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AMC
-19th December 2005, 15:15
What are the rules concerning this.
I saw at the cadet Winton a fencer ask a SW referee to get the opponent to stop covering the target with the head. The Referee said it was not against the rules and the fight continued. I know some people would say just one hard hit across the back of the head would sort out the problem, however this is not the way forward, and if it is against the rules is the fencers allowed to ask for a HEAD judge before the bout starts?

rpryer
-19th December 2005, 15:47
It is against the rules - it is covering the target in the same way as using the non-sword arm.

There have been a few discussions on this - try searching for Ducking.

kalivor
-19th December 2005, 16:22
Originally posted by AMC
What are the rules concerning this.
I saw at the cadet Winton a fencer ask a SW referee to get the opponent to stop covering the target with the head. The Referee said it was not against the rules and the fight continued. I know some people would say just one hard hit across the back of the head would sort out the problem, however this is not the way forward, and if it is against the rules is the fencers allowed to ask for a HEAD judge before the bout starts?
A "hand judge" is really a side judge, and they are supposed to watch for a number of infractions, one of which is covering target (regardless of what part of the body the fencer uses to cover target).

So, yes. Though I suspect calling them "head judges" would cause some confusion.

pinkelephant
-20th December 2005, 10:38
They are called assesseurs. The difficulty at the Cadet Winton is finding neutral ones.

The referee who said it was not against the rules should have been asked to call the DT.

I carded at least one fencer for dropping the head, as well as several for covering with the back arm, one for not having a spare body wire, one for refusal to obey the referee, and made one change her lame as it was so short she must have had hip bones somewhere near her armpits. Didn't need to exercise the card in the BACK pocket though!

John Rohde
-20th December 2005, 14:43
Originally posted by pinkelephant
I carded at least one fencer for dropping the head, as well as several for covering with the back arm, one for not having a spare body wire, one for refusal to obey the referee, and made one change her lame as it was so short she must have had hip bones somewhere near her armpits.

Sound like a job well done.
Micro-lamιs are a bete noir of mine - being more outhouse than obelisk in architectural form :-)

Winwaloe
-9th January 2006, 09:23
There was quite a lot on this on a previous posting. The best response being to the effect that find out what the ref will let you get away with and then go to the limit. There seems to be more and more "gamesmanship" coming in to fencing with some fencers relying more on diversion and distraction than an ability to fence.

WFFC Coach
-10th January 2006, 22:16
I carded at least one fencer for dropping the head

I've seen fencers drop their weapons, masks, etc but I've never seen one drop their head!! Did it bounce?


Sorry, its late & I'm tired. I must go to bed!

pinkelephant
-11th January 2006, 07:33
OK - I'll be more careful in future!

John Rohde
-11th January 2006, 14:47
From what I saw of the DVD of the Men's Team Foil Final, refereeing in general is lot more strict and a lot more orthodox than what we might be used to. It warmed my heart to see :-)

Aoife
-17th January 2006, 02:11
:confused: How do you cover target with your head then? I'm confused. Surely ducking your forhead forward (so as you look at the ground) is just silly? Lord know what it does to balance, let alone the fact that you stop looking at your opponant?

John Rohde
-17th January 2006, 03:39
Originally posted by Aoife
:confused: How do you cover target with your head then? I'm confused. Surely ducking your forhead forward (so as you look at the ground) is just silly? Lord know what it does to balance, let alone the fact that you stop looking at your opponant?
It's done at the last minute and often accompanies bending double at the waist . The mask's mesh parries and deflects the point into the vacancy where the body used to be. The tactic wasn't as much used in the era of the flick, because attacks were less off aimed at the chest than is the case now.
The important thing to bear in mind is that it is done at the very last minute, with the head thrown down and forward so the loss of vision in a sort of lunge, so vision isn't a problem and the loss of balance is irrelevent: The counter-attack is already on its way. It's a monstrous offspring of the rassemblement by passatto-sotto and entirely illegal - as a face-parry should be expected to be.
The windscreen-wiper swordarm and the banjo-playing free hand are optional accompaniments to the undignified and unedifying performance.
If you see it: card it!

Aoife
-17th January 2006, 22:32
So it's a sort of less graceful duck then?

