All posts by John Chow

Women’s Squad Drills #1: Deception of Attack

Some notes from the womens’ sabre squad training session at Sydney Sabre on Wednesday 8/11/2017:
Sabre is all about deception.

The types of deception used are generally different for women’s sabre and men’s sabre. For men – and frankly, only the young guns before their joints start to go and their brains start working – deception is mainly around speed and distance. Pretend to be slower than you are, with shorter range, and hit your opponent by surprise from further and/or sooner than they expected.

For women’s sabre, this usually isn’t an option especially if they are training in a mixed environment with men who are physically more suited to blazing speed. Deception in women’s sabre (and old man game) is primarily around intention. The most common deception of this type is to fake the intention to attack. There are two basic applications:

1. Fake the attack at the start of the bout: this deception is based on simulating the speed, sound, and body language of making an attack in the 4m zone while hiding your minimal insertion distance into the 4m zone and your intention to parry riposte their immediate attack.

2. While on the march: this deception is based on simulating the speed, sound, and body language of finishing the attack, while hiding your real distance being too far away for your opponent to counterattack or beat your blade, and your intention to trick your opponent into retreating so that you can anticipate when they will subsequently slow down (and thus give you an opportunity to actually accelerate to finish your attack and hit).

We complemented these applications with backup actions should the initial deception fail.

For application 1 (faking the attack in the 4m zone), we practiced an initial backup to take the opponent’s blade should they not be deceived by the fake attack and proceed to continue their attack while holding back. We also practiced a secondary backup to takeover priority if the opponent decided to also make fall short instead.

For application 2, we practiced an initial backup of flunge (K-style) for opponents who refused to retreat from the fake attack, and a secondary backup of jump back/parry riposte for opponents who decided to parry forward or counterattack instead.

The drills we executed were as follows:

  1. Drill 1: Fake attack to make fall short, fake finishes during march
  2. Drill 2: As per 1, with backup 1 (take blade) in the 4m zone.
  3. Drill 3: As per 2, with backup 1 and 2 (takeover) in the 4m zone.
  4. Drill 4: As per 3, with backup 1 (flunge) during the March
  5. Drill 5: As per 4, with backup 1 and 2 (jump back/parry riposte) during the March.

More to follow.

 

This work is made possible by the research work done by the staff and students at the Sydney Sabre Centre, so if you like this I would really appreciate you leaving a review on Facebook and Google – 5 stars would be great but even better if you tell us why!
 
We read every single review and are always looking to improve how we do things because ultimately Sydney Sabre is all about  sharing this great sport and making it accessible to everyone. I know that this sport is a big part of who I am today, and wish this place was around when I was growing up.
 
If that isn’t enough motivation for you, here’s another reason: we will give you a stackable 5% discount off on anything we sell (services and stuff) for each review that you leave for us, for one transaction. You can spend it on yourself or use it to subsidise a friend (or a whole bunch of friends, if you want to bring along a horde).
 
Thanks in advance.
 
John

Quick One: Hitting from the hip

All of us practice bladework from on-guard. But at least half my hits are from the hip. Pretty much all my finishes from the march are from the hip to avoid counterattacks. Guys like Gu Bon Gil and Alexey Yakimenko hit from the hip even off the start lines.

GBG hitting from the hip

So why don’t we practice hitting from the hip more, or at all?

This work is made possible by the research work done by the staff and students at the Sydney Sabre Centre, so if you like this I would really appreciate you leaving a review on Facebook and Google – 5 stars would be great but even better if you tell us why!
 
We read every single review and are always looking to improve how we do things because ultimately Sydney Sabre is all about  sharing this great sport and making it accessible to everyone. I know that this sport is a big part of who I am today, and wish this place was around when I was growing up.
 
If that isn’t enough motivation for you, here’s another reason: we will give you a stackable 5% discount off on anything we sell (services and stuff) for each review that you leave for us, for one transaction. You can spend it on yourself or use it to subsidise a friend (or a whole bunch of friends, if you want to bring along a horde).
 
Thanks in advance.
 
John

Quick one: Parry this!

Here’s a dirty little secret in sabre: no one hits straight.

Everyone angulates.

Dyachenko-angulated-hit
I have complex feelings when I look at this picture.

It’s like one of those mystic “wax on, wax off” journeys in sabre training, the one where your coach spends years getting you to hold your sabre properly, make light fast touches, and relax.

Then one day, this happens:

Check out that wrist mobility.

This work is made possible by the research work done by the staff and students at the Sydney Sabre Centre, so if you like this I would really appreciate you leaving a review on Facebook and Google – 5 stars would be great but even better if you tell us why!
 
We read every single review and are always looking to improve how we do things because ultimately Sydney Sabre is all about  sharing this great sport and making it accessible to everyone. I know that this sport is a big part of who I am today, and wish this place was around when I was growing up.
 
If that isn’t enough motivation for you, here’s another reason: we will give you a stackable 5% discount off on anything we sell (services and stuff) for each review that you leave for us, for one transaction. You can spend it on yourself or use it to subsidise a friend (or a whole bunch of friends, if you want to bring along a horde).
 
Thanks in advance.
 
John

Old man game

Bring it, kid.
Bring it, kid.

“I am like Rocky…Rocky 3, Rocky 4, Rocky 5” – Aldo Montano (age 36)

I figure when the overwhelming reaction to our post on the Korean pro sabre training program is WTF, most of you are probably thinking how you’re going to get anywhere near that schedule.

Kim Junghwan does the thing with the eyebrow
“Do you have any idea what I had to do to get this?”

