Fencing saber manual: Your key to fencing domination
Lightning speed. Quick leaps. Death-defying stunts. All awe-inspiring scenes we are too familiar with in any action-packed adventure films. We do not have to be superstars to have a foretaste of the adventure.
Through fencing saber, anyone can be his or her own master swordsman and hero. Saber is considered the fastest of fencing, compared to foil and epee (see Fencing Rapier for more information).
Description of a Fencing Saber
The modern saber used in fencing matches is quite different from the traditional cavalry sabers of the past (see What are sabers for more information). It weighs about half a kilogram and is less than a meter long.
Its guard extends to the pommel so the knuckles of the wielding hand are covered. Its blade, made of specially strong and malleable iron alloy, is slender, flexible, and tapering towards the point. The blade of the saber is folded in the point to form a button to lessen the impact of punctures. Its cutting edges are full on one side and features partially on the other.
Saber as a Fencing Sword
The use of saber in the olden times has carried over to the modern fencing sport. For instance, the only valid target for saber is the upper body, excluding the back of the head and hand. Some sources say this rule dates back to the way cavalrymen fight: the legs of the enemies were far from the reach of their swords, and so only the torso and the face can be attacked. Saber was fitted with electronic circuits to aid in automatic scoring in 1988.
The Fencing Saber sport
It has been said that it takes two lifetimes to be a master swordsman. This is particularly true with the discipline of saber, but this should not scare beginners to try. In fact, saber is considered the most exciting fencing sport there is. Scores are made when fencers land the edge AND the point of the sword on the opponent. (In foil and epee, scores are counted only when the point has made a landing). Thus, fencers are hardly to take the defensive stance. They are eager to do the first move and strike. The actions are therefore swift, the lunges clean, and the swordplay fast. Technique definitely includes speed, aggressive offense, and strategic feints.
Summer Olympics Fencing Saber
Saber was adopted since the opening of the Summer Olympics way back in 1896. Its more than a hundred years of history has seen major European countries, such as Italy, France and Hungary, raking in the most number of medals. Women’s saber made its first appearance in the 1998 World Championship as a demonstration sport, and debuted in 2004.
Sabreur and sabreuse alike (swordsmen and swordswomen) for practical reasons prepare two sets of fencing wear: one for competition, the other for practices. Competition fencing clothes and equipments are expensive because they are made up of clothing designed to withstand pressure. They are not to be exposed to frequent puncturing, and thus are only worn during tournaments. Practice wears are used most frequently; they are inexpensive, such that they are easy and cheap to replace whenever they break.
The following are the standard equipments used for competition. These are mandated by Federation Internationale d’Escrime (FIE), the official international governing organization on fencing sports.
• Fencing Masks – are tested to pass a 12-kg punch test. If you are using a practice mask, make sure that you test it before using. It must also have a sturdy mesh in front, and a bib of about 1600-newton strength as a protection for the neck.
• Fencing Jacket and breeches – must be 800-newton strong. Fabrics are usually woven with special nylon and other resilient, tough materials. Special care must be given to the clothing as it is susceptible to corrosion, which lessens its effectiveness.
• Fencing Gloves – should have leather construction, and be significantly extended to cover some parts of the forearm. It should not be too fit because it will likely suffer tearing. For practices, a simple workman glove is sufficient.
• Special Fencing Saber shoes – are available at the nearest sport shops. For practices, you can just use volleyball or badminton shoes instead.
• Fencing Socks – must be knee-high. There should be no skin exposed in any of the legs and arms. For practices, your soccer and baseball socks are good substitutes.
• Saber blades – must be certified by FIE. For competitions, the saber blades bear a stamp of FIE. They are twice as expensive as practice swords, but they last twice as long as well. Do not use broken swords, for they will be a danger to you and your sparring mate.
Fencing Saber on your own
Wanting to try out, but scared? Wishing to feel like a real swordsman? Saber is a very good sport for the young and old. Although it may take years for a beginner to become an expert on fencing, saber has the best techniques and the most rewarding experience in swordplay. Here’s how to start:
1. Sign up for a crash course on fencing, invest on books, and know what fencing is. Remember, fencing is all about strategy and cunning so you need all the knowledge you can get to keep you on track.
2. Enroll in your local martial arts center and be trained by a master. Bad habits are easy to acquire if you have an incompetent coach, or worse no one, to guide you.
3. Learn and acquire the most basic of skills, such as correct and proper footwork, bladework, and timing.
4. Be open to new tactics by being conscious of your skills and learning new stunts from your sparring mates and other master sabreurs.
5. Expose yourself to saber fencing matches by tuning in to sports channels, watching sparring videos online, and joining amateur competitions in your local area.
6. Lastly, do not forget to enjoy and hang out with your friends engaged in the same hobby. They can be your sparring mates who can test your skills to the limits, and encourage you to continue improving.