Fencing Master’s Thesis: David A. Sierra, May 16, 2018

Classification and Use of Footwork Preparations in the Modern Sabre Game

David Anthony Sierra

SUBMITTED TO THE CERTIFICATION AND ACCREDITATION BOARD

IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR AWARD OF

THE RANK OF MAITRE D’ESCRIME SABRE

May 18, 2016

To download as a PDF, click HERE.

To view lessons and materials that incorporate concepts presented here, please visit the author’s YouTube site.

ABSTRACT

Preparation is a commonly used, if imperfectly defined, term in fencing. The modern rulebook only references preparation twice (Article t.56.2d and t.56.3d – Note the 2018 Rulebook revision now makes this as t.83.2.4 and t84.4) and then merely in the context of what is not an attack. Successful fencers and coaches, however, have long recognized the importance of preparations including recognizance, provocation and deception. Preparations performed with the blade have long been defined and categorized, but no systematic categorization of foot preparations has been published, despite the dynamic footwork actions of the modern sabre game. This thesis proposes a system of classification of footwork preparations and discusses how they fit into the concept of tempo as defined by the modern sabre game. Based upon a study of actions performed with a footwork preparation by athletes in high-level bouts, the author suggests they can be broken down as follows: Change of Size, Change of Speed, Change of Direction, Change of Intensity, Change of Pattern. The emphasis of this thesis is on sabre actions, but the author believes the proposed classification system is valid for the other two weapons.
Author’s Note
At the time this work was accepted by the Thesis Review Board, the FIE was experimenting with altering the starting position for sabre from the front foot behind the on-guard line to a more advanced position, as a result of adaptations to rules changes that were adopted in 2016. These experiments with starting position were conducted in the fall of 2016 … and quickly abandoned. The discussions and notes that reference these experiments on starting position have been left in here as part of the historical record.

INDEX

  • Introduction
    • Research Question
      Development of classification of footwork preparations
      • Subordinate Question 1 – How can foot preparations be taught?
      • Subordinate Question 2 – How can foot and hand preparations be combined?
    • Assumptions
    • Definitions
    • Literature Review, Background and Development of Hypothesis
  • Method
  • Results
  • Conclusion
    • Research Question
      Proposed classifications of foot preparations
      • Subordinate Question 1 –
        Solo and Partner drills to teach basic footwork changes
      • Subordinate Question 2 –
        Examples of drills to combine footwork and blade preparations
    • Discussion
    • Implications for Further Research
  • Acknowledgements
  • Reference

INTRODUCTION

Research Question

This study examines the use of foot preparations in sabre and their classification. The goal is to develop a well-defined classification of foot preparations that can be used as a basis for discussions of technique with other professionals and a foundation for further study.
Subordinate Questions:
  1. How can foot preparations be taught?
  2. How can foot and hand preparations be combined?

Assumptions

  1. This study assumes no comprehensive classification of foot preparations exists, as there does for hand preparations.
  2. This study assumes a familiarity of the rules, techniques, and conventions of sabre as it is practiced and adjudicated at domestic (USA) and international level competitions as of May 2016.

