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cesh_fencing
-8th October 2007, 13:44
With the event now over I feel it would be good to hear the opinions of the fencers/supporters who attended the event.

How did everyone fence?

Were we more competitive on the piste at World level this year?

What were your personal GB team highlights?

TBennett
-9th October 2007, 18:29
Fun

TBennett
-9th October 2007, 18:32
Indeed it was good fun, missed a 64 by 1 hit. Life sucks but I beat him earlier in the year by the same margin so karma is earned..... ;)

cesh_fencing
-9th October 2007, 22:37
Gordon

In my opinion (for what it is worth) you have probably shown more improvement over the last year than any other fencer I know about on the squad.

Really bad luck on the DE, but at least you must have built up your condifence with such an impressive poule for the upcoming season.

Go out and show that the potential we have all seen in you is actually in there and is being released....

All the best

Chris

Hassan
-10th October 2007, 16:15
For those who understand French, there is a difficult to believe (from a British perspective that is) thread on Escrime-Info on whether or not finishing at the top of the medal table in Leningrad with eight medals (including 4 gold) constitutes success.

Doit on se satisfaire de ces mondiaux ? (Should we be satisfied with these world championships?)

http://www.escrime-info.com/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=8817&forum=22

The first post argues that one weapon (epee) is responsible for most of their success and that team golds in men's foil and sabre merely disguise poor performances in the individual events (two last eights).

The writer compares the situation with France winning the Davis Cup in tennis but never having a winning individual in grand slams.

Kind of makes you despair...

jacquesdor
-10th October 2007, 16:58
Not on the point but I wish people would be more accurate in their writings. Your quoted correspondent forgets Yanneck Noah French Open Winner 1983, not your omission I know.

Red
-10th October 2007, 17:30
Kind of makes you despair...

Despair? No. The french have every right to expect more, when there are 12 gold medals available and considerable french talent behind across most weapons, a third of the golds is not good enough.
Of the available individual silvers (team silver would be a failure) they got 1 of 6, the bronzes 2 in 12. The French ought to have the depth to grab a few more individual silvers and bronzes while winning more golds...

JohnL
-15th October 2007, 14:16
Given that there were a number of forum members following the world championships I was waiting for someone to come forward with their feelings about the GB performance. It went very quiet all of a sudden.

Without going to in depth at first, let's just look at the overall results (with my apologies if I made any errors checking out the results on the website.

Mens foil
1 eliminated in poules, one L16, other two won 4/6 and gave themselves a chance to make the L32 given reasonable seeding.
Tean 11/23

Give them 6 out of 10

Womens foil
2 eliminated in poules with 2 wins between them, 1 L128, 1 L64.
Tean 14/18

A generous 2 out of 10

Mens epee
1 L128, 3 L64.
Tean 25/29

3 out of 10

Womens epee
1 L128
No team (Probably just as well)

Unfair to judge on 1 persons result.

Mens Sabre
1 L128, 2 L64
Team 14/20

3 out of 10

Womens sabre
4 L64
Team 10/18

4 out of 10 (Saved by the tean wins)

These results should come as no suprise to anyone. The results at the European's were a precurser of what was to come at the worlds. We only had one L32 (RK, well there's a suprise) and any number of the fencers in the L64 were trashed by their opponents.

Overall, the results stank.

What is it going to take for british fencing to rethink the system. We have one year to go before the Bejing olympics. Nothing can be done in that time period. We should minimize the cost by sending only people who have made at least a last 16 at an A grade in the year prior to the olympics. Doing anything else is pouring good money after bad.

In the case of the London Olympics, we only have 5 years. Concentrating on all weapons and both sexes will result in exactly what we have to date. A second rate team considerered secondrate by the first rate nations.

Again, I say this not to disrespect the huge efforts put in by the fencers, but if we continue to go the way we are, we might as well not bother.

Red
-15th October 2007, 14:36
Given how few people made the qualifying standard (6 - 3WS, 2ME, 1MF) before any adjustments downwards to account for lack of strength, the results are hardly surprising. Not criticising the fencers, just the system that sends them to be slaughtered.

TBennett
-15th October 2007, 14:53
JohnL - I apologise for not winning the world championships, I won 5 fights in the poule (yes 4 of those were by 1 hit I know but a win is a win in that situation and all are vital) and got knocked out in the L96 by someone I have beaten before in a DE (by the same margin in fact).

Apologies.

BTW - You may want to knock another point off us because only 2 of the mens Epeeists made the 64 and Willis lost to Fernandez (VEN) in extra-time (who is World top 5). Cadman on the other hand has unfortunately seriously injured himself. He won all his fights in the poule and had a very good draw to make the L32 at least but as mentioned, hurt himself in the warm-up for said fight resulting in hobbling bravely for the first period and pulling out after. You can ask him what has happened its not my position to say. Oh and James Taylor got knocked out by Willis in the frist DE so thats another minus point for beating each other up.

I understand what you are saying and I agree with aspects of it. However, you have not got all your facts right. Europeans, Taylor made the L32 and two of the female sabreurs made L32 and L16 respectively.

As you have said, we should only send people who have made a L16 or better, should the BFA send me? I have got what you required after all.

oh and Red, my L16 in Puerto Rico and my L16 from the student games made me qualified for the Worlds, just so you know....

As per usual, I do not mean to offend by what I say on the forum, just get facts correct and my personal view.

hokers
-15th October 2007, 15:02
Now this IS analysis (see other thread).

Slaughtered is too harsh, go and look at how close it was for some people to have been eliminated on the strength of a single hit. On another day a few of those people would have converted those 5-4 and 15-14 defeats and got through a few more rounds.

I think most people would agree that from 4-4 or 14-14 it can go either way.

No doubt we (as the BF community) need to organise things a bit better, get our best fencers together more often and spend more time/money on coaching/training (or maybe just organising things a bit differently), but this is hardly news. Perhaps the Pathway program will start to produce the results we're hoping for after a while? I know it's had a lot of criticism, but perhaps these can be incorporated as suggestions. Still 4+ years to 2012 remember.

I think for a relatively small fencing nation, we've had some pretty decent results in the last year, though not a lot of consistency. JW winning Heidenheim is probably your Grand Slam victory, and AOC's results in the junior A-grades probably equates to a few ATP tour titles if we're continuing the tennis analagy. Doesn't sound too bad to me.

I think we have the potential to get a medal in 2012 and I'll be there cheering for it but the focus should be on long-term improvements, getting more kids into fencing and making it easier for our best fencers to prepare for international competition in the best way possible.

Red
-15th October 2007, 15:44
oh and Red, my L16 in Puerto Rico and my L16 from the student games made me qualified for the Worlds, just so you know....

The WSG wasn't on the ranking and selection scheme. All I did was compare the FIE ranking list with those selected and the selection scheme.
The published criteria for last season said a L8 OR a L16 and a L32 - only six people managed that. The fact that you are the World #2 junior or you got a brilliant result at the WSG doesn't mean you satisfied the published criteria - that comes under the performance director's discretion and he probably made the right call. The issue I have is with those who didn't even get 1 L32 or have a reasonable junior season being sent along.

TBennett
-15th October 2007, 16:51
Red, I do understand what you mean by published scheme but I think the quote below could integrate other events such as the WSG's.

"33. The International Committee has absolute discretion to vary these
requirements in relation to the actual results at competitions with an overall intention of (a) ensuring fairness and (b) protecting against weak results counting as a qualifying standard"

Thats my interpretation and what I have been led to believe.

The usual.....I do not mean to offend by what I post etc etc etc

Regards.

JohnL
-15th October 2007, 17:25
JohnL - I apologise for not winning the world championships.

Quite right too!!!!

Gordon, honestly, I'm not slagging your (or other fencers) efforts, but pointing out what is a fundamentaly flawed system. Hey, if we're content to be a second rate fencing country fine, but I believe our top fencers aspire beyond that, but the system in place continually dilutes the efforts so that success is more accidental than planned.

NLSC Sabreur
-15th October 2007, 17:44
......


What is it going to take for british fencing to rethink the system. We have one year to go before the Bejing olympics. Nothing can be done in that time period. We should minimize the cost by sending only people who have made at least a last 16 at an A grade in the year prior to the olympics. Doing anything else is pouring good money after bad.

In the case of the London Olympics, we only have 5 years. Concentrating on all weapons and both sexes will result in exactly what we have to date. A second rate team considerered secondrate by the first rate nations.
...

The problem with saying only the smallest number can go is that fencers are being put into squads (that are according to the plan going to be based in London) for training. If you cut down now then I think you would have to send anybody remain abroad to live and train (which might be the right to do anyway). Few/no people will train long term full time when it's clear they are viewed only as a training partner by the selectors.

If the money available is enough to get the desired individuals in full time training then there is no need (fairness aside) to concentrate it. The facilities for the full timers have been lacking with problems over housing and the sabreurs training on 12m! pistes. But that more seems to be incompetance rather than lack of funds.

Many nations concentrate on epee. Ten or twelve or something years ago it was proposed in the UK to concentrate on sabre. Epee was/is the normally weapon for countries to concentrate on because of all the dodgy/corrupt refereeing that went on. But London is only five years away and switching all to 1 or 2 weapons would take at least eight years (at a slightly wild guess) to have usefull effects on the international scene.

Building the right system even if started tomorrow would take many, many years. But once the 2012 Olympics is over the money will disappear. BFA's plan is pretty much seems the only one available and that is to do the best and hope for a massive upset. Massive upsets do occur!

thedoc
-15th October 2007, 22:10
An important analysis would be to compare this year's results to last's years results to see if there has been any progress across the board. JohnL, some more work for you.

Concentration of resources is only really necessary if there is a shortage of funds. Perhaps people high up in the scheme can answer this.

silvercross
-16th October 2007, 17:17
What were the expectations and the established goals (if any) 'Pre-FWC' for all the athletes participating from the GBR delegation?

It would be interesting to know if such a thing was actually discussed, and whether or not they were met.

FlashingBlade
-17th October 2007, 02:30
Now this IS analysis (see other thread).

Slaughtered is too harsh, go and look at how close it was for some people to have been eliminated on the strength of a single hit. On another day a few of those people would have converted those 5-4 and 15-14 defeats and got through a few more rounds.

I think most people would agree that from 4-4 or 14-14 it can go either way.


Not really. This thinking is the result of an amateurs mentality. If you lose 15-14 or 5-4, this isn't just down to bad luck. It's more to do with not having the mental strength to win at the death. Having mental strength is no less important than having ability. Some may argue that mental strength is actually more important than ability.

So, if the case was that a bunch of British fencers were losing in very tight contests, then we can comfortably rule out bad luck as the cause.

JohnL is absolutely right... the overall performance of British fencers in the World Championships was shambolic. Consider that point as fact! Many people seem to be blinded by a misguided optimism as they hail a L64 performance as some form of an achievement. Lets start being real, a L64 performance is meaningless. It's something to be ashamed of, especially if your intention was to win.

Imagine going up to an average Joe in the street, and declaring 'Richard Kruse got to the L16 in the Fencing World Championships in St Petersberg - isn't that wonderful'? Richard who would no doubt be the immediate reply.

These are the facts - If british fencers are not good enough to be considered medal prospects in top competitions then they should not be there and they certainly should not be representing GB. It's a waste of money. Forget the argument they are there for the experience. Experience is meaningless if there talent levels aren't there to begin with. The people who select these fencers really do need to take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror. They must surely know, as they make their selections, they are effectively pissing in the wind. If a fencer is not good enough and is not likely to give a good account of themselves, then don't select them. Offering a space to someone who can't cut it, and in all probability never will cut it, is a ridiculous waste of time and money.

vil
-17th October 2007, 08:28
I think for a relatively small fencing nation, we've had some pretty decent results in the last year, though not a lot of consistency.

I remember some figures a while back showing that Britain was the second largest fencing nation in the world, based on number of members of the national federation. Britain is NOT a small fencing nation.

Just sayin'...

Threestain
-17th October 2007, 08:52
Imagine going up to an average Joe in the street, and declaring 'Richard Kruse got to the L16 in the Fencing World Championships in St Petersberg - isn't that wonderful'? Richard who would no doubt be the immediate reply.

Unfortunately you use a ridiculous comparison - you could use that same argument to bemoan most sports, arts and politics. How many people ('average joe's') can name the Health Secretary (Alan Johnson), or GB's most successful gymnast (Beth Tweddle), England's opening One Day Bowler (James Anderson) or even the Chancellor (Alastair Darling).

However, if you ask them who the entire squad of a Coca-Cola League 1 Side is, they are more likely to at least name ten.

In the UK, it's football football football. Occasionally Rugby or Cricket breaks through, but then Football reasserts its authority.

silvercross
-17th October 2007, 09:14
I think Flashingblade is being extreme, but he does point out something crucial (which I tried to put in to the forum last night but my computer kept crashing).

Consistency and self-belief are issues that need to be adressed as long term targets for British fencing.

