Sunday 21 February 2010

My First Foil Tournament - Curses, Foiled Again!

Today I fenced in my first foil tournament.

For the past four years, I have been fencing sabre which to me is the coolest weapon.

I have debated on taking up a second weapon for fun. I am quite serious about sabre but there have been opportunities to fence another weapon when there is no sabre tournament going.

Fencing is not just fencing and there are vast differences between the two in target, style of weapon and strategy. In short, sabre (my weapon) is based on horseback cavalry officers fighting in the filed of battle and, of the three weapons, is the only one ever used in battle. Fencers can slash and do a stabbing action to score. Target is everything above the waist ... head, arms and body.

Foil is a stabbing weapon only and the torso is the target. Points are scored when the plunger at the end of the foil is pushed in as it strikes a metallic jacket. Much smaller scoring area and only stabbing action. Quite the change.

So an opportunity came up this weekend. Newmarket Fencing Club held a tournament today that did not have sabre. So I decided to try my hand at foil and fence in the VeteransDivision (over 40). In the past couple of weeks, I took a private lesson from Annie, who just happens to have coached the Chinese Fencing team. Plus I was taken aside by various veteran fencers in my club, Bladeworks, for instruction and some practice bouts. Gaby, who was one of them and very helpful today, is pictured to the right and was in the final four when I left.

So with borrowed gear, two weeks of training, I hit a tournament to fence veteran fencers who basically have been doing this their whole lives. My hope was to have fun and not embarrass myself too much.

There were only nine entered, way down from the usual number of foil fencers, which was good as instead of dividing us intotwo2 groups we all fenced each other, which meant eight qualifying matches.

It did not start off well, as I lost my first two matches 5-0. Then with the score 3-0 in the next match, I scored my first point! Arms in the air, I celebrated. The judge knew why as she had judged my first two2 matches. I told her I had scored my point and should go home on a high note. She said I should stay and maybe score another.

I did and lost that one 5-2 and my next match 5-2. Then I lost the next two by 5-1 margins, got skunked the next one, and finished by losing 5-2. Really not bad for someone who had never fenced foil before. Interesting that I felt very comfortable on defense and more nervous on offense, opposite to how I feel when I have a sabre in my hand. I love to attack!. Guess it is likely due to the smaller scoring area.

Then it was to the elimination. I was ranked 9th out of nine, no surprise, so fenced off against the 8th place (pictured top left). I was actually up by a 4-2 margin and at the break was only down 6-5, but ultimately lost 10-6.

I learned a lot during the day, was determined, as the picture to the left shows and had a lot of fun. I will be getting some equipment of my own and fooling around with this weapon some more in the future.

Sabre though, will always be my first love of fencing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Gord,

Sounds like it was a great day overall. Glad you enjoyed the change of weapons - sometimes it's good to experiment that way; it's nice to think outside the box and see what it can do for you're sabre.

(btw - epee was a true combat weapon as well; just thought I'd throw that in :)