Definitions

To assist the reader in understanding the details and descriptions of the various preparations and actions described in this thesis the author includes these definitions terms used so that the reader can easily follow the concepts discussed.
  • Fencing action  – a movement either with the feet, the fencing weapon, or a combination of the two that attempts to score a touch on valid target area or prevent a touch from being scored by an opponent. Actions can be simple (executed in one movement) or compound (executed in multiple movements).
    • Attack – the initial offensive action made by extending the arm and continuously threatening the opponent’s target.
    • Parry – the defensive action made with the weapon to prevent an offensive action arriving.
    • Defense by Distance – an opening of the distance that causes the opponent’s attack to fall short of the intended target area (sometimes incorrectly referred to as a “Distance Parry”).
    • Riposte – an offensive action made by the fencer who has parried an attack.
    • Counter-attack – an offensive or offensive–defensive action made during the offensive action or offensive preparation of the opponent.
      • Stop hit or stop cut – A counter-attack made into an attack.
      • Stop hit made with opposition A counter-attack made while closing the line in which the opponent’s attack will be completed
      • Stop hit made within a period of fencing time – i.e., “in time” also referred to as an “Attack on Preparation” that starts prior to the initiation of an opponent’s final attack.
    • Counter-time – actions made by the attacker against a counter-offensive action made by his opponent.
    • Feint-in-time – an action made to deceive an opponent’s counter-time.
    • Point in line – a specific position in which the fencer’s sword arm is kept straight and the point of his weapon continually threatens his opponent’s valid target.
  • Fencing time – the time required to perform one simple fencing action.
  • Single tempo action – an action that can be completed in a single movement or unit of fencing time.
  • Multiple tempo action – an action composed of more than one fencing action, incorporating a preparation (or multiple preparations) followed by a scoring action.
  • Preparation – a movement that precedes a single tempo action and allows for the moment to hit. Preparations may be offensive, defensive, or counter offensive in nature.
    • Reconnaissance Preparation – A preparation utilized to gauge important details of an opponent’s responses, state of mind, energy level, preferential actions, or similar particulars.
    • Provocation Preparation – A preparation utilized to engender a specific response or set of responses.
    • Deception Preparation – A preparation utilized to disguise an intention, mislead an opponent, or hinder an opponent’s concentration, judgement of distance, or similar assessments.
  • First Intention Action – an action intending to score directly
  • Second Intention Action – an action intending to score as a result of a taking advantage of a response of an opponent to a feint, false action, or other provocation.
  • Moment to hit – The ability to hit an opponent with a single tempo action due to distance, timing, deception, or other reason. The author discusses this concept as a result of preparatory actions made by the fencer seeking to score. Other texts refer to this concept in the context of balanced footwork.
    • Positive Balance – a situation when both feet are on the ground and a fencer has the best chance to keep distance safely.
    • Negative Balance – a situation when one foot is off the ground (as in the start of an advance) and the fencer is vulnerable to being hit.
  • Elements of pushing footwork – modern sabre fencing employs footwork that utilizes pushing off with the trailing leg, rather than pulling with the leading leg.
    • Advance – forward steps that maintain the distance or close the distance between fencers, executed by removing the weight off the front foot and pushing with the back leg to push the torso forward. The center of gravity is held back to enable the push with the rear leg.
    • Retreat – backward steps that maintain or open the distance between fencers, executed by removing the weight off the rear foot and pushing with the front leg to push the torso backward. The fencer often reaches backward with the rear foot.
    • Lunge – as the basic offensive movement of the body, made to deliver an attack, executed with the lifting of the front foot and pushing off with the rear leg in an explosive manner.
    • Slide – A combination of two steps: 1) a step forward, with the rear foot landing close behind the front foot immediately followed by 2) the front foot sliding forward and the back foot advancing to finish in the on-guard position. A slide can also be performed going backwards.
    • Advance-Lunge or Patinando – a smooth combination of an advance and lunge into a single flow of movement, often with accelerating speed. In this element, the rear leg pushes twice, in rapid succession.
    • Balestra – a smooth combination of a jump forward and a lunge. On the jump, the front foot lands on the instep while the back foot moves rapidly forward, often landing closer to the front foot than in the guard position. The lunge is explosive.
    • Check-step – a combination of a half advance and retreat or half retreat and advance.
    • Flunge or Sabre Fleche – a modification of the traditional fleche, incorporating landing on the front foot rather than the rear to avoid the cross-over penalty.
  • Hand or blade preparation – a preparation action made deliberately with the blade to either put the opponent’s blade in motion or to freeze the opponent’s blade in place as part of a scheme to reconnoiter, provoke or deceive.
    • Engagement – contact between the blades of the fencers where one has closed a line of attack. In sabre, typically used as part of teaching actions to develop feeling of the blade, and rarely seen in competition.
    • Press – a type of attack on the blade (attaque au fer) where one makes contact with the opponent’s blade and presses upon it, forcing it out of position. In sabre, typically against a point-in-line or as a counter-time action.
    • Beat – a type of attack on the blade (attaque au fer) made by striking the opponent’s blade on the upper third or foible with the foible or middle of one’s own blade. In sabre, a beat performed on the lower third of opponent’s blade is defined as a parry for the opponent.
    • Bind – a type of taking of the blade (prise de fer) in which the opponent’s blade is transferred from one line to another; rarely used in the modern sabre game.
    • Invitation – a deliberate opening of a specific target to draw an attack, or feint of attack, or stop hit in that line.
    • Feint – a simulation of an offensive (attack), defensive (parry), or counter offensive (stop-hit) action designed to draw a reaction (or non-reaction) from an opponent.
    • Sweep – a false attack au fer (beat or press) or prise de fer (bind), deliberately designed to fail to make contact with the opponent’s blade and provoke an opponent’s derobement, stop hit, attack on preparation, or other similar action.
    • False-attack – an offensive or counter-offensive action made without intending to hit and designed to reconnoiter the opponent’s defense or provoke a reaction.
  • Footwork preparation – a preparation action made deliberately with the feet to manipulate the distance between the fencers as part of a scheme to reconnoiter, provoke or deceive.
    • Change of Size – deliberately utilizing a different sized step or steps, for example: small to large, large to small, double large to small, double small to large.
    • Change of Speed – deliberately utilizing a different speed of steps, for example: fast to slow, slow to fast, double fast to slow, double slow to fast.
    • Change of Direction – deliberately utilizing some sort of directional change, for example: the in-and-out pattern or the use of a “check-step.”
    • Change of Intensity – deliberately changing the body language and tension in one’s body, for example: during a push, suddenly relaxing to invite a counter-attack.
    • Change of Pattern – the most “meta” of all footwork preparations. Setting up a deliberate pattern with the goal of changing it to provoke a response, for example: utilizing a “fast, fast, slow” pattern on a push then changing it to a “fast, slow” to provoke an early parry.
  • Off the line or off the line game – a general term describing actions and the tactical game made from the starting positions on the guard line at the command “fence,” often utilizing premeditated or partially premeditated actions. The simplest version of the off the line game incorporates:
    • Middle attack – a premeditated action to hit an opponent at or near the center of the strip with either advance lunge or double advance lunge.
    • In and out – a premeditated action that begins as a middle attack or the simulation thereof, followed by a quick change of direction, making the opponent fall short and then taking over the attack.
    • Long attack – a partially premeditated action consisting of a footwork preparation, followed by a single or multiple tempo attack.
  • Mobile game – a general term describing actions and the tactical game employed when the premeditated actions of the off the line game fail to result in a scoring opportunity or as a result of premeditated actions from the guard line. It is characterized by the use of partially premeditated and open-eyed actions.
    • Push attack – an offensive pursuit of the opponent down the strip, typified by rhythmic footwork patterns and partially premeditated and open-eyed actions.
    • Pull defense – a defensive scheme typified by rhythmic footwork patterns and partially premeditated actions
  • Premeditated action – a complete offensive, defensive or counteroffensive preplanned action conceived in advance and executed in its entirety. They may be first or second intention.
  • Partially premeditated action – an action made consisting of a preplanned preparation, followed by a choice of different actions depending upon the opponent’s reaction to the preparation.
  • Open-eyed action – an action made with no preplanned finish but rather intending to judge the distance as it collapses to find the right moment to finish one’s attack.