Yes, losing 5-4, or 15-14 means it was a great fight, but the winner obviously has something 'extra', be it mentality, guile, or just simply to drag this conversation through the muck of football analogies 'The weight of the expectations and the historical significance of putting on the national stripes gives him/her the edge'

I don't doubt for a second that British fencing produces wonderful talent capable of competing at a world class level. These past two years have been proof of that (AO'C, JW to name but two)

What I do doubt is whether or not it is consistent in that production, and that is a key factor that need to be addressed.

I'd love to see BF set a target of 'at least one medal' for Beijing. One podium. One sample of 'God save the Queen' being played at Wembley stadium loudness during the fencing medal ceremonies.

Vil is absolutely right. The UK is not a 'small' fencing nation. It thinks it is, and therefore takes small victories as 'well, we're small'. Believe you're big, and that you have big expectations, and you start changing your mentality.

How many fencing nations who considered themselves 'small' went to the WFC this year and won medals?

Attitude is a part of the equation.

Raise the expectations!

Is it early?

It is never early to win. It is only ever early to be sent to the showers while others still fight on.

hokers
-17th October 2007, 09:57
Not really. This thinking is the result of an amateurs mentality. If you lose 15-14 or 5-4, this isn't just down to bad luck. It's more to do with not having the mental strength to win at the death. Having mental strength is no less important than having ability. Some may argue that mental strength is actually more important than ability.

So, if the case was that a bunch of British fencers were losing in very tight contests, then we can comfortably rule out bad luck as the cause.


I agree that mental strength is hugely important, but I don't know where you get the idea that I'm suggesting it's all luck from? If it's got to 4-4, moreso at 14-14 it means the fencers are quite evenly matched on the day and the deciding factors between them of who takes the hit are quite small. I'd say tactics probably makes the biggest difference to who takes the deciding hit, but a percentage of mentality and a percentage of luck ARE in the mix. Replay that last hit a few times and it wouldn't all go in one direction, that's not how it works.



JohnL is absolutely right... the overall performance of British fencers in the World Championships was shambolic. Consider that point as fact! Many people seem to be blinded by a misguided optimism as they hail a L64 performance as some form of an achievement. Lets start being real, a L64 performance is meaningless. It's something to be ashamed of, especially if your intention was to win.


That's certainly not fact, it's your opinion. Now I'm never going to be an international competitor (and I'm OK with that) but if you offered me a WC place next year and I got an L64 I'd be over the moon. That's on a personal level, it means the competitors are up there with the best 64 fencers in the world (on the day) and you can downplay that as much as you want, but it carries more status/achievement than your normal day.

I know what you mean about it being nothing to rave about if you're going there to win, and everyone should be going in with that attitude, but consider it another way, in the career of a developing fencer that will probably go to another 3 or 4 future WCs, can it be considered a progression, movement in the right direction? Might they take their performances forward and do better in the next A-grade, having gained some confidence from the fact that they won 4/6 or 5/6 at the WC?



These are the facts - If british fencers are not good enough to be considered medal prospects in top competitions then they should not be there and they certainly should not be representing GB. It's a waste of money.

No-one is going to become a medal prospect overnight, they will build it up as they build their skills, fitness, experience, mentality. If a fencer is not showing any improvement after a good run of opportunities, then by all means give the discretionary selection to an up and coming fencer in form instead, but they aren't going to win a medal on their first couple of trips abroad either. Give them some time (but not limitless time)

pigeonmeister
-17th October 2007, 10:31
Nice little motivational pep talk from FlashingBlade- what a nice fellow.

Re- mental strength, didn't Willis win most of his DE's by 1 hit when he won heidenheim?

Re-why bother sending 'medal' material fencers to the WC?- I suggest you look at the previous results of the Men's Epee champion, should they not have sent him- was he a realistic medal prospect?

You show a fundemental lack of understanding for international sport- countries should only send fencers who (realistically) stand a chance of winning medals..so if Scotland qualify for the European cup we shouldn't let them in? Wimbledon should be restricted to the top 10 in the world? Why allow Spyker to compete in F1?

The results were mostly disappointing, I don't think that bashing their confidence even more achieves anything.

silvercross
-17th October 2007, 11:59
Re- mental strength, didn't Willis win most of his DE's by 1 hit when he won heidenheim?

Very good point, now the question becomes: how can BF provide the means for JW and the rest of the national squads to perform in that manner consistently? :)


Re-why bother sending 'medal' material fencers to the WC?- I suggest you look at the previous results of the Men's Epee champion, should they not have sent him- was he a realistic medal prospect?

That would be a yes and a no. Remember, he was an individual, but also part of a team. Look at the pedigree of the rest of the Hungarian Epeeists in the group. You've got a fencer surrounded by a world of experience to fall back on from your teammates, a rich history of champions to feed your psyche, so you've got factors that mean that though you might be '4th best' out of the ones travelling, you've got THE BEST pushing you to excell. It is a massive but very helpful intangible.


You show a fundemental lack of understanding for international sport- countries should only send fencers who (realistically) stand a chance of winning medals..so if Scotland qualify for the European cup we shouldn't let them in? Wimbledon should be restricted to the top 10 in the world? Why allow Spyker to compete in F1?

I think fencers should be sent with the aspiration (big difference here) that they should be aiming to achieve a medal. Set your bar to low to begin with, and it becomes harder to raise it later on. Be careful with the tennis analogy, pigeonmeister: The Madrid Masters only lets in the best of the best (and at least a couple of Invitational International fencing tournaments run like this as well). And the pre-1990's champions league (when it was 'for champions').


The results were mostly disappointing, I don't think that bashing their confidence even more achieves anything.

Yes, bashing should not be encouraged. However, a good line needs to be made clear between 'bashing' and 'feedback'. Sadly most people are a)fans, and b)not present at the FWC, therefore opinions (including mine) are formed from only one perspective. I'm sure when BF and the coaches do their evaluation of the participation at the FWC they will take into consideration many more factors than any one of us have, and make the necesary changes to the development strategy (if they indeed find that any changes need to be made in the first place) of Core Fencers in the UK. :)

cesh_fencing
-17th October 2007, 12:31
I'm sure when BF and the coaches do their evaluation of the participation at the FWC

The issue is 'IF' not when... I have not come across any World Championship fencers from past years who has had a detailed hit by hit feedback/review session from the British Fencing team after an event.

There really should been a video of every fight fought by our fencers and work done reviewing them then feedback passed back to the individuals and their coaches to help improve those fencers for the future.

This is a task that I hope the Performance Director has well in hand. Gordon, have you received your appointment date yet????

Red
-17th October 2007, 12:33
That would be a yes and a no. Remember, he was an individual, but also part of a team. Look at the pedigree of the rest of the Hungarian Epeeists in the group. You've got a fencer surrounded by a world of experience to fall back on from your teammates, a rich history of champions to feed your psyche, so you've got factors that mean that though you might be '4th best' out of the ones travelling, you've got THE BEST pushing you to excell. It is a massive but very helpful intangible.


Nonsense. He is/was a brilliant epeeist that had retired. The rest of the team were probably looking up to him!

silvercross
-17th October 2007, 12:38
Nonsense. He is/was a brilliant epeeist that had retired. The rest of the team were probably looking up to him!

Better still then! an entire team made up of enourmous talent and one man who already has been there. (so in a roundabout way, it's not nonsense, it is actually quite important in answering pigeonmeister's question).

Thanks!

silvercross
-17th October 2007, 12:48
The issue is 'IF' not when... I have not come across any World Championship fencers from past years who has had a detailed hit by hit feedback/review session from the British Fencing team after an event.


It was my indirect way of hoping someone from BF would read the thread and go 'Do we do that sort of thing? Yes? No? Perhaps we should...':D

It shouldn't be limited to WFC, it should be at every World Cup and A grade event GBR fencers go to. It is one of the main tools to help achieve that magical word again..... consistency

Jon Willis
-17th October 2007, 18:14
I love the forum, I used to think only fencers could pick apart there own sport for the rest of the world to see! I was wrong, the swimming forum is much better and a little more personal at times! Guess it's a pushy parent thing?

Anyway, love the debate and would love to comment but really shouldn't however I will add I only won 2 of 8 d.e. fights at HDH by one hit, my maths tells me that's 25% which is not most, that I think would be over 75% as a rule of thumb. The rest of my fights I won by a clear-ish margin.

AND, when it gets to 14 all its pretty much luck, you have to be mentally strong to get to 14, when you both get to 14 you have shown you can both hit each other lots already. I personally have a way I deal with the situation, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't!

OK, I'm done, carry on.

TBennett
-17th October 2007, 21:34
I love the forum, I used to think only fencers could pick apart there own sport for the rest of the world to see! I was wrong, the swimming forum is much better and a little more personal at times! Guess it's a pushy parent thing?

Anyway, love the debate and would love to comment but really shouldn't however I will add I only won 2 of 8 d.e. fights at HDH by one hit, my maths tells me that's 25% which is not most, that I think would be over 75% as a rule of thumb. The rest of my fights I won by a clear-ish margin.

AND, when it gets to 14 all its pretty much luck, you have to be mentally strong to get to 14, when you both get to 14 you have shown you can both hit each other lots already. I personally have a way I deal with the situation, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't!

OK, I'm done, carry on.


Wohoo!! ;)

pinkelephant
-17th October 2007, 22:47
Of courses, BF should have forseen that Tom Cadman would have tripped on a trip hazard and seriously injured himself before the L64, and should therefore not have selected him.:whistle:

FlashingBlade
-17th October 2007, 22:52
Unfortunately you use a ridiculous comparison - you could use that same argument to bemoan most sports, arts and politics. How many people ('average joe's') can name the Health Secretary (Alan Johnson), or GB's most successful gymnast (Beth Tweddle), England's opening One Day Bowler (James Anderson) or even the Chancellor (Alastair Darling).

However, if you ask them who the entire squad of a Coca-Cola League 1 Side is, they are more likely to at least name ten.

In the UK, it's football football football. Occasionally Rugby or Cricket breaks through, but then Football reasserts its authority.

Trust me, the number of average Joe's who could list ten players who play for Yeovil Town in CC1 would be extremely thin on the ground.

The reason you're familiar with the name of Beth Tweddle is because she wins things. She's been rubbing shoulders with gymnastics elite for a number of years. She's also female and she performs her sport in tight lycra. This combination appeals to a far wider audience than the people who actually like gymnastics.

Richard Kruse is male and the last time I checked, he doesn't wear tight lycra. He doesn't win things either. Yet Kruse is the UK's top fencer but no-one has heard of him. If Richard Kruse has a serious intention of putting his name on the fencing map, then he needs to deliver big time in elite competitions. Baldini & Joppich are amongst the worlds best. There must be a well thought out plan by BF to get Kruse up to the same level as Baldini and Joppich. If that plan isn't in place then the people running British Fencing should fall on their swords. They are not up to the job.

FlashingBlade
-17th October 2007, 22:52
That's certainly not fact, it's your opinion. Now I'm never going to be an international competitor (and I'm OK with that) but if you offered me a WC place next year and I got an L64 I'd be over the moon. That's on a personal level, it means the competitors are up there with the best 64 fencers in the world (on the day) and you can downplay that as much as you want, but it carries more status/achievement than your normal day




Yes, I can and will downplay that as an achievement. Lets examine for a moment just what achieving a L64 in the Fencing World Championships actually means. On the surface, it sounds impressive, but is it really? Lets draw an analogy with tennis. (Tennis analogies seems very popular around here!) Just how many more people play tennis than actually fence at a high level? Ten times? Twenty times? Thirty times? Maybe more. Now, if we assume a top 64 placing in tennis is an achievment (given the much higher volume of people who play tennis) is it also right to assume a top 64 placing in fencing is just as good? Of course not. Could we assume that someone who struggles to make the L64 in an elite fencing competion might only be ranked 400th in tennis? A ranking of 400 in tennis is a nothing ranking, you're a nobody. Therefore a L64 in a fencing competition is a nothing achievement. Get to the semi's then crow.

FlashingBlade
-17th October 2007, 22:58
I love the forum, I used to think only fencers could pick apart there own sport for the rest of the world to see! I was wrong, the swimming forum is much better and a little more personal at times! Guess it's a pushy parent thing?

Anyway, love the debate and would love to comment but really shouldn't however I will add I only won 2 of 8 d.e. fights at HDH by one hit, my maths tells me that's 25% which is not most, that I think would be over 75% as a rule of thumb. The rest of my fights I won by a clear-ish margin.

AND, when it gets to 14 all its pretty much luck, you have to be mentally strong to get to 14, when you both get to 14 you have shown you can both hit each other lots already. I personally have a way I deal with the situation, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't!

OK, I'm done, carry on.

Jon, I don't know you personally, but I once saw you being interviewed on a minor TV station and you came across as a fairy affable chap, especially for someone who hails from a regional, northern town. However, I must say, your attitude shocks me for someone who is representing this countries elite of epee fencers. "when it gets to 14 all its pretty much luck" - your quote. Does your sports psychologist say the same thing? And I trust you do have a sports psychologist working with you and the British team, if not, why not? Luck is something you cling to when you believe you can't win. If you believe you will win, luck plays no role.

