One of my coaches was trying to emphasize to newer students that in a tournament situation (I believe he was referring primarily to pools) that each touche is important.
Within the club, we fence each other constantly. Often there are new people or children. Rightly or wrongly, you “cut them some slack.” I have read in at least one fencing book that every time you go to the strip, you should fence your very best. I do not agree. In a club environment, there are people you just need to take it easy on. It is the right thing to do. Period.
In pools in tournaments, never go easy on someone. I agree with this as well. Every touché is important. I also agree with this; however I believe that some touches are more important than others.
I believe that (We are of course talking epee here.) that the first touché is the most important. If you are fencing in pools and you get the first a touché and you can somehow run around for the rest of the three minutes…..you win! The odds of this happening are remote. If you get the first and touché then go for the double for the next four (successfully) you win. This can happen. I couldn't do it, but I am sure there are people that could. If the bout goes to la belle (4-4), then, in essence, the next touché IS the first touché. Anytime you are tied, then it is the first touché.
Not getting the first touché is not the end of the world. It snaps you into reality and you fence harder to catch up and pass your opponents score. But no matter how you look at it, the pressure is off the person with the first touch and on the one with no touch, even if it is for only a few seconds.
I have always wanted to try one of those tournaments where epee is fenced to one touch. I bet that puts a whole new slant on things.
If we were talking about saber, I guess you could sing…” The first cut is the deepest….Oh, Baby I know….”
That sounds more amusing in my mind than it does on paper and it wasn't that good in my mind.