I've not come across it before. How very odd. I would have though something like, say, a parry would be a better defense from an attack to the chest in foil. :rolleyes:

Tubby
-18th January 2006, 00:11
When you see the parry with the head it is obvious what has happened or the head is so far forward that all the opponent sees of the target are the shoulders.

Somewhere posted on the forum was a link to some footage of a MF final or semi where one of the fencers was given a hit against by an assesseur for covering with the head.

John Rohde
-18th January 2006, 08:22
Originally posted by Aoife
So it's a sort of less graceful duck then?

I've not come across it before. How very odd. I would have though something like, say, a parry would be a better defense from an attack to the chest in foil. :rolleyes:

As a rule, yes. Done early/ineptly the trick still exposes enough target to hit on the top of the shoulder. Done proficiently, thing mask can be aimed at the blade at the very last moment and it is nearly impossible to find the target by even the most adroit angulation.
It's possible to provoke the dip early and hit the top of the shoulder or behind the arm.
It's no more legal than using the free hand to stall or stop the blade. Referees just have to punish it. Putting the upper arm and mask on-target would reduce the use of the trick and IMHO the efficiency of referees in punishing substitution will be a factor in the adoption or rejection of those changes. FWIW I prefer the kit to stop cheating rather then the ref.

gbm
-18th January 2006, 08:35
Originally posted by Aoife
So it's a sort of less graceful duck then?

I've not come across it before. How very odd. I would have though something like, say, a parry would be a better defense from an attack to the chest in foil. :rolleyes:

The advantage of such a counterattack is that you can stick your arm out straight away... with a parry, you need the blade for the parrying first.

Aoife
-18th January 2006, 22:47
The advantage of such a counterattack is that you can stick your arm out straight away... with a parry, you need the blade for the parrying first.

But unless they're attacking you with a bent arm, they have priority anyway. Doesn't matter if you stick your arm out, if their tip catches on your 'mask parry' their off-target should overule right?

Slightly off topic- Do referees often give points for covered target hits? I've never seen it in competition, even though I've seen a lot of covered target preventing what would otherwise be valid hits. I occasionally award hits when reffing at clubs, and some people have said it's a bit harsh (I always warn first, and even then only do it with experianced fencers, because I recognise that new fencers sometimes have that 'panic relfex' of shoving their back arm over their body). So- does it often get called up at 'proper' competitions? Ta.

John Rohde
-18th January 2006, 23:53
Originally posted by Aoife
But unless they're attacking you with a bent arm, they have priority anyway. Doesn't matter if you stick your arm out, if their tip catches on your 'mask parry' their off-target should overule right?
It's done by the defender but she/he doesn't need to find the blade as they normally would, because their head is doing the parrying for them. So, in effect, it's a time hit, because your attack will be deflected by their mask.
Because they are defending by bending at the waist and using their mask, they can just stick their blade out for the counter without bothering to parry with it.

pinkelephant
-19th January 2006, 05:56
Originally posted by Aoife
But unless they're attacking you with a bent arm, they have priority anyway. Doesn't matter if you stick your arm out, if their tip catches on your 'mask parry' their off-target should overule right?

Slightly off topic- Do referees often give points for covered target hits? I've never seen it in competition, even though I've seen a lot of covered target preventing what would otherwise be valid hits. I occasionally award hits when reffing at clubs, and some people have said it's a bit harsh (I always warn first, and even then only do it with experianced fencers, because I recognise that new fencers sometimes have that 'panic relfex' of shoving their back arm over their body). So- does it often get called up at 'proper' competitions? Ta.

It depends how "proper" the competition is. If you have "proper" referees instead of the fencers' mates (i.e. the rest of the pool), then YES.

The inexperienced fencers SHOULD ALWAYS be cardedd for it in the club - it is the only way to train them out of what I agree is a panic reflex. Also, if you don't penalise the fencer at fault you are effectively penalising the opponent as their shot selection is restricted.

gbm
-19th January 2006, 11:49
Originally posted by Aoife
But unless they're attacking you with a bent arm, they have priority anyway. Doesn't matter if you stick your arm out, if their tip catches on your 'mask parry' their off-target should overule right?