Furthermore, I trust British fencing have an elite team of sports scientists, nutritionists, doctors and psychologists advising you... making you become the very best athlete you can become. If not, why not?

I trust also you have someone who keeps a tally of your scores in each bout. Who then analyses your scoring to find patterns which might be indicative of your psychology at the time. If not, why not?

If your answer is - 'BF does not have the money for all this' - I say nonsense! We have a bunch of very mediocre female fencers who won't achieve anything of note on the world fencing stage. Yet, their mediocrity is funded to the tune of god knows what each year. Why bother? Pull the plug on their funding and invest in the very best we have. Invest in an elite team of advisors to enhance the skills and talents of the very few fencers (Two at best) who have a genuine shout at becoming impact fencers on the world stage.

Where is the logic in giving money to sub standard female fencers, none of which would be fit to shine Vezzali's blades. Make them stay at home and take up knitting. But, if any of them wield a knitting needle like they wield a blade, we're all in trouble!

Red
-17th October 2007, 23:15
Even if you do have a whole array of assault point plans, you're still relying on the other guy cooperating with you.

pinkelephant
-17th October 2007, 23:43
you came across as a fairy affable chap, especially for someone who hails from a regional, northern town.

I think this excerpt shows us all how much credence we should give this person's opinions. Oh, and I'm a Londoner.

Foilling Around
-17th October 2007, 23:43
Where is the logic in giving money to sub standard female fencers, none of which would be fit to shine Vezzali's blades. Make them stay at home and take up knitting. But, if any of them wield a knitting needle like they wield a blade, we're all in trouble!

Apart from the grammatical point that it should be "none of whom" not "none of which". I take issue with the restricting it to one or two theory.

If you do that you remove the incentive for the next generation to try to come through. If there are so few pots to aim for we will not encourage the 2016 crew.

My attitude when talking to the younger generation of British girl foilists is to tell them not to look at the present top 4 as a target, but to look at them as a stepping stone to progress beyond.

That is not meant to be rude to the current top British Women's foilists, as I frevently hope that they carry on improving and make the youngsters work even harder. It is merely an acknowledgement that they are not at the top of the world, which is where the youngsters should be aiming.

Fencers cannot thrive in isolation we need to develop a critical mass so that we can build on the potential of all. Unless we decide to send 3 or 4 to live and train abroad full time then we have to have a wider base.

silvercross
-18th October 2007, 09:51
My attitude when talking to the younger generation of British girl foilists is to tell them not to look at the present top 4 as a target, but to look at them as a stepping stone to progress beyond.

That is not meant to be rude to the current top British Women's foilists, as I frevently hope that they carry on improving and make the youngsters work even harder. It is merely an acknowledgement that they are not at the top of the world, which is where the youngsters should be aiming.

Fencers cannot thrive in isolation we need to develop a critical mass so that we can build on the potential of all. Unless we decide to send 3 or 4 to live and train abroad full time then we have to have a wider base.

Spot on! :)

But I imagine that just as those below the top 4 of the UK are being taught to reach and surpass them (merely as the normal progression of the sport. You're ever only the best if you beat the best, and keep beating them), those already in the top 4 domestically realize that in the bigger scheme of things they have to aspire to (with the help provided by BF through the various training schemes) do the same at an international level (reach and surpass the top 4 in the world).

Re: luck. I do believe that we sometime get 'lucky' (Goodness knows I've had my share of 'luck' while fencing and whilst just doing anything else). But luck is so much more complicated that it seems and requires so much unseen 'effort and preparation'. You don't get 'lucky' if you don't:

1-Step on the piste.
2-Make a move (unless your opponent gets fleched by a runnaway fencer from the piste next to yours, but even then, you made the effort to get on the piste to take the win by his/her withdrawal)
3-Put yourself in a position to be 'lucky':)

Marcos
-18th October 2007, 10:10
Trust me, the number of average Joe's who could list ten players who play for Yeovil Town in CC1 would be extremely thin on the ground.



especially since Forest bought their best players

good to see Jon Willis replying to some of the nonsense on here - he plays football for Walsall doesn't he?

British fencing is in better shape now than it has been for years and years. The sport as a whole is far more competitive than it was 30 years ago and any results have to be taken in that context.

Well done to the British fencers that qualified to go to the worlds. They know how they did in comparison to their expectations. If you want to use the forum for anything it should be to discuss how you can get more fencers qualifying

once the tournament itself starts a lot of it is in the lap of the gods - preparation and support are vital, but sometimes luck and form play a part!

silvercross
-18th October 2007, 11:42
once the tournament itself starts a lot of it is in the lap of the gods - preparation and support are vital, but sometimes luck and form play a part!

Conan the Barbarian would dissagree with that, and send Crom and his posse "a packin'"... :D

On a less 'Barbaric note', is it at all wrong to simply say 'I wasn't good enough'?

as opposed to 'I was unlucky'

I don't think there's anything wrong with saying the first statement. If anything it's an affirmation that further training, be it psychological, physical, tactical, or technical is needed.

'I wasn't good enough' doesn't mean

'And never will be'.

On the contrary, it simply states 'But i've work to do, so let me do it.'

'I wasn't good enough' is a statement of intent, if anything that should be followed by 'But I WILL get better'

The second statement can create in the psyche of the person a false reality as to how much 'randomness' can affect their performance, and may lead some to assign the wrong weight on this 'luck', neglecting further needed development on crucial areas.

But that's just my lowly opinion.

aao
-18th October 2007, 12:02
Ok the worlds results were bad so what??? they've not a senior level been great for years, what people seem to be missing here is that over the course of the season the results at least for the mens epee have got steadily better and better and to slate the fencers for a poor and in some case unlucky performance in 1 event is unbelievable harsh and uninformed.

For the first time since the last ice age somebody (jon) won a senior mens A-Grade (In Germany!) the 2 Toms have been posting regular results with 16's and 32's, James Taylor and Jimmy T have got better and better, and Tristain has become a great doctor ;)

People have very short memories, it was not so long ago that a good number of the GB team barely did better than me at A-grades (in fact some managed to do even worse!), now all those who we consider to be part of the team almost always make it out of the poule, generally with a good seeding and with a genuign chance of proceeding at least to the L32. When they lose fights its now by the odd hit or two not the 7 or 8 that used to be rather common. Ok they're not perfect yet, they're not consistent world beaters yet (well apart from Willis who appears on the front cover of a German coaching manual!) but they have got alot better and are continuing to improve, Beijing probably is too early but i reckon 3 years down the line from here at least in mens epee, with this squad of fencers you will have a group with the potential to make regular L8's at major events and maybe on their day even medal or win.

aao
-18th October 2007, 12:16
However, I must say, your attitude shocks me for someone who is representing this countries elite of epee fencers. "when it gets to 14 all its pretty much luck" - your quote. Does your sports psychologist say the same thing? And I trust you do have a sports psychologist working with you and the British team, if not, why not? Luck is something you cling to when you believe you can't win. If you believe you will win, luck plays no role.


Have you ever fenced epee???! this is definately the biggest load of b****cks i have seen in a while, at 14 all in epee or for that matter in any weapon luck will play a part, its not the sole reason for scoring the winning hit but it will play a part. You winning or losing from that position will depend on as much what your opponent does or does not to as what you decide to do, if your opponent is capable of hitting you 14 times it means you do not have a foolproof or guaranteed way of either hitting your opponent or of defending against their actions, therefor in what ever course of action you select there will be a degree of luck involved as to whether it works or not.

Rdb811
-18th October 2007, 12:40
"Itís a funny thing, the more I practise the luckier I get."

Gary Player

rory
-18th October 2007, 12:52
"Itís a funny thing, the more I practise the luckier I get."

Gary Player

There's some doubt over whether this quote is attributable to Player, or Arnold Palmer.
What's for certain is that he was talking about a sport where your actions are not determined by the actions of an opponent, and the luck element is limited to predicting the weather conditions: which, I would venture to say, are more predictable than an international epeeist with a wide variety of moves and tempo choices at his disposal.

Luck plays a part.

cesh_fencing
-18th October 2007, 13:23
aao - How many times have we got to 14-14 and who wins??? Is that just luck?

There is an art to fighting the last hit. Whether it is that you have been working through your match to work out the highest %age move to hit with so giving you the higher chance, whether the whole match you have been setting a trap for that last hit, or that you keep it together better than your opponent mentally, there are ways you can improve your chances.

Historically there are some fencers that when I get to 14-14 I beat (and I almost know I will before I go en-guarde), others I nearly always lose to, certainly not 50-50 across the board, so specific mental and tactical training in this facit of fencing is really important. Whether you lose 15-14 or 15-2 the result is the same, you lost...

I have to say that to hear senior British international fencers saying that the last hit is just pure luck does show that BF really needs to address this area of their training.

Regarding the Mens Epeeists results, they have been the shining light this season with JW, TC and JT jumping 263 ranking places between them and all 3 have beaten top 20 world ranked fencers at A Grades this season... With similar improvements over the next couple of seasons they will really be consistantly competitive.

FlashingBlade
-18th October 2007, 13:24
Apart from the grammatical point that it should be "none of whom" not "none of which". I take issue with the restricting it to one or two theory.

If you do that you remove the incentive for the next generation to try to come through. If there are so few pots to aim for we will not encourage the 2016 crew.

My attitude when talking to the younger generation of British girl foilists is to tell them not to look at the present top 4 as a target, but to look at them as a stepping stone to progress beyond.

That is not meant to be rude to the current top British Women's foilists, as I frevently hope that they carry on improving and make the youngsters work even harder. It is merely an acknowledgement that they are not at the top of the world, which is where the youngsters should be aiming.

Fencers cannot thrive in isolation we need to develop a critical mass so that we can build on the potential of all. Unless we decide to send 3 or 4 to live and train abroad full time then we have to have a wider base.

You've fallen into the trap that so many fall into.

The single most important thing that anyone needs to inspire them to take up a sport and become good at that sport is exposure.

Girls aren't looking to a top British fencer who is female to inspire them. What will inspire them is seeing their chosen sport being shown on TV and with a British fencer excelling in their chosen sport. A male figurehead is just as much an inspiration to a girl than a female figurehead.

Hypothetical scenario - Take one male British fencer. He's handsome. He's brilliant. He wins and he wins consistently. Through his success fencing receives increased exposure on TV. He's then featured in magazines & newspapers. Articles are then printed on the rules and history of fencing. He then makes his first appearance on Blue Peter. He also appears on Question of Sport and in time somehow finds his way onto Celebrity Big Brother. He's even asked to co-commentate with Barry Davis on one of Britains garbage female fencers in the L64 of a fencing world championships (an event that would not have been given the time of day by TV had it not been due to his success)

To further my point - more girls than ever are interested in becoming footballers. Typical girly pursuits such as gymnastics & equestrian now take a back seat to the dreams of representing England in a football shirt. How has this happened? Exposure my friend. It matters not that it's males playing football. Through saturation coverage and exposure girls are now savvy enough to know most professional football clubs have female teams. If you do well, you could one day play for England.

AMC
-18th October 2007, 13:40
[QUOTE=silvercross;184920]Spot on! :)

But I imagine that just as those below the top 4 of the UK are being taught to reach and surpass them.

No, IMHO the next group are demoralised and cannot see any way forward.

Jon Willis
-18th October 2007, 13:51
I knew I shouldn't have poped, now I just can't stop! Does anyone know who this FlashingBlade fellow is? it's hard enough when the media pick fault with you but at least they sign there name to it. Though I don't think he's got any idea of fencing so I'll fill in the blanks for him, help from anyone else would be lovely. & Gorden - We'll be having words young man!


Jon, I don't know you personally, but I once saw you being interviewed on a minor TV station and you came across as a fairy affable chap

That will be the B&Q media training!


I must say, your attitude shocks me

You wouldn't be the first


Luck is something you cling to when you believe you can't win

Me and luck are doing just fine thank you


I trust British fencing have an elite team of sports scientists, nutritionists, doctors and psychologists advising you... making you become the very best athlete you can become. If not, why not?

Pathway athletes have access to all the above from UK Sport via the EIS (English Institute of Sport - Making the best bitter!) My body is indeed a temple, it used to be a Kabab house.


I trust also you have someone who keeps a tally of your scores in each bout. Who then analyses your scoring to find patterns which might be indicative of your psychology at the time. If not, why not?

I'm like an elephant, no jokes about the size of my trunk either. We video our fights and watch them back later, infact I didn't think you could wear out a DVD but my HDH one is on the way out. It's amazing how many people I've bored with that one alone.



We have a bunch of very mediocre female fencers who won't achieve anything of note on the world fencing stage. Yet, their mediocrity is funded to the tune of god knows what each year. Why bother? Pull the plug on their funding and invest in the very best we have. Invest in an elite team of advisors to enhance the skills and talents of the very few fencers (Two at best) who have a genuine shout at becoming impact fencers on the world stage.

