Elizabeth: ( I could not send you an email or post on your blog...sorry.)
Thanks for your comment. I never really thought anyone other than a friend or two and some people from my club would read my journal. Interesting to find that you do. If you go to archives and go all the way back to my first entry in November, I have a pic there on my first entry.
I have never even seen a fencer who was six feet eight inches tall. In my notes I had these comments from the USFA discussion boards. They helped me a few times lately. A person that tall has a HUGE advantage and you may never beat him. One thing I have found is that tall guys, often never learn to fence well....they just count on being tall and fence like a newbie all the time. Go for the hand under the bell guard and straight in...over and over...don't stop.
Here is some other advice.
Best of luck!
Fencing Taller Fencers From USFA Boards
Note: These are not my writings, but those I copied off the USFA web sight. I had them in my notes and copied them in an effort to help this young woman. Sorry, I did not have the SN's for those that actually posted this good advice.
First, outthink him. Fencing isn't only a physical game.
Second, preparation and attacks to the hand are all important for smaller fencers. Your epee's are the same length, and that helps even out touches to the hand. Therefore attacks and preparations to the hand are key. They can get you easy touches and draw predictable reactions from you opponent.
Third, move. A lot. Being shorter, doesn't necessarily mean your faster, but your change of direction is. Getting him off balance is key to making successful attacks
Fourth, taking the blade isn't so much about strength as leverage and timing. Before you attempt to take, make sure the blade is there to be taken. Make sure you take the blade properly, and control the weak of his with the strong of yours. Strength won't matter then.
Fifth, when you try score to the body either on attacks or counters, close hard and fast. Try to use fleches, and get him when he's taking his step forward. If your go slowly you just allow him more time to use his strength and height to his advantage.
Oh, and as a taller person, I love infighting, especially against smaller fencers. I love standing tall, and making the flick to the back. So, use infighting with caution.
All of the following:
- Take the blade, even re-take the blade as necessary while gaining distance.
- Vary your distance and the length of your lunge so you're not predictable
- Set up your attack from the right distance
- Invite a stop thrust or make short attack that is parried, and make parry riposte of their stop or riposte.
- Develop really good advance-advance-lunge, balestra-lunge
- Accelerate in a compound action (get faster as you progress)
It's about bridging the distance (if attacking) so you can hit
With the tall ones, the main thing is to have extreme tempo changes. Very slow while setting up, so they get comfortable and scoot in closer while almost getting dazed. Then finish very quickly, so they're taken by surprise, and can't get the stop-hit or counter in quickly enough. Take your time with them, and don't rush it.
Also a parry-riposte with displacement of some sort right before they hit you works well too.
Speed. Get inside the opponent's guard fast. Requires excellent
footwork and timing.
* Timing. Never a bad thing for a fencer of any height.
* In-fighting. See if the instructor will show your son some in-fighting
techniques. I usually go with flying-8 and low-line 4 for shorter people.
* Defense. He'll have a smaller target area frustrating others. Get
those 4's and 6's perfected now.
Useful strategies for the short fencer include:
1. Draw the opponent's attack, then move away so as to stretch the
opponent all the way out and cause him to fall short. Then take over
the attack (maybe with a beat or other action on the blade) before the
opponent can recover and get away.
2. After doing (1) once or twice, draw the opponent's attack and
suddenly close in, parrying or avoiding the blade, creating a surprise
infighting situation at which you have the advantage. Having succeeded
with this, go back to (1). Never let the opponent know whether you're
going to go away or attack the preparation.
3. If the opponent pursues you without committing to the attack, keep as
tight a distance as you can manage without quite letting the opponent
have the distance to finish the attack. If the opponent grows
frustrated and commits anyway, good; that should be easy to parry. If
not, watch for opportunities to make a beat attack into the preparation,
or to close in with an evasive counterattack.
4. You can still make your own effective attacks, but you may need
multiple footwork -- for example, double-advance-lunge -- and you have
to be prepared to deal with a counterattack as you're on your way. If
the counterattack wouldn't hit you in time, ignore it; otherwise, justturn your attack into a beat attack.
5. Make heavy use of countertime -- inviting your opponent's
counterattack so that you can parry and riposte. Whether you score on
these ripostes or not, if your opponent becomes nervous about
counterattacking, his reach advantage is nullified.