: I've read the FAQ and would like to get some educated mature
: opinions on the best equipment and suppliers to get me started in the
Different people have different preferences. You will get a better idea
if you get down to a club and see what kind of war stories the people
there have to tell.
For example, I prefer Leon Paul premier sabre blades, but this is clearly
not what most Americans prefer, since it is impossible to get these in the
: Seems to me that all that safety equipment would take the fun out
: of it ;-)
No, it's getting accidentally killed that tends to take the fun out of
it. Now not _all_ the safety rules are really necessary, but almost all of
them are, and until you have a whole lot of experience and have seen at
first hand what an accident can look like, you should just take the USFA
and FIE's word for it.
One place I would _add_ to the FIE/USFA rules is that in addition to having
a mask which can pass the punch test, I would suggest that you _never_ use
an old mask, especially a mask with any signs of rust.
: I want a very aggresive, easy to learn, non-technical experience
: and a good workout as well.
Actually, fencing is a real rush, and can be a great workout. But the
more aggressive you want to be, the more technique you should master.
It will become soon apparent to you that pure agression is too easy
for an experienced fencer to handle. There is a _huge_ skill component
to fencing, and the more agressive you are the more control and skill
you can use, and will need.
If you think you will be happy only in a weapon where the most offensive
and aggressive choice is correct then you will end up in sabre. It is
my specialty. But before working with sabre, you really ought to do at
least one, preferably two years of foil. And in this part of the experience,
you have to learn the simpler foil technique which is the basis for learning
the more complex sabre technique. _Then_ you will have the appropriate
tools to turn any amount of aggression into effective fencing. However,
if you take the short cut and try and express your agression before you
have the necessary tools, you will get beat a lot in embarrassing ways.
This is not peculiar to fencing. Aggression is necessary in football or
basketball or wrestling, but agression without technique will not get you
the desired result. Fencing is no different.
Fencing technique is actually a lot like rock drumming. Check out some
old Led Zeppelin concert videos - (with the sound off if you want) -
and keep in mind that John Bonham was _the_ loudest, hardest hitting
drummer that almost anyone has ever seen. The rest of the group even
resorted to taking some of his drums away because he was too loud. Look
at his upper body. He's hardly moving, and his tremendous expressive power
comes from _control_ of his aggression. He got this way because _all_ the
muscles throughout his arms have been developed together, and he is
completely relaxed in his upper body, and maintains an upright torso.
Now it should be obvious that John Bonham could not have cared a toss
for technique for technique's sake - he worked the way he did because
he needed the freedom of movement, speed and control. In other words,
the technique is _functional_, not _formal_.
As for easy-to-learn, yes, in my experience, anyone who wants to learn
can learn to fence. The hard part is some of the physical stuff you
need to develop - flexibility/body control/unusual muscles. Fencing calls
for a lot more strength in the fingers, and parts of the wrist and elbow
than most people have, and puts great demands on the legs. So this is
not "hard to learn", but is the hard part of learning to fence.