Can I be one of the two? hehe, you are brave to write that, I'd never upset a woman with weapon in her hand! I guess the above statement is why the person in charge of funding for atheletes at UK sport is not you, I hope the standards and choices you make on a personal level are not so drastic!
On another note, my dad told me I could have his ticket for the Rugby this weekend, "get in" I thought, the shine was taken off when I found out it was for Sale Vs Saracens, oh well, can't win them all!

Sophie
-18th October 2007, 14:00
....and to slate the fencers for a poor and in some case unlucky performance in 1 event is unbelievable harsh and uninformed.

I don't think it was Flashing Blade's intention to slate any of the individuals involved. As Hokers said, if one of us was lucky enough to be selected for the WC and came away with a L64 we would be thrilled. For an individual this is an excellent result.

The issue here is the way the BF organises training and selection of the people it sees as being our top fencers at the moment or in the future.

I think that the "luck" you have all been talking about comes from whether you have been selected to go to one of these events. There are few, if any, clear guidelines as to what the selection criteria are for international events, and any that there are are often (seemingly) ignored, and if you happen to be a pathway fencer you may well be selected to make up numbers (not a very good motivational option IMO) as a way of supposedly gaining experience but probably just ending up by being a drubbing by loads of better fencers.

I would like to see the whole BF operation run in a more professional and transparent way so that even if we don't agree with what has been done, we can at least see easily why it has been done.

On a separate issue, why is anyone talking about people winning/losing at 4-4 or 14-14. If a fencer gets to 14-14 it means they couldn't win the fight sooner. Luck at this point or otherwise, they should be trained to be a better fencer so that they win the fight earlier!

aao
-18th October 2007, 14:08
ahh but cesh at 14 all, all other things are not equal between us, if you had fought to the best of your abilities and so had i, you would have won by rater more than 1 point, similarily weakness in my game and strengths in yours mean that provided you execute one or two of you moves properly you'll hit me about 80% of the time, in other words if i had won there would have been a degree of luck, when you did (time after bl**dy time! :( ) it was down to skill.

I was more using the example of two fencers, both technically proficient, neither with any great weakness, both who mentally believe that they will win (you standard international fencer), who have demostrate over the past 28 hits that they can both hit and be hit. Yes they can set up a plan but the very fact that they got hit 14 times in the first place does rather suggest that the plan is not foolproof and not guaranteed to succeed.

TBennett
-18th October 2007, 15:57
& Gordon - We'll be having words young man!

Indeedy.


I don't think he would last long in our facebook group with witch-finder general around. :)

I dont see myself as demoralised btw AMC, probably more hungry to get better and achieve more. Speaking of hunger.....

Jon Willis
-18th October 2007, 16:18
It's beans on toast for me tonight.

yum yum :)

Baldric
-18th October 2007, 17:22
AND, when it gets to 14 all its pretty much luck, you have to be mentally strong to get to 14, when you both get to 14 you have shown you can both hit each other lots already. I personally have a way I deal with the situation, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't!


In a single fight, at 14-14, then I agree that luck plays a large part.

However, if a fencer analysed 100 outcomes from 14-14 and they lost more than about 54 or 55 of them, then its not just bad luck, its a weakness.

cesh_fencing
-18th October 2007, 19:10
In a single fight, at 14-14, then I agree that luck plays a large part.

I have seen many world class fights at 14-14 which you can predict with way above 50% chance who would win.

Luck can play a part, but if you chose the right move, at the right time and execute it properly you should get the point. If you are unduly stressed due to the situation and choose the wrong move or the wrong time to execute it or you miss because you tighten up, that is not luck, it is lack of correct training or a weak mind....

Kolobkov used to have many matches that got to 14-14, he probably won over 75% of these last hits. Was he that much better (as it had got to 14-14, maybe not) or was he that little bit better mentally prepared for that situation and chose the right move to go for.

Special mental visualisation work is essential to help people prepare for this most important situation.

People say we are getting close to the International fencing level in some weapons, however if we always lose on the last point we are still losing.

At the worlds in the DE where our fencers fights were decided by 1 hit in the DE we had a 100% loss rate... Only a very small selection to look at, but looking back over the last few worlds I am pretty sure we will have had way under 50% success rate on the last hit...

FlashingBlade
-18th October 2007, 19:18
ahh but cesh at 14 all, all other things are not equal between us, if you had fought to the best of your abilities and so had i, you would have won by rater more than 1 point, similarily weakness in my game and strengths in yours mean that provided you execute one or two of you moves properly you'll hit me about 80% of the time, in other words if i had won there would have been a degree of luck, when you did (time after bl**dy time! :( ) it was down to skill.

I was more using the example of two fencers, both technically proficient, neither with any great weakness, both who mentally believe that they will win (you standard international fencer), who have demostrate over the past 28 hits that they can both hit and be hit. Yes they can set up a plan but the very fact that they got hit 14 times in the first place does rather suggest that the plan is not foolproof and not guaranteed to succeed.

Luck plays no part in winning, at any level. There's a complex relationship between your actions, your psychology and the actions and psychology of your opponent. It's when you fail to understand this relationship, then it's easy to see how an ignorant fencer may use luck as an explanation for either getting a hit or being hit.

Your actions largely stem from your ability level and your experience. Your psychology is more complex. But suffice it to say, if there is an element of anxiety or doubt in your psychology then you can expect this to be exhibited in your actions. Remember, this is just YOU. Your opponent will also have similar things going on for him/her.

You outline two scenarios to prove the validity of luck in a fencing bout. Let me quickly debunk both scenarios (This should take all of 30 seconds!). Your first scenario describes you fencing a guy who you perceive to be superior to you. Now, he may well be superior to you, but whether or not he is, it's your perception that he is (superior) which is key. It's this perception that will mould your performance which will eventually lead to defeat. On an unconscious level, your mind is telling you that you won't win (Because the other guy is better)... this unconscious, fundamental message is then transmitted to every gamut of your fencing. When you score a hit you will credit it as luck, because your mind is telling you your skill level is not good enough to score a valid hit. When you get hit, you assume it's a skilled hit because the guy you are fencing is better than you. And sure, sometimes it will be because the other guy is better. But at no point will luck play any role in this scenario, it's your pscychology, or the weakness of your psychology that needs to use a vague concept such as luck (good or bad) to determine the outcome of your bout.

Scenario 2 - Two equally matched, international standard fencers, with the score 14-14. Who will win? And will the winning hit be the result of luck or skill? Since I don't believe in luck, I will look towards a skill explanation coupled with psychology. But before I do that, it's important to find some form of context for the bout. Have the two fencers fenced before? Are they both familiar with each other styles? How important is the bout? Is it the World Championship? Does one fencer represent the home nation and have all the support? Is either fencer tired? (Mentally or physically) Did either fencer have a 14-11 lead? If so, the fencer who blew the lead how has it affected his psychology? Conversely, the fencer who fought back from 11-14 how has it affected his psychology? Do both fencers have a cast iron belief they will get that last hit and win? Or does one fencer have a doubt? There is a myriad of possibilities that will determine how that last hit is either won or lost, luck is not one of the possibilities.

FlashingBlade
-18th October 2007, 19:21
In a single fight, at 14-14, then I agree that luck plays a large part.

However, if a fencer analysed 100 outcomes from 14-14 and they lost more than about 54 or 55 of them, then its not just bad luck, its a weakness.

No no no!!!!

Luck plays no part. Never has, never will.

Learn to understand the complex variables involved and you too will realise luck is little more than an illusionary concept used by those with a weak mind and poor ability.

hokers
-18th October 2007, 20:23
Once again I'll say that I think tactics on the last hit makes the most difference and that mental strength and luck are also factors.

Flashingblade, you should perhaps explain your professional sporting and fencing background, perhaps your arguments, which come across as exceptionally condescending, would be accepted better? Having called us all amateurs with weak minds and poor ability, perhaps you can justify why we ought to take your word for it?

If you're a former Olympic champion or a professor of sports psychology, believe me we'll listen. If you're an armchair fan or a non-fencer, you can expect slightly less credibility.

Sophie
-18th October 2007, 21:12
Hokers, Cesh, Jon Willis, Flashing Blade - I know who 3 out of the 4 of you are and I know that you don't generally have to rely on your last hit at 14-14 (lucky or otherwise) to win the majority of your matches.

Never mind the last hit - what about the other 14 and getting those WAY before the other guy gets anywhere near his 14...? doesn't that say more about your fencing ability? (And shouldn't our aspiring Olympic athletes be getting the help and support they need to make them good enough to get a wider winning margin than 15-14?)

JohnL
-18th October 2007, 21:17
Luck plays no part in winning, at any level.

You have clearly never undertaken any sport at any level.

Your statement merely proves what I first thought when you posted on this thread. You're an idiot.

cesh_fencing
-18th October 2007, 21:32
Never mind the last hit - what about the other 14 and getting those WAY before the other guy gets anywhere near his 14...? doesn't that say more about your fencing ability? (And shouldn't our aspiring Olympic athletes be getting the help and support they need to make them good enough to get a wider winning margin than 15-14?)

In Men's Epee in particular at International level the margins between fencers is so minimal that a huge number of fights are won on that last hit or two when the mental strength of the fencer comes very much to bare. That is why it is so important and needs focused work..

Ideally of course we would love our fencers to be winning all their fights by a 10 hit margin, however this will not happen in reality else the established nations would never open the door for a Brit to win a World Cup event..

Sophie
-18th October 2007, 22:00
In Men's Epee in particular at International level the margins between fencers is so minimal that a huge number of fights are won on that last hit or two when the mental strength of the fencer comes very much to bare.

OK. Fair point. I am not male, an epeeist or of international standard so must bow to your superior knowledge, being all 3!

However, from an aspirational/motivational point of view I can't imagine any International level fencer (least of all you Cesh!) going on to a piste at that level of competition thinking that they are probably going to get taken to 14-14 and have to think about how they are going to get the last hit.

Even I know that you need to be more positive in your own ability and trusting of the support of those around you than that.

Can you say, with conviction, that the fencers who are currently competing at this level for GB have either that confidence in their own ability or feel confidence in the support of those around them so that they can approach any of their international matches in that correct, positive frame of mind?

Foilling Around
-18th October 2007, 22:40
Ok so,

1) Flashing Blade is a wally - to say luck plays no part in any sport is simply to prove your membership of the wally club! I really hope that you are a fantastic athlete with a string of titles at international level under you belt at some sport. Otherwise, being rude and abusive about other fencers tend to lead to your valid opinions being disregarded as rantings. (and you do have some valid opinions in your postings).

2) Jon Willis - got yah! - hooked on the forum. Please believe that we are not all prats!! The drive to reproduce that Heidenheim feeling must be a fantastic incentive to train harder - actually the trick is to train smarter, but that is what your team from the EIS should be working on.

3) I think Cesh has it right. You are not equal at 14:14. At the very least someone was 14:13 ahead (except in Epee) so someone had the fight in their finger tips. I think that at 14:14 it is 80% psychology and 20% luck. Some people have a habit of winning close fights and some tend to lose them. It is down to confidence.

4) Sophie - absolutely you should train to fight at 14:14. Obviously if you believe it is just luck then there is no point. But tryng to simulate the stress of the last hit can provide that that vital edge to win more tight matches than you lose.

TBennett
-18th October 2007, 23:09
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlashingBlade
"Luck plays no part in winning, at any level"



You have clearly never undertaken any sport at any level.

Your statement merely proves what I first thought when you posted on this thread. You're an idiot.

Brilliant......just brilliant

My esteem for you increases it seems

TBennett
-18th October 2007, 23:14
Can you say, with conviction, that the fencers who are currently competing at this level for GB have either that confidence in their own ability or feel confidence in the support of those around them so that they can approach any of their international matches in that correct, positive frame of mind?

If you want to compete at this level then you have to be positive about anything you do. Silly question. Next?!

FlashingBlade
-18th October 2007, 23:21
Once again I'll say that I think tactics on the last hit makes the most difference and that mental strength and luck are also factors.



Tactics - Why should tactics play a more significant role on the last hit than the 14 previous hits? Presumably, if you had been using your 'tactics' more effectively in the early stages of the bout then you would not be at 14-14, would you?

Mental strength - Mental strength is merely a component of psychology. So, you won't find me taking issue with you here.

Luck - Oh boy, here we go again! I have proven quite conclusively that luck plays no role in competitive fencing. In fact, luck doesn't even exist! Yet, the misguided believers in 'luck' have proven nothing. They simply argue... 'Oh, luck is important' or 'Boy that was a lucky hit' or 'Darn, I was just so unlucky' - yet, what do they mean? If you can't quanitfy 'luck' into something more tangible, then this proves luck simply does not exist and your arguments are worthless.

This is not rocket science my friends. All I'm asking for here is a tangible definition of luck and how that relates to the competitive environs of fencing.

I think I'm likely to be in for a long wait....

Baldric
-18th October 2007, 23:29
Luck - Oh boy, here we go again! I have proven quite conclusively that luck plays no role in competitive fencing.

No you haven't.

