Fencing 101 : Making Your Mark
Not Just For Fencers! (original article)*
One thing that should be stamped in the mind of every fencer (and martial artists) worried about reaching your target is to understand two important points:
The first is that the hand, arm or even weapon is superfluous. Your opponent, your “test of skill” is the man or woman in front of you, nothing more. So much confusion begins when the student feels that every engagement must be “beat” or “pressured.” When the space opens, the mind-body-(sword/fist/etc) should fly swiftly towards his or her area of weakness. “Parrying/Blocking” are sometimes counterproductive. In fencing there are rules governing where our point should land. However, as martial artists we should all learn control. Remember, “Mastery of anything does not come out of chaos.”**
The second is that (even as a beginner) we must learn to understand our opponent’s intention, and move where his/her conscious energy is not. In fencing we all seek “Sentiment du fer” (Feeling of the Blade) and it is this that’s one of the most important qualities in a masterful fencer. Understand the Yin and Yang of the blade… that when your opponent presses hard on your blade, the most efficient and quickest way to jump back into the offensive is to be “soft/yin.” On the other side of the coin, if your opponent is weak or is too relaxed on the piste, consider overcoming your opponent with an increase in “hard/yang” energy.
Remember, that it’s the successful marriage of soft and hard that creates sentiment du fer. Mastery of this comes back to desire, patience and practice.
Coach Michael Joyce
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* Original Article by: Coach Joyce posted in Blog, The CombativeCorner
** Master Quote, by Nick Evangelista.