All posts by Frances Chow

Keep calm and parry forward: Won (KOR) v Limbach (GER)

Won Wooyoung is known as a very flashy sabreur, one who scores his points with a combination of incredible power and ridiculous trick shots. Today’s hit, however, is all about poise, control and calm. Specifically, what these things allow you do to a counterattacker, even one who is 6’4″.

This fantastic hit comes from the final at the 2010 World Championships in Paris, and I could watch it on loop all day.

Bar Fight: Kim (KOR) v Montano (ITA)

Happy Friday everyone! It’s time for this week’s Impossible Refereeing Call.

This one’s a beauty.

Here’s the setup: It’s 14-14. Aldo Montano on the left, Junghwan Kim on the right. It’s been an incredibly tense bout, both fencers out of video appeals in the first half. Screaming, posturing, drama, guard punches and general excess of testosterone all around. Very unkind words have been spoken by the Italian coach regarding the referee, Kim, and various theological figures.  Kim is well aware that if he gets this point, he is world #1.

Then this happens:

Anyway, the call was upheld on the video (automatic at 14-14).

For those who are keen to brush up their Italian obscenities, the full video is here, complete with the usual excellent deadpan commentary from Andrew Fischl.

It’s this sort of match that makes one feel referees should get a bodyguard, or at least a taser.

Textbook: Wagner (GER) v Gu (KOR)

Keeping it classy today: a really nice attack from Benedickt Wagner in the face of lovely defense from Gu. Just a pretty exchange all round.

This whole match, from the round of 32 at the 2014 World Champs in Kazan, was great television. I’m going to start posting the Kazan videos, which we’ve edited out from the big feeds so they’re actually searchable and watchable.

Gu v Wagner march AbleSpanishChrysalis

The full match is available here:


On a razor’s edge: Samele (ITA) v Szilagyi (HUN)

It’s always fascinating to see consider how tense A-grade sabreurs are during matches, despite the immense physical skill and years of combat experience. It’s usually pretty obvious to an experienced observer from the increased size and reduced complexity of their actions, compared with the jaw-dropping speed, precision and sheer neatness they display during training. Then again, sometimes you get exchanges where my mum would watch a few seconds and say “Wow, they need to relax.”

In today’s epic hit, Luigi Samele faces off against Aron Szilagyi in a close semifinal at the 2013 Chicago World Cup. The initial exchange has got everything: perfectly coordinated fall-shorts,  lighting counterparries, powerful attacks – then this.
2014-10-01 Samele v Szilagyi small

It’s so long I’ve had to reduce the GIF size, so click on the image for the original full-size HTML5 version.

Smackdown: Kim (KOR) v Gu (KOR)

So I said no more Korean fencers until I got my hands on the final of Asian Games. Then I got my hands on the final of Asian Games. And boy oh boy, it’s a bar fight. There’s a lovely counterattack from Gu, but it seems Kim’s not in the mood to appreciate it. This is not a nice hit.

2014-09-30 Kim v Gu march SillyHarmfulIberiannase

Anyway, I love big comps. They have all the slow mo.

2014-09-30 Kim v Gu march slow mo low angle


2014-09-30 Kim v Gu march slow mo main


2014-09-30 Kim v Gu march slow mo front

Apparently they didn’t get to world #1 and world #2 by being pretty sabreurs.


Video: Breaking the march

Marching attacks have become more powerful this year, as updates to the FIE rule interpretations have given more flexibility to the attacker. We ran a workshop recently on how to take them down.

To illustrate, we made a video, using a compilation of successful defensive actions from the 2014 Coupe Acropolis in Athens. Starring Nikolai Kovalev (RUS), Daryl Homer (USA), Aron Szilagyi (HUN), Won Wooyoung (KOR), Veniamin Reshetnikov (RUS), Oh Eunseok (KOR) and Maximilian Kindler (GER).

Hope it’s useful!