Fencing Lesson Two
In this lesson you'll learn the lunge-the most basic of attack maneuvers. You'll also learn how to recover from a lunge. Note that this lesson covers all three types of weapon-foil, sabre, and epee. Future lessons will be primarily foil, since the foil is the standard starting weapon. Lessons for epee and sabre will be added at a later time.
The lunge is used to score points. A successful attack nearly always ends in a lunge or some similar form of strong forward movement.
1.) To start your lunge you'll need to get in "on guard" position. Check to see that your feet are shoulder length apart, sword arm a fist's distance away from your body, knees bent, etc.
2.) Extend your sword arm toward your opponent, aiming for the middle of their torso to begin with. (this is the largest target as well as the area that counts for points for all three weapons. Other targets can be selected later.) Make sure that your arm is extended all the way before moving the rest of you!
3.) Now the important part! You must always lunge off of your back foot. Pretend that it's spring-loaded, powering you toward your target. Your front foot will lift up to be put down when you land from your lunge. Your BACK foot will stay where it is, but you'll extend your back leg fully as you use the force from your back leg to push you forward toward your opponent.
-Don't lean forward excessively when you lunge, even if it means the difference between reaching your opponent with the tip of your weapon and missing by a few inches. Your upper body should stay in the upright position. This is in case you fail in your attack! You don't want to be helpless and unable to retreat.
-Don't lunge as far as your leg will carry you. If you have to pause and pick yourself back up off of a near split on the floor, you're putting too much effort into it. It should be an extension, but you should also be able to quickly recover from it. (The next part in this lesson.)
-Keep your eyes on your target when lunging, but in practice sessions after you lunge, check to make sure you've lunged correctly before recovering. Your front foot should be pointed straight forward, not twisted to either side. Your front knee should also be pointed straight forward. Your back leg should be straight, and your back foot should still be at a 90 degree angle to your front foot. The tip of your weapon should have hit in the torso area of your opponent. Remember to keep your back arm behind you!
Recovering Back from the Lunge:
Now that you've lunged at your opponent, one of two things has happened. You've either A.) Hit your opponent or B.) Missed. Either way you'll need to get back into a less vulnerable position before they realize what has happened. To do this you'll need to recover.
1.) Pull yourself back into the "on guard" position by pushing off of your front foot. Keep your back foot where it is. Don't stand up! This wastes movement and leaves you open to attack. Keep your knees bent as much as possible all the way back into "on guard" position. Make it a lateral movement.
2.) Pull your sword arm back in while you're moving back. Don't bump your elbow off of your side though. Pull it back to a fist's length away from you. Be sure to keep the tip of the weapon pointed at your opponent! You never know when you'll need to defend yourself, even when recovering back from a lunge.
That's it! This is the basic lunge. Practice either by yourself with a mark on a wall at torso height or with a partner, aiming for their torso. For these manuvers with a partner though, you're going to need to suit up in full whites to prevent injury. Always remember, you're pointing the equivalent of a metal stick in the general area of your opponent's face. (And you aren't very good at aiming yet!) Inspect both your own and your opponent's equipment to make sure you're fully protected against stray hits.
For a video on the basic lunge, click the YouTube link. Try to mimic the stance of the fencer. The actual lunge is much faster than is shown, but as of right now just work on technique. Try to "spring" off of your back leg in a forward motion!
Back to Main Salle
Back to fencing