FencingFootworkImage

Lesson Plan

  • Warmup and Warmup Game
  • Movement in fencing
  • Advance and Retreat
  • Lunge and Recover
  • Distance games
  • Assignment: Watch one bout of each weapon

Warmups

We are going to learn some more warmups to start the class. These warmups are meant to get the blood moving and warm up the muscles for the work ahead. I have a series of warmups that I use with the High School Fencers that may find difficult to master at first. These are all constructed to learn body coordination and balance and with a little practice they will be mastered.

  • Alterna-jacks: Similar to jumping jacks but the feet and hands change motion and timing to learn to move our bodies deliberately and de-couple the arms and feet.
  • Boxing Hops: This is a traveling exercise where we hop forwards and backwards and alternate motion with our feet. This promotes balance and coordination.
  • Ballet Kicks: This is a dynamic stretch of the legs and hips to help lengthen the muscles prior to our workout. It also requires balance and coordination.

Movement in Fencing

After exhaustively covering our guard positions in class 1 we will review first and then we will start learning the fundamental movements of fencing.

  • Advance and Retreat
  • Lunge and Recover

Because fencing is performed on a strip or piste that is 1.5 to 2 meters wide and 14 meters long, movement is essentially linear. We move in a straight line towards or away from our opponent. The fencing action stops if a fencer leaves the strip, collides with or passes the other fencer. There are no dramatic spins, twists, turns, spiral staircases or chandelier swinging that we see in the movies (pity).

The fundamental movement is the advance and retreat we use to shift forwards or backwards in small quick steps that maintain balance and allow for quick changes of direction.

The lunge is the basic attack in fencing. It’s an explosive reach forward pushing the weight from the back foot and reaching with the front foot. The lunge is much more complicated than it looks requiring all parts of the body to move independently.

Movement Games

We get to break out the toy swords today. We will learn how to put on a fencing mask. and do some basic distance games.

Mask Carry: Two fencers hold a mask between their palms and one will lead the other will follow to keep the mask balanced between them.

Cross the moat: Two fencers will face off across a gap marked in tape. The fencers can not step in the moat but must reach across it with a lunge to attempt to touch the other fencer with the toy sword. They may not cross with their back foot.

Steal the Bacon: A fencing glove is placed in the middle of the space and two fencers will pair off at opposite sides of the area. On the command to fence they will race to the middle using advances and lunge to steal the glove. Once a fencer has touched the glove the other fencer can attempt to tag him out. But not before the glove has been touched.

Homework:

The homework for the next few days is to watch at least one bout of each of the three weapons. This can be from any competition domestic or international, and excellent choice can be the finals from the Cadet Championships held a week ago in Verona:

The Cadet group are the best fencers under 16 in the world. There are loads of other videos available at the FIE site or through the USFA channel on YouTube, feel free to look around and find the perfect match.

I will answer any questions about what you all watched when we meet again on Monday.

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