Noble Combat – Swordsmanship

Fencing is an amazing, unusually beautiful, elegant and romantic sport, an ancient martial art that has a thousand-year history and does not lose its relevance to this day.

This type of martial art requires enhanced physical training, dexterity and reaction speed, as well as intellectual development, in which fencers are inferior if only to chess players!

Modern fencing is an Olympic sport, represented by three types of sports weapons (epee, rapier and saber). To win the tournament, the athlete needs to prick his opponent and prevent him from pricking himself. This sports discipline is represented at competitions by both men’s and women’s teams.

From the ancient world to the present day

When we talk about fencing, most often we mean a sports battle with swords or recall musketeer fights (“Fight, sir!”). In fact, the meaning of the word is deeper – it is a battle with the use of edged weapons: a sword, sword, rapier, saber, spear, dagger, ax, stick, etc. Several centuries ago – a deadly fight or a life-threatening duel. Today it is a beautiful and relatively safe sport, which is included in the Olympic program and pentathlon.

Fencing was widespread in different parts of the Ancient World: the Greeks and Chinese, Indians and Japanese were trained and fought to victory on sticks and various swords.

In the Middle Ages, fencing was part of the compulsory training program for a nobleman-knight. Naturally, there were rules. Not breaking them was a matter of honor. The oldest fencing textbook that has come down to us dates back to the 13th century. Then they didn’t even use swords – they fought mainly on long thin swords. In the well-known weapons of the musketeers, they were transformed by the 15th century. This happened largely due to the spread of steel armor, which was difficult to cut, but piercing blows reached the enemy. Therefore, the swords became narrower and thinner. Spaniards were among the first to appreciate the advantages of swords. The fashion for elegant, light, but deadly weapons quickly spread throughout Europe. Naturally, for the nobles – commoners were not allowed to noble battles, and there was no need for them to do so. But behind the sword fights, an aura of nobility and chivalry was entrenched.

The trend towards a narrower blade gave rise to an even thinner weapon – the rapier. It differs from a sword in that if the first one can cut, and chop like a sword, and stab, then the last one can only stab.

In the spread of fencing, our country did not lag far behind Europe. At the beginning of the 18th century, Peter I introduced the obligatory study of bayonet fighting techniques in the army, and sword fighting became an obligatory skill for the nobles.

However, with the development of civilization and the invention of more effective firearms, fencing began to turn into an increasingly safe activity.

By the beginning of the 19th century, battles, duels for the most part were no longer deadly, they were fought according to strict rules in the presence of judges and witnesses. And by the beginning of the XX fencing was transformed into a sport. In addition, today there are fencing with carbines, canes, historical, art fencing and other varieties.

The program of the First Olympic Games in Athens in 1896 included rapier competitions, and 4 years later, 3 types of fencing were presented at the Olympics, which are familiar today: on swords, rapiers and sabers.

Piercing and cutting sport

Fencing is considered a safe sport, because opponents are required to wear reliable protective equipment. Regular fencing suit includes:

  • a white electrically conductive jacket (each contact with the opponent’s sword is recorded, and a corresponding signal is given to the judges – their lamp lights up);
  • mask;
  • breeches;
  • top protection;
  • gloves;
  • gaiters;
  • special shoes.

It would seem, well, what is extreme in this sport? Children are enrolled in the fencing section from the age of 5. However, there are sad statistics of deaths. One of the most famous happened to the Soviet athlete Vladimir Smirnov, when an opponent from Germany accidentally pierced his left eye with a rapier, the weapon entered the brain by 15 cm! Of course, this is a blatant accident, but even in today’s safe conditions it would be useful to be as safe as possible: in sparring, follow the rules in a disciplined manner, always wear a full protective kit, and purchase insurance.

The job is not for everyone. What gives fencing

It is interesting, but unlike, for example, football, fencing is not a mass sport, although almost everyone is accepted in the section, if there are no contraindications for health. But there are few who wish, and of those that are recruited, only a few remain. Apparently, this is really a noble chivalrous occupation, not suitable for everyone.

This sport at any age develops:

  • coordination – you need to move well so that you are not “wounded”;
  • intelligence – without it you can’t calculate the opponent’s actions;
  • reaction speed – with each lesson it will increase.

The rules of the competition vary depending on the type of weapon, for each there are many nuances.

Naturally, if there is a focus on high achievements, victories at the Olympics, you need to start from childhood.

On average, when a neophyte just starts training, a year will pass before the first full-fledged sparring. It will take a few more years to grow to the level of competition.

But many train just like that, for the soul. Want to try?

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