Thursday, November 12, 2015

En Guarde!

On Saturday, my brother and his wife called us up to tell us that they'd found a fencing class in our area. "In our area," in this case, turns out to mean "within walking distance of our house". So, I scooped up the boys and got them dressed, and they went to try their first fencing class.

I remember just enough about fencing that I can help them work on their stepping and posture outside of class. I can't fence myself; not anymore. I used to, but Kung Fu and the SCA have given me too many habits that conflict with classical fencing. Still the boys had a good time at it, so if everyone really is recovered by Saturday, we're going to try it again... and if nobody makes any strenuous objections, I'm going to sign them up and make it a regular thing.

Boy with swords, right? What could possibly go wrong?


  1. SCA... isn't that the organization that encourages people to hack away at each other with bloody great broadswords? Safely, of course, but even so...

  2. My information may be out of date -- it's been a while since I had anything to do with the SCA -- but back when I was involved, they had two styles: Heavy Fighting, which was the broadswords-and-armor (and shields and polearms, sometimes) version, done with rattan weapons; and Light Fighting, which was meant to simulate rapier combat, and used double-wide epees.

    As a starving college student, most of what I did was Light Fighting; I couldn't afford the equipment for Heavy. It's somewhat like fencing, but it's done in an open area (so you can sidestep or circle in ways that you simply can't in classical fencing) and you can use your off-hand, usually with a small shield, a dagger, or a second sword... I think cloak and open hand were the other two possibilities. But basically, instead of holding one hand behind you to help propel your lunge, you keep it more forward where you can engage your opponent with it. And the part where you aren't limited to just moving forward or backward means that the stance and stepping are a bit different, too.

    ...All of which was probably way more than you want to know, but there you go.

  3. I fenced in a vague sort of way in college, and I found that of all things, it affects certain activities at the gym. They really don't like it when you do a classic fencing lunge instead of the kind of lunge they expect you to do.

  4. Well, the personal trainers expect the lunge to look like this, and get rather cranky when I turn my back foot at a right angle to my front foot, but I find pointing both feet forward a) uncomfortable, and b) inefficient. You can't get power behind it that way. I don't have this problem with lateral lunges, just forward ones.

    BTW, one of my fencing instructors once gave a demo of using a weapon in the off hand. Not with an actual weapon, mind. She just showed us the hand motion.

    As for what could go wrong with giving your boys swords. Obviously, they'll be pointing out all the mistakes with those sword fighting scenes in movies. ;)


Feel free to leave comments; it lets me know that people are actually reading my blog. Interesting tangents and topic drift just add flavor. Linking to your own stuff is fine, as long as it's at least loosely relevant. Be civil, and have fun!