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