Navy Fencing Club Training Information

In this section we provide good training information for all club fencers!

Recommended Reading from Coach Buzz Hurst
1. Modern Fencing by Michel Alaux, 1975, Charles Scribner & Scribner & Sons, NY, NY.  I still think that this is the best 3-weapon book around. The problem is that it is a difficult book to find.

2. Fencing, the Modern International Style by Istvan Lukovitch, 1990 (?) modern reprint available from SKA Swordplay Books.  This is an extremely information book, although oriented more towards the coaches. Its author was one of the most respected international coaches of his era. The book does do a superb job of illustrating actions and its description of "modern" style is still quite valid. The epee section is a bit short, however, and although it is chock full of good info, epee readers may feel short changed. Sabre readers ought to love this one though.
3. Foil, Epee, & Sabre Fencing by Garret, Kaidanov, Pezza, 1994, The Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, PA.  Good, solid information for all three weapons, although the foil is a bit out of date.  However, the photographs are excellent and the epee section is particularly good.

4. Epee Combat Manual by Terence Kingston, 2002, available through the Leon Paul Company. Everything you would ever want to know about fundamental epee technique, with good illustrations to boot. Despite it's title, it doesn't delve that much into tactics, but I would think that every epee fencer should have a copy of this.

5. Theory, Methods, & Exercises in Fencing by Ziemowit Wojciechowski 2006 (?), also available through the Leon Paul Co. This book is written in  formal text book language, but it is the best book on foil out there (at least in English) and is encyclopedic.  If I were a competing foilist. I wouldn't be without it.

6. SKA swordplay says that they are soon coming out with an up-to-date book devoted entirely to saber, so saber fencers should keep checking their website.

Coach Buzz Hurst Training Progression:
1. Student on guard in 6, Coach lightly engaged on the inside. Coach breaks contact and opens, and Student extends and hits bicep. Coach checks that students arm does not slide left and that his trunk doesn't lean forward.
2. Coach presses on the inside. Student disengages and hits bicep. Coach checks same points as in #1.  Coach now presses outside of Student's blade and Student disengages again and thrusts bicep.
3. Student still on guard. Coach drops hand and Student hits top of writs then remises to bicep.  Coach checks that Student remains covered on the right side, does not lean, and that the point "skips" (rather than arcs) to the secondary target.
4. Coach steps back at the moment Student hits the writs, forcing Student to advance to reach the bicep with the remise. Coach checks the same parameters as previously.
5. Coach executes two retreats, beginning with Student hit on the wrist. Student advances and hits bicep, as before, then lunges and hits shoulder. Coach checks that Student remains covered on the right, and that the bell is high enough to cover the top of the arm. He also checks that Student lunges correctly. Coach then commands "recover" and Student returns to guard. Coach makes sure that Student keeps point and arm in line until Student has completely recovered the position.
6. Coach advances three steps. Student retreats while hitting the top of the wrist, and retreats again while remising to the bicep. Coach then lifts his hand and thrusts outside to Student shoulder while Student retreats a third time and parrys 6th, riposting in opposition to Coach's shoulder.
7. Same as #6, but this time Coach thrusts inside Student's blade and Student parrys counter 6th and ripostes as before.
8. Same as above, but Coach thrusts to Student front knee and Student parrys 8th and ripostes in opposition to Coach's lead thigh or knee.
9. Coach demonstrates the coordination retreat and stop-hit as in the sabre progression. He now advances as Student stop-hits the inside of his wrist. Always make Student take a second retreat. Coach then advances opening the top of the arm and Student stop-hits that target, then Coach advances lifting his arm and Student stop-hits underneath. If student is reluctant to make the second retreat, Coach can occasionally parry the stop thrust with his bell and then make a crossover step while thrusting to Student shoulder. Student will quickly pick up the reason for the second retreat.
10. Coach repeats the same movements as in #9, but now Student executes beat/stop-hits to the inside, top and underneath forearm. Coach checks that Student keeps the sword arm 3/4 extended and doesn't throw it to the left of the beat.
11. Coach advances with point in line, aiming for inside of Student forearm. Student counter attacks with a lunge while executing a thrust in 4th. opposition. Coach checks that Student leads with point towards the target (front shoulder) while letting the bell slide left as the thrust progresses. Do not let Student move the hand to the left before or at the same time as the thrust is launched
12. At tactical distance, Coach opens the line and steps back. Student executes a balestra with a straight thrust to the shoulder. Coach checks the footwork, and also that Student keeps the arm properly covered. Student then performs a feint/disengage as Coach parrys 4th on Student jump.
13. As in #12, but Student executes a beat/straight thrust and a beat/disengage. Coach checks that Student does not throw the arm to the left on the beat or rotate the hand.
14. With more experience, Student may direct the final thrusts to the bicep or forearm rather than the shoulder.

