I went to Chapel Hill last night. I got in some strip time and I fenced
My private lesson was not nearly as good as the one I had last week. By
that, I mean that I did not perform as well and not that it was not a
good lesson. The ones were you make mistakes and know what you need to
work on are often the most valuable.
One of several things that I did not do well was my lunge. Coach said
that I was afraid to stretch it out. He is correct of course. It is for
a number of reasons. (None of which hinge on physical ability) I have
strong legs and I can do this.
He gave me a line on the floor that my lead foot had to cross while
doing the drills. If my foot did not cross the line I had to do push
ups. I did push ups once and improved.
This entry in my journal is a reminder to me to set up a target at home
and work on this problem. Take the " lean " out...practice some "circle
six" movements or disengages with this practice as well.
There is more to this than the lunge.
I listen to a lot of coaches. I read a great deal about what various
coaches or fencers have to say concerning the "most important
aspect/aspects" of fencing. There are many, many important aspects to
fencing. Things like equipment and physical conditioning. There are
things like reaction time that are largely not learnable actions and
rest within each of us at different levels. However, often a coach will
pick one aspect that for some reason he/she feels is THE single most
important. In truth, it is likely that ONE thing is the most important
to him at that one moment in time and is not generally a constant.
However, you will often hear coaches refer to distance and tempo when
they start trying to define the most important aspects of fencing.
I have been fencing long enough now (and trying to learn about fencing)
that I am formulating my own ideas concerning what is most important and
I believe that this is a game/sport of centimeters and milliseconds. I
believe that almost nothing insures a touch, but you must work on
technical aspects of fencing to increase the likelihood that you will be
the one to gain that centimeter or millisecond. So, to me, at this point
in time technical proficiency is THE most important thing. I do not
believe that this is true for every level of fencing, but I believe it
is true at my level and for the majority of fencers.
An example would be when you go for the touch and you have your point
higher than is needed. It takes more time to drop that tip to target
level than if it is where it needs to be to start. How much time? Not
much. But in gaining that fraction of second and incorporating with
other things that reduce time and distance you are increasing your odds
of getting there first.
No amount of training insures victory. Training increases your odds of
victory. This is true in all forms of physical combat.
Tactics are an area of fencing where I feel weak. But I know that if I
can become proficient technically (those actions that increase my odds
of gaining centimeters and milliseconds) then should the day come were I
have a fair understanding of tactics; I will be better prepared to use
It may be that as I fence longer (and hopefully learn more) I may come
to other conclusions concerning the "most important "thing.
I will see what the future brings.