You have merely re-stated your belief.

Persistence is not proof.

Luck plays a part (I agree it is ONLY a part) because you can only control some of the variables in play. You can control your own tactical choices, your own mental and physiological state.

What you can't control is your opponents tactical choices, and their mental and physiological state. To borrow from the military lexicon, "no plan survives first contact with the enemy."

I agree that you shouldn't just shrug your shoulders and allow the bout to turn on a metaphorical coin toss. You should have a plan, and you should have rehearsed the situation, mentally and physically. All these things will help maximise your chances in that situation.

But thats not the same as luck having no impact.

gbm
-19th October 2007, 00:17
No no no!!!!

Luck plays no part. Never has, never will.

Learn to understand the complex variables involved and you too will realise luck is little more than an illusionary concept used by those with a weak mind and poor ability.

Wow... the words of wisdom! Now I too understand the 'complex variables', and I can step on the piste and win every fight! Why couldn't I understand this before, it turns out sports psychology is actually so simple!

Or... not.

I always find it interesting how the people whose arguments are most horribly horribly wrong are not the people who know they know nothing, it's those who don't realise it... FlashingBlades obvious lack of serious experience has rendered him incapable of realising how truly complicated it all really is - it is beyond anybody's complete understanding, you just have to work hard at it like everything else (and of course, you have to work harder at it than everybody else). There are no quick fixes in sport.
Fencing is sufficiently complicated that parts of it form a chaotic system, that is very tiny inputs can make a large difference to the output. You may be able to state that there is a 80% chance of your opponent doing something, but given that often they may not themselves what they plan on doing, and there is a continuous and extremely complex feedback loop between the two fencers, there are no sureties in fencing.


You've fallen into the trap that so many fall into.

This is my particular favourite quote :whistle:
FlashingBlade has fallen into the trap of thinking that he is seeing things or knowing things that other people are not. On average, I suspect most forum users still have more competitive experience than FlashingBlade, but together there is far more experience than any single user could ever have. If you ever find yourself in disagreement with the vast majority of other forum users, you are very probably wrong :)
The piece that followed it was (obviously in my relatively unqualified opinion) also wrong. It's true that more people may be inspired to take up fencing from public media e.t.c., but having a wide base of beginner fencers definitely does not guarantee good results. The fencers who need have their bars raised will have been fencing for 5 years+, and will be inspired more by who they actually fence at competitions.

People who think they know what they are doing in fencing range from the extremely annoying (those people who then impart their 'knowledge' to other people in club), to the amusing.

Don't know you know nothing, because everybody knows something, it's just best to know you definitely don't know everything, or in fact most things. And know that a large proportion of what you know or thing is wrong.

Oops... I fed the troll. :dont:

Coup Lance
-19th October 2007, 00:17
Flashing Blade. I think you have misunderstood what people mean when they say luck has an effect at 14 all. Think about it like a game of poker (hopefully you'll get the analogy even if you don't actually play). When you are down to one on one you play the game to maximize your chances of winning. If you've got to Jacks for example you'd think you've got a pretty strong hand especially if there is a jack already showing on the table. You commit and put all your money in only to find that your opponent has got a royal flash and despite playing well up till now and being quite equal your opponent has one even though the chances are you'd have one by calling with that hand on most other occasions. This is luck.

When fencing we train hard, need mental strength, need options of what to do at 14 all taking into account our opponents psychological state. This is like building your hand. When the referee calls 'Allez' you play your hand and if you are mentally stronger and tactically better you are effectively going in to the fight with a stronger hand. But every now and again your opponent will do something that beats you. This could be something as simple as a slight move of the arm that stops your point landing how it has done time after time in training. This is just bad luck.

I have refereed a lot of fights that go to 14-14. Amongst the top fencers there is not a lot that separates them. Some go into those fights with a stronger hand (to continue my poker analogy) most of the time they win. Sometimes they are just unlucky. At 14-14 it's about playing the percentages. You play the tactic that gives you the best chance of winning but sometimes even a perfectly executed move will not be enough.


Edit**
Darn GBM beat me to the post still like my analogy

pinkelephant
-19th October 2007, 00:49
I think Flashing Blade is a figment of his or her own imagination. Either that or a nightmare the rest of us are sharing.

fencingmaster
-19th October 2007, 08:54
Luck - Oh boy, here we go again! I have proven quite conclusively that luck plays no role in competitive fencing.

Whish famous person said
"The better I become the luckier I get"??

fencingmaster
-19th October 2007, 08:58
To answer my own question...
Gary Player, "The harder I work, the luckier I get"
Benjamin Franklin"Diligence is the mother of good luck."

hokers
-19th October 2007, 09:04
"Itís a funny thing, the more I practise the luckier I get."

Gary Player


Waaaay behind fencingmaster....

hokers
-19th October 2007, 09:17
Hokers, Cesh, Jon Willis - I know who 3 out of the 4 of you are and I know that you don't generally have to rely on your last hit at 14-14 (lucky or otherwise) to win the majority of your matches.


:notworthy:

I am not in the same league as these guys :)

Marcos
-19th October 2007, 09:49
riiiiiiight - luck plays no part? let's dissect that:

to reduce personalising it, lets look at the Spanish #1 Epeeists results this year (ABAJO, FIE #13)

Worlds - L32
European - L64
Bogota A - L32
Caguas - L64
Montreal GP - silver
Paris GP - silver
Stockholm GP - L32
Lisbon A - L64
Legano A - L32
Kuwait GP - L128
Qatar GP - L128

13th in the world, remember, and has been in the top 50 pretty consistently over the last 4 or 5 years - ie a good fencer!

Either Men's Epee is totally random (maybe at the start of the Irish Open ME Satellite we'll throw a coin in the air to decide results ??) or there are factors, including luck, that come into play as they do in all sports.

Flashing Blade and others who say otherwise simply are on the wrong track. Dissecting one comps results is pointless - you look at the season, look at progression, and look at what the long term aim is...

For all we know, some of the GBR fences are in the middle of totally changeing their style or tactics and the comp came at a funny time in the process!

Tubby
-19th October 2007, 09:53
FlashingBlade reminds me of another young future captain of industry, who also seems to have gone missing off the forum (not that I'm complaining), but slightly maturer. Could it be Flaze has returned as FlashinBlade? So many similarities but the arguments are, slightly, better. If not one and the same I'd bet second year undergrad reading psych or phil.

Does luck exist? FlashingBlade doesn't define what he/she means by luck but asks others for a tangible definition to debunk to serve his "proven" point of view (ergo undergrad that will probably be unlucky at exam if that's how he/she construct their arguments).

As for luck in a fencing bout -
Its bad luck that out of the 10 possible refs you could have had allocated to your fight you get the only one that thinks your technique in attack is incorrect.

Its really jammy when your aimless desultry waving of your epee goes onto your opponent's hand as he attacks when you're trying to catch a breather.

Its bad luck when dirt on your opponets tip causes it to go off on your guard and there's no residue left on the tip for the ref to find.

It's so stuffy when your opponent's foil shorts out on your lame because the tape got damaged in the fight and you get the counter on.

etc etc etc

fencingmaster
-19th October 2007, 10:18
Waaaay behind fencingmaster....

Hokers, result of quick scan reading. Perhaps I should take Benjamin Franklin's words of wisdom to heart!

ChubbyHubby
-19th October 2007, 11:03
Its bad luck when dirt on your opponets tip causes it to go off on your guard and there's no residue left on the tip for the ref to find.



I think I read somewhere that bogies work just as well...

silvercross
-19th October 2007, 11:17
I can see the scene now:

In a small cafe in Rome, a nervous little leprechaun sits, nervously gripping the rim of his emerald boler hat whilst puffing madly from his pipe. Meanwhile three large, armani clad gentlemen, sitting opposite him pass the little leprechaun an envelope. Inside: a four leaf clover with 'Mickey' written on it.

'If you-a wanna see your famiglia again, signore, you will make-a with the buona fortuna, or we'll send you little mickey and your signora piece by piece on the post, capisce?' proclaims with a raspy voice one of the large men.
'Miss Vezzali would be really appreciative if you could make the Germans collapse early on in the DE's. She'd like as many medals to go to the Italians.' mumbles another as he slurps his spaghetti.

IT'S ALL DOWN TO LUCK!!!! :D

Seriously, though, I don't really deny the existence of mitigating circumstances that man does not yet have a rational explanation for being classified a 'luck' (say, a freak snowstorm on a Friday night keeps all the fencers from London clubs from making it to an open further north). My only concern is the WEIGHT given to these mitigating circumstances as being overriding factors for success/failure.

Re some of the explanations you offer for luck, Tubby:

-If you know after the first one or two hits that a ref will not give the hits to you because he believes your technique somehow renders the hits non-valid, change your tic-tacs. Otherwise you'll keep blaming the ref for your lack of adaptability.
-Dirt on opponents tips and lame shorting out are equipment failures. How many older, wiser fencers grin at newcomers when their blades malfunction and tell them with an air of smugness 'it's your responsibility to keep your equipment in working order?'

Luck, by definition, would be random circumstance. Some of the examples you give are lack of adaptability/responsibility on the part of the fencer, and not the result of 'luck'

aao
-19th October 2007, 11:20
Luck plays no part in winning, at any level.

You outline two scenarios to prove the validity of luck in a fencing bout. Let me quickly debunk both scenarios (This should take all of 30 seconds!). Your first scenario describes you fencing a guy who you perceive to be superior to you. Now, he may well be superior to you, but whether or not he is, it's your perception that he is (superior) which is key. It's this perception that will mould your performance which will eventually lead to defeat. On an unconscious level, your mind is telling you that you won't win (Because the other guy is better)... this unconscious, fundamental message is then transmitted to every gamut of your fencing. When you score a hit you will credit it as luck, because your mind is telling you your skill level is not good enough to score a valid hit. When you get hit, you assume it's a skilled hit because the guy you are fencing is better than you. And sure, sometimes it will be because the other guy is better. But at no point will luck play any role in this scenario, it's your pscychology, or the weakness of your psychology that needs to use a vague concept such as luck (good or bad) to determine the outcome of your bout. .

Ah joy a well reasoned at completely wrong point of view, during said fights (of which there have been a number) my loss to Chris apart from the first time we fenced, was not due to me mentally doubting either my ability or overestimating Chris's, it is simply a statement of fact that at the time that these matches took place no matter what i might have believed or thought, at the time Chris was a technically far superior fencer to myself, capable of exploiting my weaknesses if he performs his actions correctly. I.e. if he won it was down to superior skill, for me to win a degree of luck was involved.

Now enough of this silliness I've had to agree with JohnL and compliment Cesh twice on his superior abilities, I even agree with what Jon W has to say!! no more i say, may the karmic gods take revenge on you for this horrible turn of events flashing blade....

Spider5
-19th October 2007, 11:35
I think that semantics plays a part here. By using the would luck, the implication is that the conditions are completely unknowable and utterly uncontrollable. By using some other term like random variable it implies that exact values can't be predicted at any given time but the range of values can be estimated fairly well beforehand.

Therefore the statements about luck playing a part come down to how the lucky/random/unpredictable variables are dealt with. In some of the scenarios that Tubby presents the range of possible luck factors could be considered before the fight and tactics thought of to reduce their chances of affecting the fight.

Attack technique seen as incorrect? Recognise the refs style, change the attack. Hard work and unfair but partially solvable by training in several different attacking styles. Maybe it's your opponent whose suffering from the 'blind' ref, take advantage of it and try and make him hit you with the unrecognised attack.

You got that wavy arm hit? Your opponent didn't consider the possibility of an apparently random action. If he's susceptible to those sort of hits, throw them in deliberately.

Dirt on the tip? Insist on checking tips before each and at each break. Pedantic and it won't remove the possibility entirely but it also alerts the ref to the possibility of it during the fight.

Tape degradation? It's a known issue for all foil fights but it's not possible to predict at what point in a fight the tape becomes ineffective. Check your tape regularly, change foils when necessary. If your oponent doesn't check his then you will benefit at some unpredictable point in the fight.

However, these tactics will only serve to improve chances of success, they will not completely eliminate the possibility of failure. I would say the most sucessful fencers reduce the effect of unpredictable factors through careful preparation including the ability to adapt very rapidly to the situation at hand.

It will not guarantee success but it will improve the chances of it.

Therefore luck or randomness will still play a part in all fights.

silvercross
-19th October 2007, 11:35
BTW, has anyone noticed how amazingly off-topic this thread has gone?

coachcarson
-19th October 2007, 12:02
So the French team were either the luckiest or the best prepared for these championships. Pehaps worth reviewing how they achieved such dominance and comparing that to how we didn't. Then consider how we close the gap in just 5 years. Why don't we move our pathway athletes from London to Paris?

