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Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Alright so, uh. Would you accept that speed and power are connected, but the fastest hit might not be the strongest? A jab is faster than a cross, right?

That's the magical thing about swords: You don't need maximum power, but maximum speed is super handy for both offense and defense. And not just the velocity at the tip of the blade, but the time between going "oh poo poo" and the blade moving. A jab's worth of power is enough to cut a dude up, so taking a full back-foot-to-front step (which is what I mean when I say "leading with feet") while keeing your sword behing you is just kind of dangerous.

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El Spamo
Aug 21, 2003



Also, a fast hit will connect while a slow one will be parried or avoided. Move the fast things first (i.e. hand, sword) and you will be able to get your attack in before your opponent can react. At 7min he even explains the two different kinds of timing. Paraphrasing, stepping then striking can deliver a stronger blow, which is good for an executioner, but initiating the strike from the hand is a better tactic in combat. You MUST hit your opponent before they can respond, leading with the hand accomplishes this.

Does this mean that the strike is not the most powerful? Yes, of course, but it will be powerful enough. It's a sword, so over-committing and over-powering the strike is definitely something that you can do. It's only 750g of weight needed to depress the tip of a modern epee, easily achieved with a relatively light thrust. Historically I'm sure it doesn't take much more than that to pierce skin and be lethal and what good is a powerful strike if it doesn't land? Better to strike your opponent with the right amount of force and maintain the ability to recover and defend yourself from a counter attack. Duels ended as often as not when blood was drawn so making that touch, even if it's not lethal, could satisfy the duellists. And they were plenty lethal.

I anticipate the question of "What if your opponent is wearing armor?" Well, what if he is? Fencing wasn't an armored affair, so tactics designed for unarmored dueling aren't appropriate to apply against an armored opponent.

And why are we talking about historical stuff? This is modern sport fencing! Absolutely move the hand first! Hell, I get lots of mileage out of retreating while striking. The initial forward preparation draws a counterattack or an attack on prep from my opponent, which then opens an opportunity to touch their arm or hand as I retreat. It's really elegant and it can be one of those frustrating things for people when they're POSITIVE that they had you dead except for that lucky arm touch on their way in. It is, in fact, engineered to convince them to attack into a retreat leaving them out of distance and out of time.

Now, the number of times when I've misjudged that distance and was just a little TOO close...

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Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



The historical fencing angle is relevant because this discussion was sparked over both me and ImplicitAssembler challenging the footwork of the historical fencers in the Phoenix Society's video.

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El Spamo
Aug 21, 2003



Ah, right. I didn't watch that video.

Can't really say anything about the non-rapier weapons, but the rapier stuff looks like hot garbage. Then again, I kinda put that up that they're doing a demo and fooling around more than a little bit. They never change lines, feint, beat or use any sort of deception or change tempo. The footwork is exceedingly sloppy. Probably because they're doing a demo and they aren't really worrying about it. Still, some of those weird backsteps and crossover steps are odd, I don't really understand why they're doing it. They're way too close together and at one point hang out within easy striking distance of each other and don't do anything. Nothing! Not even a little poke! They also seem weirdly interested in binding everything, all the time. Just hit the guy!

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Zeitgueist
Aug 8, 2003

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Ah, right. I didn't watch that video.

Can't really say anything about the non-rapier weapons, but the rapier stuff looks like hot garbage. Then again, I kinda put that up that they're doing a demo and fooling around more than a little bit. They never change lines, feint, beat or use any sort of deception or change tempo. The footwork is exceedingly sloppy. Probably because they're doing a demo and they aren't really worrying about it. Still, some of those weird backsteps and crossover steps are odd, I don't really understand why they're doing it. They're way too close together and at one point hang out within easy striking distance of each other and don't do anything. Nothing! Not even a little poke! They also seem weirdly interested in binding everything, all the time. Just hit the guy!

I don't know whether they were loving around or not, but the skinny guy is fairly well known in rapier competition, but is far more known for teaching from Fiore's 15th century manual which covers a bunch of different types of fighting and footwork, but definitely includes passing steps(German footwork does as well, they're fairly similar in many respects) and is mainly a longsword book for many folks. As I suggested, they might have some sparring in other videos if you're looking for a more accurate representation of a fight.


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And why are we talking about historical stuff? This is modern sport fencing!

