counter attack.

We aren't in disagreement here. That is the nub of the problem.

>Do they cross step often when marching?

It had a vogue among precisely the better foilists. It tended to be accompanied by a tale about the attack being constantly re-newed ... %-(

John Rohde
-24th December 2004, 11:21
IMHO the modern interpretation of the ROW in foil, with airy and unconvincing feints is precisely what recent technical changes are designed to prevent.
The ambiguity of interpretation that means that fencers pay their dues, as the Americans say, and get the advantage of what, in baseball, are called veteran-calls.
That creates a political skill of judging manipulating and presidents as well as rewarding those who put in the time and commitment to sustain the competition circuit.
IIRC I've heard Sergei Golubitsky note the latter phenomenon with the reasonable remark that he suffered by it at the start of his career but he has benefited in its maturity.
I don't say that this is evil or wrong, just that it is the sort of thing that is commonplace in ballroom dancing and less prevalent in 100m sprinting.
Ballroom dancing requires magnificent footwork and immense stamina. It has also acquired a repertoire of stylised, token actions that earn points and involves extensive of working of the judges. The pecking order ensure that the form booknormally holds good until a competitor's "time has come".
The competitive form bears little relationship to the common understanding of laymen.
As Flaschka has been observing on Fencing.net, this sort of enviroment can be stimulating and fascinating for the cognoscenti but is unlikely to hold the attention of viewers or become a sport of mass, recreational participation.

ChubbyHubby
-24th December 2004, 11:32
Originally posted by John Rohde


>Do they cross step often when marching?

It had a vogue among precisely the better foilists. It tended to be accompanied by a tale about the attack being constantly re-newed ... %-(

well, I know the better foilists in your club do not cross step at all when they attack and never have done. Trust me I *know* that for a fact. ;)

And only do so when completely out of distance where there is no chance of getting caught on prep.

John Rohde
-24th December 2004, 12:15
>well, I know the better foilists in your club do not cross step at >all when they attack and never have done. Trust me I *know* >that for a fact.

I was thinking of a certain electronically gifted individual of our mutual aquainatance when I mentioned our better foilists. I *know* for a fact that I was in fights and presided others where a cross-step saunter with invitation was intended as an attack.
I've also both presided and fought in fights where a aeronautical foilist - again, of our mutual aquaintance - "tried it on" (I *know* that is not ultra vires for foil and he and I had a good chuckle about it at the time and afterwards).
Both these chaps are splendid fellows who made no bones about the call going against them.
BTW "trust me" from a foilists - you're having a laugh, surely :-)

gbm
-24th December 2004, 15:47
Do you understand what foilists are doing when they advance slowly with an extending arm?

As you say, ROW is determined after the event. So advancing with an extending arm may or may not lead to a hit with or without ROW.

Consider:
I advance slowly down the piste. I make preparations, I extend. Distance isn't right, so I withdraw my arm and begin to re-extend. If you attack when I am preparing i.e. when I am performing a blade preparation or withdrawing my arm in between extensions, then I will (should) attempt to parry your attack. But this shouldn't happen, since I will take care to ensure that you won't attack at the wrong moment. Instead, I am pressuring you. I am attempting to make you counter-attack.
I advance slowly extending. Withdraw the arm, as you have backed off. I am pushing you to the end of the piste... I extend slowly as I advance - you counter-attack! Now I finish my extension, hitting with as straight an arm as necessary (don't want to run you through!) within a single step lunge and hit. My final extension within the last step-lunge preceded your counter-attack,
I will ONLY attack if either I get into your distance, or you counter-attack in an attempt to get attack-on-prep but misjudge it and attack as I advance extending.

