Hey peeps! I have a very interesting problem which I need to figure out. I've trained in melee martial arts for almost 15 years. I have a very good concept of how physics works in martial arts. I am a strategist and implement various other sciences in order to read opponents and such; anatomy, psychology... the kicker is that I just started learning fencing, and the physics of using a blade as opposed to one's body is something I'm not adjusting well to. PENDULUM WORK Tae Kwon Do or just about any martial art relies on the inertia of the body to place strikes. Multiple punches and using the swinging motion to hit harder are very much key in getting force down. Pullback hands are important because the force of the arm going back cause more force to the punch going forward. This is particularly true with boxing. In fencing, there IS a pullback hand, but it's more for movement instead of strikes. In epee you keep the other arm up so that when you lunge, you throw the arm straight out at the lunge and pull the arm back to help get you back into a defensive position more quickly... the problem is that in saber, they tell you to keep the hand at your hip to prevent getting scored on. Pulling back and jabbing with the blade not only telegraphs your moves, but leaves an opening. You also only have one attacking arm to work with, therefore my previous experience with pendulum physics in combos is void when it comes to the blade. I am noticing inertia is more prevalent in a fencing stance because you're fighting on a strip instead of a square. While there can be 3D fighting to a degree, you only have about two feet to each side of you to shuffle around in. I watch the masters and the Olympians. Though there are times where they use the entire strip, most can just be fine standing in the middle of the strip 3/4ths of the time. In Tae Kwon Do, the wider your stance, the more balance you have... the problem in Epee is that the wider your stance, the more leg target you give to your opponent. I also notice that different fencers have different weight distribution between front and back leg. In Tae Kwon Do, the weight is on the back leg so one can kick. Of course, leg blocking CAN work in Saber because everything under the knees is not considered a point zone, but I'll get to that later. Switching stances is also not an option unless you are trying to bait someone, and even then, that's a risky bait because it would be hard to snap back into a standing position. I leave the entire side of my body open. Tae Kwon Do teaches you to kick with both legs, and I happen to be able to use both hands with equal skill, so switching to a southpaw stance in boxing used to really foul up my opponents. - 1) Given the back and forward movement of fencing, what would be the best weight distribution on my stance since it's the only stance I'll be taking. - 2) How wide should my stance be for maximum protection in epee while maintaining balance? - 3) Should I fight on my toes for more speed or would I get more balance if I stayed a more flat foot? GEOMETRY + PHYSICS I am finding that fencing is similar to pool in several aspects. It requires not just force exerted, but angles and lines due to the nature of the blade. I'm still trying to figure out how much force it takes to allow the blade to bend. I notice that it has a give of about an inch to normal pressure, giving the potential circle of the point an inch away if I slide in for an attack when our blades are locked. I know from martial arts and forearm blocking that you want to keep your arm at about 40-35 degrees for the maximum blocking range and least movement of your arm from the blow. I've been taking a protractor to a lot of the Olympic matches on You Tube and trying to see the optimum range of movement for the blade. I can think offensively, but putting the opponents lines into the equation is hard for me. An aggressive stance with the blade pointed straight out because distance is king in this art. It also takes very little energy to be effective with an epee. Saber is more comfortable because I can slash as well as jab. Also, I need to know what sort of game gravity plays in this. - 1) Considering point rules (full body in Epee and upper body in Saber), what are the angle ranges I should focus on for best use of blade physics and line striking. - 2) Is it harder to strike upward if your opponent is taller? If so, how can I position my weight to make upwards strikes easier? TRAINING Cardio is a given... but the question is; leg strength or arm strength? Movement comes from the wrist in fencing, and if you move the arm too much, you leave yourself open. If your arm gets tired, though, that also leaves you open. I'm leaning more on legs on this because that's where most of the dodging and physics go. - 1) Would it actually be a benefit to train one leg over the other since you are in one stance, allowing to more easily jump backwards to dodge? - 2) Does strength = speed? If so, how do I start to maximize my ability to weave the blade with speed since it is more of a skill at the wrist? - 3) Where in the body, when you are holding the blade, is the true center of balance to the fencer? I can tell it's not the same because the blade is in play instead of my arms and legs. - 4) The blade isn't a part of your body, so what parts of the body are actually in action when you work the blade?