Introducing The Light Rapier

Introducing The Light Rapier

Post by Ralph Sah » Thu, 25 Nov 1993 03:22:01


Introduction of the light rapier for the Genuine Swordsman

In my opinion there is no such thing as modern fencing, anymore
than there is such a thing as modern antiques. Fencers who apply
"modern interpretations" to rules and definitions do so out of
ignorance or to favor their own strengths and mitigate their faults.
Today's advocates of the buggy *** two meter dash argue
the validity of definitions for the attack at foil and sabre and
rationalize their "modern interpretations" of priority through
avenues mystical and fantastic, often insisting that since duels
are no longer fought it's OK to apply the foil and sabre in ways
inappropriate to their intended use; dishonest and ridiculous
arguments by those whose real problem is they just can't fence.

An alternative is presented to the sincere fencer interested in
authentic swordsmanship through the introduction of a new weapon,
the light rapier (smallsword), first used in a competition 11/9/93
at La Salle d'Armes in Northern California. Rules based upon dueling
practice were simple, clear, ironclad and uninterpretable. Hits were
determined solely by machine.  Scoring was designed to re-establish
genuine fencing's key requisite (feared and rejected by today's prac-
titioner of 'flickitywhipity supercollider'): respect for the point.

The weapon:  A France-Lames epee blade, stiff to prevent "flicking"
and rethreaded to take an electric foil point, was mounted in a replica
smallsword hilt (small guard, period grip, knuckle bow and pommel)
fitted with a bayonet guard socket.  

The Rules:  1 No conventions.  2 One touch bouts.  3 One light: a
wound or kill awards a score of one.  4 Two lights in simultaneity
or very nearly so: both fencers are considered wounded or killed.
No score and the bout is ended.  5 Two lights within a half second,
but not simultaneously or very nearly so: the fencer hitting first has
executed the action carelessly, without cover and is considered hit
within a span of time during which his wounded opponent was
nevertheless able to complete a thrust. No point awarded. Fencer
hitting second has acted irrationally (like a modern competitive
fencer), in failing to defend against the oncoming blade. This fencer
has one point taken away. The bout is ended.

The Practice:  Fencers were advised not ponder the rules, but to
simply fence as they would with sharps.

Results:  Fencers exercised far greater caution than usual. Out of
46 bouts there were no running attacks or corps a corps. Blade play
was protracted and more elaborate than that for foil by these fencers.
Roughly 66% of touches were to the advanced target. There were 5
double hits. No one hit late enough to receive a penalty touch. The
new weapon was received enthusiastically.  Exploration and evolution
of this weapon and its rules continues.  More news in January.

Frank Lurz, Master in Training & President, La Salle d'Armes
309 Todd Way, Mill Valley, CA 94941

- submitted by rs

 
 
 

Introducing The Light Rapier

Post by Jeff Ber » Thu, 25 Nov 1993 04:46:18

!>Introduction of the light rapier for the Genuine Swordsman
!>The weapon:  A France-Lames epee blade, stiff to prevent "flicking"
!>and rethreaded to take an electric foil point, was mounted in a replica
!>smallsword hilt (small guard, period grip, knuckle bow and pommel)
!>fitted with a bayonet guard socket.  
!>The Rules:  1 No conventions.  2 One touch bouts.  3 One light: a
!>wound or kill awards a score of one.  4 Two lights in simultaneity
!>or very nearly so: both fencers are considered wounded or killed.
!>No score and the bout is ended.  5 Two lights within a half second,
!>but not simultaneously or very nearly so: the fencer hitting first has
!>executed the action carelessly, without cover and is considered hit
!>within a span of time during which his wounded opponent was
!>nevertheless able to complete a thrust. No point awarded. Fencer
!>hitting second has acted irrationally (like a modern competitive
!>fencer), in failing to defend against the oncoming blade. This fencer
!>has one point taken away. The bout is ended.

Congratulations, you've invented electric SCA Fencing!

badger                                      Don Alexandre Lerot d'Avigne
Jeff Berry                                  Caer Galen, Outlands

NCAR doesn't tell me what to think, and I return the favor.
"You're a notch and I'm a legend"-------Alice Cooper
"I don't need TV when I've got T-Rex"------Mott the Hoople

 
 
 

Introducing The Light Rapier

Post by Morgan Bur » Thu, 25 Nov 1993 09:59:55


|> !>Introduction of the light rapier for the Genuine Swordsman
|> |> [...]
|>
|> Congratulations, you've invented electric SCA Fencing!

Actually, I think he just invented epee fencing.

I fail to see how "light rapier" differs in any significant respect
from one-touch epee.  The latter has a nearly identical scoring
system, a nearly identical weapon, and a similar philosophical
justification.

The only real differences are an old-fashioned hilt (the necessity of
which is not made clear), a foil tip (the necessity of which is not
made clear), and more subjectivity in determining double hits.  Why not
just fence dry one-touch epee -- then you'd have virtually the same
scoring system and more money left in your pocket.

If you are trying to discourage flicks, then why use a foil tip?  The
lighter spring and absence of minimum tip travel should increase
flickability.  What you really want are straight, stiff blades and
heavy points.

Is all this meant to develop a different sport or more historically
accurate fencing?  If the former, I think the one-touch epeeists beat
you to the punch about a hundred years ago.  If the latter, then you
have to demonstrate that one-touch epee fails to do the job.  You
claim it is rife with various fencing crimes ("2 metre dash",
"***", "flickitywhipity supercollider"), but to support these
claims you cite the excesses of foil and sabre, two completely
different weapons that have never known a duel in the sense that you
are trying to recreate.  Your passionate criticism ("since duels are
no longer fought it's OK to apply the foil and sabre in ways
inappropriate to their intended use") is hardly valid or relevant to
the subject of epee fencing.

