quaker fencer

kathz isn't quite my name. I may be a Quaker. If I'm a fencer I'm a bad one and I don't do sabre. If I'm a Quaker I'm a bad one - but you've worked that out already. Read on. Comment if you like. Don't expect a reply.

Location: United Kingdom

Sunday, February 22, 2009

slow motion parries

"There are nine parries in epee," the coach began, and proceeded to demonstrate them all. After the first three, I was lost. These weren't simple or circular parries but the various position in which an epeeist could hold back the advance of an opponent. "When would I use that?" doc wondered as the coach demonstrated a particularly high parry. "I'd use it against a tall opponent - like you," the coach responded.

We moved on to a complicated parry involving a beat against the blade to draw the attack followed by a rapid corkscrew movement which was supposed to circle the blade while advancing, bind it, hold it out of the way and slide in for a hit. I think it may have been called a progressive covered parry but I was concentrating so hard on the movement that there was no space in my brain for what it was called. I stood with the brunette watching the doc and the Man man try the parry. They didn't seem to find it that easy but I assumed that the coach was making things hard for them. Then it was my turn to fail.

I think the coach was getting a little despondent by then. He tried to encourage us with some simple tests. But we couldn't demonstrate nine parries nor explain the difference between reprise and remise. So we went back to a simple warm-up - moving up and down the piste and hitting to wrist. Then the coach added a leather chap - the kind that cowboys wear - so that we could hit to his leg as well. After the inevitable joke about horses and sabreurs, we managed rather better. This was a simpler and more familiar task. And after that the progressive covered parry - or whatever it was called - seemed to work rather better. At any rate, I managed it in slow motion, though I don't think that will be particularly helpful in a real bout.

We finished with a round of one-hit epee and then the brunette and I, too tired to wait for an electric piste, persuaded another coach to ref while we fenced steam to five. The brunette has the advantage of height and being a left-hander (and being younger than me) but I've been fencing longer. I'm never quite sure how reliable a ref can be when epeeists fence steam so I'm not entirely convinced I won 5-4. Still, the evenness of the bout was a pleasure. But I wish I weren't so tired in the evenings. It seems a shame to leave before the fencing has finished - but it would be a bigger shame to fall off my bike on the way home.

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Blogger katie said...

Oh dear. I think I only know about 2 parries. Clearly if I ever get postdoc funding and return from exile and decide to take up fencing again you will just BEAT ME easily.

11:25 pm  
Blogger The Gray Epee said...

progressive covered parry: This sounds like a circle six parry in opposition. (On this side of the pond.) I would be interested if you asked your coach and he knew if I am correct. It could be something entirely different. Circle six is easy to remember and opposition just means contact with the blade.

I sometimes study with a French master. When he demonstrates the parries, he has a story he tells. Prime ( parry one is when, he first draws his sword in the story.) All these little stories help you to remember. I can think of a half dozen for different little fencing moves. An example would be the a reverse check in foot work. You have to step on a very poisonous spider with your forward foot, so as soon as you do it, your back foot slides back to get you out of the spiders way in case you miss. This is form my current coach. Make your own up.

reprise and remise: Look up the definition. But when you read it, just remember the only difference between the two is that a remise is direct and reprise is indirect.

Your steam bout ( we refer to it as fencing "dry") sounds like you are doing well.

If you repeat these actions that you are working on over and over, eventually they will become part of your autonomic reflex and you will be able to use them in bouts.

12:37 am  
Blogger kathz said...

That's helpful about opposition. I need to read the booklet (though the coach says it's not that good).

Katie, you must return to fencing if there is any chance at all of my beating you (which I doubt).

10:55 pm  

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