Have you tried to hit the mask on new timings? It's hard enough trying deliberately, let alone when someone throws it in the way of something else...
A fencer aiming for the chest will follow the 'curl' of the fencer curling up around and find the target disappearing rapidly. It's not a matter of just sticking your arm out and seeing where it goes, if the target you are trying to hit disappears there is a very good chance you won't hit anything.

The aim is one light.

Aoife
-21st January 2006, 00:27
The inexperienced fencers SHOULD ALWAYS be cardedd for it in the club

I tend not to card, just remind them when they do it, and explain to them what could happen. Only if they persist will I card them.


Have you tried to hit the mask on new timings?

Sadly, I seem to get an offtarget on the mask about once I fight (even with new timings). Perhaps I should be considering it a skill, not a flaw :)



So... still slightly off-topic, what happens about those people who have a stance which is curled up all the time? Because I've always thought of it as covering target (you know the one; shoulders hunched forwards, back arm hovering uncomfortably near the target, and back curled so as the stomach is pulled in). Though as it appear to be the way some people fence, I've never seen it questioned by a ref.

Magic Dr.Shoon
-19th February 2006, 00:43
Something I've often questioned, what do you do if you see this happening? I have been told that if you attack and hit the opponents non-sword hand while it is covering the target, you call substitution of target and award the point.

I hope that this isn't true, as i tend to aim at a target i can see, and if there is very little i can see it obviosly reduces my chances of hitting. Pluss the fact that if with the new timings hitting the mask doesn't set off the off-target light, it would be unfair to say the least.

I think if you see the target being deliberatley covered up, and it is obvious when people do this, you can give them a warning or card them.

J_D
-21st February 2006, 08:04
Would it be legitamate to dive over an opponent, hitting before you pass them to land on the far side?

ChubbyHubby
-21st February 2006, 08:39
Originally posted by J_D
Would it be legitamate to dive over an opponent, hitting before you pass them to land on the far side?

Only if they are *very* height challenged ;)

J_D
-21st February 2006, 08:59
You might be suprised, I was a gymnast in my younger days!

AMC
-22nd February 2006, 15:37
Originally posted by Boo Boo
Almost a caption competition here... http://www.wimbledonfencingclub.org...s_Jo.jpg&page=3

"Me? Ducking and Displacing target? No!!!"

Boo Boo
-22nd February 2006, 15:48
Originally posted by AMC
Originally posted by Boo Boo
Almost a caption competition here... http://www.wimbledonfencingclub.org...s_Jo.jpg&page=3

"Me? Ducking and Displacing target? No!!!"

To fix your link - http://www.wimbledonfencingclub.org.uk/photos/index.php?folder=2006-02-18_Hampshire_Open&photo=150_Dawn_vs_Jo.jpg&page=3 ;)

Winwaloe
-7th March 2006, 13:46
There is an issue with how this is presided. Some refs will card a the slightest nod of the head (and I do mean slightest) and some will only card when the chin is on the chest for the nth time. It appears all rather subjective so no real change there. Equally, it is quite in order to "duck" from the waist, a sort of downward "bob" that displaces the target but does not cover it.

What slightly amuses me is that I have seen a ref handing out cards for the slightest of head nods (not to one of my fencers) whilst completely oblivious to the most blatant covering with the non sword arm. Still I suppose in the refing world the arm is not trendy!

John Rohde
-7th March 2006, 14:03
Originally posted by Winwaloe
There is an issue with how this is presided. Some refs will card a the slightest nod of the head (and I do mean slightest) and some will only card when the chin is on the chest for the nth time. It appears all rather subjective so no real change there. Equally, it is quite in order to "duck" from the waist, a sort of downward "bob" that displaces the target but does not cover it.

If it was done as a rassemblement it would be ok but then the torso is in effect withdrawn by the feet being drawn back.
If it's just a straightforward, deep bow from the waist it surely has to be both substitution of non-valid head for valid torso target and also a potential hazard by exposing the back of the head?