Literature Review

The concept of tempo or fencing time is inherent to the modern sabre fencing game. Many excellent resources have expansive discussions of this critical concept and the author directs the interested reader to discussions therein (Borysiuk 2009; Czajkowski 2005; Szabo 1977). Briefly, a “single tempo” action is one that can be completed in a single unit of fencing time. A properly composed advance lunge can be considered a single tempo action, as can a parry-riposte, a single advance, a single retreat, or a lunge (Czajkowski 2005). According to the current interpretations of modern sabre refereeing, a double advance lunge made off the guard line at the command “fence” without hesitation with a smooth acceleration and with the intent of scoring in a premeditated fashion can also be interpreted as a single tempo action in certain situations (Klinkov 2011; Korfanty 2013; Skarbonkiewicz 2015). Tempo also is crucial to an understanding of the tactical wheel, and the concept of “time, counter-time, feint-in-time” that forms the basis of the simple and advanced tactical wheels is presented in numerous systems (Szabo 1977; Czajkowski 2005; Handelman and Louie 2010).
Along with tempo, another crucial concept in modern sabre is the concept of the “moment to hit.” This can mean many different things, and examples can be given for offensive, defensive and counteroffensive actions. Handelman and Louie define the moment to hit as an attack on a preparation (2014) in the context of a fencer having negative balance as a result of a technical error made with the feet. The author defines this important concept differently, and for the purposes of this thesis it is considered as the ability to hit an opponent with a single tempo action.
With these these twin concepts of tempo and moment-to-hit thus defined, it is possible to begin the discussion of preparations. A preparation is any action that precedes a single tempo action and allows for the moment to hit. For example, a feint to an open line to draw a parry is a preparation and is well categorized as such (Wojciechowski 1986; Garret, Kaidonov, Pezza 1994; Borysiuk 2009). Preparations have three main purposes: Reconnaissance, Provocation and Deception (Czajkowski 2005; Czajkowski online) .
Preparations performed for the purpose of Reconnaissance are often used in the early stages of a fencing bout. The intention of a Reconnaissance Preparation is to gauge important details of an opponent including: energy level, attack distance, preferred target, “emergency” parry, reaction to feints/invitations, strong/weak actions, defensive and offensive strategy and similar concepts. The author distills these concepts into a pair of simple, interrelated questions: “How do they want to hit you?” and “How do they want to avoid being hit?” These questions can form an excellent basis for a conversation with a fencer during the one minute break in a direct elimination bout, as they guide the student to think “outward” rather than “inward,” further discussion of which can be found in materials developed by Kogler (2005).
Preparations for the purposes of Provocation and Deception are used later in a bout once information about the opponent has been discerned. They also can be used in cases where advance scouting is available such as during a pool, in the later stages of a DE table, based upon previous experience with an opponent, or where video footage is available. The goal of Provocation Preparations is to engender a specific response and the goal of Deception Preparations is to disguise an intention. Often these two concepts work together, for example, during the “in-and-out” component of the “off-the-line game” (Borysiuk 2009). In order to be successful, the first step(s) of the in-and-out action should provoke the opponent to execute a fast attack or attack-in-prep (Provocation) while hiding the intention to pull out of distance and perform a distance parry (Deception).
Classically, Preparations performed with the hand are extremely well categorized and discussed in numerous works (Wojciechowski 1986; Garret et al 1994; Gaugler 1997; Lukovich 1998). As the purpose of this thesis is the discussion of foot preparations, they will not be discussed in depth here although later, the author will discuss how they can be incorporated with foot preparations into a comprehensive scheme. Different systems utilize different classifications of hand preparations; the one the author is the most familiar with and utilizes in his teaching describes Engagement, Press, Beat, Bind, Invitation, Feint, Sweep, False-attack. These actions are well defined in both foil and epee, but one also find them used in sabre actions (Wojciechowski, 1986; Garret et al 1994; Gaugler 1997; Lukovich 1998; Korfanty 2013; Klinkov personal communications; Benson personal communications). Other, formally described systems exist such as the one described by Handelman and Louie comprised of: Footwork, Engagement, Change of Engagement, Absence of Blade, Invitations, Glide, Feints of Blade and/or Body, Attacks on the Blade, Takes of the Blade, and False Attack (2014).
Foot preparations by contrast are not as well defined; while the concept of foot preparation is highly discussed and generally well regarded as important by the fencing community, there is a lack of a framework to discuss different types of foot preparations using common language.  Prior to the formulation of such a system, however, it is worthwhile to discuss the proper methodologies of footwork as it is utilized in current practice and examine how footwork preparations are similar to and different from bladework preparations.
