"I always thought that fencing only focused on games and not traditional weapons"

Discussion in 'Western Martial Arts' started by Mitlov, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. lklawson

    lklawson Valued Member

  2. Domenico

    Domenico Valued Member

    Did you not see the above?
  3. Domenico

    Domenico Valued Member

    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
  4. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

    Frankly, I'm tired of debating what is and is not a "martial art" with you. I think your definitions are inconsistent and you're consistently refusing to recognize that "technique" and "strategy" are two of the virtues of fencing that can carry over to other methods of fighting (which is what Bruce Lee stressed), but my walls of text haven't convinced you of that, and your walls of text haven't convinced me that you ARE advancing a fair or consistent definition. We'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

    The math, on the other hand, is something we haven't beaten to death.

    Yes, that's across the tip of the blade. USFA jackets and plastrons must each withstand 350 newtons from the tip of a blade (or the tip of a broken blade, which has even a smaller area). FIE jackets and plastrons must withstand 800 newtons each.

    Once again, across the tip of the blade. You should know this if you fenced competitively and you're friends with Olympic armorers and all that. The 750 grams is a test-weight that is placed over the tip of an epee turned vertically. If the tip-spring is not enough to hold the weight (i.e., if the tip is depressed to the point where a touch is recorded), the weapon is disqualified.

    Your analysis is off. Just because the tip of a flexible blade can convey X amount of force doesn't mean the hand holding the blade is only punching with X amount of force. The flexing of the blade actually absorbs the vast majority of an attack's force. If you're going to ask how hard a fencer could punch if he punched someone, you have to take that spring (the flexible blade) out of the equation and measure force at the knuckles just like you're doing with a boxer. That would be an apples-to-apples comparison.

    I'm not sure exactly how that would be measured without just getting out a force-sensing pad and having a bunch of epee fencers throw jabs at it, and I doubt anyone has ever done that, but I'll lay money that a good epee fencer would have one hell of a mean jab--darned near as hard as a good boxer and far, far harder than your average layperson. After all, they're used to exploding their lead hand forward with no wind-up and with their entire body exploding behind it, and that's what a good hard jab is.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
  5. Domenico

    Domenico Valued Member

    Hey, I'm not trying to bang your *or* my head against a wall, I was trying to offer a term to add to the lexicon, you took objection, and we went back and forth.

    Just bear in mind that you *still* are claiming " (I'm) consistently refusing to recognize that "technique" and "strategy" are two of the virtues of fencing that can carry over to other methods of fighting"

    I've never said that, I've repeated over and over again that there *are* skills that cross pollinate, and that they are 100% applicable to fighting, real or otherwise. What is it I say that makes you draw this conclusion? Again, it's as if you've imagined an argument that doesn't exist. I'm honestly wanting to know what I've said that gave you that impression.

    I know all about the weights, and the testing of the pressure on the tip, and the qualifying of the gear, what I was uncertain of was the actual force/mass/surface numbers, as any one is incomplete to carry out the equation. Also bear in mind I never fenced with Electrics.

    Regardless, I enjoyed looking at the math, it's nice to be able to visualize the differences, and you are 100% correct about the blade dampening the blow, but I think it would still be different worlds if you were to have a boxer and a fencer punch the same meter. Just my opinion, no need to explore that further.

    Really, now I'm just wanting to know what it is that I've said that you think I've completely dismissed Fencing's skills. I absolutely do not dismiss them, I know they are useful, I know they are applicable elsewhere, and I know they are found in other systems under different names.
  6. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

    It's comments like this, and you've made a ton of 'em:

    All you attribute to the fencer's fencing are physical attributes and athletic ability. You do not attribute many of the strategies and parrying/deflecting techniques and theories that the Bruce Lee articles talked about whenever you list what fencing brings to the table for someone.