While my steps are really just preparations before the final step lunge, I can always convert a step into an attack should I need to as I am already extending and simply have to lunge, step-lunge or fleche.

gbm
-24th December 2004, 15:54
PS fencers only cross-step forwards because they are lazy. Should a cross-step lead to lack of priority, and the referee actually gave it, the fencer would simply go back to doing it properly with

PPS An important thing to note:
Quite often fencers with little competitive experience (like me) will fence someone. They will see an opening, and attack, and then the referee will give the other fencer the attack! What! they say. They then go on a web forum such as fencing101.net and this one, complain about refereeing, complain about the rules, complain about 'modern interpretations' (been there, seen that), and eventually will realise that it is NOT the referee conning them out of hits - it is the other fencer conning them into counter-attacking by concealing their attack.

PPPS What I do is simply assume an advancing fencer is attacking unless I see otherwise!

ChubbyHubby
-24th December 2004, 17:38
is this gbm seeing sense at last rather than claiming PIL all the time? ;)

John Rohde
-24th December 2004, 23:07
goodbadandme:
>Do you understand what foilists are doing when they advance >slowly with an extending arm?

Yes. I understand that perfectly well. What you decribe is precisely the sort of attack that the modern application of the rules permits. It is radically different from foil as it was formerly fenced. some people like the change others hate it. IMHO the timing changes are intended to punish the modern peek-a-bo style of attacking and bring back the back-and forth exchanges of attacks, parries and ripostes.

>They then go on a web forum such as fencing101.net and this >one, complain about refereeing, complain about the rules, >complain about 'modern interpretations' (been there, seen that)

And, as we have established, they would be right. They have probably been taught according to Crosnier et al and now find that foil has mutated into a different sport.

> and eventually will realise that it is NOT the referee conning >them out of hits

I have never found a president that I believed to be dishonest. I have found a few stand-ins that were negligent or incompetent - but haven't we all?

> - it is the other fencer conning them into counter-attacking by >concealing their attack.

It sounds more like the other fencer conning the president ;-)
The notion of a concealed attack makes a nonsense of the ROW - the whole point of the ROW is that it rewards a threat that forces a defensive reaction from the opponent. Concealing it to invite an offensive reaction is a contrived double suicide!
BTW I see the POL as an island of sanity.

gbm
-25th December 2004, 15:30
Originally posted by John Rohde
> - it is the other fencer conning them into counter-attacking by >concealing their attack.

It sounds more like the other fencer conning the president ;-)

Why? Would you argue that advancing with an extending arm is NOT attacking, because it is - the rules are NOT interpreted to say that, that is what they are actually saying. The FIE makes that clear, if the language sometimes does not.


The notion of a concealed attack makes a nonsense of the ROW - the whole point of the ROW is that it rewards a threat that forces a defensive reaction from the opponent. Concealing it to invite an offensive reaction is a contrived double suicide!

The attack is not 'invisible' - it is simply that fencers make mistakes. More importantly, less experienced fencer like myself will sometimes habitually counter-attack against a slow attack in panic!
It's not the fencer attacking slowly that is at fault - they have made it obvious to the referee that they are attacking after all. Do you think the attacking fencer can show the referee but not the other fencer that they are attacking by some? It is just that the referee will be better at spotting the attack than the inexperienced fencer. When two experienced fencers meet, they still make mistakes, but they can afterwards SEE the mistake they have made. Newer fencers often wind themselves up simply because they cannot see WHY the hit is given against them because they cannot see the other fencer's attack - simply a lack of experience.
This is also why new fencers are not great at refereeing either - simply because they have not acquired the experience to see the START of the attack - they often miss it and only see the result.

Also if a concealed attack goes against the object of ROW because the attack must be shown to the defender, then surely that would mean that if the defender did not see the attack, then it must be the attacker at fault! The idea is ridiculous - if one fencer attacks (within the rules), then if the other fencer fails to see it, it is their mistake, not the attackers.

I suspect that fencers in previous eras did in fact do this - what is coached and what is done has never been the same, and nowadays all we can see from the past when looking back is the coaching. Perhaps some of the oldest members of the forum can say whether or not older fencers drew counter-attacks - somehow I think they probably did.
If you can't draw a counter-attack as a second intention, you are limiting your repetoire.

