Posted On:8/11/2012 11:58pm
I've been taking karate for a decent amount of time and fought in sparring classes a bunch of times, mostly against higher ranked opponents. Because of that, imo, I've developed pretty good footwork. So I was wondering if that or even just practicing karate would be useful if I were to start fencing. I have a few months to at least learn before fencing tryouts at my school begin and I am in desperate need of credits for a special diploma. If I don't make it,though, i'll just join the wrestling team.
12th level logic wielder
Posted On:8/12/2012 2:27am
Style: BJJ, judo, rapier
Before someone familiar with karate and sport fencing comes along and attempts to answer, perhaps you can clarify. Different forms of fighting have very different footwork, so there’s no such thing as being simply “good at footwork”. What you mean is that you have good footwork for your style of karate. What is that style? If it’s a hard contact style where you stand and bang, like Kyokushin, I suspect it will be entirely inapplicable to sport fencing. If, however, it’s a quick in-and-out fist tag such as light contact point fighting, it stands to reason that it could be helpful: As far as I know it’s not terribly useful for unarmed fighting (at least, it doesn’t seem prevalent in any verifiably effective striking styles…?), but for fencing—let alone sport fencing—it’s very useful indeed. (Regardless, of course, it won’t be identical: Your fencing posture will be different from an unarmed fighting posture.)
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Posted On:8/12/2012 11:31am
As someone who used to fence with fairy sabres I can only say that fencing has ruined my footwork for everything else I've ever done. It's a very specific sport and it doesn't carry over well into other disciplines.
Historical fencing on the other hand, especially with longswords in the german tradition, where wrestling and kicking are part of the style...different story all together.
Posted On:8/12/2012 11:45am
Style: TKD, CMA & American Kenpo
I have known people who train fencing to learn the footwork, so that it would compliment other things they do. As a previous post indicated, this footwork is unique to fencing and the footwork you learned from sparring probably isn't going to do a whole lot for you. The same would hold true for ballet or yoga.
Posted On:8/12/2012 11:56am
What will help you most is your understanding that you need to do a lot of hard, boring practice to get good. After that, general fighting skills, meaning you have tried to hit people who are hitting back so you have some ability to stay calm and see chances (I hope). Forget everything else and approach fencing with an open mind.
Posted On:8/12/2012 11:26pm
Style: Sticks & Jits & Fritz
I tried out fencing for a few months and really enjoyed it, got my ass kicked in the competition I entered and it was a blast.
First bit of advice is cliche' but true "empty your cup" or you wont learn anything.
Secondly if your keep bringing your empty hand up to guard your face (I could not break this habit), try folding your arm behind your hip.
Posted On:9/17/2012 11:04pm
Style: Thai Boxing
I know nothing about karate or WMA fencing, but sport fencing is basically in its own little world as far as footwork goes. Given the rules and the fact that you're only moving in one dimension along the strip, honestly, I wouldn't try to incorporate anything from the outside or you risk badly tripping yourself up. Simply being fit and quick on your feet is an advantage, though, so as long as you don't try to move like you're doing karate, it should at least give a slight edge.
Posted On:9/17/2012 11:28pm
Style: BJJ, FMA, JKD, Pankration
I am of the general belief that if you want to get good at something you have to do that specific something. If you want to get good at Fencing footwork your going to have to do fencing footwork.
Posted On:9/27/2012 10:43pm
We had a fencer at my old dojo. I remember her making mention of one improving the footwork of the other. But if you're really wanting to improve that aspect of your fighting, it might sound ridiculous, but I would take dancing lessons.
I took waltz, western dance, and swing dance and I noticed a dramatic improvement with footwork. It improves your timing and rhythm when stepping or skipping or turning.
We had someone who used to be a ballerina too, I've never seen anyone learn how to spin kick so fast. I started a year before her and I was asking her for tips.
Posted On:9/28/2012 7:00am
Style: Aikido, bits of jits
Olympic fencing uses the piste, so the footwork is very linear. It's so linear that if you end up circling each other even in that narrow play area the president (read referee) will restart you. So a lot of the footwork from other disciplines can actually be a problem.
Moving smoothly in a proper en-guard posture requires good quad and calf strength. Like most athletic pursuits, squats are your friend for fencing.
Fencing is loads of fun, if not a little expensive. I hope you enjoy it.
If you're looking for advice, try talking to your future coach or check out one of the dedicated fencing forums on line.
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