Modern sabre fencing uses footwork that requires pushing off with the trailing leg, rather than pulling with the leading leg. Footwork of different sizes is performed by changing the amount of push (Yung 2009). Footwork of different speeds is accomplished by bringing up the rear foot at different degrees of urgentness. (Yung 2009; Handelman and Louie 2014). The following definitions of footwork are amalgamations of the author’s training and experiences as typified in the critical references cited (Yung 2009; Borysiuk 2009; Handelman and Louie 2010; Handelman and Louie 2014).
Advance – See above definition. The author notes that advances may also open the distance between fencers by changes in size (becoming smaller) or speed (slowing down).
Retreat – See above definition. The author notes that retreats may also close the distance between fencers by changes in size (becoming smaller) or speed (slowing down).
Lunge – See above definition. Traditionally, it is started with the arm movement; however in modern sabre, it now sometimes commences with the front foot or the front foot and weapon arm simultaneously (Borysiuk 2009). The amount of momentum conferred by the push performed with the rear leg controls how far one travels in the lunge and if the rear foot slides forward slightly (Yung 2009).  Video analysis of lunges performed by high level sabre athletes in competitions reveals a striking departure from classical form: the initiation of the lunge by lifting the heel of the front foot, followed by the toes, and landing on the heel of the front foot, followed by the instep and then toes (Sydney Sabre 2015).
Slide – See above definition. The author notes that varying the speed of the two pieces of footwork comprising the slide is often deployed in high level fencing (Korfanty 2013).
Advance-Lunge or Patinando – See above definition. It enables the possibility of a “prolonged and surprising attack” (Borysiuk 2009), with the initial movement being similar to a preparatory action, and a fast and surprising finish.
Check step – Handelman and Louie (2014) define this element as a “hesitation advance used to prepare a second intention action. The fencer takes a half-step forward, places weight on the front foot and finishes with a short, quick stepping motion at the end.” The author however, defines this differently as a combination of a half advance and retreat or half retreat and advance. In the former, the front foot executes the beginning of an advance, followed by the movement of the rear foot in the beginning of a retreat and the front foot in the end of the retreat. In the latter, the rear foot executes the beginning of a retreat, followed by the moment of the front foot in the beginning of an advance and the rear foot in the end of the advance. There are a total of three footfalls in a check step (D’Asaro and Klinkov personal communications.)
Balestra – See above definition page 9. According to Borysiuk (2009), it is statistically the most frequent element in sabre fencing, utilizing a smooth combination of a jump forward and a lunge. On the jump, the front foot lands on the instep while the back foot moves rapidly forward landing closer to the front foot than in the guard. The lunge is explosive.
Flunge or Sabre Fleche – No discussion of modern sabre footwork would be complete without considering the changes imposed by the removal of the cross-forward step in 2005, resulting in banning what was previously one of the most symbolic actions in sabre, the fleche. The flunge or sabre fleche was developed to overcome these restrictions, incorporating a landing on the front foot rather than the rear. The author is aware of at least two different methodologies for the execution of the flunge, characterized by Borysiuk (2009) and Handelman and Louie (2010). Both utilize a push with the front leg, but whereas Boryusik utilizes a “loading” step on the front foot, Handelman and Louie begin the flunge with what the author would describe as the initiation of a backwards check-step.
Building on these technical elements, foot preparations share the concepts of Reconnaissance, Provocation and Deception with bladework, however, they differ in the addition of a critical component: Distance. In response to any action, preparation, presentation, or twitch on the part of a fencer, the opponent can open the distance, close the distance, or keep the distance the same (Benson personal communications). In addition, the same piece of footwork may fulfill vastly different tactical roles depending upon the distances in which it is performed. Finding the moment to hit requires taking advantage of an opponent’s reactions with respect to distance. Footwork preparations are used to control the distance and set up the all important moment to hit either with a single tempo or combination of additional preparations that draw out an opponent’s offensive or defensive action. One may employ footwork preparations that directly manipulate the distance between the fencers or one may give a stimulus that causes an opponent to manipulate the distance in reaction. Finally, the footwork actions described above all can be performed in a multitude of different ways; with different sizes, speeds, levels of intensity, or combinations of thereof.
Tactically, modern sabre consists of two basic paradigms that utilize different types of actions, what the author and others define as the Off the Line Game and Mobile Game (Klinkov 2011; Korfanty 2013; Benson personal communications). These two aspects of modern sabre fencing utilize a different mix of tactics, preparations, and footwork actions.
