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SIMPLE ATTACK, Exchange Drill With Coach Vincent Bradford from Home Fencing Practice Salle d' Armes

 Jan. 01, 2015

Tampa Fencing Academy 1997
Fencing lessons with Coach GerryD,

The drills in this sequence are useful for developing many of the skills and abilities-both mental and physical-necessary to successful fencing. These skills include weapon control, body control, balance, conditioning, distance perception, distance maintenance, timing, and conceptualization of tactics. The following progressions will prove excellent in group settings. First, the students learn to execute a simple direct attack; then they learn to execute it at the right time and distance by utilizing distance stealing footwork.  The progression then takes the students through a series that begins to address sentiment de fer-feeling for the blade (both the fencer’s own blade and the opponents blade)-and control of the opponents weapon by the preparations of engagements and change of engagements.
Progression for Direct Attack and Retreat as Defense.
    In the early phases of learning, students should be instructed to hold the final position of thrusts and lunges briefly to learn the feeling of the touch. Holding a position momentarily allows students the time to concentrate on form and make self-corrections. This is known as fixing. Each exercise should be repeated for a set amount of time or for a set number of trials. The former is preferred since beginners tend to work too fast and carelessly, as if it were the mere number of repetitions that lead to improvement rather than repetition with attention to the details.
Paired Drills. V
Part 1: Distance awareness-Tutorial drills.
a.    From extension distance: The attacker extends the arm and touches the opponents target, holding briefly and then recovering.
b.     From lunging distance: Lunge and touch the opponents target, hold, and recover to on guard.
c.     From advance lunge distance: Advance lunge and touch the opponents target, hold, and recover to on guard.
Part 2,: Defense by retreat-Tutorial drills.
a. The attacker lunges, and the defender takes one retreat to avoid being touched. The defender is not to lean backwards.
b.  The attacker executes an advance lunge, and the defender takes two retreats to avoid being touched.
NOTE,. The students may find that the designated steps in these defense-by-retreat drills are either not enough or perhaps too much. Students must learn to assess each situation and respond appropriately. Some opponents will require three small retreats to escape from the advance lunge, while others can be avoided with one large retreat.
Part 3,: Direct attack-Exchange drill.
The following progression includes two exercises (b and c below) that introduce very basic distance-stealing footwork tactics. The tactics introduced are sometimes referred to as hypnotism tactics. We recommend that fencing teachers include various other distance-stealing footwork tactics in addition to those introduced in this manual (see footnote 10).
a. Attacker lunges to body;   defender takes one or two balanced and complete retreats as the tactic to avoid the touch;   the attacker recovers from the lunge and the fencers then reverse roles so that this becomes a continuous exchange drill.                                                                        
b.  The designated attacker first establishes a set pattern of movement, e.g. advance, retreat, retreat. The pattern should be very simple and not include more than four steps. The defender must follow the attacker’s footwork pattern, allowing the attacker to predict the defenders movement. After repeating the pattern several times, the objective for the attacker is to break the pattern at an appropriate moment and execute a direct attack just as the defender begins to advance. Fencers reverse roles after each attempted attack.
c. This time the designated defender sets a footwork pattern, e.g,  advance, advance, retreat. Again the pattern should be very simple and limited to no more than four steps. The attacker uses the defender’s pattern to his or her advantage and attempts to attack on the defender’s advance with a direct attack. The defender may attempt to avoid the touch with a retreat. Fencers reverse roles after each attempted attack.
d.  Utilizing the basic distance-stealing footwork in the above drills or any other distance-stealing tactics that may have been introduced, the attacker leads footwork and then may employ a distance-stealing technique to gain critical distance and attack. As soon as the attacker begins to recover from the lunge the fencers immediately reverse roles so that this becomes a continuous exchange drill.

Click Here: Download Sport Fencing Notes and Glossary of terms compiled by CoachGerryD


From: Taking Foil Groups to the Competition Level by Coach Vincent Bradford.
"The principals and practice in this book can be applied to Foil, Epee and Sabre.
I highly recommend it."
Part 4,: Simple direct attack-Bouting drill.
a. Direct attack bout simulation drill in which the fencers do not have to take tums. Either fencer may initiate the attack. Both attempt to control the distance and utilize distance stealing footwork tactics. This drill approximates bouting and helps students understand choosing the right moment to attack relative to distance and the opponents footwork. The defender may only use retreat to avoid being hit.

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