Do the thing: Kim (KOR) v Szilagyi (HUN)

Happy new year, everyone!

I was going to post something from the epic ass-kicking that was the Kim v Szilagyi semifinal from New York. There’s a ton of seriously impressive 4m work from Kim in the bloodbath that was the second half, but  I’m not allowed to talk about the interesting stuff.  If anyone wants to know what we know about the start line tactics he’s using here, come to our workshop this weekend, we’re going to be all over that stuff, but I ain’t putting it in writing. Sorry.

The clear highlight of the match, in any case, is the reaction shot of Szilagyi after Kim’s (successful) video appeal towards the end of the first half. It’s amazing.

The thing with the eyebrow. Dear lord.

Mind you, Kim Junghwan has his own eyebrow thing that he does, although I’m yet to see him deploy it in a match.

Kim Junghwan does the thing with the eyebrow

Anyway, much as I would love to see some sort of epic eyebrow battle between these two, Kim clearly decided to to the thing with the ruthless sabre tactics instead. It was vicious perfection, and a neat synopsis of Kim’s game.

That thing. Right there. That’s the one.

Everyone loves a good flunge.


Also, nice breakdancing:

Anyway, the official version of the match, with so-bad-it’s-good commentary, is available here:

Meanwhile the much hipper bootleg CyrusofChaos version is available here:

Have fun with that.

Anyway, thanks for being with us this year! We’re looking forward to a fantastic 2015.

Poise: Berrè (ITA) v Anstett (FRA)

Not going hardcore into the analysis today, it’s too nice out and the beach is looking too good. However, while we’re on the subject of things that look good, what I will give you is this superb flunge from Enrico Berrè against Vincent Anstett in the 16 at the Brooklyn grand prix.

That little march in the setup: wow. It looks like it was choreographed.  That’s the coolest little collection of moves I’ve ever seen, and carried off with such utter aplomb. Well done, sir.

I mean, he lost the fight and all, but by god he looked good doing it.

Full match is available thanks to CyrusofChaos.

Back and forth: Gu (KOR) v Limbach (GER)

I’m having a bit of a counterparry thing this week. Here’s a very stylish 4m trio out of the round of 32 at the Budapest world cup, one from Limbach, two from Gu, all of them single-light.

Limbach set the tone with with this emphatic maneuver:

A couple of points later, Gu was like “Hey, that’s a good idea!” and rolled out his now-characteristic move.  It’s a trap:

It went so perfectly the first time, he, he decided to do it again:

Over the match as a whole, Gu was overwhelmingly dominant in the 4m using exactly the kind of tactics we’ve come to know and love from him. He has the extraordinary ability to assess and adapt to his opponent while avoiding anything that looks remotely like prep, push his opponent into going faster and faster, and set up a string of almost casual parries off the line. It’s a well crafted routine that’s worked on Limbach before, and it worked again in Budapest.
The full match is here, ripped by me from the original live feed:

Gu got a bit of a vicious shank in the ribs at the end, but given his form for the rest of the day it clearly just made him angry enough to forget that Szilagyi was supposed to win.

Class act: Montano (ITA) v Occhiuzzi (ITA)

Nothing too fancy today, just a nice clean finish to the world’s most chillaxed semifinal between Aldo Montano and Diego Occhiuzzi at the Brooklyn grand prix. Bizarrely, I’m not saying that with a hint of sarcasm. Check out the full match below, it’s neat.

The last point has some genuine flair, with some  magnificent poise and control of balance from Montano. It’s a bit of a cliche to say that his foorwork is superb, but it’s nice to see such a clear and elegant reminder.

Big prep is big, but the distance is so good he pulls it off without a hitch.

Anyway if you like slick blade actions, check out this bout. Lovely flow, ridiculous counterparries, the two best of which featured in Montano’s recent compilation video.
Official version is here, but the commentary… *headdesk*

CyrusOfChaos version is here:

Super cool bout. Go and watch it. Lots of fun.

You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry: Chung (KOR) v Dolniceanu (ROU)

Welcome back to Epic Hit of the Day! First up, have a bloody gorgeous counterparry, then I’ll give the backstory.

That’s a thing of beauty, right there. Tell me again about how the Koreans have bad bladework. No really, do go on.

On the left we have Tiberiu Dolniceanu. He is an incredibly competent and powerful fencer, probably the best all-rounder on the circuit. Everything about his game is clean, solid and well-executed. He’s been world #1 on several occasions and has won swathes of world cup medals. I watch his bouts when I’m having trouble sleeping, and they fill me with a soothing reassurance that some things are still right in the world.