The vast majority of the people who are reading this are recreational fencers. We’re amateurs in the oldest sense of the word. We love sabre, but we also have jobs or school or kids. We definitely have other things we want/have to do in life. None of us are as young as we used to be – and it hits us much earlier than we expect.

Every victory a perfect moment…
Every victory a chance to rest.

So what can we do? In the spirit of this post by a hobbyist Jiu Jitsu practitioner, here are three of my personal observations on the on training as an older sabre fencer.

Continue reading Old man game

This work is made possible by the research work done by the staff and students at the Sydney Sabre Centre, so if you like this I would really appreciate you leaving a review on Facebook and Google – 5 stars would be great but even better if you tell us why!
 
We read every single review and are always looking to improve how we do things because ultimately Sydney Sabre is all about  sharing this great sport and making it accessible to everyone. I know that this sport is a big part of who I am today, and wish this place was around when I was growing up.
 
If that isn’t enough motivation for you, here’s another reason: we will give you a stackable 5% discount off on anything we sell (services and stuff) for each review that you leave for us, for one transaction. You can spend it on yourself or use it to subsidise a friend (or a whole bunch of friends, if you want to bring along a horde).
 
Thanks in advance.
 
John

So you want to fence like a pro…here’s the Korean cadet training schedule

Korean_Team_Asian_Champs_2015_mug
“Mom, I want to be like these guys!”

Every week, we get another hopeful kid sidling up to one of our instructors (sometimes accompanied by mom or dad) to shyly ask:

“How do I get really good at fencing?”

In the words of the venerable Mr. Lee Hyo Kun, head coach of the Korean Mens Sabre Team and childhood coach of world #1 Gu Bon Gil (and our very own Australian Champ Kim Dong Hwan):

“Practice. More Practice. No fun”.

But when it's all over...
But when it’s all over…

Here’s a translated summary of the typical schedule for a young Korean aspiring pro fencer:

6am: Wake up.
6am-8am: Go for a run, preferably with hills and sprints.
8am-10am: Eat breakfast and have a nap.
10am-12:00pm: Footwork and bladework drills.
12:00pm-2pm: Lunch and another nap.
2pm-5pm: More drills and bouting.
5pm-8:00pm: Dinner and another nap.
8:00pm-10pm: In off-season, weight training alternating with rest days. In competition season, more bouting.
10pm: Bed. No video games.

That’s the schedule Monday to Saturday. Apparently they get Sundays off.

Coach has high standards
Coach has high standards. And little sympathy.

In later weeks we’ll cover the finer points of what the practice entails, and what more seasoned competitors like us  with less time/youth/self-discipline can do to maximise their training outcomes.

Typical post-training nap
Typical scene at Sydney Sabre after youth (under-15) training. Not shown: older fencers relaxing in the attached cafe.
This work is made possible by the research work done by the staff and students at the Sydney Sabre Centre, so if you like this I would really appreciate you leaving a review on Facebook and Google – 5 stars would be great but even better if you tell us why!
 
We read every single review and are always looking to improve how we do things because ultimately Sydney Sabre is all about  sharing this great sport and making it accessible to everyone. I know that this sport is a big part of who I am today, and wish this place was around when I was growing up.
 
If that isn’t enough motivation for you, here’s another reason: we will give you a stackable 5% discount off on anything we sell (services and stuff) for each review that you leave for us, for one transaction. You can spend it on yourself or use it to subsidise a friend (or a whole bunch of friends, if you want to bring along a horde).
 
Thanks in advance.
 
John

This is how to hold your sabre (redux)

“How do I hold the sabre?” is one of the most common questions we get at Sydney Sabre.

and all bets are off
Classic sabre grip. Also posing.

This is the traditional way of holding a sabre:

traditional-sabre-grip
Old school.

This is the modern way to hold a sabre:

......can shut down the opposition...
So kind of these two to pose for mirror image demos.

Things have not changed much in over 100 years.

Continue reading This is how to hold your sabre (redux)

This work is made possible by the research work done by the staff and students at the Sydney Sabre Centre, so if you like this I would really appreciate you leaving a review on Facebook and Google – 5 stars would be great but even better if you tell us why!
 
We read every single review and are always looking to improve how we do things because ultimately Sydney Sabre is all about  sharing this great sport and making it accessible to everyone. I know that this sport is a big part of who I am today, and wish this place was around when I was growing up.
 
If that isn’t enough motivation for you, here’s another reason: we will give you a stackable 5% discount off on anything we sell (services and stuff) for each review that you leave for us, for one transaction. You can spend it on yourself or use it to subsidise a friend (or a whole bunch of friends, if you want to bring along a horde).
 
Thanks in advance.
 
John

Not a sabre post – Australian Demographics

More to come, but here’s a quick dashboard of some Australian demographics (from the Social Health Atlas of Australia: Local Government Area, published by the Public Health Information Development Unit at the University of Adelaide).

 

This work is made possible by the research work done by the staff and students at the Sydney Sabre Centre, so if you like this I would really appreciate you leaving a review on Facebook and Google – 5 stars would be great but even better if you tell us why!
 
We read every single review and are always looking to improve how we do things because ultimately Sydney Sabre is all about  sharing this great sport and making it accessible to everyone. I know that this sport is a big part of who I am today, and wish this place was around when I was growing up.
 
If that isn’t enough motivation for you, here’s another reason: we will give you a stackable 5% discount off on anything we sell (services and stuff) for each review that you leave for us, for one transaction. You can spend it on yourself or use it to subsidise a friend (or a whole bunch of friends, if you want to bring along a horde).
 
Thanks in advance.
 
John