I have repeatedly stated that I had exactly the same issues only last year, and only through much arguing on this forum and going to a few competitions armed with this knowledge did it become obvious what fencers nowadays at opens were doing to destroy me - I was simply counter-attacking against all of their attacks! Why should they change, when I am making the mistake!
Therefore, without meaning to be rude, how experienced at open-level foil or above are you?

gbm
-25th December 2004, 15:36
PS If you've been doing it for twenty years, then I'll just look silly, but I'm used to that. ;)

gbm
-25th December 2004, 15:54
Originally posted by John Rohde
IMHO the timing changes are intended to punish the modern peek-a-bo style of attacking and bring back the back-and forth exchanges of attacks, parries and ripostes.

Why would back-and-forth exchanges be a good thing? They are not, from a tactical point of view.
If I really go for an attack, then I should hit. If I am parried, I will try to parry, but I will probably fail. Should I succeed, then either the riposte was a bit naff, or it was not intended to hit. If I go for a counter riposte, it will only work if my OPPONENT'S riposte is a genuine one.
Now in theory this could spiral on for ever - with fencers going for the twenty-fifth counter riposte. But it shouldn't, for two reasons. The first reason is simply that if you go for a complex action, and your opponent doesn't do what you expect, you are in big trouble. The more actions you try to perform, the more likely your opponent will do something different.
Sceondly, you can beat an action by going a step forwards OR a step back, and the former is often advantageous.
Suppose I attack. You parry and riposte. So I advance the routine.
Now I attack, allow myself to be parried, parry your riposte and hit. Counter-riposte to me!
Now I try the same thing again - but you perform a compound riposte and deceive my parry! Your hit.
So now, I could advance this again - I could perform two parries after my attack to parry your compound attack. But there are again two problems with this. The first is simply that if you don't take the same parry, I am up a certain creek without a paddle. The second is that it is quite a tricky action, and that there is a good chance that either you will hit me before I parry, or I will attack so short that you will smell a rat and either scarper or hit me quick.
So it is possibly advantageous at this point to instead take a step back. Expecting you to do a compound riposte, I can simply attack, and immediately redouble. Under the rules of ROW, my immediate redouble will take precedence over your compound riposte.
So KISS - complex actions are less preferred than simple ones done well - blade exchanges are not necessarily a good thing.


And, as we have established, they would be right. They have probably been taught according to Crosnier et al and now find that foil has mutated into a different sport.

It got electrified to make it less stylised, less artificial, more 'free' and more realistic - the exact effects of that I don't know since I wasn't around before then...

Also coaching hasn't really changed THAT much (has it?); I suspect that even pupils of Crosnier et al had the same arguments about 'sneaky tricks' when they went to the competitions of their era.

John Rohde
-25th December 2004, 16:34
>The attack is not 'invisible' - it is simply that fencers make >mistakes.

Well that's not quite the same as, "it is the other fencer conning them into counter-attacking by *concealing* their attack." [my emphasis, JR] which is the notion to which I was replying. *Concealing* the threat that is supposed to convince your opponent to attempt a parry or evasion rather than running you through is crazy. Failure to acknowledge or recognise a threat properly made is what the ROW punishes.

>Also if a concealed attack goes against the object of ROW >because the attack must be shown to the defender, then surely >that would mean that if the defender did not see the attack, >then it must be the attacker at fault!

If the attack wasn't seen because it was *concealed* by being disguised as an infinitessimally advancing gesture with the point towards the side or the ceiling, then it would be the attacker's fault, yes.
Not wishing to seem harsh, rude or even condescending ;-), I doubt that experienced fencers are trying to conceal their attacks. The counter-attack comes because the defender is unable to take the blade because the modern interpretation allows the infintessimal extension of a sword arm and a point off at right-angles to constitute an attack. Running out of piste, a counter-attack is a last, desperate expedient. Of course, if both fencers begin, infinitessimally extending their arms, step forward ... which is why the FIE seriously considered banning cross-steps this year. Let sabre be a lesson to you - mend your ways or lose your knee-joints in flunges ;-)

> Why should they change, when I am making the mistake!
Therefore, without meaning to be rude, how experienced at open-level foil or above are you?