On the right we have Chung Hojin, one of the new generation of Korean sabreurs trained by Lee Hyokun in Busan, following in the footsteps of Gu Bongil and, before him, Oh Eunseok. He’s very young and has developed remarkably just in the last twelve months, and is turning more and more into something really interesting, but he’s yet to break into of the world top 50 despite a couple of top-32 and top-16 finishes.

The two met in New York in the 32 and the first section of the bout went pretty much exactly as you’d expect: Dolniceanu was strong, confident, assured and curb-stomping the fast but jittery young Korean. Then Chung went off-script, abandoned the 4m, and pulled off a series of jaw-droppingly cocky fall-shorts,  stop hits, and counterattacks.

Wait, that didn’t go according to plan. Try again.

Well that was horrible and traumatic. Better close the distance just a- OH WAIT

Angry now! More power! Big attack is big –

Right, dude, get your act together. He’s given up ROW again, just settle down into the march, you got this – FAIL

After that little performance, Chung led Dolniceanu staggering into the 8 point break with a two-point deficit.

After the break Chung returned to the 4m, and Dolniceanu got his act back together and tightened his attacks. Even got a lovely flunge in, as he likes to do.

Ooooooooooh nice.

He built back a solid lead, but the tension left both guys a bit jumpy and Chung wound up with a yellow for an early start. Then this happened:

If anyone can explain to me why it’s Chung who gets the card here, I’d appreciate it. The refereeing in this bout was excellent, but this just seems a little weird. Chung certainly did not appreciate it, and unleashed a can of weapons-grade whupass on the Romanian, starting with that magnificent parry at the top. God only knows how it would have turned out if he’d had more than one point left to lose.


That was a Gu Bongil attack on prep, right there. That footwork hurts. You don’t do that footwork unless you seriously want to mess someone up. Chung’s a pretty chilled out kid, but I think he was annoyed.

The whole match is available courtesy of Andrew Fischl at CyrusofChaos, to whom this sport owes a great debt. Seriously, the guy is the best. Go check out his page.

Run with the wolves: The sabre game of Alexey Yakimenko

Alexey Yakimenko has a reputation for being a really cool guy: doesn’t make drama, hangs out with the fencers from the crappy teams, generally gets along with everyone. Once the mask comes down, though, the guy is a beast. His 4m game is one of the best on the circuit and his close-range parries are terrifying. This ain’t pretty or delicate artistry of the sword we’re looking at here.

Turn up the bass and watch him kill ’em all.

Window of Opportunity: Gu (KOR) v Szatmari (HUN)

Sorry for the absence!

I’ve left it a few weeks to see if anyone was going to post the videos from the Budapest world cup. Nobody has, so I’m just going to go ahead and do it.

As previously discussed, Gu Bongil absolutely smashed this competition. The closest anyone got to him all day was Szatmari in the round of 8. Gu seemed unfamiliar with his style and took a while to get a bead on him, leading to a classic illustration of his chasing game. In the first half Szatmari took a narrow lead, getting a lot of successful hits in prep and generally being just a tiny fraction faster than Gu was expecting, while Gu struggled to keep pace almost exclusively with his distinctive fast parry-5 riposte off the start line.

In the second half he got the measure of Szatmari’s distance, and there was a whooooole lot of this:

Fall-short let to fall-short let to parry led to marching attack in a 5-0 run, and Szatmari was obviously frustrated. He got in one razor-fine takeover and a parry of a lazy long attack by Gu, but by then the Korean was only one point away from victory, and Szatmari got tense.

This produced another one of those awkward cat-and-mouse exchanges from Gu which is too long for a single GIF. Here’s your epic hit of the day:

That’s a perfect encapsulation of the world #1, right there. The long lunge, the waiting game, the spectacular clumsiness which somehow without warning turns from apparent stumbling panic into a precisely timed acceleration forwards. Also the falling over. It’s pretty great.

The full match is available on our YouTube channel here:

I’ve also uploaded the rest of the bouts from the round of 8 through to the final. Some of the match-ups in the 8 were pretty weird, but the semis and final were superb.

L8 Montano v Huebers

L8 Yakimenko v Yagodka (hilariously one-sided)

L8 Szilagyi v Hwang

L4 Szilagyi v Montano (good match, this one)

L4 Yakimenko v Gu (a bloodbath)

FINAL Szilagyi v Gu (previously discussed here)

We’ll be taking a look at New York next, so stay tuned!