As I understood it, myself and others can bring it up in this thread. It's not really as good a fit in the martial arts thread of the historical combat thread(though close). Not trying to start any cultural wars, I just threw it up to see what folks thought of it.

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El Spamo
Aug 21, 2003



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I don't know whether they were loving around or not, but the skinny guy is fairly well known in rapier competition, but is far more known for teaching from Fiore's 15th century manual which covers a bunch of different types of fighting and footwork, but definitely includes passing steps(German footwork does as well, they're fairly similar in many respects) and is mainly a longsword book for many folks. As I suggested, they might have some sparring in other videos if you're looking for a more accurate representation of a fight.


As I understood it, myself and others can bring it up in this thread. It's not really as good a fit in the martial arts thread of the historical combat thread(though close). Not trying to start any cultural wars, I just threw it up to see what folks thought of it.

Cool beans. Y'all bring the historical stuff, and some modern stuff'll get posted too.
I figure that there's a reason for the crossovers and such, I just have no idea what those reasons are and I only really have an eye for modern footwork.

So. Some modern stuff!
This youtube guy posts TONS of fencing videos and has a subset with commentaries. My favorite one is the Beijing Olympics gold medal bout between Jeannet and Tagliariol. Fantastic bout, and it's fun to watch. Unfortunately the IOC took down the first half, but here's the second.

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I have a love/hate relationship towards Jeannet. On one hand, he's kind of a diva rear end in a top hat. On the other, he's a posted french-gripper, which I am, so I watch him to see how things are supposed to be done.

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Aug 8, 2003

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Cool beans. Y'all bring the historical stuff, and some modern stuff'll get posted too.
I figure that there's a reason for the crossovers and such, I just have no idea what those reasons are and I only really have an eye for modern footwork.

If you or anyone else is interested, here's a video about doing an Italian Renaissance lunge with the guy people are complaining about not being the one teaching.
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I will shut up about nerdy historical stuff for now.

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ImplicitAssembler
Jan 24, 2013



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I have a love/hate relationship towards Jeannet. On one hand, he's kind of a diva rear end in a top hat. On the other, he's a posted french-gripper, which I am, so I watch him to see how things are supposed to be done.

And they're moving their feet first to attack.....

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Verisimilidude
Dec 20, 2006

Strike quick and hurry at him,
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If you or anyone else is interested, here's a video about doing an Italian Renaissance lunge with the guy people are complaining about not being the one teaching.
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I will shut up about nerdy historical stuff for now.

From what I understand, Richard Marsden (the skinny bearded guy) has only really started practicing rapier relatively recently. His main thing is polish saber (which he's writing a book on, complete with period costumes!) and he's pretty good at longsword. I've always thought his school's footwork looked strange, or at the very least a bit awkward, but it could be an influence from their polish saber-heavy background.

Also, to make the distinction, the "arm first, then torso, then feet" rule works best with thrusting weapons. I practiced rapier with the Martinez Academy under Jared Kirby and Maestro Martinez himself, and they both utilize the same rule (although they don't really lean, preferring instead to keep the torso erect). Arm locks out a line of attack, arm shoots forward to ensure line is protected, then lunge.

Speaking with my JSA sensei, he's says the following: "There's no right way per say. For two-handed weapons planting the feet is key as it allows you to generate power. At first you make big motions to generate power, but if you understand how to use your feet you can generate the same amount of power with smaller motions, so fewer tells. Sometimes your hands do have to move first however, but those are like last second reactions. High risk, high reward. If you get parried you'll most likely be off balance, or you wouldn't have weight behind it so it would get cut through."

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Crazy Achmed
Mar 13, 2001



Grimey Drawer

Eh, I figured that the weirdness in that demo video was because they seemed to be more concerned about just showing off the bladework, and also possibly worrying about posing for the cameras.

I'm looking forward to watching that video with commentary - there is just not enough well commentated stuff out there, whether it's making it accessible for non fencers, or explaining the complexities and more technically impressive actions to scrubs like myself.

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From what I understand, Richard Marsden (the skinny bearded guy) has only really started practicing rapier relatively recently. His main thing is polish saber (which he's writing a book on, complete with period costumes!) and he's pretty good at longsword. I've always thought his school's footwork looked strange, or at the very least a bit awkward, but it could be an influence from their polish saber-heavy background.

I've only ever learned Fiore Longsword from Marsden. When he visits my area, that's what he teaches. He's a pretty fun teacher as well, he's very enthusiastic.

