Sir William on Contre-Temps

A two-part tweet from the Linacre School of Defense:

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Practice 2/17/18 Cancelled

Local Club Members:

Due to a significant number of fencers being ill, traveling, or unavailable tomorrow, CCF practice for Saturday February 17th is cancelled. We will resume our regular practice on Thursday night.

In lieu of practice, and in keeping with our annual foil review focusing on good form, consider examining Patrick’s post, “The Cavé in French Swordsmanship” at this link:

The Cavé in French Swordsmanship

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Swords Club, 1936

Men and women fence at Swords Club, 1936. Photograph by Sam Hood. Collection of State Library of New South Wales.

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Sabre Injuries at Waterloo

The Waterloo 200 Project commemorates the importance of the Battle of Waterloo upon its 200th anniversary.  Among other things, the site highlights 200 artifacts relating to the battle.  This includes human remains of people who fought and died there.  One relic is of particular interest to historic fencers in that it provides evidence of likely battlefield sabre cuts to an individual’s skull cap; a solemn reminder of  live sabre use.

The site indicates:

This is the upper skull of a French soldier who fought at the Battle of Waterloo. It has multiples cuts on it, from sword wounds suffered by the soldier. Judging by their size and shape, they were probably inflicted by a British cavalry sabre, a weapon that was designed to cause long, slashing injuries.

Additional details and photos from multiple angles of this individual can be examined at the site.

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Thoughts on the Double-Touch

“To touch and not be touched”
Attributed to Molière, “toucher et ne pas l’être” is the axiom of classical fencing, and the CCF motto. It is avoiding the dreaded double-touch by putting theory of self-preservation into practice.

This is in stark contrast to a sport-fencing ethos which has evolved into a game of lightening-fast reflexes in order to be the first to give a touch, regardless of receiving a touch afterwards.  Although athletically admirable, the desire to be first in the race to the touch without historically proven technique is only possible with foiled practice weapons.  To do so with sharps… well, it is a dance with death.

But the touch is so seductive.  Until one reaches the psychological state of caring more about form than touch, the temptation to give in to speed instead of timing, to reach further down center-line instead of opposing, is far too tempting for most. What inevitably results is a fencing bout that favors the fastest, and one that is decidedly not classical.

A classical bout is a conversation that relishes the phrase. A bout between a classical fencer and a sport-fencer is really two people talking past one another because classical and sport systems are quite literally incommensurable. Fencing an opponent that rushes to the touch while putting him or herself in peril stifles the conversation, or talks over their conversation partner.

Typical steps to reduce double-hits have varied from simply “throwing them out” by not counting them, to one-touch bouts, and many things in between.  Dr. Milo Thurston of the Linacre School of Defense in Oxford, recently shared their school’s strategies to reduce double-hits in competition. It is worthy of your consideration, and best viewed at the original source, Linacre on Google+ which is linked to below.

Linacre School of Defense on Google+


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