    I didn't say it would equal the boxers' (honestly, nobody focuses on throwing punches as much as boxers do, so given equal amounts of training, the boxer is going to punch better), just come close. But I do think a good competitive fencer's jab would not only be stronger than a layperson's but would also be stronger than many karateka or wing chun who train at stereotypical schools where padwork is not emphasized (this is not all karate or wing chun schools, but sadly, this may be a majority of such schools in the US). I also think that a fencer's ability to deal with an unscripted empty-handed attack would actually exceed not only a layperson's, but that of another trained martial artist whose martial art does not emphasize alive training (i.e., those aforementioned negative stereotypes of karate and wing chun schools). Theories of fighting that apply to both both blade arts and empty-handed arts have already been imprinted in their mind.
  7. Domenico

    Domenico Valued Member

    Thank you, and I think what I can walk away from this illustration is that it was less was I was saying, and more that I was failing to include aspects which you felt should be addressed explicitly. In my brain they were represented (timing, for one, is critical in one's strategy, and targeting encompasses parrying/deflecting, if you think of the whole of the blade being targeted a certain way in order to deflect or parry while preparing or executing a thrust).

    I would argue a little bit about parrying and deflection, but only a little, I promise... :)

    My argument is simply that in fencing, you are most often 3 feet or more away from your opponent. Your striking distance is about 30" shy of what you'd need to effect a physical blow. While the fundamental principles of the guard, ward, parry, deflection, and feint are definitely within the Fencer's mind, there is little experience under their belt at how that applies when you are within physical striking distance. Not to say they don't come to bear at all, merely that it is a very different beast mechanically, spatially, and that the Fencer practices most of that only with the blade and only at a distance. Not a big argument, but certainly a factor that makes a difference.

    And of that, I have very little knowledge, so I'll concede ignorance, and say "thank you for the good info, I look forward to learning more about that".
  8. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

    Two counter-examples that immediately spring to mind:

    In Shotokan, once we got beyond basics, we learned how to simultaneously parry an opponent's body-blow with our forearm while punching the opponent with that hand. This is more akin to an epeeist's lateral-parry-and-riposte than anything in basic Shotokan (where we always blocked with one arm and then struck with the other); you're just using your forearm as the blade.

    In Shotokan, once we got beyond basics, we learned to feed punches past our ear, using just enough force to deflect them from their intended target, instead of crashing forearm into forearm like we did in basics. This requires a motion of reaching out, meeting the opponent's punch, and sticking to it and subtly deflecting it past your ear as it comes in, then extending again, all in a circular movement. This is exactly what like to I do to get inside of a long-armed French-grip epeeist before skewering them.

    In Shotokan, these are things which were introduced after a couple years of training. In epee fencing, these are tactics that were taught from darned near day one and are going to be hard-wired into the brain of most epeeists.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2010
  9. lklawson

    lklawson Valued Member

    No. I have given up and am just skimming your stuff.
  10. lklawson

    lklawson Valued Member

    I don't know what that means. Did you box a little in the army? Did you read a few books? Go to a boxing gym regularly? Talk once to a guy who boxed in his youth? See all 17 Rocky movies? What?

    I'm not "baiting" you. First off, I'm not that subtle in debate (I save my subtlety for bowie & hawk). Second off, I'm not really all that impressed by "credentials." I've seen too many "credentialed" idiots, both professionally and in martial arts. Third, honestly, I don't give a crap about your credentials.

    What I'm curious about isn't your "credentials," but, instead, as I said, what basis you form your opinion of Pugilism. Your schizophrenic opinion on Pugilism doesn't seem to match ANY other represented by the boxers I know and work with, or any of the boxing enthusiasts on the many other forums that I have a minor presence in and I'm curious how you arrived at such an "unorthodox" conclusion.

    I don't care about the "logic" that you used. You've already elaborated upon that. I want to know what your data points are.


    I don't agree with any of your conclusions and I see no point in arguing with you about them. I'm a grumpy old crotchety curmudgeon. I'm rude, aggressive, and belligerent. But this is a no-percentage proposition and I'd have better luck trying to use a jump spinning crescent kick against Anderson Silva than to press our disagreement.
  11. Domenico

    Domenico Valued Member

    Wow, what a useless post you have there.

    Okay, I've studied hundreds, possibly thousands, of books of fighting, warfare, weapons, armed and unarmed combat, histories of Civilizations, Governments, peoples and their Social customs. Period texts, secondary and tertiary books. The list I'd posted earlier was simply a dump of the PDF files on my work computer in the Folder called "Warfare". There are similar Folders called "Medicine", "Law", "GeneralLit" and "DailyLife". In all I've got about 18 Gbs ennumerating 1400+ PDF's. I think my bookshelf tipped the scales at ~400 titles last I checked.

    My primary focus is Medieval through Renaissance, tapering out through the English Civil War, but my spectrum of research has covered ancient Egypt, Greece and Persia through the American Civil War.