I've seen him be pressed in sparring with rapier, and it's fun to watch because he's even skinnier in person that that video makes it look, and he's flexible so he does all sorts of unorthodox body voids. But I don't think I was qualified at the time to say whether what he was doing was technically correct, or just idiosyncratic to him.

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Verisimilidude
Dec 20, 2006

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So that you dishonor him before the judges


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I've only ever learned Fiore Longsword from Marsden. When he visits my area, that's what he teaches. He's a pretty fun teacher as well, he's very enthusiastic.

I've seen him be pressed in sparring with rapier, and it's fun to watch because he's even skinnier in person that that video makes it look, and he's flexible so he does all sorts of unorthodox body voids. But I don't think I was qualified at the time to say whether what he was doing was technically correct, or just idiosyncratic to him.

My teacher is very similar (super skinny at 5'7", 125 lbs) and he's lightning fast and crazy good at voids. I'm trying to drop some weight to be in the same physical league as him since I'm short.

Also I haven't met Marsden in person but I've spoken to him over the internet and he's definitely a nice guy. The dude's a High School teacher and runs a historical fencing club! So rad.

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Zeitgueist
Aug 8, 2003

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My teacher is very similar (super skinny at 5'7", 125 lbs) and he's lightning fast and crazy good at voids. I'm trying to drop some weight to be in the same physical league as him since I'm short.

Also I haven't met Marsden in person but I've spoken to him over the internet and he's definitely a nice guy. The dude's a High School teacher and runs a historical fencing club! So rad.

Yeah if you ever get a chance to take a class from him, he's quite fun.

Looked up the Martinez Academy you mentioned and I'm jealous, it looks quite nice. The vast majority of historical rapier I've seen taught is Italian...though there is Puck Curtis up in northern Cali who also does Destreza and his wife as well, who's an academic researcher on it.

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Crazy Achmed
Mar 13, 2001



Grimey Drawer

So, uh, how do you deal with hitting/getting hit in historical rapier? Those things don't look like they bend much.

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HEY GUNS
Oct 11, 2012

In the 17th century, the Holy Roman Empire was ravaged by the Thirty Years' War. In the middle of this chaos appeared a Japanese mercenary named Isaak. His fierce battle begins!


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So, uh, how do you deal with hitting/getting hit in historical rapier? Those things don't look like they bend much.
You electrical-tape a thing to the end of it or get a mandingo porn star pics, which is what they used to practice with at the time.

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Zeitgueist
Aug 8, 2003

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Rolled tips or rubber blunts. The have some flex but yeah less than a modern foil. Ideally fighters should also be mindful of their opponents as well.

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Verisimilidude
Dec 20, 2006

Strike quick and hurry at him,
not caring to hit or miss.
So that you dishonor him before the judges


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So, uh, how do you deal with hitting/getting hit in historical rapier? Those things don't look like they bend much.

They're more flexible than you'd think. Not foil levels of flex, but enough that with a rubber tip or some electrical tape you should be alright.

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HEY GUNS
Oct 11, 2012

In the 17th century, the Holy Roman Empire was ravaged by the Thirty Years' War. In the middle of this chaos appeared a Japanese mercenary named Isaak. His fierce battle begins!


The real danger in historical weapons are staff weapons, there's no way to make them truly safe so there's a few things I'll never get to do with other people in my chosen style.

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ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

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I have always wondered how historical tournaments work. How do these events reconcile competition with the need to demonstrate the traditional techniques?

I know that in sport fencing, if I follow the rules and I win, it doesn't matter if I made a "real" parry or I made up my own thing. Since on the historical side you are trying to (presumably) recreate a dead art, I would think that doing something "correctly" is the goal, and not necessarily hitting at all costs. Do they just not award points for messy hits? How do they reconcile different schools' interpretations of surviving pictures/texts?

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I have always wondered how historical tournaments work. How do these events reconcile competition with the need to demonstrate the traditional techniques?

I know that in sport fencing, if I follow the rules and I win, it doesn't matter if I made a "real" parry or I made up my own thing. Since on the historical side you are trying to (presumably) recreate a dead art, I would think that doing something "correctly" is the goal, and not necessarily hitting at all costs. Do they just not award points for messy hits? How do they reconcile different schools' interpretations of surviving pictures/texts?