Tubby
-19th October 2007, 12:25
If my strategy is to attack and the ref does not see what I do as the attack I could find myself 2 or 3 hits down before I've worked the ref out. How many times have you asked the ref to phrase the hit and you get back "attack counter attack" or "prep attack counter attack"? The fact that I can do something about it afterwards is neither here nor there, the point I was making was that this ref sees what I do differently to others and his random allocation to my fight is unlucky for me, I'm disadvantaged until I workout what needs to be done. In my scenario maybe it is unrealistic that 1 out of 10 refs would call it differently to the other 9, I should have said 5 out of 10 :whistle: .

If I'm waving my epee about not intending to hit my opponent (I'm just trying to avoid the card for non-combativity while I catch my breath) and he stupidly puts his hand onto it I'm lucky, if I then go on to use it as a tactic then I'm increasing my chances of success, but I was lucky to have got the hit.

If during the fight I'm in I damage the tape on my opponents foil, an act that I nor my opponent is unaware of, I'm lucky if he does not get the hit when he should have.

Dirt can get on the tip after you've tested, by accident or by deliberate act, my point here is that for me, I'm unlucky that the ref I have cannot determine what happened and I lose the point.

cesh_fencing
-19th October 2007, 13:21
I do totally agree that luck does exist in fencing.

Twice at the old British Epee World Cup I got through into the second day due to me being really lucky.

1st time, fencing a french guy, well apart - he changes direction , goes over on his ankle and breaks it.. Bad luck to him, good luck to me, or did he have a technique flaw that caused the accident.

2nd time. I scrape through as last qualifier in 1st round to preliminary DE and am faced up to fence 17th seed (i.e. highest ranked fencer not to get a bye).. He has counted up the results and thinks he got a bye straght to the second day and has gone back to the hotel. I arrive on the piste and he gets counted out as does not appear on the piste. For him STUPID, for me pretty good luck (and wasn't that told to me by all the brits)..

I feel that luck plays far less of an effect when you are actually fencing however and good technique increases your chances of being supposidly 'lucky'. If in Epee you go En-guarde with your point out of line from your opponent and they attack & you do nothing you cannot get a 'lucky hit'. If however your point is already in line and someone attacks they may plant their hand on your point and you regard that as a 'lucky' hit, is it lucky or was it unintentionally a good hit due to good technique.

Any hit that occurs is esentially due to choices by the fencer, what one person may call lucky, another may see that a trained in part of technique has increased the chance of that result occuring.

silvercross
-19th October 2007, 13:24
Hmmm, I once held my non-blade hand out wide away from my body only to find my opponent lunge wildly at me and hit me in the palm of my hand for a hit...

was that you flailing the epee?:whistle:

I don't deny it (random events influencing outcomes of fights). A large fly could land on my lame just as my oponent is about to hit me in the exact same spot the fly has landed, making an otherwise legitimate hit 'off target'. But that would probably mean I need to change my brand of deodorant more than 'I was lucky' (mayby it was a female fly and I was wearing Lynx Brand 'Fly-Mofo' antiperspirant...) :D

They are the exception rather than the norm.

As to the results, having looked at the past three years worth of results from the FWC, it can be seen, generally (I have some spare time, not the whole day), WS and ME have had noticeable and consistent improvements. WF and WE would be unfair to gauge using this method or timeline, because of inconsistencies in how many fencers have been sent for these weapons. MS and MF I'd probably say have been consistent, but have remained around the same.

I'd probably say MF is due a breakthrough as would WS and possibly ME if they keep form (By breakthrough I would mean 'going one step further in the DE or higher') for the next FWC and Olympics.

But again, this is based solely on pooled results from the last three FWC, and does not break down each individual performance, preparation, physical/psychological status on the day of the matches, upwards/downwards trends in the competitions prior to the FWCs, climatological conditions, altitude, performance v. left/right handed opponents, or preference for vanilla or chocolate ice cream.:D

Red
-19th October 2007, 13:32
This is not rocket science my friends. All I'm asking for here is a tangible definition of luck and how that relates to the competitive environs of fencing.

Actually, rocket science is dead easy...

Tubby
-19th October 2007, 13:51
Hmmm, I once held my non-blade hand out wide away from my body only to find my opponent lunge wildly at me and hit me in the palm of my hand for a hit...

was that you flailing the epee? "Flail" is a term oft used in describing my fencing, "lunge" however is not :(.

Tubby
-19th October 2007, 13:55
1st time, fencing a french guy, well apart - he changes direction , goes over on his ankle and breaks it.. Bad luck to him, good luck to me, or did he have a technique flaw that caused the accident. Or unlucky for the condensation on the roof to drip onto the piste where he put his foot.

I would try to contribute to the thread with analysis of the results but I haven't got the foggiest....

pigeonmeister
-19th October 2007, 14:08
What about the Olympic MF team final when the Italians were awarded so many wrong hits that the ref was later suspended? Had they be using the video technology available now, China would almost certainly have won.

I get seeded number 1 in the nationals (yes we are talking serious hypotheticals) Kruse messes around in his poule, loses 2 fights and gets seeded 64. It's not bad luck that I don't win the comp, but it's bad luck that I go out in that round.

No such thing as a lucky winner- but to say that luck doesn't exist at all is ridiculous.

You want to talk about the absence of luck in sport in sport-watch snooker (where 'kicks' and flukes are an accepted part of the game)

What about the random assignment of horses in pentathlon?

Jon Willis
-19th October 2007, 14:37
riiiiiiight - luck plays no part? let's dissect that:

to reduce personalising it, lets look at the Spanish #1 Epeeists results this year (ABAJO, FIE #13)

Worlds - L32
European - L64
Bogota A - L32
Caguas - L64
Montreal GP - silver
Paris GP - silver
Stockholm GP - L32
Lisbon A - L64
Legano A - L32
Kuwait GP - L128
Qatar GP - L128

13th in the world, remember, and has been in the top 50 pretty consistently over the last 4 or 5 years - ie a good fencer!

Taylor beat him at the Europeans in the L64 by a point and I beat him in the semifinal of a tournament in Lisbon at the weekend by 2 points. how unlucky is that to loose to 2 brits in one year?

He's still a nice guy and bigger than me so I'm saying nothing!

pqg
-19th October 2007, 14:38
The luckiest (and funniest) hit I've ever got: I went for a toe hit in epee and my opponent lifted his front foot, meaning my blade slid beneath, missing. His foot came back down immediately, trapping my blade (not deliberately). So I was stuck in a low lunge I couldn't recover from without leaving my epee behind, because he was standing on my blade. Incidentally, my understanding of the rules here are that this is cause for a halt, but if he hits me right away (in the same action that stepped on the blade) it's valid. However, as he moved forward to do exactly that, he dragged his back foot onto my trapped, immobile tip; one light for me!

(I guess you could argue that from his POV it was incompetence rather than luck, but definitely lucky for me)

silvercross
-19th October 2007, 14:44
What about the Olympic MF team final when the Italians were awarded so many wrong hits that the ref was later suspended? Had they be using the video technology available now, China would almost certainly have won.

I get seeded number 1 in the nationals (yes we are talking serious hypotheticals) Kruse messes around in his poule, loses 2 fights and gets seeded 64. It's not bad luck that I don't win the comp, but it's bad luck that I go out in that round.

No such thing as a lucky winner- but to say that luck doesn't exist at all is ridiculous.

You want to talk about the absence of luck in sport in sport-watch snooker (where 'kicks' and flukes are an accepted part of the game)

What about the random assignment of horses in pentathlon?

Yes, luck does happen (and by the amount of random dosh I find on the street, it's quite often) but neither of the top two examples are 'luck'

The top example is 1)bad refereeing, 2)lack of technology able to monitor bad refereeing

The second example, if you use the 'KR messes around in his poules' you are inferring that he is not fencing to the capabilities he possesses, and therefore does not achieve the results expected of him. You do a brilliant job fencing, committing 0 errors and pouncing on opponents mistakes and get the no. 1 seeding.

It can happen, and is dependant on a lot of factors some which you can control (properly working kit, mental focus, your skill and ability to adapt to your oponents game plan if he/she has one, physical strenght, endurance, sound tic-tacs) and some which you can't (relative strenght of poule, conditions of the piste, accuracy of refereeing, proper working scoring apparatus/spools, proper working kit, humidity of the piste, conditions of the fencing hall, your opponents coordination or lack thereof).

Tubby
-19th October 2007, 14:49
I get seeded number 1 in the nationals (yes we are talking serious hypotheticals) Kruse messes around in his poule, loses 2 fights and gets seeded 64. It's not bad luck that I don't win the comp, but it's bad luck that I go out in that round.Similar thing happened to my daughter at the U20 Champs. Daughter had a great poule round and seeded 3rd. Corinna Lawrence has a slow start in the polues and is ranked joint 13, identical stats with another fencer, coin toss sees Corinna in the other half of the draw and Mudge meets her in the semi and gets the expected biffing, loads of points and a medal. Had the coin come down the other way they could have met in the 16. That was lucky.

pigeonmeister
-19th October 2007, 15:27
Yes, luck does happen (and by the amount of random dosh I find on the street, it's quite often) but neither of the top two examples are 'luck'

The top example is 1)bad refereeing, 2)lack of technology able to monitor bad refereeing

The second example, if you use the 'KR messes around in his poules' you are inferring that he is not fencing to the capabilities he possesses, and therefore does not achieve the results expected of him. You do a brilliant job fencing, committing 0 errors and pouncing on opponents mistakes and get the no. 1 seeding.

Then by you logic, you finding money on the floor is not good luck- it is an example of poor money retaining skills by whoever dropped it!

This is, again, an issue of semantics- I don't want to get into a philosophical debate here. But in this context, the most useful definition (and I believe the one Flashing blade is attempting to deny) are factors outside your control that act irrespective of your performance. Otherwise we can rationalise every single detail as cause and effect- we can, but the question, in this context, is
one of criticism. Can I be criticised in these scenerios? Can my inability to beat Kruse be a valid criticism for me not achieving my aim of a L32?

Essentially we are talking about a 'what more can I do' situation.
I have the perfect poule- I got out to an Olympic fencer- My aim was not to beat an Olympic fencer, my aim was to get into the L32- I was unlucky not to have achieved this aim.

OK absence of video refing- very extreme example, but If you die from a illness, to which a cure is developed the next day, is that not bad luck!

FlashingBlade
-19th October 2007, 15:34
No you haven't.

You have merely re-stated your belief.

Persistence is not proof.

Luck plays a part (I agree it is ONLY a part) because you can only control some of the variables in play. You can control your own tactical choices, your own mental and physiological state.

What you can't control is your opponents tactical choices, and their mental and physiological state. To borrow from the military lexicon, "no plan survives first contact with the enemy."

I agree that you shouldn't just shrug your shoulders and allow the bout to turn on a metaphorical coin toss. You should have a plan, and you should have rehearsed the situation, mentally and physically. All these things will help maximise your chances in that situation.

But thats not the same as luck having no impact.

A resonable attempt at defining the undefinable, but alas, no cigar my friend!

The essence of your argument is that 'luck' comes into play when certain factors of your opponent (tactical choices, mental & physiological state) are beyond your control. What about factors relating to YOU? Maybe your shoelace comes undone, your blade breaks, you slip on the piste etc... these too are all factors outside your control.

Anyway, I'll cut you some slack, and assume the thrust of your weak argument is essentially about 'luck' becoming a player when your ability to have control is diminished.

Let us assume for a moment I'm holding 10 snooker balls (Yes I do have big hands!). I then throw these snooker balls (together) hap hazardly into the air before landing on a snooker table. One snooker ball falls straight into a pocket. Is that luck? Another ball bounces twice before rolling into another pocket. Is that luck? And a third ball lands in the middle of the table, nowehere near a pocket, it bounces off a ball next to it, momentum carries the ball down the table where it hits another ball resting against the cushion. Then slowly, agonisingly, it rolls along the cushion before plopping into the pocket. Now that must surely be luck, right?

In fact, there is no luck here. If I were to repeat the above exercise a 100 times a similar, if not identical outcome would result. Why is that?

We are talking about the rules of probability here. You do something enough times and you will be able to bring about a happening or an event that you consider to be unusual enough to think luck (good or bad) has played a part. Luck has played no part. It's simply the rules of probability exerting themselves on a randomly generated event.

Therefore, I have now proven overwhelmingly that luck plays no role in any professional sport. Consider that statement as official fact!

I shall now look forward to the forum members who have called me an idiot and offered no proof to their claims that luck is a genuine component to fencing, providing me with the most fulsome of apologies. Grovelling pitifully at my feet would be more than acceptable.

FlashingBlade
-19th October 2007, 15:36
FlashingBlade reminds me of another young future captain of industry, who also seems to have gone missing off the forum (not that I'm complaining), but slightly maturer. Could it be Flaze has returned as FlashinBlade? So many similarities but the arguments are, slightly, better. If not one and the same I'd bet second year undergrad reading psych or phil.

Does luck exist? FlashingBlade doesn't define what he/she means by luck but asks others for a tangible definition to debunk to serve his "proven" point of view (ergo undergrad that will probably be unlucky at exam if that's how he/she construct their arguments).

As for luck in a fencing bout -
Its bad luck that out of the 10 possible refs you could have had allocated to your fight you get the only one that thinks your technique in attack is incorrect.

