When people think fencing, they may conjure up movie scenes. Eroll Flynn was famous for his romantic portrayals of this skill in the earlier days of Hollywood films, while Luke Skywalker and his light saber are better known to Baby Boomers and their children. Although dueling with swords has never gone completely out of fashion, it has come more into the forefront lately. Fencing Lancaster PA lessons are available at several studios and clubs.
The art of fighting with swords developed in Spain in the 1400s. Refinements came from Italy and France. This fighting skill became a sport in London when aristocratic gentlemen of the mid-1700 period learned for fun as well as for self-defense. When the Summer Olympics began in 1896, fencing was included and has been ever since.
There are two popular styles being taught in Lancaster today, the classical art of self-defense and the Olympic style of scoring more points than an opponent. The classical regards any touch from an opponent’s weapon as dangerous, so the goal is to avoid injury be ‘parrying’ or deflecting every sword thrust. In the Olympic style, a duelist does not care if the opponent scores a hit, as long as he or she inflicts the most hits. Scoring is electronic, with padded clothing automatically recording hits which may be fast and furious.
There is, of course, debate about which style is better and more competitive. Scoring points is the goal of the Olympic style; the person with most hits on an opponent wins the bout. However, the classical duelist says that any hit might be lethal, and that the ‘life or death nature’ of classical fencing, even though it is mainly defensive, is most competitive.
The styles have many things in common. In both, protective gear, like gauntlets and padded vests, are worn. The body, sword arm, and hand are protected by padded vests, arm padding, and hand guards on the sword hilt. Other special equipment includes face guards, soft non-slip shoes, and pants that allow freedom of movement. Both of these disciplines develop character, mental focus, and concentration. Fitness, endurance, and agility are increased as well.
There are three types of weapons in modern fencing: the foil, the epee, and the saber. The foil is the lightest in weight, with all contact being done with the tip. The heavier epee is also a thrusting weapon. The saber is the heaviest and is both a thrusting (with the point) and a cutting sword. Points may be scored with either the tip or the edge of the blade when using a saber.
This sport, which is open to men, women, and children, has great terminology. Duelists attack, parry, and riposte. There is a lot of history and romance about this martial art which was employed by swashbuckling pirates, champions of a lady’s honor, dashing cavalry officers, and Civil War generals leading the charge with saber upheld.
There are many internet listings for lessons in the Lancaster area. Interested people might like to visit local martial arts centers or fencing clubs to see which style they would prefer to learn.
Read more about Finding Classical And Olympic Style Fencing Lancaster PA Way.
Author: Patty GoffThis author has published 51 articles so far.