Well there's no single answer. The truth is, HEMA(Historical European Martial Arts) as a group is still really new and young, despite technically existing for hundreds of years the popularity is really recent. Even within the last year it's grown a lot. Different tournaments do it differently. The format I have seen used at SoCal Swordfight, which is a pretty big conference, was to have a point system based on where you strike your opponent(fatal/wounding), and when a touch is made fighting stops and 3 observing judges attempt to agree on what they saw happen, majority taking it. A simpler form might be simply to 3 touches, or whatever. The big conference(and most prestigious US tournament is Longpoint on the east coast, and I'm in LA so I don't know how they do it.

One point of contention in historical swordfighting is that tournament scoring systems can bias the style to adapt to the scoring system rather than using accurate technique(ie, hand hunting moreso than you strictly might have in period, and such). I don't necessarily disagree with that, and I think folks have to strike a balance between accuracy and competition, should they choose to compete. I don't think anyone disagrees that you have to spar to get better, but some folks refuse tournament formats for that reason. And of course in a tourney format, you may have some folks doing tactically foolish things in order to get a final point or whatever. I did see in the last rapier tournament I observed the main ref ask fighters to use good technique and not strike wildly when things got aggressive.

I'm still new to the sport end of it but I get the feeling that there's not really any settled format/style to historical tournaments just yet, due to the community immaturity. Sure, some clubs have been around for decades, but there isn't a strong standardizing body just yet.

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ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

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Interesting. Can anyone else comment on how it's done in their area? I imagine sportifying any martial art is a hard thing to do, and I'm interested to hear different ways how it has been done.

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Verisimilidude
Dec 20, 2006

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Interesting. Can anyone else comment on how it's done in their area? I imagine sportifying any martial art is a hard thing to do, and I'm interested to hear different ways how it has been done.

At Longpoint (largest tournament in the US) the rules for longsword are as follows (at least from last year. I believe they've changed things around this year, but it should give you an idea)

Two fighters with a head judge and four line judges (2 per fighter). Bouts are 90 seconds (not including pauses, kinda like American football) or they end when one fighter has 14 more points than their opponent. All hit locations are valid except the groin, back of the head, and spine.

When a hit is made, a judge will call "point" and pause the action (fighters reset). Hits are broken down into several criteria, each with their own point value.

Contact: 1 point for successful contact of a valid strike surface against a valid target.
Quality: 1 point for striking with quality, meaning sound structure, balance, posture, or biomechanics, without falling or dropping a weapon.
Target: 2 points for striking the head or torso.
Control (of the opponentÂ’s weapon): 3 points for striking while actively controlling the opponentÂ’s ability to attack and/or defend himself with his weapon.

Each point after Contact is required to qualify for the next point, so you need contact to get quality, you need quality to get target, and you need target to get control.

Fighters delivering or receiving an after-blow may receive points. Both fighters are scored independently and the difference in points is awarded to the higher scoring fencer. When hits are equal no points are awarded.

Example: Sarah hits Greg with good edge alignment in the leg, and Greg (in the same tempo but not simultaneously) hits Sarah with the flat of his blade on the head. "Point!" is called and both fighters return to their corners.

Sarah receives 1 point for contact, 1 point for quality, 0 points for target, and 0 points for control. (Total: 2 points)
Greg receives 1 points for contact, 0 points for quality (because he hit with the flat rather than the edge), 0 points for target (because he doesn't have quality), and 0 points for control. (Total: 1 point)

Sarah is awarded 1 point (her 2 points minus Greg's 1 point), the head judge yells "Judges ready? Fighters ready? Fight!" and the bout continues.

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ScratchAndSniff
Sep 28, 2008

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Yeah, that sounds like a pretty good way to organize scoring, but I'm curious about how/if the judges enforce "proper" technique. If someone signed up and started using, say, kendo techniques and scored valid hits, would they be kicked out for doing things wrong? Or what if they used an obscure European style nobody there had ever heard of?

I'm not trying to be a jerk here. I'm really interested how this kind of thing is done, and how they balance the sport with the "historical".

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Verisimilidude
Dec 20, 2006

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Yeah, that sounds like a pretty good way to organize scoring, but I'm curious about how/if the judges enforce "proper" technique. If someone signed up and started using, say, kendo techniques and scored valid hits, would they be kicked out for doing things wrong? Or what if they used an obscure European style nobody there had ever heard of?