John Rohde
-7th March 2006, 14:04
Originally posted by Boo Boo
To fix your link - http://www.wimbledonfencingclub.org.uk/photos/index.php?folder=2006-02-18_Hampshire_Open&photo=150_Dawn_vs_Jo.jpg&page=3 ;)
FWIW I'd card the ducker for exposing the back of the head.

kalivor
-7th March 2006, 14:15
Originally posted by John Rohde
FWIW I'd card the ducker for exposing the back of the head.
... that isn't a penalty ....

Boo Boo
-7th March 2006, 14:29
Originally posted by John Rohde
FWIW I'd card the ducker for exposing the back of the head.

And she might have something to say about being mistaken for a man... ;)

rory
-7th March 2006, 14:42
Originally posted by kalivor
... that isn't a penalty ....

No, but penalties are available for dangerous fencing, abnormal position and covering target.

kalivor
-7th March 2006, 14:51
Originally posted by rory
No, but penalties are available for dangerous fencing, abnormal position and covering target.
I see nothing in the photo to suggest dangerous fencing or an abnormal position -- it looks like an attack or counterattack with a bit of a duck, which is entirely within the rules. She is covering target with her mask, but that was not the suggested infraction.

rory
-7th March 2006, 15:00
Ducking, which is explicitly allowed by the rules, constitutes deeply bending the knees whilst keeping the torso more-or-less upright.

Bowing at the waist as in the picture is
not ducking. It exposes an area of the head which should not be exposed for safety reasons - hence "dangerous".

And, as was recently discussed on the American forum, if I'm the referee then I get to define what an abnormal fencing position is, and you get to listen or be carded for refusal to obey :)

kalivor
-7th March 2006, 15:35
Originally posted by rory
Ducking, which is explicitly allowed by the rules, constitutes deeply bending the knees whilst keeping the torso more-or-less upright.

Bowing at the waist as in the picture is
not ducking. It exposes an area of the head which should not be exposed for safety reasons - hence "dangerous".

And, as was recently discussed on the American forum, if I'm the referee then I get to define what an abnormal fencing position is, and you get to listen or be carded for refusal to obey :)
1. "Dangerous"

This is part of "Dangerous, violent or vindictive action, blow with guard or pommel." Read in context, it is clearly a penalty for performing an action that puts one's opponent in danger. It does not apply here.

2. "Abnormal"

You are correct -- the referee has discretion on what is and is not an "abnormal" position. I would suggest a referee who feels that leaning forward during an attack or counterattack is abnormal is not a competent referee. Incompetent referees tend to make a lot of strange calls, and one cannot argue them if they are statements of fact. (Such as "that was an abnormal position", or "attack is from the right".)

rory
-7th March 2006, 15:46
Originally posted by kalivor
1. "Dangerous"

This is part of "Dangerous, violent or vindictive action, blow with guard or pommel." Read in context, it is clearly a penalty for performing an action that puts one's opponent in danger. It does not apply here.

"In context"? Is that like "the spirit of the law"? Danger is danger. The rules don't specify to whom the danger applies. The referee has a responsibility to ensure the safety of the fencers.



2. "Abnormal"

You are correct -- the referee has discretion on what is and is not an "abnormal" position. I would suggest a referee who feels that leaning forward during an attack or counterattack is abnormal is not a competent referee. Incompetent referees tend to make a lot of strange calls, and one cannot argue them if they are statements of fact. (Such as "that was an abnormal position", or "attack is from the right".)

If I'm reading that right, it's a personal attack. I don't appreciate it, and if you feel like repeating it in future you can either 1) shut the hell up or 2) keep it to private messages, where I'll be more than happy to engage in a flamewar if you're so inclined: but I'm not going to rise to trolling on the public board.

If you can find me a qualified (ie internationally) referee who will call the action depicted in that photo a "normal" fencing action then I will be impressed.

John Rohde
-7th March 2006, 16:07
Originally posted by kalivor
2. "Abnormal"
You are correct -- the referee has discretion on what is and is not an "abnormal" position. I would suggest a referee who feels that leaning forward during an attack or counterattack is abnormal is not a competent referee. Incompetent referees tend to make a lot of strange calls, and one cannot argue them if they are statements of fact. (Such as "that was an abnormal position", or "attack is from the right".)