Its really jammy when your aimless desultry waving of your epee goes onto your opponent's hand as he attacks when you're trying to catch a breather.

Its bad luck when dirt on your opponets tip causes it to go off on your guard and there's no residue left on the tip for the ref to find.

It's so stuffy when your opponent's foil shorts out on your lame because the tape got damaged in the fight and you get the counter on.

etc etc etc

The points you illustrate classically show how your personalisation of random events is interpreted as luck, or bad luck. Primitive people do this.

Ref scenario - If 5 out of 10 refs don't give you a hit when you feel should have one, you view this as bad luck. You're personalising an event and viewing it as 'bad luck'. Now, suppose the other 5 refs gave you a hit that perhaps you feel you did not deserve. Do you then view this happening as 'good luck'? What you're describing has nothing whatsoever to do with luck. If you feel 'unlucky' to get a ref who calls more hits against you, is it beyond the realms of possibiilty that he sees things that the other refs don't see, thus making him a superior ref? A reason or explanation can be found for every incident of 'luck' as I will describe below.

Waving Epee scenario - You got what you view is a jammy hit. You call this 'luck'. Could it be that the guy you were fencing just happens to place his hand very close to the tip of your epee at various stages during the bout? His action may not be a conscious action on his part. It's just simply a by product of his overall fencing style. Therefore, if his hand should just happen to stroll into the line of your epee, is there not an 'increased probability' you will get a hit on his hand at some point? There is no 'luck' involved here.

Damaged tape scenario - Was the structure of the tape weakened in the previous bout, before you finished it off for good? You then view it as 'luck' when your opponent is not credited with a valid hit on you. Conversely, no doubt you would also view this situation as 'bad luck' for your opponent. Once again, there's no 'luck' in this scenario. First off, you have an opponent who neglects his equipment. Is neglecting equipment bad luck? No, it's just neglect. Will he be the only guy there who neglects his equipment? Unlikely. Therefore, is it totally beyond the realms of possibility that, at some point during the competition you would encounter a fencer who neglects his equipment?

Dirty Tip scenario - Once again, this is nothing more than a personalisation (I do like big words!) of a random event. Here you portray yourself as a victim (of someone's deliberate act of cheating) and you call it unlucky. Now, suppose the guy who cheated (dirty tip guy) fenced 10 straight opponents, before his suspect tip was detected. Now, are all these ten fencers equally 'unlucky'? Furthermore, are YOU still 'unlucky' if another ten fencers were also victim of someone's cheating? So, the real question here is - have you really been 'unlucky' or was there a strong likelihood or probability that you too would become a victim that day?

silvercross
-19th October 2007, 15:44
Then by you logic, you finding money on the floor is not good luck- it is an example of poor money retaining skills by whoever dropped it!

Actually I atribute it to my honed skill at looking for money in the street (several years as a student allow me to perfect the craft) :D


This is, again, an issue of semantics- I don't want to get into a philosophical debate here. But in this context, the most useful definition (and I believe the one Flashing blade is attempting to deny) are factors outside your control that act irrespective of your performance. Otherwise we can rationalise every single detail as cause and effect- we can, but the question, in this context, is
one of criticism. Can I be criticised in these scenerios? Can my inability to beat Kruse be a valid criticism for me not achieving my aim of a L32?

Won't argue with you on that one.


Essentially we are talking about a 'what more can I do' situation.
I have the perfect poule- I got out to an Olympic fencer- My aim was not to beat an Olympic fencer, my aim was to get into the L32- I was unlucky not to have achieved this aim.

But if you fought that one match to the best of your abilities and still lost, it wasn't because of bad luck, it was because of superior opposition (if we assume RK fights to the best of his abilities) and how that opponent got there is rendered a moot point. The mechanics of the draw (and other factors external to your control) gave you Kruse earlier than you wanted to fight him, but I am referring to luck in the fight itself. I know where you are going with your argument, and don't dissagree entirely with it. What more can you do? TRAIN HARDER! (Lazy Student! :p)


OK absence of video refing- very extreme example, but If you die from a illness, to which a cure is developed the next day, is that not bad luck!

I blame pharmaceutical corporations for depending on a market economy which limits the release of my cure until it is profitable to them. I thus become a victim of 'Capitalism' :(

JulianRose
-19th October 2007, 15:46
except that the laws of probability are just ways of understanding the small random occurances of life that seem to happen a lot one way or the other. (luck anyone??)

Red
-19th October 2007, 15:52
We are talking about the rules of probability here.

The thing about statistics and probability is that if I perform an action with a success rate of 80%, I cannot guarantee that the NEXT action will be a success. All that can be said is if I perform the action enough times, I should succeed 80% of the time - I cannot tell you which actions will succeed or fail - will the next one? the third one? the one when it matters most? It cannot be known!

silvercross
-19th October 2007, 15:52
We are talking about the rules of probability here.

:eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek: Mein Gott!!! We're dealing with a Statistician here! (You wouldn't happen to work for the Civil Service, by any chance?)

silenced
-19th October 2007, 15:53
A resonable attempt at defining the undefinable, but alas, no cigar my friend!

The essence of your argument is that 'luck' comes into play when certain factors of your opponent (tactical choices, mental & physiological state) are beyond your control. What about factors relating to YOU? Maybe your shoelace comes undone, your blade breaks, you slip on the piste etc... these too are all factors outside your control.

...........Couldn't be bothered to waste good space on the forum with this drivel although I leave the following section for amusement value. I find it funny that a balanced discussion should lead to insults so easily (on both sides)....................

I shall now look forward to the forum members who have called me an idiot and offered no proof to their claims that luck is a genuine component to fencing, providing me with the most fulsome of apologies. Grovelling pitifully at my feet would be more than acceptable.

I agree with your snooker ball analogy as having no luck. Math is a wonderful thing. However, its a closed scenario and therefore is not really relevant to an interactive sport in my opinion. You are free to disagree.

pigeonmeister
-19th October 2007, 15:58
The mechanics of the draw (and other factors external to your control) gave you Kruse earlier than you wanted to fight him, but I am referring to luck in the fight itself. I know where you are going with your argument, and don't dissagree entirely with it. What more can you do? TRAIN HARDER! (Lazy Student! :p)(

But I wasn't 'Lucky' enough to be born with as much talent as RK!! ;)

I am not convinced that you can dismiss the 'luck' within the mechanics of the draw. Especially when that mechanism actually incorporates a computer tossing a coin is some cases.

I actually think we are all profoundly unlucky that such an obnoxious berk like Flashingblade stumbled upon this forum...

silvercross
-19th October 2007, 16:09
But I wasn't 'Lucky' enough to be born with as much talent as RK!! ;)

You needed more 'scotch' in your genes :D (the bad pun police will beat me up for that one)

Maybe our next generation of fencers should be genetically bred from stock of past champions...

Hmmm, just thought of Jordy Cruyff. Never mind...:shrug:


I am not convinced that you can dismiss the 'luck' within the mechanics of the draw. Especially when that mechanism actually incorporates a computer tossing a coin is some cases.

I actually think we are all profoundly unlucky that such an obnoxious berk like Flashingblade stumbled upon this forum...

Which is why I don't rule it out completely. And neither do competitions, since a coin toss is used to de-select fencers or athletes with identical scores in some cases.

But I do like to think that we have to be able to control as many of the controlable factos as possible and that this will inevitably help us be better fencers.

Red
-19th October 2007, 16:10
:eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek: Mein Gott!!! We're dealing with a Statistician here! (You wouldn't happen to work for the Civil Service, by any chance?)

He's not a statistician, otherwise he'd have realised the fallacy of his arguments.

pigeonmeister
-19th October 2007, 16:17
But I do like to think that we have to be able to control as many of the controlable factos as possible and that this will inevitably help us be better fencers.

Totaly agree, and I don't actually subscribe to the 'down to luck' at 14-14 thesis. It's Performing under Pressure- as Clive Woodward calls it.

Spider5
-19th October 2007, 16:25
If we all agreed on what luck vs probability meant I think just about everyone is in agreement. Stuff can happen that you can't control 100% but you can prepare for it before a fight and react to it during a fight to improve your probability of success. Probabilities and statistics only have meaning in large samples, anecdotes of 1 or 2 examples are interesting but not good enough to define the situation.

So, I think FlashingBlade has an unlucky posting style but the probability of his posts containing something valuable amongst the somewhat arrogant padding is in the region of 90%. :rolleyes:

pqg
-19th October 2007, 16:27
...In fact, there is no luck here. If I were to repeat the above exercise a 100 times a similar, if not identical outcome would result. Why is that?

We are talking about the rules of probability here. You do something enough times and you will be able to bring about a happening or an event that you consider to be unusual enough to think luck (good or bad) has played a part. Luck has played no part. It's simply the rules of probability exerting themselves on a randomly generated event...(other stuff cut to focus on core of argument)

The key flaw in your argument is that you can't rule out luck before defining what you mean by luck. To my mind saying "it's not luck, it's random" implies a strange definition of luck, for what is it if not a (fortunate) outcome of a random event?

Your other argument based on the law of large numbers is insufficient too. Yes, an unlikely event is fairly likely to occur at some point if you repeat the circumstances hundreds of times but, in sport the circumstances are NOT always replicated hundreds of times. Consider a hypothetical event that has a 1 in 10000 chance of occurring to a particular fencer at a world championships. A top fencer won't do 10000 world championships - he'll do well to make more than 10. This means that if this event occurs at any of them he has been very (un)lucky.

Using the law of large numbers to counter claims of luck is essentially saying "it was bound to happen sooner or later". Well, depending on the probability of the outcome and the number of times the circumstances arise, that's not always true.

You admit that there are random events and probability involved. A fencer's job is to do everything they can to get the odds in their favour, but since there are events outside their control, that won't be foolproof. When something happens that is heavily against the odds, that's what we call luck.

Note that people's assessment of these odds may be very wrong (partly due to not understanding the law of large numbers) which means many events are nowhere near as unlikely as people believe. This may mean there's not as much luck involved as people think but that's completely different from saying there's no luck whatsoever.

aao
-19th October 2007, 16:36
surely 'luck' is purely a set of uncontrolable (by the person getting lucky) events going the way of the receipient. e.g. a lottery ticket, or a deflected goal, a net cord in tennis, or a point against you not coming up because your opponents sword stops working etc etc.

Yes there are things that you can do to put yourself in a better position to get lucky but ultimately whether the above happen or not is purely down to chance.

hokers
-19th October 2007, 16:58
OK I think we can officially define luck then:

"Luck is the occurance of a specific event when the statistical odds of it happening are extremely unlikely"

Thus good luck is when such an event happens that is beneficial to you (winning the lottery with the only ever ticket you buy) and bad luck is when the event is very bad for you (being hit by a falling meteorite).

Lucky and unlucky are based on human observations of the frequency of these events for a particular person/thing. I am lucky to just remise in time and block out my opponent's in-time attack because he only attacks just slow enough for it to happen once in every 100 attacks and my opponent is unlucky because the one time he is slightly slow, I just so happen to be in the right place to block him out.

If we imagine the situation of a 14-14 point. The chances of me getting the hit depend primarily on my action, secondarily on my opponent's. These actions are decided by our skill, experience, tactics, mental strength etc. But luck as defined above comes into it. It's VERY unlikely for my blade to break on that hit, say 500-1. Roll the imaginary dice - no break. It's VERY VERY unlikely that the scoring equipment will fail on this hit, say 100000-1, again roll the dice and see what happens. And so on, there are as many possible scenarios as you can think of, but ultimately the fight thus far has broken even in the number of hits. Unless we fence the last hit very differently (which is possible) I'd argue we're 50:50 to take the last one.

Anyway, luck exists and human observation says some people are luckier than others. Whether this is statistically provable or it's just karma is a question for another thread.

jacquesdor
-19th October 2007, 16:59
"The harder I work, the luckier I get."

Gary Player amongst others.

Baldric
-19th October 2007, 17:21
Anyway, I'll cut you some slack, and assume the thrust of your weak argument is essentially about 'luck' becoming a player when your ability to have control is diminished.

Let us assume for a moment I'm holding 10 snooker balls (Yes I do have big hands!). I then throw these snooker balls (together) hap hazardly into the air before landing on a snooker table. One snooker ball falls straight into a pocket. Is that luck? Another ball bounces twice before rolling into another pocket. Is that luck? And a third ball lands in the middle of the table, nowehere near a pocket, it bounces off a ball next to it, momentum carries the ball down the table where it hits another ball resting against the cushion. Then slowly, agonisingly, it rolls along the cushion before plopping into the pocket. Now that must surely be luck, right?

In fact, there is no luck here. If I were to repeat the above exercise a 100 times a similar, if not identical outcome would result. Why is that?

We are talking about the rules of probability here. You do something enough times and you will be able to bring about a happening or an event that you consider to be unusual enough to think luck (good or bad) has played a part. Luck has played no part. It's simply the rules of probability exerting themselves on a randomly generated event.

