Tag Archives: quickness

Watch the Finals of the Sabre World Cup Live

Photo credit: USA Fencing

Photo credit: USA Fencing

USA Fencing will be streaming the final rounds of the Absolute Fencing Gear Korfanty World Cup live from the University of Illinois at Chicago on Saturday and Sunday at www.usfencing.org.

The broadcast on Saturday will begin at 6:30 p.m. Central Time and will include semifinal and final rounds of the men’s and women’s individual saber competition.

If you missed the finals on Saturday, no worries. Competition on Sunday will feature the gold medal finals for the men’s and women’s team events with at 5:30 p.m. Central (time subject to change).

Sabre events are fast-moving and exciting to watch. Hopefully we’ll have the added benefit of expert commentary, which can help you get a better handle on fencing rules such as right-of-way. Enjoy!

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Dynamic Stretching for Improved Performance

dynamicroutinemar200What is dynamic stretching?
The short definition of dynamic stretching is “stretching as you are moving.” The opposite of dynamic stretching is static stretching, such as reaching down to touch your toes and holding for many seconds.

Recent research in sports movement and kinesiology has changed the way athletes warm up and prepare for training and competition. Athletes still stretch but they no longer stretch cold muscles. Just about every athletic team in the country, from little league to professional sports, performs dynamic stretching before exercising. Watching the athletes warm up at the Sabre World Cup in Chicago was fascinating! Their warm up routines were specific but simple to perform.

Now for the long answer… Dynamic stretching is active movements of muscle that bring forth a stretch but are not held in the end position. This is an excellent full body warm-up done prior to any type of intense activity, whether you’re about to play sports or lift weights. Dynamic stretching will be beneficial to your performance and will set you up for the training or competition ahead.

If you’re asking why this is critical and important, here’s the science: Your body has many mechanisms that need to be activated and stimulated.  When you put your body through a series of stretches while in motion, it sends signals from the brain to the muscle fibers and connective tissues in that area to prepare to do work.  Your body’s temperature begins to rise and blood is pumped to the working areas of the body.  Getting good blood flow to the area of the working muscles is very critical in order to supply the area with energy needed to do work.  Along with getting proper blood flow to the working area, the muscle fibers and connective tissues will gain more flexibility and range of motion.  Many studies have shown that dynamic stretching can help increase power, improve flexibility, and increase your range of motion.

In other words, by doing dynamic stretching after your warm-up and before your workout, you are going to feel stronger and work up to a greater demand on your strength and endurance. Your range of motion and flexibility will also be greater. Another point to remember is that dynamic movements are sport-specific, or tailored for your sport, and in our case that sport is fencing.

For additional information on dynamic stretching, read the article on WebMD, New Ideas on Proper Stretching Techniques (http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/new-ideas-on-proper-stretching-techniques).

The Flèche, Stripped Down and Defined

Photo credit: Australian Academy of Fencing

Photo credit: Australian Academy of Fencing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For some of you, our last practice introduced you to an offensive maneuver called a flèche. For the rest of you, this is a refresher. This is term originating from French (like many terms used in the sport of fencing), meaning “arrow,” referring to the surprising style of the attack. Here’s how the United States Fencing Coaches Association (USFCA) defines a flèche:

Attacking footwork formed by either leaping or running forward, with the rear foot crossing past the front foot

Wikipedia also has a good working definition with photos to help illustrate the execution of the attack. The flèche involves speed and an element of surprise. The flèche is absolutely not a charge down the piste at an opponent at distance. The flèche utilizes timing, not distance, so the distance shouldn’t be greater than an advance-lunge.

The flèche is only used in foil and épée. In sabre, it is forbidden for the back foot to pass in front of the front foot, outlawing the flèche.

Just in case the definition isn’t enough, at the tail end of the video below is an example of a flèche in slow motion. Enjoy!

Proper Jumproping Technique in Fencing

I hope that you all have a great summer or great new beginning after graduation! For those of you interested in starting a personal training program in the off-season, I’ll continue to post information over the summer to help keep you going. The following is a video done by Damien Lehfeldt, a competitive fencer and an assistant volunteer coach at DC Fencers Club in Silver Spring, Maryland. Damien was the coach of a London 2012 Olympic Athlete in Modern Pentathlon (Suzanne Stettinius). He is an A-rated epeeist and foilist and a national champion who is a mutt of multiple awesome fencing coaches (Janusz Smolenski, Mario Jelev, Robert Suchorski, Boyko Krastevitch, Alek Gromov).

Quick React Wall Ball Drill

To review the drill that we used in practice today, I’ve included a link to the tutorial video below. Though the drill is used in the video for football players, the skills that it is intended to develop (reaction time and quickness) are applicable to fencers as well. If you have some time and have a training partner, continue work on this drill to improve your reaction time.

We will continue to use this drill from time to time. To make things more interesting, I will occasionally bring different types of balls to liven things up.

Quick React Wall Ball