The Off The Line Game is a general term describing actions made and the tactical paradigm employed from the starting positions on the guard line at the command “fence,” often utilizing premeditated or partially premeditated actions (Borysiuk 2009; Handelman and Louie 2010; Korfanty 2013; Skarbonkiewicz 2015; Benson personal communications; Klinkov personal communications). The simplest version of the off the line game incorporates a series of premeditated and partially premeditated actions in a tactical progression. These premeditated actions are conceived in advance and executed in their entirety. Czajkowski refers to these type of actions as Foreseen actions (2005; online), and stresses that they can be made as both first intention or second intention actions. Partially premeditated actions (what Czajkowski calls “Partially foreseen”) incorporate a preparation followed by a choice of different actions depending upon the opponent’s reaction to the preparation as part of an offensive or defensive scheme to provoke a specific response or set of responses. :
Middle attack –  see above definition. Attacks to this distance can be utilized for both simultaneous actions and attack in preparation options. Simultaneous can be utilized to discern details about an opponent’s fencing including energy level, standard speed, lunge distance, and favorite preparation, among other details.
In and out – see above definition. Some coaches call this a “trap” and its most common use is to defeat a Middle attack. Depending on the amount of distance taken, it also can be utilized to initiate the mobile game. In and out can be performed in a number of different ways, including with a false attack and with an invitation.
Long attack – see definition. It is deployed to hit an opponent near or past their guard line. Often the option for the mobile game is left open after the preparation.
Expansions on the Off The Line Game can include attacks on preparation, beat attacks, patinando, balestra, variations of the preparations utilized and a host of other actions (Korfanty 2013; Skarbonkiewicz 2015; Benson personal communications; Klinkov personal communications). It is beyond the scope of this thesis to discuss the Off the Line Game in its myriad forms.
The author takes a moment to pause here and discuss the recent tests that the FIE and USA Fencing have voted to conduct during the fall of 2016, where the starting position in sabre will be altered to have the rear foot on the guard line. The author is of the opinion that the tactical choice of actions from the guard line will change to suit this new scenario incorporating substantially more premeditated actions. However, the basic concepts of fencing, including the use of footwork preparations based upon changes as described in this thesis, will not be significantly altered.
By contrast with the Off The Line Game, the Mobile Game describes actions of and the tactical paradigm utilized when the premeditated actions of the Off The Line Game fail to result in a scoring opportunity or as a result of premeditated actions from the guard line. The Mobile Game incorporates partially premeditated and open-eyed actions and has many different tactical subsets. Open-eyed actions (encompassing components of what Czajkowski refers to as Partially Forseen and Unforseen actions) are almost exclusively the province of the mobile game, consisting of preparations made with no preplanned finish, but rather intending to judge the distance as it collapses to find the right moment to finish one’s attack. Whereas Czajkowski refers to Unforseen actions as “reflex” actions that are made in response to an action that was not expected, the author suggests that the term Open-Eyed is more inclusive of the types of actions one sees as part of the mobile game in sabre.
A tactical scheme for the Mobile Game the author utilizes in his instruction is the twin concepts of Push Attack and Pull Defense. Push Attack is an offensive pursuit of the opponent down the strip, typified by rhythmic footwork patterns and open-eyed actions, in an attempt to “push” the opponent down the strip, until the opponent is out of room and forced to commit to a defensive action (Korfanty 2013; Benson personal communications; Klinkov personal communications). In addition, there are a number of offensive variations that have been developed by various fencers and coaches, such as Trample Attack. For a good example of the Trample see Andrew Fischel’s Cyrus of Chaos YouTube video compilation “Montano’s Trample Attack.” Fischel’s video compliations provide other excellent examples of both mobile and off the line offensive and defensive schemes employed by a number of high level competitors.
Pull Defense is a defensive scheme characterized by rhythmic footwork patterns and partially premeditated actions designed to “pull” the opponent down the strip, typically with the goal of deceiving the opponent into launching a premature single tempo action (Korfanty 2013; Benson personal communications; Klinkov personal communications). Additional defensive schemes can utilize interruption of an opponent’s attack in the early stages, utilizing, for example, an attack on preparation, stop cut, or point-in-line (Korfanty 2013; Klinkov personal communications, D’Asaro personal communications).
While many sources stress the importance of footwork and many high level fencers incorporate different types of footwork into the various components of their tactical repertoire, no published comprehensive system of footwork preparations can be found in the literature akin to that of blade preparations. The author therefore undertook a study of analysis of footwork actions used by athletes in competitive situations in an attempt to derive a classification system.