Note: (1) if Student is a former foil fencer, then after step #8 use the same format but have Student parry 4th and riposte with opposition. Check that Student keeps his arm more extended than in a foil 4th, and that he never loses contact with Coach's blade until he hits. Foilists are going to parry 4th anyway so they need to know how to do it like a epeeists.
        (2) Do not let beginners make attacks to the leg or foot:: they are too slow to get away with it in a real bout.
1: Student on guard, blades in contact. Coach breaks contact and Student thrusts. Coach checks that the thrust is diagonal, that the hand does not roll out of the 2:30 position, and that Student extends the arm but does not lean forward.
2. Coach presses inside of Student blade. Student immediately disengages and thrusts. Coach checks that Student hand does not drift left as he/she disengages, and that the resulting thrust is the same as in #1.
3. Coach presses the outside of the Student blade and checks the same things.
4. Coach commands "extend" and Student extends the arm. Coach checks that the extension is the same as in #1. Coach commands "lunge" and Student does so. Coach looks at the check points outlined in Checking the Lunge. Student holds the lunge until Coach commands "recover". Coach checks that Student returns to a proper and balanced guard, with the heels the same distance apart as before lunging.
5. Coach opens the line and steps back. Student executes and advance-lunge, extending the arm just as the front foot lifts on the advance. Coach checks the lunge and the thrust meet the same conditions as listed above, and particularly that neither the shoulder nor the elbow "lock up".
6. Coach again opens the line and retreats, but now parrys 4th as Student advances. Student disengages and finishes. Coach checks that Student hand does not drift left during the disengage and that it is made with the fingers/wrist with no rotation of the elbow or shoulder.
7. Student on guard, Coach advances with straight thrust. Student retreats, parrys 4th and ripostes. Coach checks that Student always retreats with his parry and that, on the riposte, his point drops before he thrusts.
8. As above but now Coach parrys the riposte with 4th and counter ripostes. Student retreats again and parrys 4th and ripostes. Coach checks that Students second parry/riposte looks the same as his first. Coach may repeat this a third time, or he may parry the 2nd counter riposte a ctr. 6th, thus forcing Student to parry 6th against Coach's final counter riposte.
9. Coach uses the same pattern, but instructs Student to execute a disengage before thrusting with the second counter riposte. Coach checks that Student does not thrust until she has completed her disengage.
10. On a random basis, Coach steps back just as Student parries the counter riposte. This requires Student to lunge with her counter riposte. Coach checks that Student foot does not begin the lunge until her disengage is completed.
11. Coach now should advance and make thrusts under Student hand, requiring him to parry 8th and ripsote.  Coach checks that Student hand does not rotate (i.e. Thumb at 2;30) as the parry is developed, and as the blade reaches its final position, that Student wrist moves slightly to the right. Do not allow the point to move outside of the hand. Once Student can handle the action consistently, Coach parrys the riposte and counter Ripostes high outside, forcing Student to parry 6th. This is one of the best ways to inculcate a good 6th as well as a good 8th parry.
12. Coach advances, aiming at Student back knee. Student parrys 7th and ripostes. Coach checks that Student hand is as far to the left as in 4th and that the point does not drift outside the hand (this is the most difficult thing about 7th)
13. Coach has Student make a series of attacks with an advance/lunge and feint/disengage. At random, Coach parrys and ripostes, forcing Student to parry and counter riposte. Coach checks that Student "leans into" her parry, and doesn't flinch backward away from the riposte. Remember that the attacker should stay in the lunge against a fast, immediate riposte.
14. Coach again has Student make advance/lunges but feinting to the low lines and then deceiving Coach's 7th or 8th parry. Coach then takes this drill up to a parry/riposte- parry/counter riposte level, as in #13.
15. Same as #14, but Coach executes a counter 6th on Student feint so that Student must counter disengage. Coach makes sure that Student hand does not drift into the center as he executes the counter disengage.
16. Coach has Student practice beats from the guard position, making sure that Student spanks the blade as the arm extends and Student hand stays to the right. Coach then has Student, still remaining in the guard position, execute beat/disengages (Coach parries 4th on Student beat). Make sure that Student hand does not drift to the left nor the thumb rotate toward twelve o'clock.
17.Tactical distance. Coach advances and Student makes a beat/disengage attack on Coach's advance with a lunge. Also do this action with Student making a feint/disengage in place of the beat. Check all the things already noted. Occasionally, Coach parrys and ripostes and Student parrys and counter ripostes.
18. Using the same methodology as in #16&#17, Coach has Student execute the feint/coupe.
19. Coach advances making feint/disengages to various lines. Student Executes combination parries, i.e. 4th-6th, 8th-6th, 4th-ctr.4th, 6th-ctr.6th, etc. Student retreats with each parry.
Coach has Student make various types of feint/ "1-2" attacks with a double advance/lunge. Coach executes the parry combinations listed above and Student deceives them as she presses forward. Coach makes sure that Student holds the feint until the end of the first advance. Coach occasionally parrys and ripostes and Student parrys and counter ripostes.