The Class Lesson
Most fencers commence their fencing journey in a class situation. It takes a great deal of effort to keep a group together for a long enough period to impart the skills necessary to reach basic free-play standards. In a group of would be fencers, our class would be made up of people ranging in ages, size, sex, interest, etc. Some, one in every seven statistically, are left handed. Others will prove more capable, and some may not be able to keep up. Include the ever present distractions, absenteeism and we can consider ourselves lucky if half the group emerges triumphant.
As we make a start and introduce the class to the sport and to each other. It is a good idea to stress safety factors and care of equipment. We then can explain the purpose:- to hit and not be hit, the target areas, the lines of engagement, grip, stance, weight distribution, and footwork.
We now dispense with the line out stage and the class begins work in pairs. We introduce the rows A and B format where the two rows face one another and respond to the coach’s instruction and making use of the system of progressions.
The most complex actions can be broken down to the simplest form by this method but first of all we make use of another formula.
1. Definition – Define the action, stroke, parry, or any movement you wish to impart to the class
2. Demonstration – Demonstrate the movement you wish the class to learn
3. Explanation – Explain, where, how, why, when the movement may be used
4. Faults to be avoided – Point out the risks and consequence of errors
5. Execution – The class then proceeds to carry out the exercise
For the purpose of explanation of the system of movements by progression we will demonstrate with the disengagement in four progressions, then in three then in two and finally in one smooth action.
The class forms two rows A and B.
1. On one, row A presses the blade gently against B’s. Row B then uses this pressure to lower his blade while maintaining the hand in the same plain.
2. On two, row B raises their blade on the other side of A’s blade.
3. On three, row B extends the sword arm.
4. On the command four row B lunges.
The class will now execute the disengagement in three progressions, this time row A initiates the action.
1. On the command one, Row A lowers the point of the foil and raises it on the opposite side
2. On two, extend the sword arm and on three lunge
The next instruction will be to disengage in two progressions e.g. one lower the blade raise on the opposite side and extend in one smooth action.
Finally on command disengage; the attacking row will execute the action in one smooth movement.
(c) Maitre d’Armes Michael A. O’Brien 26/06/2008