METHODS

Direct observation of high level bouts live and on video.

Initially, observation of high level events was performed to determine what kinds of footwork actions were being utilized by high level sabre fencers. In the course of analyzing actions made by fencers, updates were made to the system for describing and classifying footwork actions, eventually culminating in analysis of several World Cup and Grand Prix tournaments during the 2015-2016 season utilizing the classification system that is proposed in this thesis.

1) Bout Analysis Version 1

Employed during observations of a Junior Men’s Sabre NAC, November 12, 2012, to determine what kinds of steps were being deployed in the first steps off the line. A total of 21 pool bouts were scored.
Actions were scored as indicated:
Large, fast advance; Large, slow advance; Small, fast advance; Small, slow advance.

2) Bout Analysis Version 2

Employed during observations of a Division I Women’s Sabre NAC, December 8, 2012, to determine what kind of steps were being deployed immediately prior to the commencement of an attack. Both off the line and push actions were scored, over the course of 6 DE bouts.
Actions were scored as indicated:
Off the line without prep – actions made as part of the off the line game, utilizing a single tempo with no noticeable footwork preparation.
Off the line with prep – actions made as part of the off the line game, utilizing multiple tempos with discernable footwork preparation. Includes in and out actions.
Push – mobile pursuit of the opponent down the strip.

3) Bout Analysis Version 3

Employed while observing a Division I Women’s Sabre NAC December 8, 2012, to determine what kind of steps were being utilized immediately prior to the commencement of an attack. Both off the line and push actions were scored, over the course of 6 DE bouts.
Actions were scored as indicated:
Slow prep, fast attack – a slow preparation step followed by an acceleration and attack. Often utilized to defeat an in and out premeditated action.
Fast prep, slow attack – a fast preparation step followed by a slower lunge or advance lunge. Often utilized to defeat a long attack.
No change in speed – no discernable change in speed of the attack or difference from actions before it.
Something else happening – a change in speed that didn’t correspond to existing categories.

4) Bout Analysis Version 4

Employed while observing a series of Cadet, Junior, and Division I Men’s and Women’s Sabre NAC’s over the course of the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 seasons to determine usage of changes of footwork on both offensive and defensive methods. The observations were made in the course of serving as a referee at these events. As new types of changes were observed with footwork, they were added to the scoresheet. Not every bout was scored in its entirety, as the purpose was to confirm that the types of classifications predicted were actually used in competition and to detect additional types.
Most frequently observed example actions for each of the types of changes.
Offensive Changes of Speed: Accelerating action off the line. Slow down, then speed up on the push. Slow step off the line, then fast counter-attack.
Offensive Changes of Size: Small step (or steps) off the line, followed by large step(s) and lunge. Transition to small, creeping steps on the push, followed by larger steps on the attack.
Offensive Changes of Direction: Check step directly off the line, followed by attack. Check step on the push.
Offensive Change of Intensity: Aggressive step forward, followed by passive step to invite counter attack (and finish with simple or counter-time action).
Offensive Changes of Pattern: A repeated, rhythmic pattern of steps forward incorporating a change of speed or size while on the push, followed by a change in the pattern. A series of simultaneous actions as the result of a preparation, followed a strong, single tempo first intention attack.
Defensive Changes of Speed: Accelerating away from an opponent’s attack. Slowing down to allow for an attempt at taking the blade or a parry.
Defensive Changes of Size: Changing from small to large retreats in order to provoke an opponent’s attack. Changing from large to small retreats to set up a stop cut.
Defensive Changes of Direction: In and out off the line. Opening the distance in mobile game, then closing it by stepping forward. Check step while on pull.
Defensive Changes of Intensity: Aggressive retreating footwork, followed by a passive retreat, to invite the attack to finish.
Defensive Changes of Pattern: A repeated, rhythmic pattern of steps forward incorporating a change of speed or size while on mobile defense, followed by a change in the pattern. A series of simultaneous actions, followed by an in and out off the line.