Given that you dismiss proponents of modern fencing as "those whose
real problem is they just can't fence", then you presumably expect to
develop superior technique through the use of this weapon.  Hopefully
you will be able to demonstrate this fencing prowess by *** the
asses of modern fencers.  If you come across some who use
"inappropriate", "dishonest", and "irrational" techniques like flicks
and running attacks, then as a Genuine Swordsman (TM) you should be
able to hang them out to dry.  If not, then I must assume you are a
windbag, since even us modern fencers who "just can't fence" know how
to do that.

A minor point is that "light rapier" is not a weapon with any basis in
history.  If you are intending to reproduce 17th century rapier
fencing, you won't get very far with 19th century epees.  By making
historical concessions such as using replica small sword hilts, you
create a bizarre chimera of a weapon with its origins in 1993
California, not 17th century Italy.

As far as the "ironclad" rules go, I have some questions: if bouts are
to one touch, how is it that a fencer can lose a point by failing to
defend himself?  (Presumably if he has a touch to lose, he has already
won.)  Also, why is it that the second fencer to hit has "acted
irrationally (like a modern competitive fencer), in failing to
defend against the oncoming blade"?  This belief seems to completely
ignore the possibility of getting stop-hit, which is surely the
essence of duelling.  Any why is it that if a fencer hits on his
continuation after himself being hit, he LOSES a point, while if he
just meekly accepts his death and does nothing, he doesn't?  It sounds
like you are trying to inject some notion of right-of-way into a
weapon that supposedly has "No conventions" as its first rule.

Here's a suggestion for adding a little more uniqueness to your new
sport.  Use your epees with foil tips, and throw on a foil lame' and
an electric sabre mask (connected to the lame).  Fence on the foil
setting to one touch, using epee rules with the following modifiers:

        -- a white light (hit to the arm or leg) is worth 1 point
        -- a coloured light (hit to the torso, throat, or head) is
           worth 2 points
        -- double lights (hit to arm/leg followed by hit to torso/head)
           is worth 1 point
        -- simultaneous touches are awarded to the fencer who scored
           more points
        -- simultaneous touches in which both fencers score the same
           number of points result in a double loss

-- Morgan Burke


 
 
 

Introducing The Light Rapier

Post by Gary M Ku » Sat, 27 Nov 1993 05:12:09

Isn't this essentially used in the Modern Pentathalon in the Olympics?  
They use epee's but it's a one touch bout with both losing for simulta-
neous touches.  The Light Rapier sounds even more restricted as far as
using a foil electric point.  Also, I'd imagine the head should be
target as well.  Otherwise, I think the Light Rapier is a great idea,
though I think spectators won't be too thrilled;  if they thought a
bout was fast before, the LR bouts would be even faster despite more
care in actual fencing!  

Gary M Kuan
UCLA Fencing, epee '90-'92

 
 
 

Introducing The Light Rapier

Post by David Air » Sun, 28 Nov 1993 10:32:39


: Isn't this essentially used in the Modern Pentathalon in the Olympics?  
: They use epee's but it's a one touch bout with both losing for simulta-
: neous touches.  
simultaneous is a replacement on guard - double defeat after 3 minutes if no
score. DAVID.  
The Light Rapier sounds even more restricted as far as
: using a foil electric point.  Also, I'd imagine the head should be
: target as well.  Otherwise, I think the Light Rapier is a great idea,
: though I think spectators won't be too thrilled;  if they thought a
: bout was fast before, the LR bouts would be even faster despite more
: care in actual fencing!  

: Gary M Kuan
: UCLA Fencing, epee '90-'92

 
 
 

Introducing The Light Rapier

Post by Susan Mullhau » Tue, 30 Nov 1993 10:47:07

Quote:

>Introduction of the light rapier for the Genuine Swordsman

>The weapon:  A France-Lames epee blade, stiff to prevent "flicking"
>and rethreaded to take an electric foil point, was mounted in a replica
>smallsword hilt (small guard, period grip, knuckle bow and pommel)
>fitted with a bayonet guard socket.  

What no edge? What kind of rapier has no edge?

        [rules delted]

Quote:
>The Practice:  Fencers were advised not ponder the rules, but to
>simply fence as they would with sharps.

Sounds like nobody was encouraged to ponder the rules. In particular the
'rules' proposed for light rapier are in direct contradiction to the
thinking on stop cuts in sabre, where actual duelling and combat
experience was consulted to determine that stop cuts should have some
sort of priority. It's based mainly on the observation that cuts to
the cuff of the weapon arm cause enough shock and can easily cut
enough soft tissue to prevent significant threat of completion.
According to the proposed rules for 'light rapier' there is no
sensible way to make a stop cut unless you insure that you land
significantly in advance of the opponent.

OK so you guys don't like conventions. Fine. But don't play at
greater realism. _No_ fencing is 'genuine' unless people get really
badly hurt and killed on a regular basis. That's real.

Now fencing is both modern and traditional at the same time. And
even in the days of first *** at first light we have the words of
the great Jean-Louis:

        "The *** of a soldier must not be wasted stupidly. The
        duel is an end. The purpose of fencing consists more to
        calm down the excess of passion through consciousness of
        one's strength and sentiment of superiority that one
        acquires than trying to hit the opponent. The purpose of
        fencing is also to develop a man with enough self-control
        so as to make him able to direct his attack with accuracy
        and avoid as much as possible the deadly end."

Note that there was not a great concern for realism so much as a concern
that fencing develop a higher awareness. It is not obvious to me that
the conventions are a great problem or a great asset in an abstract sense.

Later,
Andrew Mullhaupt