A Romanian sabre warm up lesson at the European Championships 2011. Interesting to compare the Russian and Romanian warm up, each of the Romanian fencers received a 15 minute lesson and the Russians did running and footwork exercises together as a team and did not receive lessons.
Fencing Lesson from the Home Fencing Studio Tampa FL Czajkowski, through experience and experiment, developed a highly effective methodology of training that has been emulated by coaches all over the world. He has written hundreds of published articles on fencing and its training, and thirty books including Understanding Fencing – The Unity of Theory and Practice, which was published in 2005 in the US, and has become immensely popular in the English-speaking fencing world.
In 1964, Czajkowski’s student, Egon Franke became the first Pole to ever earn an Olympic gold medal in fencing when he won the individual men’s foil title. Czajkowski spent many years as Poland’s top coach, creating dozens of national, European, World, and Olympic medalists in all three weapons. His international success continued into his 70s when, in 1996, his student Magdalena Jeziorowska became European Women’s Epee Champion.
Czajkowski started fencing at the age of 14, while in high school. The outbreak of World War II interrupted his fencing career as, immediately after his graduation in 1939, he enlisted in the Polish Navy to fight the Nazis. In September, 1939, Czajkowski, along with four other Polish sailors, was captured by the Soviet army and sent for interrogation to the city of Kobryn.
The methods on this video can be applied to the practice of Epee, Foil and Sabre.
The Variants of a Technical Skill Should Be Practice as Soon as Possible, Using the 1st and 2nd Method.
Each Technical, Skill Should Be Practiced In More Than One Tactical Solution.
As mentioned above, the first task is to define the objective and then to choose the appropriate methods. I strongly emphasize this point because, judging by certain textbooks of theory of training, one would think that methods are primary and of supreme importance.
Methods are secondary to the goals you wish to achieve. In the individual lesson and pair exercises the following methods are used:
1. Repetition of a chosen stroke;
2. Execution, by the pupil, of a given stroke as a response to the partner’s previously announced movement;
3. Choosing an action from previously announced ac¬tions;
4. Choosing an action from previously unannounced action;
5. “Rivalry” (contradictory tasks);
6. Training bout with the master.
1. Repetition of a chosen stroke. The pupil executes, many times in succession, a given stroke e.g. direct thrust with fleche, cut to head with lunge, quarte binding with advance and disengagement, thrust with lunge, etc. with an emphasis on accuracy of movement, appropriate rhythm, coordination of the movement of the hand and legs, and accurate fixing of the point or cut. He practices as if the given action was a closed motor skill (this is exceptional, used only in this method).
2. Execution of a given stroke as a response to the coach’s pre announced movement. The essence of this method is that in the lesson the pupil performs a previously announced action in response to the coach’s foreseen and pre announced movement, according to the simple motor response model: known stimulus, known reaction. This method should be applied relatively early in the first, introductory, stage of training, when the pupil has already acquired and fixed the basic structure of a given movement. The pupil is not only learning and perfecting the execution of a fencing stroke, but also learning and perfecting its application in conditions although, relatively easy ones somewhat resembling those of a bout. In the training of fencers of all classes, and in all stages of the training process, this method is frequently used in order to shape and perfect simple reaction and those technical tactical abilities which are based on it: foreseen actions, executed in response to some predicted, foreseen movement by the opponent for example, an advance, some movement of the weapon, signs of lowering of attention, a careless shortening of distance, or an unwitting betrayal of intention.
3. Choosing an action from previously announced actions. This method is frequently used with higher class fencers. It is based on a model of choice reaction or differential reaction and much more rarely on intuitive reaction. The coach announces which of the two, three or four actions he may execute, but he does not say which exact action (from those previously announced) he will apply at any given moment. The pupil’s task is to recognize the coach’s movement and to execute, as soon as possible, the appropriately chosen counter action. In other words, “the pupil knows all the answers, but he does not know which question will be asked.”
4. Choosing an action from previously unannounced actions. This method in its varieties is applied with higher class competitors with good technique (a large repertoire of strokes and a high level of execution) and a high level of technical tactical capabilities. The essence of this method relies on the fact that the coach, playing the role of opponent, executes various, previously unannounced actions and displacements on the piste while the pupil’s task is to perceive the actions in a fraction of a second, to recognize the movement and intention of the “opponent,” and to choose the appropriate counter action and execute it. This method has many different applications and varieties, but its essence remains the same: the pupil recognizes the “opponent’s” movements and chooses the right defensive, counter offensive, or offensive action.
The Importance of Defense to an Attacking Strategy.
It is impossible to prepare an attack, particularly when fencing an experienced opponent, without the essential concentration of thought and attention necessary for fast and correct perception and fast and correct motor response. A fencer with a strong offensive drive who is preparing and concentrated on his attack, may suddenly be attacked by his opponent. Such an unexpected attack forces the attacked fencer to rapidly switch his/her thoughts and attention to avoid being hit. In order not to lose an active and offensive style of fencing, in which the fencer maintains control of the initiative and often uses offensive actions, the technique of defense parries and counter attacks must be perfectly mastered in order to be certain of being effective at any moment in the bout. Only then can the fencer prepare his attacks and attack with courage and efficacy. Although it may sound paradoxical, the technical and psychological basis of an offensive style of fencing is confidence in defense. Confidence in defense allows the competitor to maneuver freely on the strip, to push the opponent to the end line of the piste and to prepare attacks comparatively calmly and with assurance. Such a style of fencing, active and offensive yet confident in defense, is characteristic of many great fencers. A fencer who has an excellent command of parries and counter attacks may allow himself/herself to come almost dangerously close to the opponent to launch an attack at the appropriate moment.
Without the backing of sure parries, an offensive style of fencing leads to double hits, simultaneous attacks and primitive escapes when the fencer is taken by surprise.
Counter Attacks and Counter Time.
A counter attack is any defensive offensive movement against an offensive action (typically against attacks but also against ripostes, etc.). Counter attacks may be simple or compound.
Simple counter attacks:
a. Stop hits.
b. Stop hits with opposition (they used be called time hits, coup de temps, colpa di tempo).
c. Stop hits with evasion.
d. Derobe (derobement) Stop-hit, used against attacks which are proceeded by an attempted taking of the blade.
Compound counter attacks (Italian finta in tempo) comprise:
a. Feint of a stop hit deceive the parry or taking of the blade.
b. Feint of derobe derobe of the second action of the blade (derobe feint stop hit derobe stop hit).
In my view, any action against a counter attack should be called counter time. (In French it is called contretemps; in Italian it is contra tempo.) Let me explain.
In the old Italian rapier play, “tempo contra tempo” meant a counter attack against a counter attack.