A question came up from a new student trying fencing and footwork for the first time–why is form so important? No one is going to check and see if my knees are bent, are they? It’s a fair question, especially from a newbie. And, it deserves a good answer.
The short answer to this is that mastering the fundamentals of fencing (or any sport) takes one from being a casual participant to a skilled athlete. Once the basics are mastered, the possibilities are endless. At first glance, good footwork and proper form may seem like an overstressed point, but there is more going on besides shuffling one’s feet up and down the strip. A fencer’s movement must always be fluid, making it possible to move in any direction at any given moment. Your opponent will be assessing your from the moment that you step anywhere near the strip, and every detail will be a clue to your strengths and weaknesses. A fencer with good footwork and form gives the impression of capability and one who should not be taken for granted.
The long answer can be found an in post at a fellow fencer’s blog. Rather than reinvent the wheel, or in this case, rewrite the post, instead I am including a link to his post here: Footwork: Movement in Fencing. Enjoy!