Depends. Are you quick? Wait patiently for him to begin his attack, and
hit his hand on the way in. This works better if you're one of them
northpaws I hear tell of.
>Second, how wise it to
>attack said individual diagonally (from the opposite side of the strip).
This works quite well, as long as you are also left-handed. Effectively,
you are circling to his non-weapon side.
If you are right-handed, this is a different situation, and I have no
idea, except to recommend that you fence left-handed as all right-
thinking people do (-:
>... Finally, and this is probably going to get some interesting debate,
>which grip do you find most effective (dare I say best). (French, German,
Let's see if I can remember what I've been told, and what I've figured out...
French: Doesn't aid strength or any particular moves. If you're really
desparate for reach and have taken many years of piano lessons, you can
use "the French advantage." It's easier to be disarmed, and you have to
grip tighter in first or second position. More tiring to hold. Useful
as a remedial device for point control (I have no idea why).
I prefer French for foil.
Visconti: The best pistol grip for a beginner, and the easiest to hold
properly. May be uncomfortable in some hands. Favors wide actions and
too tight a grip (then again it may be the people I know who prefer it).
People who prefer Visconti tend to move either to German or Belgian.
Visconti hurts my hand in foil, but I don't seem to have that problem
with epees or right-handed foils.
German: Kind of like Visconti. Favors strength. Good for beats and
blade takings. Point control easier than Visconti, but not as good
as the others. Range of motion may be restricted. People who use
German grips tend to migrate to Russians. After having trouble
against fencers using this grip, I'm experimenting with it.
Russian: Not as restrictive as the German, and easier to control. Not
as good at augmenting strength either. Kind of like a cross between the
German and the Belgian. I'm not terribly fond of it, but I know many
people who are. It feels like it's always slipping out of my hand.
Belgian: Probably the best at point control of the grips I'm familliar
with (barring the French). Some minor restriction on range of motion.
Allows for fairly secure grip without the necessity of clamping down.
I prefer the Belgian for epee.
American: I've only seen this grip once, aside from drawings. It's
kind of like a blocky, elongated Belgian. This thing appears to have
the same relationship to the Belgian that the German has to the Visconti,
so I would guess it improves point control (!) over the Belgian and
strengthens parries, beats, and takings; it looks like it would have
motion restrictions similar to the German. As far as I know, these
aren't made in lefty versions.
House brand (Santelli?): There's a grip that a mail-order company in
New England (or was it New York?) makes. It's kind of like a Russian,
but with rounder, broader, flatter appendages (I think they're all in
the same places). I've only seen it once, but it looks like it's
worth a try.