It's yellow cardable under:
Covering / substitution of valid target (*)………………………. t.22, t.49, t.72
and
Irregular movements on the piste (*); hits made with violence or while falling (*) …………………………………………………….….t.87
because, as Rory has pointed out, bowing at the waist, as distinct from bending at the knees (ducking in the proper sense) or a rassemblement, is not an irregular fencing movement.
It's red cardable under:
Dangerous, violent or vindictive action,
blow with the guard or pommel (*) ………………………………………t.87

If a card isn't given, the referee can either allow the bout to continue in a dangerous fashion or call halt without penalty, thus often rewarding the fencer creating the danger. I don't doubt there would be somebody willing to turn or duck their head to save a point. I've known fencers arrest the progress of a foil blade with their free index-finger without consideration of pain. One need only think of the vogue for falling over.
If I don't penalise it, then the other fencer can either hold up and suffer a disadvantage or shove the point into a mess of mask, back-strap, clip, lamι collar and jacket collar, in the immediate vicinity of jugular, base of the skull, spine, etc. with an excellent possibility of trapping their blade. They will then either get a valid hit or if they land non-valid, get a point for substitution and irregular movement.
So, if it pleases you, you can call the DT and argue the toss and I'll just say that I was describing the particular type of irregular movement I was carding.
Yes there are a lot of bad referees about and a some very silly fencers as well.

John Rohde
-7th March 2006, 16:09
Originally posted by Boo Boo
And she might have something to say about being mistaken for a man... ;)

Should I have said the duckette? Surely not?
I'd hate to think I had been ungallant :-(

kalivor
-7th March 2006, 16:24
Originally posted by rory
"In context"? Is that like "the spirit of the law"? Danger is danger. The rules don't specify to whom the danger applies. The referee has a responsibility to ensure the safety of the fencers.
No, I mean that rules have a context to them. This rule (which is a group two offense), is clearly about causing danger to the other fencer. Were that not the case, then clearly turning the back (wherein the back of the head is also exposed, and far more easily hit) would be a group two offense as a dangerous action, and wouldn't be listed as a separate offense.

"In context" means that you don't remove a portion of a sentence (in this case one word), but instead look at the entire rule when deciding if it applies to a certain situation. In this situation, we clearly have a set of situations in which a fencer could cause his or her opponent harm.


If I'm reading that right, it's a personal attack. I don't appreciate it, and if you feel like repeating it in future you can either 1) shut the hell up or 2) keep it to private messages, where I'll be more than happy to engage in a flamewar if you're so inclined: but I'm not going to rise to trolling on the public board.
I apologise, then, because there was no offense meant. My point was that a referee's right to make a call "the way they see it" does not necessarily mean that it's the *correct* call ... quite frankly, if you are sufficiently obsessed with fencing to monitor this forum, I suspect that I'd agree with 90-95% of the calls you would make.


If you can find me a qualified (ie internationally) referee who will call the action depicted in that photo a "normal" fencing action then I will be impressed.
Which part is normal? The lowered head that's covering target would get called as "covering target" (in foil) by any qualified referee that I know. I'd be very surprised to find one who would card it as "abnormal".

The lean forward is certainly not abnormal, and you can see many such actions (though with the head remaining up) by going to www.fencingphotos.com and checking out the bronze medal bout in WF from the Athens Olympics. You'll have to trust me that these actions weren't penalised. The bend forward at the waist is not unusual.

The problem occurs when the head is lowered, at which point the fencer is covering target, and should be penalised as such. This is only a problem at foil, however ... you can check out the men's epee photos from the Olympics (from the same site), to see many pictures of epee fencers leaning forward with their head just above their knees, and not always keeping their heads up.

kalivor
-7th March 2006, 16:40
Originally posted by John Rohde
It's yellow cardable under:
Covering / substitution of valid target (*)………………………. t.22, t.49, t.72
Agreed.


and
Irregular movements on the piste (*); hits made with violence or while falling (*) …………………………………………………….….t.87
because, as Rory has pointed out, bowing at the waist, as distinct from bending at the knees (ducking in the proper sense) or a rassemblement, is not an irregular fencing movement.
Disagreed. Fencers are permitted to bend at the waist -- bending at the waist does not make an action "abnormal", and high level fencers bend at the waist all the time.