They shouldn't change. They aren't cheating. They are fighting to the rules as generally interpreted. That is modern foil that has its own characteristics - the prevalence of the en marchant attack being one of them. It seems, however , that the FIE would like to return to an older style of fencing, so learning to fence with a fully extended arm or atleast accelerating one's attacks might not be a bad policy.

>Therefore, without meaning to be rude, how experienced at >open-level foil or above are you?

Not very experienced at all. I fenced in the Bristol Open in my late twenties and started in again in 2003. I missed the foil this year as I was coming back from Switzerland.
In 2003 I was joint 93rd at Bristol after a disappointing performance in the first round of DE. I did manage a 5:0 against a last 16 of that year in the poule. A series five of crazed, straight-arm fleches left my fellows in bemused amusement at my opponent's expense.
I've been fencing, without a break, for 24 years - though I'm uncomfortably reminded of Frederick the Great's comment about one of his mules....
While allowing me a pleasant reverie and a little self-advertisement, the not that important as I don't doubt that the rules of foil are interpreted as they are. They weren't always interpreted that way and the FIE seems intent on changing the practice if not the theory of the sport to something closer to that older style.

Baldric
-25th December 2004, 18:53
Forgive me for intruding on what appears to be a private battleground, but there appears to be a logical impasse here.

How can a fencer be deemed to be attacking, when the finality of his action is dependent upon the action of his opponent?

Unless I am missing something, GBM's argument is this:

Fencer A commences a forward march. His sword arm extends, then withdraws, then extends again, etc.... ad infinitum (assuming fencer B does not run out of piste)

This may be repeated half a dozen times. At no time does the point come further than (say) 30 degrees off the vertical.

NOW - here's the crucial bit. Fencer B decides on a straight lunge, and hits fencer A smack in the middle of the chest. Fencer A, on seeing fencer B commit to the lunge, brings the arm forward in a flick to the back. This may or may not be a continuation of a previous extension, they have been so rapidy repeated, that only ultra-slo-mo could tell. According to current practice, the ref calls the point for A.

Stop for a minute, and wind back. If fencer B had not lunged, then fencer A would still be bobbing about with the point aimed at the ceiling.

Never mind FIE guidance, local convention, "how it is always done" or anything else. In the SPIRIT of ROW (the pre-eminent need to defend oneself against certain thorasic puncture), the action of FENCER B is the threatening action, not the action of fencer A.

It seems to me logically ridiculous to suggest otherwise.

I should add that this is not an attempt to redefine or re-interpret the rules. There are many better qualified and experienced than I.

I can appreciate that a concealed attack is possible. However, an attack who's very existence depends upon my opponent spearing me in the chest first, seems to me to be an odd way to run a sword fight.

Merry Christmas

Baldric

gbm
-25th December 2004, 19:00
Now your being a bit unfair ;) - you need neither point at the ceiling nor flick. You can do this in a perfectly traditional point-aimed-at-target-lunge kind of way...

All you are doing as you step forward, when you boil it down to tactics, is making repeated FEINTS. These feints are simply what you get if you make an attack and stop halfway through. Should your opponent, during your feint, react by counter-attacking, you simply finish the attack. Sorted.
Whether you complete your action simply depends on how your opponent reacts - if instead of counterattacking, they make a beat attack, you parry and riposte.

Fencing should respond to what the other person is doing after all... if you try to do a counter riposte, but after your feint you find you are 2 inches off their target and they have frozen up - hit 'em!

PS Forget the fact that I ever mentioned the word 'concealed', since I have now decided it is entirely the wrong word. If the attack was truely concealed, then the referee wouldn't see it, would they? :grin:

Baldric
-25th December 2004, 20:02
Originally posted by goodbadandme
[B]Now your being a bit unfair ;) - you need neither point at the ceiling nor flick. You can do this in a perfectly traditional point-aimed-at-target-lunge kind of way...


but marching attacks are often (even usually?) this way




All you are doing as you step forward, when you boil it down to tactics, is making repeated FEINTS.



