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Thread: Student not lunging

  1. #1
    Forum Rabbit AberdreamEpeeist is on a distinguished road
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    Default Student not lunging

    Hi everyone.

    I have been coaching since July so I have very little experience.

    I've been giving epee lessons to a beginner at our university club. He's picked up everything really quickly, but he is very reluctant to lunge. He's a 6'4 rugby player, I know he has enough power in his legs to do a very good lunge, which I can get him to do in lessons when I make him, but on the piste he never lunges, just steps.
    How do I get him to start lunging when he's actually fencing? Any tricks or techniques I can use?

    Any help would be great, thanks!

  2. #2

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    Get him to fight a bout but tell him that he is only able to score a point if it comes from a lunge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott_Epeeist View Post
    Get him to fight a bout but tell him that he is only able to score a point if it comes from a lunge.
    ...against a similarly built opponent.

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    This is only based on assumptions about your situation so maybe take this with a pinch of salt;

    Basically what I suspect you've run into is the problem where you have a student who knows how to lunge consciously, but hasn't developed the unconscious ability to execute it in a match situation without thinking about it, not that uncommon considering how unnatural the lunge can be for a beginner.

    This is one of the most challenging parts of coaching, bridging the gap between teaching something in a technical lesson and using it in a match. There's a couple of things you could try. Targeted Bouting like the previous poster suggested works fine, but I sometimes find that when you then take away the restrictions they just go back to old habits.

    If you're giving this person lessons, I would try and do exercises that made the lunge more "real". For example, spend sometime lunging to arm while standing still, then with movement, then with only responding to the specific cue of exposing the arm, but some "Red Herring" cues thrown in (maybe you beat his blade or expose a different target for example), so that the student has to pick the right time and cue to go. After that you want to add things like, keeping the lesson at a distance which can be reached by a lunge, but if the student tries to hit with step, you get out the way, also only showing the opening for a limited time, forces the student to act decisively and should mean they will learn to favour explosive actions like a lunge, over a step.

    For a fundamental action like the lunge, your student needs to have a feel for it, and that means the right distance, the right time and the execution. If you're only focussing on execution, then your student won't develop a feeling for the when and where of the action.

    Hope some of this helps.

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    Is it a problem? Or is he scoring well for his level. If the latter, leave it be. In time focus him on the timing of the action rather than the hit and he will naturally adjust his distance. It's no bad thing having a beginner who doesn't lunge for lunge's sake.

  6. #6
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    It sounds like he's probably a student whose doing well within his range but could improve by lengthening his distance. The hard thing is to get him to attack from further than his comfort zone is, then to build speed in that will make him effective at such distances.

    As said above bouting games will help but can go so far simply because when in a pressured match situation he will go to what is safe which for him will mean getting a bit closer where he feels he can deceive his opponents bladework.

    Increasing his distance and so forcing him to lunge is a long term thing to build into lessons but the simplest way to start would be to offer lessons where you establish yourselves at lunge distance and then begin movement backwards and forwards.

    He will naturally (as long as you allow him to find distance) fall into a distance that is closer than he could hit and you correct this by making quick, deep, attacks which prove he need be further away. From here you then offer standard cues to draw out lunging attacks which will show the effectiveness of lunge distance over extension/step-extension distance and help him simulate where he should be fencing from in a bout.
    It will help to explain this to them that you are trying to improve their ability to hit their opponent from further away, the conscious consideration of this and continued practice of such could be enough

  7. #7
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    have you tried asking him why he does not lunge?? cold be many reasons

  8. #8
    Senior Member plenty has a spectacular aura aboutplenty has a spectacular aura about
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    Hi,
    Ok, this is how I'd do it.
    First, check that he can lunge properly, watch him in profile.
    If not, then teach him the lunge, I use mirrors, wall bars, and coin under the front heel amongst other tricks.

    Second, get him to do ten perfect ones in a row ( or seven out of ten if he is struggling, make it a challenge ), and don't let him off until he's done it.

    Third, can go one of three ways,
    1- if it is time for his individual lesson, then without mobility ( movement ) get him to do a few lunges against you with weapon, to body. Check the action is correct using mirror if there is one on wall, if no mirror, tell him to stay in lunge each time and after he has hit you walk around the back to check his leg is extended properly and trunk and head in correct position. Error correct. Then assist recovery. A few more reps. If he drags the back leg or brings it up at all, place a foil or glove on the floor just inside instep of back foot , asking him not to let the glove move.

    2- if it is time for a group footwork anytime soon, get him to join this, tell him to really focus on correct execution and co-ordination, and not to try to keep up with the footwork if it goes too fast but focus on good lunges. Keep an eye on him and error correct where possible. Remember, there may be multiple errors but you should concentrate on the main one you are trying to fix.. Don't force it though if he really can't do it after a while. And dont shoot him either ! Try working on something entirely different. You will probably find that in any event next time he comes to club, it may well have improved ' on it's own'

    3- if there are some lunging pads, set him a task. Once moderately ok, set a challenge, like follow my leader in pairs, or on his own a particular sequence with x reps.

    At the appropriate points above you also need to tell him why a lunge is made just so, and why it is error not to do proper lunge and always use a larger step as he is doing. It needs to be clear to him the tactical benefit of lunge over step. I word it that a lunge is your 'range', the distance you can hit from, and that your back foot is your escape route to pull you out of the lunge. Don't confuse him with false attack, short/long lunge, don't introduce flèche etc.

    A classic formula is,
    Lunge, hit.
    Lunge, fall short ( coach Pulls back to avoid..important he doesn't then lean or forward recover )
    Lunge, fall short, recover keeping line & counter attack on spot as coach moves forward
    Lunge hit, recover & counter attack as above.

    Use your voice to control arm extension and lunge initiation and the recovery. If he assimilated well then mix the hit and fall short above as surprise choice reaction. Then add mobility.

    Every time he comes to fencing hall and melds the same error with lunge, take him off the piste and send him to do thirty lunges in a row ( lunge pad/mirror/exp fencer observing). 30 more if he makes mistake in original thirty, and so on.




    The other method is just chuck him in the deep end, tell him what he's doing wrong and why, and let him solve it. ( some do, some don't )

    Kind regards
    Plenty

  9. #9

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    In addition to what else is being said...put him on the box.

    No lames are needed, just the hookup to the light fires.

    Have him bout someone with the instruction to just make him miss when he steps in...and when he misses he gets hit with a counter.

    As soon as the points start racking up against him, he should get the idea. It sounds like he knows he has the reach due to his height, but not how to use it properly.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Purple Fencer View Post
    In addition to what else is being said...put him on the box.

    No lames are needed, just the hookup to the light fires.

    Have him bout someone with the instruction to just make him miss when he steps in...and when he misses he gets hit with a counter.

    As soon as the points start racking up against him, he should get the idea. It sounds like he knows he has the reach due to his height, but not how to use it properly.
    He's an epeeist so lames wouldn't be an issue. Does he know why a lunge can be preferable to a step? maybe he feels vulnerable whilst on the lunge as opposed to being able to defend comfortably from a step. You could do simple bladework lessons with him on the lunge to enhance his balance.
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  11. #11
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    use a bigger stick?

    The saddler near here has a "Lunging Whip" and even some "Lunging Reins" if they might help
    Last edited by Cyranna's Father; -2nd January 2013 at 14:31. Reason: further whimsy
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