Choosing the right shoes for fencing

Like all sports, the footwear you use can have a great impact on your balance, comfort and stability and assist greatly in performing the different manoeuvres required of the sport. This is also the case for fencing with the right shoes being one of the most important pieces of fencing equipement. Here are some things to consider when choosing fencing shoes to ensure you get the most out of your sporting footwear. Continue reading

Things to look for in your local fencing school

Learning to fence? Wanting to further hone you craft? Perhaps you’ve moved to a new city and you want to perfect the art of fencing and are looking for a fencing school to meet likeminded fencers. There are a range of fencing schools out there in the USA and depending on your skill level there are certain things to look for which we share in our latest blog post. Continue reading

New to fencing? Beginner advice from the fencing forums

The fencing community is by and large a very welcoming community and here at Selberg Fencing we’re always happy to see newcomers take up the sport and share our passion for fencing. Like most things, when you’re just starting out there are tonnes of different things to learn, as well loads of questions you’ll want answered. In our latest post we share some fencing advice that has been handpicked by fencing forums out there which is specially tailored to beginners to the sport. Continue reading

Under the spotlight: Masaniello Parise – Italy 1850 -1910

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Masaniello Parise

Fencing was a family affair for Parise. He learned his craft from both his father and his uncles. Parise was born in Italy, where his parents had sought refuge from the Bourbon dynasty. Considered to be the ‘father’ of fencing in Italy; Parise taught at the National Academy of Fencing, and also at the Fencing Society of Naples. In 1844 He became the director of the Military Fencing Masters School and it was in that same year that he published the ‘bible’ of fencing titled:
Tratto Teorico-Pratico Della Scherma Di Spada E Sciabola

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Peter Westbrook: Under the fencing spotlight

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Peter Westbrook: Fencing champion; champion of life.

Pre and postwar Olympic games competitor between 1976 and 1996, Peter Westbrook is not only a champion fencer, he is also a champion of life. His childhood was one of abuse and desperation. He was known as a street fighter and a thief. His talent for fencing literally changed his life. His mom talked him in to giving it a try and he never looked back. He went to his first Olympics as the youngest in the US team at the age of just 22.

The Peter Westbrook Foundation was created in 1991 and is dedicated to helping children growing up in similar circumstances that he did, through lessons in both fencing and in life.

Peter Westbrook

  • A thirteen time national champion
  • Olympic bronze medalist in 1984
  • Between 1976 -1996 qualified for every single American Olympic fencing team.

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All about tempo

When learning about fencing and fencing equipment you will definitely hear about tempo. Every fencer has a natural tempo, but if a fencer can learn to incorporate different tempos into a bout, he or she will be very difficult to beat.  Breaking the tempo, or disrupting the rhythm of an opponent is one of the most important skills a fencer can master. It is also one of the most difficult.

What is tempo?

The tempo is the rhythm of the fencers.  Each fencer will have their own tempo and the heartbeat of the bout will reflect the battle of each tempo, and their variations, for dominance. If you can learn to use all four tempo variations and control them at will, you will be difficult to beat.

Is tempo only fast or slow?

Tempo can be either fast or slow; however along with speed it also has two other factors. Tempo can also be hard or soft.  A hard tempo will use heavier movements, while a soft tempo has a much lighter approach.

Is timing the same as tempo?

No, timing is different to tempo. Charles Selberg defined timing as:

“the correct moment to make an action”

If a fencer can master timing, then he or she will be very hard to beat. The best time to attack is when an opponent is not expecting it. When an opponent is not prepared to defend themselves they are vulnerable. A fencer with great timing can create that moment. Preparation in fencing, means controlling the bout to the extent that you can attack your opponent when they are not expecting it.

The best time for a direct attack

A great time to attack an opponent during a bout is when you have created the right distance between yourself and your opponent. The closer you are the more difficult it will be to defend against you.. To commit to an attack from too far away is easier to counter and can leave you vulnerable.

In the words of Charles Selberg:

“Tempo provides the heartbeat of the bout. It is where you set your opponent up with a well-timed attack from the right distance”

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