Therefore, I have now proven overwhelmingly that luck plays no role in any professional sport. Consider that statement as official fact!


A little knowledge can be such a dangerous thing.

Firstly, be careful using terms like "rules" or "laws" of probability. Most mathematicians will speak about "probability theory" or "the doctrine of probability" and when you ask them about rules and laws, they come over all coy.

There are rules and laws for calculating probability, but these are disconnected from the real world - they are just instructions for calculating a mathematical model of how often an event will occur.

Probability theory is next to worthless when the number of events is small. Tossing a coin all heads three times in a row is quite easy - try it. Tossing a coin 10 times all heads could take you a lifetime - or you could do it first try.

I understand probability theory fairly well, having supplemented my student grant playing poker in my younger days. Over time, the cards even out and a good poker player will always beat a poor one if they play for long enough. He will do this by losing a relatively small amount on losing hands, but winning a larger amount on winning hands. On single hand, the chance distribution of cards is the biggest (not the only) determinant of the winner.

Returning to fencing for a moment, we can agree surely that sometimes there will be a random occurence, which is probability theory describes as happening only rarely. Lets say its you hitting your opponent on a tiny dead patch on their lame, overlooked by weapons control.

Say we agree that the likelihood of this is 1:10,000. We have no way of changing that probability - no amount of training, mental preparation or tactics will alter it.

It will therefore happen to most fencers in their career. For me, it might happen when I am already 14-1 down. So I lose 15-1 when the correct scoreline would have been 15-2.

For my friend, it happens when they are 14-14 at the world champs. They lose.

The only words we have in the English language to describe the difference between those two outcomes (mischance, unfortunate, etc etc) are semantically equivalent to "luck".

Baldric
-19th October 2007, 17:23
"The harder I work, the luckier I get."

Gary Player amongst others.

I think you are now the 3rd (or is it 4th) person on this thread to make that quote.......

Jon Willis
-19th October 2007, 18:10
Here's one to think about, would we all agree on this...

the more hits you fence to the more likely a better fencer will win. For example, if a beginner was to fence an experienced fencer, say British top 10 to 15 hits, I'm guessing the score will be about 15-1 (having never nilled anyone at epee myself). If the same people where to fight to one hit, like in pentathlon say, there is a greater chance for the beginner to win because he could score his hit first. (hope I'm making sense)

If sport was so clear cut that the better person/team wins all the time wouldn't it be boring and the England rugby team be out in the quarters while New Zealand lift the world cup this saturday?

pqg
-19th October 2007, 18:53
Here's one to think about, would we all agree on this...

the more hits you fence to the more likely a better fencer will win.
In theory, yes - just like the poker analogy above - the more hands you play, the more likely the better player will come out on top. A simplified way of looking at it would be to estimate the chance of the better fencer getting each hit: say that's 80% (The greater the skill disparity, the higher that percentage). In this case, the beginner has some chance of winning a one hit fight, a remote chance of winning to 5, and next to no chance of winning to 15. It's a reasonable model, but there's at least 2 other factors that come into play when comparing longer fights to shorter ones:

1. Learning over the course of the fight / adapting to how your opponent fights - whichever fencer is better at this will up their percentage in the latter stages. (this will generally be the one who is 'better' anyway, but not necessarily. I've seen match-ups of old, canny fencers versus young guns, where I'd bet on the youngster to 5 and the more experienced one to 15)

2. Fitness. For long fights, lack of fitness may mean your percentage will drop in the latter stages. We've all seen fights where the more skilled but unfit fencer simply ran out of legs. (obviously this is applicable even more when you try to extend the argument beyond 15 hit fights - I've done the occasional 50 or even 100 hit match in trainng...)

If the margin between the fencers skill level is not huge, either of these factors can be enough to make the difference.

cesh_fencing
-19th October 2007, 19:06
If sport was so clear cut that the better person/team wins all the time wouldn't it be boring and the England rugby team be out in the quarters while New Zealand lift the world cup this saturday?

What do you mean England have always been the better team!!!! As an England Fencer (I think you are now at least) you should be convinced of the superiorty of England whatever sport.

I guess the England Rugby Team has just been very unlucky over the last 3 years and 11 months since they won the world cup last time up to when South Africa destroyed them a few weeks ago.. (unlucky team selection, unlucky dropping the ball, unlucky letting everyone run past them and score, just very unlucky)

One thing you can say about the Rugby WC England team is that when it come to a close match, when it really matters (i.e. World Cup) they seem to be able to focus and not sc**w it up..

I have to say that if you had the choice of Jonny W (Wilkinson before you claim credit JW) or any othet kicker going for that last minute drop goal or penalty I would bank on Wilko scoring it. (Hope I don't regret saying that on Sat) Is it luck that he seems to kick those most important points - No- Technique, control under pressure and self belief...

Coup Lance
-19th October 2007, 19:54
If sport was so clear cut that the better person/team wins all the time wouldn't it be boring and the England rugby team be out in the quarters while New Zealand lift the world cup this saturday?

I seem to recall that there has been a fair amount of evidence based research that where players (or teams) are more equal and the result of matches are less predictable then they are more popular with audiences. Now it seems to me that epee has more closer fights hence it must be a better spectator sport :whistle:


Back on topic...

I think the rational members of this forum are in agreement that luck plays a part in any fight however many, including myself, have argued that the effect luck has can be reduced with preparation. I'd be interested to know from those that are of a standard to be at the WCs, what have you done to prepare yourself for 14 all? Without revealing too much to the French national coaches that I am sure read this forum, what are your tactics at this point? I seem to remember Jon was asked this along with all the cadet epeeists at the training camp a couple of years ago. I just can't remember whether his answer was run forward and flick to foot or run forward and flick to back...

gbm
-19th October 2007, 23:51
I hate stats, but if you have an event which may or may not happen X times, then if X is low you have strong Poisson noise and therefore the 'luck' factor is high.

Basically you either win by luck or skill, or more usually a combination of both (ever had a fight where you've done everything wrong and not deliberately, and somehow still got away with it? Luck that your opponent couldn't cope with it. 14-all and you clinch the last point by choosing the right technique? Skill).

Meg_SF
-20th October 2007, 02:43
Everything seems to have got very intellectual, or is it philosophical, all of a sudden? We do seem to have meandered a little..

Apart from it being an immense honour to represent your country, not to mention yourselves - how did it go? Were any results suprising (overall, not just GB) Should anyone be popping champagne corks and dancing a happy jig because they did better than they realistically should on paper? Who had an unlucky* draw? Is Tommy C OK? What's happening with the training regime and when are you going to be famous? ;-) Is there anything us mere mortals can do to help?

I'm sure, despite the babble, that everyone here does support you and appreciates all the hard work and effort I know every one of you has put in.
Keep it up!

xox

* I hesitate to use the word, but feel it fits..

Tubby
-21st October 2007, 01:53
The points you illustrate classically show how your personalisation of random events is interpreted as luck, or bad luck.
If you want to live in your own world with your own definition of words that is your choice. Similarly for me, RANDOM events I interpret as luck, it is how I choose primitively to define luck.
Mind you if you really had strength of conviction in what you say and in the manner in which you say it why do you not tell us who you are. And we can have a discussion over coffee at a competition where we're not limited by a key board. My name is Andrew Chang, why don't you come and introduce yourself at a comp. I shall be at the Welsh Open on the Sunday and at H&W on the Saturday.

Tubby
-21st October 2007, 01:54
Totaly agree, and I don't actually subscribe to the 'down to luck' at 14-14 thesis. It's Performing under Pressure- as Clive Woodward calls it.When I spoke with Clive he called it T-CUP.

Foilling Around
-21st October 2007, 13:18
Another take.

In actual fencing terms good luck can happen, but not bad luck.

eg. At foil or sabre you attack and your opponent counter attacks, you miss and he hits. Your miss is not bad luck - you have executed the action poorly. On the other hand your opponent has executed a poor action, he should not have counter attacked. If he did nothing make you miss then he has been lucky.

Any action which you make which misses means that you have executed it wrongly or your opponent has done something to prevent you from hitting. You may not have predicted what they were going to do, but it is not luck.

On the other hand you can do a wrong action and benefit from the fact that your opponent executed their action poorly or at the wrong time. That is luck.

The only bad luck comes from random events - a sparrow flies into your mask just as you are about to execute a fantastic ballestra lunge - for example. Or some fool bumps into the referee causing him to fail to be able to separate the actions which should have been yours.

Jan O'C
-21st October 2007, 21:04
Or in Alex's case at the Senior Worlds in a poule fight at 4-4, just as he is about to hit his opponent, the guy slips and the hit misses but as he slips he puts his hands out to stop the fall (natural reaction) but catches Alex on the arm with the tip of his sword and wins the fight. Now personally I would call that bad luck because it is through no fault of Alex's and no skill of his opponent but purely by random chance. To a psychologist (and presumably to a statistician) random chance is something that will just happen periodically and can't be predicted. There are statistical tests you can use to work out the liklihood of anything being by random chance (ie supporting the null hypothesis) but for the sake of everyday life, I can live with saying that if it seems to be random chance, I am prepared to call it good luck or bad luck.

Ok now let's see what the philosophers amongst us have to say about that one. And please don't say he shouldn't have been at 4-4 in the first place - that's a Mike Matthews type comment.

Red
-21st October 2007, 21:23
Or in Alex's case at the Senior Worlds in a poule fight at 4-4, just as he is about to hit his opponent, the guy slips and the hit misses but as he slips he puts his hands out to stop the fall (natural reaction) but catches Alex on the arm with the tip of his sword and wins the fight. Now personally I would call that bad luck because it is through no fault of Alex's and no skill of his opponent but purely by random chance. To a psychologist (and presumably to a statistician) random chance is something that will just happen periodically and can't be predicted. There are statistical tests you can use to work out the liklihood of anything being by random chance (ie supporting the null hypothesis) but for the sake of everyday life, I can live with saying that if it seems to be random chance, I am prepared to call it good luck or bad luck.

Ok now let's see what the philosophers amongst us have to say about that one. And please don't say he shouldn't have been at 4-4 in the first place - that's a Mike Matthews type comment.

So... Alex correctly executed an attack (no luck), but missed as the other guy slipped, and hit him (cannot be foreseen, must be 'luck') at assault point (Surely this isn't luck - it's Murphy's Law...)

Foilling Around
-21st October 2007, 21:34
Or in Alex's case at the Senior Worlds in a poule fight at 4-4, just as he is about to hit his opponent, the guy slips and the hit misses but as he slips he puts his hands out to stop the fall (natural reaction) but catches Alex on the arm with the tip of his sword and wins the fight. Now personally I would call that bad luck because it is through no fault of Alex's and no skill of his opponent but purely by random chance. To a psychologist (and presumably to a statistician) random chance is something that will just happen periodically and can't be predicted. There are statistical tests you can use to work out the liklihood of anything being by random chance (ie supporting the null hypothesis) but for the sake of everyday life, I can live with saying that if it seems to be random chance, I am prepared to call it good luck or bad luck.

Ok now let's see what the philosophers amongst us have to say about that one. And please don't say he shouldn't have been at 4-4 in the first place - that's a Mike Matthews type comment.

From the FIE rules
t.87. 1. The competitors must fence faithfully and strictly according to the
rules laid down in these Rules. All breaches of these rules will incur
the penalties laid down hereinafter (cf. t.114–t.120).
2. All bouts must preserve the character of a courteous and frank
encounter. All irregular actions (flŤche attack which finishes with
a collision jostling the opponent, disorderly fencing, irregular movements
on the piste, hits achieved with violence, hits made while falling)
are strictly forbidden (cf. t.114–t.120). Should such an offence
occur, any hit scored by the fencer at fault is annulled.

So from your description the bad luck is a poor decision by the referee.

EDIT - problem is it does not define a "FALL". Is it a hand on the piste, a knee on the piste or what?

Jan O'C
-21st October 2007, 22:04
I think we could call it a stumble to one side (as it was described to me) but the blade caught Alex just before the other guy left the piste and before the ref called halt. Fine line there with the ref's decision but there is no video replay in poules - I think if he hasn't called halt at that point and the other fencer is not actually touching the piste with anything but his feet when the blade touches then the hit stands. Now I am quite sure that the refs amongst you will correct me.

Red
-21st October 2007, 23:04
I think we could call it a stumble to one side (as it was described to me) but the blade caught Alex just before the other guy left the piste and before the ref called halt. Fine line there with the ref's decision but there is no video replay in poules - I think if he hasn't called halt at that point and the other fencer is not actually touching the piste with anything but his feet when the blade touches then the hit stands. Now I am quite sure that the refs amongst you will correct me.

You're allowed to place the unarmed hand on the piste (and of course the feet), nothing more. If the action finishes with you on your knees/back/face then I'd say you'd fallen (my interpretation).

UglyBug
-29th April 2008, 18:50
What about Jonny Willis' supreme record for arriving at events without his kit due to BA? It's bad luck that they lose his kit. Fencing in borrowed/brand new kit knocks people off kilter