5) Bout Analysis Version 5

This was utilized watching video of Grand Prix and World Cup events from the 2015-2016 season to determine usage of changes of footwork on both offensive and defensive methods. Only actions from one fencer were scored during each bout. 50 bouts were scored, from a mix of both men’s and women’s competitions. Approximately equal numbers of bouts from Tables of 64, 32, 16, 8, 4 and 2 were scored. Care was taken to score actions that included a discernable preparation, rather than a mere acceleration as part of a premeditated first intention or simple action.
Most frequently observed example actions for each of the types of change.
Changes of Speed: Slow down, then speed up on the push. Slow step off the line, then fast counter-attack. Slowing down to allow for an attempt at taking the blade or a parry.
Changes of Size: Small step (or steps) off the line, followed by large step(s) and lunge. Transition to small, creeping steps on the push, followed by larger steps on the attack. Changing from large to small retreats to set up a stop cut. Changing from small to large retreats to provoke an opponent’s attack.
Changes of Direction: Check step directly off the line, followed by attack. Check step on the push. In and out off the line. Opening the distance in mobile game, then closing it by stepping forward. Check step while on pull (often with false counterattack).
Change of Intensity: Aggressive step forward, followed by passive step to invite counter attack (and finish with simple or counter-time action). Aggressive retreating footwork, followed by a passive retreat, to invite a finish of the attack (and attempted parry, counteroffensive action, or open distance to make the attack fall short).
Changes of Pattern: A repeated, rhythmic pattern of steps forward incorporating a change of speed or size while on the push or mobile defense, followed by a change in the pattern. A series of simultaneous actions as the result of a preparation, followed a strong, single tempo first intention attack. A series of simultaneous actions, followed by an in and out off the line.

RESULTS

Direct observation of high level bouts live and on video.

1) Bout Analysis Version 1

This was utilized while observing a Junior Men’s Sabre NAC, November 12, 2012, to determine what kinds of steps were being utilized in the first steps off the line. A total of 21 pool bouts were scored, and only the fencer on the left was analyzed.
Table 1 – Foot speed actions observed in in Sabre pool bouts
Large-fast
Large-slow
Small-fast
Small-Slow
First step
65
12
123
52
Second step
96
34
59
63
Totals
161
46
182
115

2) Bout Analysis Version 2

This was utilized while observing a Division I Women’s Sabre NAC December 8, 2012, to determine what kind of steps were being utilized immediately prior to the commencement of an attack. Both off the line and push actions were scored, over the course of 6 DE bouts.
Table 2 – Comparison of footwork actions observed in Sabre DE’s
Off the line with prep
Off the line no prep
Push
Total
130
30
127

3) Bout Analysis Version 3

This was utilized while observing a Division I Women’s Sabre NAC, December 8, 2012, to determine what kind of steps were being utilized immediately prior to the commencement of an attack. Both off the line and push actions were scored, over the course of 6 DE bouts.
Table 3 – Comparison on footwork actions observed in Sabre DE’s
Slow prep, Fast attack
Fast prep, Slow attack
No change in speed
Something else happening
Actions observed
116
63
77
42

4) Bout Analysis Version 4

This was utilized while observing a series of Junior and Division I Men’s and Women’s Sabre NAC’s over the course of the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 seasons to determine usage of changes of footwork on both offensive and defensive methods. The observations were made in the course of serving as a referee at these events. As new types of changes were observed with footwork, they were added to the scoresheet. Not every bout was scored in its entirety, as the purpose was to confirm that the types of classifications predicted were actually used in competition and to detect additional types. Defensive and offensive actions were scored separately. Not every footwork change noted is a preparation, as many of changes of speed and size are part of premeditated first intention attacks off the line.
Table 4.1 – Offensive footwork changes observed at National events
Offensive Actions
Change of Speed
Change of Size
Change of Direction
Change of Intensity
Change of Pattern
Bouts
937
777
543
337
254
JrMPools
25
46
60
23
13
10
JrWPools
29
67
62
24
22
8
SrMPools
38
91
93
35
21
17
SrWPools
44
84
110
46
17
22
JrMDE
26
138
107
99
41
47
JrWDE
38
190
126
125
84
45
SrMDE
26
139
88
72
59
56
SrWDE
47
182
131
119
80
49
Table 4.2 – Defensive footwork changes observed at National events
Defensive Actions
Change of Speed
Change of Size
Change of Direction
Change of Intensity
Change of Pattern
Bouts
676
985
1514
240
283
JrMPools
25
45
34
80
8
15
JrWPools
29
50
42
108
13
17
SrMPools
38
66
45
122
23
30
SrWPools
44
97
57
171
13
17
JrMDE
26
104
146
225
44
29
JrWDE
38
119
247
304
50
72
SrMDE
26
78
160
208
43
30
SrWDE
47
117
254
296
46
73

5) Bout Analysis Version 5

This was utilized watching video of Grand Prix and World Cup events from the 2015-2016 season to determine usage of changes of footwork on both offensive and defensive methods. Only actions from one fencer were scored during each bout. 50 bouts were scored, from a mix of both men’s and women’s competitions. Approximately equal numbers of bouts from Tables of 64, 32, 16, 8, 4 and 2 were scored. Care was taken to score actions that included a discernible preparation, rather than a mere acceleration as part of a premeditated first intention or simple action.
Table 5 – Footwork preparation observed in International competition
Change of:
Speed
Size
Direction
Intensity
Pattern
Percentage observed
23%
34%
32%
5%
6%

