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Sabre Class Notes, July 6, 2010--HERE THEY ARE--FINALLY!!!
July 6, 2010
This week we varied the beginning footwork to focus a bit on the Check. Remember, the Backward Check consists of a half-Advance followed by a full Retreat. The Forward Check consists of a half-Retreat followed by a full Advance. The Checks can be a very effective way to manage distance anywhere on the strip. I find the Forward Check especially effective off the line when I want to execute a Beat Attack.
And speaking of “off the line,” we did a few off the line drills to review what we focused on last week. They’re about footwork and timing off the en guarde line. Remember, you have a lot of options off the line, and mixing it up will work to your advantage once you have assessed your opponent’s likely attack sequence.
Another way to deal with your opponent’s attack is to offer up a counter attack. The theme of the evening was combining proper footwork and bladework to execute a well-timed counter attack on the opponent’s poorly-executed attack. Another essential element of the counter attack, as with pretty much everything in fencing, is distance.
The first counter attack drill involved footwork only by the fencer who was executing the counter attack. The other fencer remained stationary in the en guarde position, and proceeded to move his or her arm and blade slowly into a cut to the counter-attacker’s 3, exposing the forearm and wrist. The counter-attacker reacted by extending his or her back leg out, and at the same time extending his or her arm and blade to land a counter attack on the exposed forearm/wrist of the opponent before the attack could land.
The counter-attacker’s weight was shifted forward to land the counter attack from the greatest possible distance, while maintaining balance and control. Immediately upon landing the counter attack, the counter-attacker finished the retreat by pushing off with the front foot and retreating as quickly as possible. The quick retreat after attempting a counter attack is essential. Remember, your opponent has the right-of-way, so it’s better to miss your counter attack and avoid your opponent’s attack with a quick retreat than to be slow on your retreat and allow your opponent’s attack to land.
The next set of drills incorporated footwork from both the attacker and the counter-attacker. Jason and I played the part of the attacker while each of you retreated, keeping distance and practicing the footwork you had done in the first set of drills. This set of drills also incorporated a parry-riposte for those of you who felt comfortable incorporating this additional bladework into the counter attack/retreat sequence. Eventually, whenever you execute a counter attack, you will pretty much instinctively retreat and parry-riposte to further insure that your opponent’s attack does not land, and to up your chances of landing a touch.
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