I'm not trying to be a jerk here. I'm really interested how this kind of thing is done, and how they balance the sport with the "historical".

There really isn't much difference between JSA and HEMA techniques, just different names and applications. The weapons are different, so you can do short-edge or pommel strikes with a longsword rather than a katana, etc. Really there is no "definitive" way to fight in a longsword tournament. If you're using good, strong technique, no matter what school or style you're using, you'll go pretty far.

We so badly want to dress up my sensei in HEMA gear, give him a longsword and let him loose on Longpoint, but I'm pretty sure he'd literally kill someone. (for reference, this is him: ebony lesbian free porn)

Also judging at most tournaments is notoriously bad, and we're making attempts to fix that with things like judging classes, workshops, etc.

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Zeitgueist
Aug 8, 2003

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"Good technique" means not wild dangerous strikes, for the most part. Control, form, etc.

As Vers said, there's only so many ways to cut somebody with a sword and I have no doubt a kendo master would do well in a longsword tournament. Especially if they have a good sense of timing and measure, which as far as I am aware, is useful in any sword system.

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Sep 28, 2008

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Thanks for the clarification. I was under the impression that it was more about practicing traditional techniques, but it sounds a lot more like a sport fencing competition that I thought it would be.

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Thanks for the clarification. I was under the impression that it was more about practicing traditional techniques, but it sounds a lot more like a sport fencing competition that I thought it would be.

What it could be, and what it free porn video trailer is are two different things. As far as historical rapier fencing goes, you're going to see a lot of folks doing what they have to in order to win, over accurate technique, because many folks come form a sport fencing background and/or if they're in a tourney, care more about winning that being accurate. I think that as the community becomes more settled, folks will be able to do both. There are folks who do both already, but they're the entirety of the community. There are excellent fencers who use excellent technique who spar but don't compete.

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Crazy Achmed
Mar 13, 2001



Grimey Drawer

Brutal. The scoring system sounds fair, though, considering what you're trying to achieve. What ways do people try to game the system, out of curiosity? It seems to have just enough subjectivity built into it to weed out that sort of stuff (kendo is similar in this respect, too, isn't it?)

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Brutal. The scoring system sounds fair, though, considering what you're trying to achieve. What ways do people try to game the system, out of curiosity? It seems to have just enough subjectivity built into it to weed out that sort of stuff (kendo is similar in this respect, too, isn't it?)

It's not so much gaming the system as you might see wild strikes with poor control, some that may land harder than intended even with armor on due to adrenaline. It's not a huge issue.

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Alright so, uh. Would you accept that speed and power are connected, but the fastest hit might not be the strongest? A jab is faster than a cross, right?

That's the magical thing about swords: You don't need maximum power, but maximum speed is super handy for both offense and defense. And not just the velocity at the tip of the blade, but the time between going "oh poo poo" and the blade moving. A jab's worth of power is enough to cut a dude up, so taking a full back-foot-to-front step (which is what I mean when I say "leading with feet") while keeing your sword behing you is just kind of dangerous.

More of a funny thing about fencing specifically. It'll depend on the sword and the target otherwise, but generating more force is generally preferred when you have to worry about penetrating armor, or being able to fight for more than a 5 minutes at a time because your arm muscles are going to give out a lot faster than your back when it comes to generating swings with sufficient force to hurt an armored opponent.

It's looking like I may get to pick up some historical fencing soon, my local SCA chapter is making a few noises about picking up cut and thrust, which would be nice. I'd like to spend time working with something that handles more like a blade than rattan, even if I can't go full force with it.

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ImplicitAssembler
Jan 24, 2013



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Brutal. The scoring system sounds fair, though, considering what you're trying to achieve. What ways do people try to game the system, out of curiosity? It seems to have just enough subjectivity built into it to weed out that sort of stuff (kendo is similar in this respect, too, isn't it?)

I think it helps that there's a very distinct difference between historical Japanese sword arts and kendo, which is by and large, a modern invention, albeit descended from the historical arts.
This is not to say that there isn't a subsection who wants to make kendo more modern and sporty (The Koreans, especially, wants to see kendo in the Olympics, which would require a rather large change for that to happen) and then there's also groups who thinks kendo has strayed too far away from it's historical roots.
Regardless, it's a martial arts in it's own rights and in terms of competitions, has a very good balance. Like modern fencing, it can be practiced at full speed, without any real safety concerns and by restriction the selection of valid targets, they have increased the skill level required to be successful.
However, kendo competitions only really make sense to people who practice kendo. The definitions of what's a point and what isn't, are hard to discern for the outsider.
Historical Japanese sword arts don't compete at all. In fact, aside from 1 or 2 they don't even spar (and those who do, do it in a kendo like manner).

