Thursday, June 09, 2005

Ask a Fencer: Why Are Sabre Fencers So Loud and Obnoxious?


Beloved child and I stopped in down town to watch some Sabre at a "big time" tournament. I think beloved child was relieved to see that the whole set up was not too intimidating and there seemed to be casual exchanges between competitors between matches.

I was absolutely appalled at what I have been lead to believe is poor sportsmanship. Specifically, there was more yelling and howling when certain fencers thought they had scored, than I would have expected from a battle extra in Brave Heart.

These displays included striking a pose with arms rigid and head thrown back or forward. It was the kind of thing you'd expect to see an aboriginal do after defeating a foe in hand to hand combat.

The real comedy was when the howl was not accompanied by a light to indicate a point. There would be a shout, as if to say "DIE INFIDEL SWINE" and then silence and a glance up at the dark score box. It wasn't just one guy either.

Are these childish displays encouraged?

Fencing Father of Fencers


Dear FFF,

Sigh. Actually what you witnessed passes as good sportsmanship for sabre as long as it doesn't get personal.

I hope I have mentioned before to you and your beloved children that sabre was the most passionate of the three weapons. What you saw was what sabre fencers call experiencing the intensity of being in the joy of the moment, and what others (foilists and eppeeists) call operatic buffonery.

The yelling and screaming is a theatrical method designed to justify right of way. A lot of sabre fencers don't retreat, so it's hard to tell if they really parried. These same fencers usually don't bend their arms when they parry either. And in fact many claim anyway that they started the attack first, so the whole parry issue is irrelevant. So a blood curdling scream, followed by glaring at the official is considered by many sabre fencers as an adequate substitute for technique.

Hope to see you and your beloved children in a tournament soon!

1 comment:

Eiranai said...

I like it when people scream...and I think sabre fencers scream more because they have more adrenaline (or maybe testosterone) than the rest of us.