This "waist-bend" thing just doesn't make sense. Whether I bend at my knees or my waist is unimportant -- it's what my neck and head are doing in this instance which determine whether or not I should be penalised.

Not to mention that "ducking" is not defined in the rules as such -- no mention of knees or waists, only that ducking is allowed. Not that I don't agree that they mean to unquestionably allow the passa sotto, just that the argument for the "dangerous action" ignores the context in which "dangerous" is placed, so I thought I might do the same thing here.

It's red cardable under:
Dangerous, violent or vindictive action,
blow with the guard or pommel (*) ………………………………………t.87

If a card isn't given, the referee can either allow the bout to continue in a dangerous fashion or call halt without penalty, thus often rewarding the fencer creating the danger. I don't doubt there would be somebody willing to turn or duck their head to save a point. I've known fencers arrest the progress of a foil blade with their free index-finger without consideration of pain. One need only think of the vogue for falling over.
Disagreed -- as you point out, fencers do all sorts of silly things -- such as parrying with the back hand (ouch!), or placing it in front of target to be hit (ouch!), or falling down.

The first two of those, however, are specified as penalties -- parrying with the off hand, and covering target.

Would you penalise someone with a group two penalty for having their back hand in front of their body (and getting it hit) in epee? Would you penalise someone with a group two penalty for falling down?

Why not? If these are "dangerous" actions, then they should be penalised as such, right?

This penalty is there for actions which are dangerous to the fencer's opponent.

Boo Boo
-7th March 2006, 22:20
Originally posted by John Rohde
Should I have said the duckette? Surely not?
I'd hate to think I had been ungallant :-(

Sorry, am going insane - could have sworn that your original post said "the back of his said"... maybe am overdue for an appointment with the optician (or the psychiatrist!) :upset:

Boo

Boo Boo
-7th March 2006, 22:20
Originally posted by John Rohde
Should I have said the duckette? Surely not?
I'd hate to think I had been ungallant :-(

Sorry, am going insane - could have sworn that your original post said "the back of his said"... maybe am overdue for an appointment with the optician (or the psychiatrist!) :upset:

Boo

John Rohde
-8th March 2006, 11:58
Originally posted by kalivor
No, I mean that rules have a context to them. This rule (which is a group two offense), is clearly about causing danger to the other fencer. Were that not the case, then clearly turning the back (wherein the back of the head is also exposed, and far more easily hit) would be a group two offense as a dangerous action, and wouldn't be listed as a separate offense.

No. In the quaint days when the rules were formulated, no one would have dreamt of hitting an opponent in the back: It was a taboo. If you watch adventure films from the 1930's, of the Bulldog Drummond type, you'll see that when the villain walks through the door, he is always tapped on the shoulder so he'll turn around and face the hero before being knocked on the head or punched on the jaw. An ambuscade was fine but hitting a chap in the back was simply craven.
I'm just about old enough to remember the connotation of back-stabbing.

pinkelephant
-8th March 2006, 12:08
The rule about turning is relatively recent, and was formulated as a safety measure because of the exposure of the back of the head. The "dangerous" rule is to protect the OPPONENT.

Gav
-8th March 2006, 12:22
PE: I'm not sure what you mean by opponent; do you mean the person exposing their back, or the guy fencing him?

kalivor
-8th March 2006, 12:26
Originally posted by pinkelephant
The rule about turning is relatively recent, and was formulated as a safety measure because of the exposure of the back of the head.
Are you sure about this ... we Canadian referees are told specifically (via our refereeing handbook) that if a fencer turns their head only, it's not a penalty ... surely this wouldn't be the case if the rule were there to protect the back of the head.

ChubbyHubby
-8th March 2006, 12:36
Originally posted by kalivor
Are you sure about this ... we Canadian referees are told specifically (via our refereeing handbook) that if a fencer turns their head only, it's not a penalty ... surely this wouldn't be the case if the rule were there to protect the back of the head.

Fair play to the fencer if they can turn their heads more than 90 degrees without turning their back too!