The standard of refereeing can be an issue in areas with relatively low kendo population. Here on the West Coast, it's pretty good in local & regional comps. When I was living the UK, it was pretty poor and the few I saw in the one year I lived in NZ, it was atrocious.
At the international comps, they also struggle to keep up to the standard of the players and especially the world champs are bad.
That reminds me, that I'll be refereeing the whole day tomorrow and need to iron my shirt when I get home :P.

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Verisimilidude
Dec 20, 2006

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So that you dishonor him before the judges


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Brutal. The scoring system sounds fair, though, considering what you're trying to achieve. What ways do people try to game the system, out of curiosity? It seems to have just enough subjectivity built into it to weed out that sort of stuff (kendo is similar in this respect, too, isn't it?)

Kendo is very sportified, similar to how Olympic fencing is sportified.

As for gaming the system, as far as I know it's the most effective at keeping fencing clean and controlled. After all if you're a fencer who can execute clean attacks you're likely to get more points per hit and thus more likely to win. This is, of course, assuming you're capable of keeping up with your opponent. The control point in particular can be seen as the "WOW" point, because when it happens it's usually really obvious and everyone in the audience goes "wow!"

My only issue with it is that the control point requires the target point, and target is only possible from hitting the head or torso. There are many maneuvers in the texts that show absolute control of your opponent while ultimately hitting their hands, which in itself is a potential fight ender (assuming you're simulating a real fight). If you missing a hand you're basically hosed. There are also things like hand pressen and unterschnitt, the former starting by pushing the blade against the wrists, and the latter ending the former maneuver with a strike to the face. If point is called on the start of the move, you're incapable of getting points for ending the maneuver with a back-edge strike to the face (as it says in the text), because you've already made contact with your blade against their body. This is ultimately a minor issue, but you can see how rules like this could devalue potentially effective maneuvers.

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May 7, 2005



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Discussion: Would foil be better with larger target area? Would epee be better with right of way? Would sabre be better if nobody did it?

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Would sport fencing be better if it weren't straight back and forth in a line? (IMO this rule basically precludes any comparisons being made with a martial art, because holy hell restricting your movement to one dimension is dumb as poo poo in the context of combat).

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Crazy Achmed
Mar 13, 2001



Grimey Drawer

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Would sport fencing be better if it weren't straight back and forth in a line? (IMO this rule basically precludes any comparisons being made with a martial art, because holy hell restricting your movement to one dimension is dumb as poo poo in the context of combat).
You have a bit of freedom in being able to move laterally - the piste is wide enough to allow enough room to sidestep a thrust if you really want to, and at times doing so can be golden. But any further width isn't really necessary, because it takes way longer for your opponent to circle around you than it does for you to simply turn in place and face them. Like, you could probably turn at least 180 degrees in a single step, whereas the guy trying to sidestep around you would have to move several metres at least.

It's not exactly empirical evidence, but I was in a bout once with wireless packs and no piste boundary, and this was exactly what happened when my opponent tried to circle around me. The fight still ended up being effectively linear, just with the direction of that line changing sometimes.
I did win, but in retrospect instead of fencing normally, I should have sprinted out of the room and ambushed them from behind the doorway; that would have been much more fun.

[edit] Wouldn't foil without target and epee with priority end up being the same thing, aside from the weapons?

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You have a bit of freedom in being able to move laterally - the piste is wide enough to allow enough room to sidestep a thrust if you really want to, and at times doing so can be golden. But any further width isn't really necessary, because it takes way longer for your opponent to circle around you than it does for you to simply turn in place and face them. Like, you could probably turn at least 180 degrees in a single step, whereas the guy trying to sidestep around you would have to move several metres at least.

It's not exactly empirical evidence, but I was in a bout once with wireless packs and no piste boundary, and this was exactly what happened when my opponent tried to circle around me. The fight still ended up being effectively linear, just with the direction of that line changing sometimes.
I did win, but in retrospect instead of fencing normally, I should have sprinted out of the room and ambushed them from behind the doorway; that would have been much more fun.