An interesting point. If you repeat a feint often enough, is it still a feint? Surely for a feint to be effective, there must me a realistic possibility of it developing into an actual attack? If I feint with the same action 100 times, its not a feint, its just the way I walk!




These feints are simply what you get if you make an attack and stop halfway through.



I am not sure that this is right. A feint is a deliberate attempt to deceive an opponent into thinking that an action is going to occur, in order to draw a response.

That is not the same as starting an attack - deciding that distance, timing or line is wrong, and then withdrawing. The latter is an aborted attack, not a feint.




Whether you complete your action simply depends on how your opponent reacts


So - how does this meet the spirit of RoW? You are both dead - and YOU (fencer A) have made the decision that makes this so!



Fencing should respond to what the other person is doing after all...


I thought that whole point of RoW was to decide who had to respond to whom? What you seem to be asking for is the retrospective right to turn the possibility of an action in the actuality of one, and therefore to hold on to RoW unreasonably (or at least, illogically)

gbm
-25th December 2004, 22:16
Originally posted by Baldric
but marching attacks are often (even usually?) this way

Only to create a little extra 'confusion'. The principle is the same either way, provided of course that the attack is valid ie. the point is threatening the target (loosely defined as 'not pointing at the ceiling'), and the arm is extending...


An interesting point. If you repeat a feint often enough, is it still a feint? Surely for a feint to be effective, there must me a realistic possibility of it developing into an actual attack? If I feint with the same action 100 times, its not a feint, its just the way I walk!

To some extent, it is the way fencers walk (or at least advance)...


I am not sure that this is right. A feint is a deliberate attempt to deceive an opponent into thinking that an action is going to occur, in order to draw a response.

The feinting fencer will be equally prepared for the 'defender' to parry (which would allow either a compound attack or a broken-time attack)...
If the defender is going to insist on counterattacking against feints (which some fencers (like me) do!), then the 'correct' thing to do is to simply finish what you started and hit.


That is not the same as starting an attack - deciding that distance, timing or line is wrong, and then withdrawing. The latter is an aborted attack, not a feint.

It COULD be the start of an attack, provided the attack was finished. It is definitely the first part of an attack. So what if it was a sequence of aborted attacks? Obviously each of the aborted attacks was preparation, but only in retrospect. The point is, the only one that matters is the final one, and that isn't aborted...


So - how does this meet the spirit of RoW? You are both dead - and YOU (fencer A) have made the decision that makes this so!

ROW says 'you made the mistake, so it's your turn to play dead'. When you look at the complete action, one fencer begins to extend, the other counter-attacks, both hit. Simple.
ROW overlooks the mutual suicide part - this is key to ROW as a training tool.

Sure, fencer A's actions may not seem logical in terms of life and death, but under the idea of ROW, they have presented their attack, and the opponent has mistakenly counterattacked. They should then continue with their attack to actually get what is then their hit...


I thought that whole point of RoW was to decide who had to respond to whom? What you seem to be asking for is the retrospective right to turn the possibility of an action in the actuality of one, and therefore to hold on to RoW unreasonably (or at least, illogically)

All that means is that you can turn the GENUINE start of an action (point threatening target, arm extending) either into a GENIUNE attack, or you can abort. And you can decide which one based on the reaction of your opponent to the start of your action.

Consider this from a coaching point of view. You have a pupil. Now you teach him to attack. He goes and does a bit of free play. Now you notice that the other fencers are counter-attacking against him. But he is aborting his attack and trying to parry the counter-attacks. Under the rules of ROW, he is perfectly entitled to continue his attack - his opponent's counter-attack is meaningless except to say 'your attack better not miss'! So you should in fact teach your fencer to ignore the counterattack and continue with the attack.