    I've not done an in depth study of boxing, but I've certainly encountered quite a few references along the way as to how hand-to-hand combat is done, legislated, utilized and accepted among a large variety of cultures over a vast time frame. A few of my friends were/are very active in Boxing, MMA, and Kickboxing, and I've spent many hours shooting the breeze with them about the training they undergo, the techniques they learn, the strategies they are taught.

    All in all, a general Survey. I've lived 39 years so far, and have spent about 25 of them around people who fight and/or study fighting arts, casually but persistently studying fight skills and Martial Arts. I've dickered around in Fencing, Okinawa Ishiryu, Bok Fu, Kung Fu, Hapkido, Judo, Kendo, the Medieval and Renaissance weapons, Single-stick and other Stick-jock sports (many friends around me in the SCA as well, a far less organized way of fight, but still countless hours of sparring as a result) and have spent 20 years learning everything I can about everything. Reading, talking, asking questions and listening lots are my stock and trade.

    "Schizophrenic opinion on Pugilism?"
    Would love to hear how you got there, and what I said that put me in that bucket. For the record, I was only originally speaking to Fencing and Single-stick, it was all of these other forms that you threw at me in order to press and get me to justify my reasoning that twisted this into something it wasn't.

    So, in summary:

    When I say "Single stick is a Sport, and I believed a stepping point to the Shlager and the Mensura, and that Fencing Sabres were emulations for Cavalry sabres" you say "Nu uhh".

    When you toss me some online references to Single-Stick, and I start commenting about what I'm finding that seem to support some of my statements, you say "Nu uhh, you're cherry-picking, read the whole quote".

    And when I say "Okay, I'm reading the whole quote, including the part you ignored, and am coming to this conclusion, which appears to support my view in part, and yours in part, what do you think?" you say "Ptttppptttt, I'm not even reading what you write because you're wrong, I don't agree, you don't know what your talking about, you're completely ingoring this 60 year period of secondary sourced material including a photograph and the Holy Grail of research the *BOY SCOUT MANUAL*, so Nyah!!!"

    Umm, okay. Whatever dude. Clearly critical thinking is not your strong suit. Go be a curmudgeon, I was hoping you had something worthwhile to say.
  12. Domenico

    Domenico Valued Member

    READ THIS FIRST: "Cool frickin' post, thanks!"

    To be truthful, I'd hesitate to call that a counter-example to my statement. They are great examples of Fencing skills applied to Shotokan, and are outstanding examples of how different forms do help one another. I absolutely agree that they are hard-wired to the Fencer, and that they are brutally efficient.

    My post was more to the point (every pun intended) that for the Fencer without an unarmed fight skill under their belt, those skills, though wired, are also wired to be utilized when engaged with blades, about 20-36" away from an opponent's blade, which is about 20-36" away from the opponent. That's 4-6 feet of distance and something that is sensed heavily through the fingers and dextrous-touch, which is very different than 2 feet and sensed through the gross-touch sense of the blade of the hand and forearm. I'm not denying the skill, it is again just the difference in the application, practice, spatial relationship and motor control. It would make a difference to one unfamiliar with hand to hand fighting. Small perhaps, but a difference.

    Again, great application of Fencing to Shotokan! I love it when one philosophy applies neatly, and often unexpectedly, to another form.
  13. lklawson

    lklawson Valued Member

    What part of "I've given up" are you having trouble with?

    I didn't ask how old you were, what your curriculum vitae is, or how many books you own. This isn't a [Male Sex Organ]-waving contest and I don't give a crap about whether or not you can read medical texts in cuneiform.

    I asked you what your data points for forming your "unusual" opinion on boxing is. Or is it really, "I read a crapload of books most of which have nothing to do with boxing and hung out with SCA guys" ???

    I didn't encourage you to bring pugilism into this but I did ask about what data points you used to form your "opinion" about pugilism. Perhaps you'll notice that I have, not once, bothered to argue with you the merits of boxing. This is because I do not care to do so.

    I don't give a crap what you believe about singlestick any longer. We don't agree and I have less interest in arguing with you about it than I have in deciding if I'll have eggs or cereal for breakfast. So stop trying to defend it to me. I'm not going to argue about it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2010
  14. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

    ...and now for something completely different.

    Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of Iron Maiden and general renaissance man, on fencing:



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