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: 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.
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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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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It’s absolutely no fluke that Charles Selberg won the first and only gold medal for the USA in the 1970 World Masters Foil Championship. It took Charles years upon years of intense training and preparations to achieve the skills and the instincts to carry him through that tournament and ultimately lead him to victory. Unfortunately for the fencing community, Charles is no longer with us. However, it was his dream to leave behind his knowledge to the next generation of budding fencers, in the hopes that they too could achieve the levels of success that he achieved. In Part #1 of our series of blog posts, we will take our first look at Charles Selbergs popular fencing DVD ‘The Left Handed Fencer’ and learn some of the basics Charles describes in his DVD. Continue reading
If you are familiar with the sport of fencing, you will know that it is not as simple as two competitors trying to hit each other with a sword. Fencing is a complex sport, with many intricacies and techniques that can often go unnoticed by the less informed. Fencers strive for perfection in their training, focusing on how to best utilise their fencing equipment or how to use the correct footwork and timing. However, without proper guidance even the most experienced fencer can become unnerved at the prospect of facing a left handed opponent.
Finding and mastering the proper techniques to get the edge over your opponent is the ultimate goal of any serious fencer. If you are a right hander, and are faced with a left handed opponent, it is quite easy to second guess your instincts that you have built throughout your career. You are no longer facing the same opponent who moves the same way, or who possesses the same defensive weaknesses as those you have faced before. Both physically and mentally, your left handed opponent has already gained the edge before your fight has even begun.
However, do not despair – Legendary fencer and World Masters Foil Champion Charles Selberg knows that with the correct preparation and training it is possible to overcome even the most powerful left handed opponent. In his DVD’s, available to order from the Selberg Fencing website, Charles demonstrates in depth on how to gain the upper hand through correct footwork, balance, timing and use of distance. He explains correct attacking techniques and the importance of starting On Guard, while squashing the myths related to facing a left handed fencer.
Facing a left handed fencer can be daunting, but with the proper fencing equipment, training and preparation, you will be able to go into your next competition with nothing standing between you and success. To find out more about Charles Selberg’s techniques for facing left handers, or to order Selberg Fencing DVD’s, simply visit their website or drop them an email today!
Once commonly looked upon as the ultimate gentleman’s sport, fencing is becoming more popular as a past time for children and adults alike, providing a great activity to help keep fit and active whilst also improving your hand to eye co-ordination. Whilst ensuring you have the correct fencing equipment is important, it is worthwhile to look at training materials to support your learning. Here at Selberg Fencing we supply a selection of DVD’s to help you with your training at the same times as offering online videos, tips and advice from fencing legend Charles A. Selberg.
Holding the Sword
The first step to becoming a fencer is to master the technique of correctly holding your sword, which you will find in your training DVD. The key to fencing is all about wrist movement, so you need to ensure you don’t grip the sword too tightly as this will restrict your range of movement. Another element that is vitally important in this sport is balance, so you should hold your sword with just two or three fingers; if you grip with the whole fist, you will set yourself off balance when you begin to attack.
As the majority of your sword movement should be with your wrist, your arm should move very little. By doing this, you will give yourself more accuracy in your movements therefore providing you with a step up on your opponent. By also bringing your arm close to your body, you will restrain it and be forced to use your wrist for movement and if there is nothing away from your body, you will limit the targets for your opponent.
We are proud to have a member of the first and only U.S foil fencing team to win a gold medal in the World Masters Foil Championship in Charles A. Selberg as he is well informed and can offer comprehensive advice and guidance on choosing the right fencing equipment. If this is something that interests you, feel free to browse through our website to see the range of training materials we have on offer.