Circling around my opponent (I practise HEMA) isn't something that I'm ever trying to do. What I am trying to achieve with lateral movement is to momentarily change the line of engagement, with myself attacking along it and hopefully catching my opponent defending either on the old line or somewhere in between. If my opponent isn't throwing a crossing cut along the line to meet my blow then there is a very good chance it wont be effective and I'm going to land my cut. Likewise, when being attacked I can step laterally to remove myself from the line of attack which will make any parry I employ far more likely to be effective and place myself in a good position for a counter attack.

Keeping yourself on the line while throwing crossing cuts (i.e. a cut aimed at the opponent but with the intention of meeting their blow, ideally along the line of engagement), and conversely trying to take your opponent off the line when attacking, is a very important part of properly defending yourself and creating openings for attack, respectively. Just as taking yourself off the line is important when parrying. I know I probably sound like I'm repeating myself, but lateral footwork is so important in properly executing techniques in HEMA. An extension of that is you need to be be able to move in whatever direction is required at the the time, so being able to make one lateral movement right before having to go left isn't enough. Also it's worth noting that rarely is a movement purely lateral in a sideways sense, you'll be stepping forwards or backwards along a diagonal depending on the situation.

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Crazy Achmed
Mar 13, 2001



Grimey Drawer

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Circling around my opponent (I practise HEMA) isn't something that I'm ever trying to do. What I am trying to achieve with lateral movement is to momentarily change the line of engagement, with myself attacking along it and hopefully catching my opponent defending either on the old line or somewhere in between. If my opponent isn't throwing a crossing cut along the line to meet my blow then there is a very good chance it wont be effective and I'm going to land my cut. Likewise, when being attacked I can step laterally to remove myself from the line of attack which will make any parry I employ far more likely to be effective and place myself in a good position for a counter attack.

Keeping yourself on the line while throwing crossing cuts (i.e. a cut aimed at the opponent but with the intention of meeting their blow, ideally along the line of engagement), and conversely trying to take your opponent off the line when attacking, is a very important part of properly defending yourself and creating openings for attack, respectively. Just as taking yourself off the line is important when parrying. I know I probably sound like I'm repeating myself, but lateral footwork is so important in properly executing techniques in HEMA. An extension of that is you need to be be able to move in whatever direction is required at the the time, so being able to make one lateral movement right before having to go left isn't enough. Also it's worth noting that rarely is a movement purely lateral in a sideways sense, you'll be stepping forwards or backwards along a diagonal depending on the situation.
Makes sense. But how far sideways are you needing to move to gain that positional advantage? I can't speak for sabre, but in foil and epee at least, you can definitely do the same with a very modest amount of sideways distance, and the piste is plenty wide enough for that.

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Makes sense. But how far sideways are you needing to move to gain that positional advantage? I can't speak for sabre, but in foil and epee at least, you can definitely do the same with a very modest amount of sideways distance, and the piste is plenty wide enough for that.

Depending on the situation I could be changing the line of engagement by up to 45 degrees which means suddenly you've got a whole lot less room to move forwards and backwards. If I needed to go in that direction again I'd only have the width of the piste to move which definitely isn't enough.

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You have a bit of freedom in being able to move laterally - the piste is wide enough to allow enough room to sidestep a thrust if you really want to, and at times doing so can be golden. But any further width isn't really necessary, because it takes way longer for your opponent to circle around you than it does for you to simply turn in place and face them. Like, you could probably turn at least 180 degrees in a single step, whereas the guy trying to sidestep around you would have to move several metres at least.

It's not exactly empirical evidence, but I was in a bout once with wireless packs and no piste boundary, and this was exactly what happened when my opponent tried to circle around me. The fight still ended up being effectively linear, just with the direction of that line changing sometimes.
I did win, but in retrospect instead of fencing normally, I should have sprinted out of the room and ambushed them from behind the doorway; that would have been much more fun.

[edit] Wouldn't foil without target and epee with priority end up being the same thing, aside from the weapons?

I would imagine most fights with anything become one-dimensional (since you can only ever draw a straight line between two people), but keeping the fight linear seems arbitrary. I know Olympic fencing isn't /really/ one-dimensional (since like you said you can side step), but then I suppose it's a sport and it's the same reason why football isn't played in a giant circular field.

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Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Maybe look up aussie rules football.

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