Robert
-25th December 2004, 22:32
Originally posted by Baldric
Fencer A commences a forward march. His sword arm extends, then withdraws, then extends again, etc.... ad infinitum (assuming fencer B does not run out of piste)

This may be repeated half a dozen times. At no time does the point come further than (say) 30 degrees off the vertical.

NOW - here's the crucial bit. Fencer B decides on a straight lunge, and hits fencer A smack in the middle of the chest. Fencer A, on seeing fencer B commit to the lunge, brings the arm forward in a flick to the back. This may or may not be a continuation of a previous extension, they have been so rapidy repeated, that only ultra-slo-mo could tell. According to current practice, the ref calls the point for A.

I think what you first describe is certainly how it was called 12 months or more ago in the UK opens. But it is changing in the interpretation.

What has basicly changed is this

Old interpretation (GBM here, Bill Oliver infamously) gave the benefit of the doubt to the person advancing, and measured threat by the intent to finish (often as you point out with a flick). Thus attacks into the preparation were very risky (i.e had to be good), encouraging the attacker to keep his blade further back (since they weren't penalised and its a lot harder to take a blade).

GBM is being deeply unfair to suggest this interpretation is somehow more correct or closer to the rules than any other. It was simply that was the way it was called.

There has been a strong backlash against this (encouraged by the FIE). Now a much more committed threat is expected of the attacker, and attack in prep is often given. In particular presidents now place far greater emphasis on hand extension than forward movement, and they are more likely to give benefit of the doubt to the counter if you do an unecessary feint (from the elbow). This shift was already happening before the timing changes.

Now things are a bit up in the air (and you can get presidents calling either way) but the trend at the moment is more towards what JR and Baldric expect and away from GBM is describing. Not that there aren't some counter-intuitive things (the slow extension still works with a step lunge and the blade in a lowish line pointing at the target) of that this new interpretation has any more claim to be a true interpretation of the rules.

And to re-iterate that last point. Bill Oliver (head of the US referees) believes an interpretation even more extreme than GBM is outlining, and Golubitsky (three time world champion) has made most of the same criticisms as JR and Baldric raised above. There is no side which has a monopoly on all the qualified opinions.

Robert

gbm
-25th December 2004, 22:43
Hang on a minute - all I said that if you are advancing with your arm extending and your point threatening the target, then if you then lunge and hit (because for instance your opponent began extending after you had begun extending), then it is your attack!

That is miles away from saying that a fencer who is advancing ALWAYS has ROW... in any advance there will be times when the fencer is withdrawing their arm (and thus preparing), they can't keep extending indefinitely after all!
I think Bill Oliver even went as far as to say that you kept ROW EVEN IF YOU BENT YOUR ARM in a 'marching attack' provided that your final action began no later than one period of fencing time after your opponent's stop hit, which is complete rubbish, and shows a rather shocking level of confusion (with a stop hit against a compound attack) for an FIE referee, let alone head of the US referee's thingymabob. If an opponent performs a complete action with a non-extending (i.e. bent) arm, or withdraws their arm, they obviously lose ROW, and can for that brief moment be attacked, and that hit does NOT have to precede any final action from the original attacker, since it is now the DEFENDER who is attacking (the classic 'attack on preparation').

gbm
-25th December 2004, 22:51
PS Golubitsky's complaints were not about simple attack-counterattack scenarios. They were about fencers advancing and 'pretending' to have ROW. Logically, if they don't have ROW, then they are either not threatening target (quite tricky given the limits the FIE puts on that!), or they are simply not extending.
This is simply because referees WERE giving advancing fencers ROW ALL the time, instead of MOST of the time. The few opportunities that do exist for attacks on preparation were simply not being seen by the referees even if the fencers were getting them right.

It is simply difficult to attack on preparation a fencer who is advancing for the simple reason they are attacking (if I am allowed to use the word 'attacking' for 'somebody who is doing everything required to qualify as an attack and simply needs to hit to get a point') for a greater percentage of time than they are not attacking!