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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.

Things to consider:

• The right level of cushioning. Fencers need support especially under the balls of the feet so choosing footwear with adequate cushioning is essential.
• Flexibility of the sole. When in preparation and bouncing this is important.
• Durability of the inner edges of the shoes since foot drag on the lunge is common.
• Good traction on the soles for wooden gym floors

How often will I need to replace my fencing shoes?

This depends how often you compete but once the standard guidelines is once per season. Fencers who compete more than 4 times per week will have to shell out more often for shoes while those fencing about 2-3 times a week will be able to manage replacing shoes once annually.

Specially Designed Shoes for Fencing

The following brands make shoes especially to be used in the sport of fencing:

• Nike Ballestra (Nike Air Fencing Shoe) – RRP approx. $175.00
• Adidas D’Artagnan IV – RRP $115.00
• Scimitar Fencing Shoe (RRP approx. $160.00
• Adidas EnGarde – budget but good beginner shoe (RRP approx. 90.00)

If you are looking to buy shoes suitable to be used in fencing but not specified as fencing shoes, court shoes and volleyball shoes also have many of the qualities including being low to the ground, heel cushioning, and side to side stability needed for fencing. Look for racquetball, badminton and volleyball shoes.

FINAL TIP: Avoid shoes made by any major brand for street wear and fashion purposes. These do not provide the roll and lunge support necessary for fencing and protect your ankle, heel and balls of the feet.

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.

A Welcoming Environment

Like any club, a good fencing school should provide a welcoming environment with people that are keen to accept new members of all ages and backgrounds. The way they club greets and treats people who are new to the sport of fencing, or new to the club, says a lot about the attitude of the club and how they work with their members.

Diversity of Fencing Weapons Used
Not all fencing clubs work with different types of fencing weapons. An ideal fencing school is one where you’ll have the opportunity to work with different fencing weapons so be on the lookout for fencing schools that features sabres, foils and epee that you will have the chance to practice and compete with.

A good coach and strong fencers to learn from
Look for a fencing school with a strong coaching staff with real connections to the professional fencing world. The quality of the coach will dictate the quality of the fencers in the school who you will be training with, and you’ll learn just as much from other fencers as you will your coach.

Competitive as well as a recreational focus
To really improve your prowess in the sport of fencing you’ll want a club that balances having a focus on competition but at the same time realises that people fence for a variety of different reasons, and some purely recreationally. This means that they’ll have the facilities to accommodate competitive fencing and recreational fencing and support both.

Fellow fencers out there: are there any more things that you should be mentioned when searching for a good fencing school. Send us an email via this address and we’ll give you a shout out here on this page with your insights.

New to fencing? Beginner advise 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 as loads of questions you’ll want to be 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.

• “Practice the engarde stance as much as possible when starting out, as this is the fencing foundation. Keep as low as possible and to condition your body for the sport, cardio and core strength help with balance and poise.” ( Reddit user Hussard)

• Nimble fingers also help with fencing and interestingly some people swear that playing the piano or typing at a fast rate also help finger speed which helps when holding the blade and keeping hand movements quick.

• Bend your knees. It goes without saying that this is essential to fencing, but many beginners don’t practice this enough. Since this can feel awkward and uses muscles that often don’t get a work out, it’s an important to practice this particularly in the beginner’s stage as this can be more difficult to correct later.

• Despite some contention between fencers, most coaches agree that starting fencing with the foil weapon gives the best introduction to the technical aspect of fencing as well as the basics like right of way and parry/riposte. Foil is a stabbing action which helps balance and footwork, while sabre is more of a cutting action which can be learned more easily later as the basics are mastered.

• Keep your fitness up this helps with endurance and you won’t be complaining about muscle pain in the legs. Footwork exercised and squats help with doing this.

Stay tuned to our fencing blog for more upcoming advice when immersing yourself in the art of fencing. For training fencing DVD’s, simply visit our store.

Under the spotlight: Masaniello Parise – Italy 1850 -1910

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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Read the legendary ‘Foil’

Peter Westbrook: Under the fencing spotlight

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.

Interested in fencing or fencing equipment. Need fencing instruction. Well. Click right here.

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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Fencing Training: Left Handed Fencers

Charles Selberg with the help of Dean Bodhi Roony look into how to approach a fight with a leftie. A left handed fencer has their own strengths and weaknesses as with any fencer, left handed fencers tend to have certain pre-dispositions that right handed fencers will not often come across. In this DVD we look into why does a leftie pose such a concern to right handed fencers and what ways can you adapt your technique?

To quote Selberg “Fencing is as complex as the human brain involved in the combat, and there are no simple solutions”. Every fencer will develop their skills over time and with experience and you will develop patterns to fight different fencers. You will also learn that left handed fencers have certain predispositions in their technique which they can easily use to their advantage.

Right handed fencers will always try and use certain techniques, and left handed fencers are well aware of this and as they develop their learning they adapt their technique to cash in on this. As fencers progress through the levels you will find these differences become less pronounced, and never be tricked into sterotyping a fencer in higher levels.

The first piece of advice for fighting a left handed fencer is that lefties tend to have a weak six line, more experienced left handed fencers will have learnt to defend this area, and you have to guage this level as the fight progresses. Left handers will try and draw you into the center line be aware of this happening, they will also have a number of offensive moves.

As the DVD progresses, you will learn how to approach a fight with more experienced left handed fencers. If you are competing at the lower levels with around less than 5 years’ experience there is a lot you will take away from The Left Handed Fencer DVD regardless of whether you are left or right handed.

Fencing Equipment and Techniques against Left Handers

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!

Fencing Equipment: Sword Training

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.

Moving

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.