You'd need an excorist not a ref! :grin:

kalivor
-8th March 2006, 12:45
Originally posted by ChubbyHubby
Fair play to the fencer if they can turn their heads more than 90 degrees without turning their back too!

You'd need an excorist not a ref! :grin:
Well, imagine that the fencer DOES turn their shoulders, but not so much as to be turning their back to their opponent. From there, the head keeps going (presumably to look at the box).

I can imagine having a fencer not turning their back, while turning the back of their head to me. But perhaps Canadians just have very fleixble necks?

:transport

John Rohde
-8th March 2006, 12:48
Originally posted by kalivor
Agreed.


Disagreed. Fencers are permitted to bend at the waist -- bending at the waist does not make an action "abnormal", and high level fencers bend at the waist all the time.

This "waist-bend" thing just doesn't make sense. Whether I bend at my knees or my waist is unimportant -- it's what my neck and head are doing in this instance which determine whether or not I should be penalised.

Not to mention that "ducking" is not defined in the rules as such -- no mention of knees or waists, only that ducking is allowed. Not that I don't agree that they mean to unquestionably allow the passa sotto, just that the argument for the "dangerous action" ignores the context in which "dangerous" is placed, so I thought I might do the same thing here.

Disagreed -- as you point out, fencers do all sorts of silly things -- such as parrying with the back hand (ouch!), or placing it in front of target to be hit (ouch!), or falling down.

The first two of those, however, are specified as penalties -- parrying with the off hand, and covering target.

Would you penalise someone with a group two penalty for having their back hand in front of their body (and getting it hit) in epee? Would you penalise someone with a group two penalty for falling down?

Why not? If these are "dangerous" actions, then they should be penalised as such, right?

This penalty is there for actions which are dangerous to the fencer's opponent.
Bending at the waist isn't an offence: an abnormal movement and dangerous fencing are. What constitutes either is up to the referee. Exposing the back of one's head, the bare neck, the spine, the potential blade traps of the back of the mask, the clib and the neck of lamι and jacket, evidently is a danger and it would be entirely unfair to expose one's opponent to a considerable risk of inflicting a killing or crippling wound. Some of us are a bit squeamish about that responsibility. Danger is a matter of concern at both ends of the action.
If you haven't worked how this form of cheating is done , it's quite simple: Either the blade is parried late with the front of the mask and deflected at an angle that cannot find the horizontal torso; or the target is reduced to largely non-valid areas by bending early. The example in the photograph is of the latter sort and I'm sure, the result of ignorance but there are those who've made an art of it.
If an epιeist *parried* with his back hand - and I've seen it done - I would card him. If he was hit on the hand it would hurt which is a sort of a deterrent in itself. Dangerous doesn't mean painful.
This is all commonsense but when did that ever stop a fencer arguing the toss. Coaches teach these facile tricks as a faster route to middling success than technique, fitness, judgement and nerve. It's the job of referees to make sure that it isn't their ignorance that rewards this nonsense.

pinkelephant
-8th March 2006, 12:50
Originally posted by kalivor
Are you sure about this ... we Canadian referees are told specifically (via our refereeing handbook) that if a fencer turns their head only, it's not a penalty ... surely this wouldn't be the case if the rule were there to protect the back of the head.

As with many FIE rules - the original intention is not the way it has turned out due to poor drafting!

John Rohde
-8th March 2006, 12:56
Originally posted by pinkelephant
The rule about turning is relatively recent, and was formulated as a safety measure because of the exposure of the back of the head. The "dangerous" rule is to protect the OPPONENT.

The reversing shoulders rule penalised close-quarters fencing and was really redundant. It tended to distract from the relevant rules on safety and substitution.
Dangerous fencing is dangerous fencing and IMHO is much more likely to be someone endangering themselves than endangering another but, if you, like we could penalise the fencer trying to hit the ducking and diving pest. That would make a lot more sense %-(

pinkelephant
-8th March 2006, 17:16
As usual, we have confusion between TURNING one's back to the opponent (still illegal) and REVERSING THE LINE of the shoulders, i.e. having the left shoulder in front of the right one if right-handed. The latter rule was even more recent, only applicable to foil, and has now been removed. Reversing the line had nothing to do with safety, but everything to do with covering the target.