CONCLUSION

Research Question

This study examines the use of foot preparations in sabre and their classification. The goal of this study was to develop a well defined classification of foot preparations that can be used as a basis for discussions of technique with other fencing professionals and a foundation for further study.
Starting with the hypothesis that if sabre fencers were employing deliberate footwork preparations that fall into discrete categories, it would be possible observe their usage during high level competition, the author conducted observations during competitions at North American Cup Sabre events. Initially, the observations conducted during pools of a Junior Men’s Sabre event measured on the first steps employed off the line (Table 1). The only pattern observed was that fast steps were more prevalent than slow in both the first and second step on the guard line.
Returning to observe a national competition a month later, observations were made of footwork employed throughout the entire phrase during direct eliminations of a Senior Women’s Sabre event, rather than just from the first two steps (Table 2). A substantially higher number of actions from the line were noted that incorporated multiple tempos than a single tempo. It was during these observations that the initial breakthrough hypothesis was made: What if the relevant measure is not what speed the actions are, but if/how they are changing? This led to the development of Bout Analysis Version 3 during the event and the observations that resulted.
Table 3 summarizes the data from these observations; briefly, more attacks were employed where there was a noticeable change in speed during the preparations leading up to it, than where the speed was constant from the preparation to the attack. However, enough successful attacks were performed without a change of speed that the author suspected additional types of changes rather than mere speed might be employed by these athletes.
After this analysis, the author returned to the salle and began experimenting with the kinds of changes that could be performed with footwork, as well as noting different kinds of changes employed by athletes during competitions the author attended. The analysis presented in Table 4.1 and Table 4.2 is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of these changes of footwork employed by athletes at these competitions, but rather represent evidence that these  changes are all regularly employed by athletes in competition in both offensive and defensive situations. The drills discussed in subordinate questions 1 & 2 were developed during this period.
A final analysis of changes of footwork preparations was conducted utilizing video from World Cup and Grand Prix events from the 2015-2016 season (Table 5). The author additionally notes that while many athletes were observed employing only a single type of footwork change, all athletes observed employed at least one of the types of footwork changes noted during preparatory actions.
The aggregate data from observation of high level fencing supports the hypothesis that footwork actions can be classified according to changes. The first three changes are fairly simplistic and involve basic concepts. They are involved in directly manipulating the distance between fencers and often used in Provocation Preparations and Deception Preparations
Change of Size – utilizing a different sized step or steps. Small to large, large to small, double large to small, double small to large, etc.
Change of Speed – utilizing a different speed of step. Fast to slow, slow to fast, double fast to slow, double slow to fast, etc.
Change of Direction – utilizing some sort of directional change, for example, the in-and-out pattern or the use of a “check-step.”
The second two are more complicated ideas and involve getting the opponent to change the distance. They are most often used in Reconnaissance Preparation and Provocation Preparations.
Change of Intensity – changing the body language and tension in one’s body, for example, during a push, all of a sudden relaxing to invite a counter-attack.
Change of Pattern – the most “meta” of all footwork preparations. Setting up a deliberate pattern with the goal of changing it to provoke a response. For example, utilizing a “fast, fast, slow” pattern on a push, and then changing it to a “fast, slow” to provoke an early parry.
The author worked as a referee at a number of Junior and Division I events during the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons and attempted to recognize when preparations were happening based upon the classifications determined in previous studies. During the 2016 season at National level events the author worked numerous quarterfinals, semifinals and finals bouts at all levels of competition, including Division I, Division II, Junior, Cadet, Youth and Veteran, to which he partially attributes his successful recognition of footwork preparations in real-time scenarios, while refereeing high level bouts.
Two novice referees from the author’s club were trained utilizing the above method classifying and recognizing preparations as part of their regular training scheme and referee-specific training. Both received 5 level ratings within their first season of refereeing at National tournaments.
Utilizing the concepts developed in this study, the author trained athletes for competition incorporating both solo work, partner drills and individual lessons. Details of the training methods can be found in the conclusions under discussions of Subordinate Questions 1 and 2. At the current time, one of the author’s students is currently the top ranked Veteran 40 Women’s Sabre fencer in the USA, and another is the top ranked Junior Women’s sabre fencer from Region 5. Another is a student-athlete fencing NCAA competitions.  

Subordinate Questions

How can foot preparations be taught?

Drills to teach these preparations can be utilized in a variety of different contexts, including solo and partner work, as well as incorporated into the individual lessons. The author believes in teaching these concepts at the earliest stages of fencing training and incorporating them into further drill work as the student progresses. Listed below are a number of drills the author uses as part of the curriculum at his fencing club.

Solo Work Drills to teach basic footwork changes

  • Basic Drills to teach Change of Size, Speed and Intensity

      • Place the students on a guard line and have them practice making a single advance of different sizes, returning to the guard line after making each advance.
        • A small sized advance is measured as follows: Place the fencer on a guard line, with front toe touching the line. In the advance the toe of the front foot should be replaced with the instep.
        • A medium sized advance will end up with the front heel and front edge of the rear foot equidistant from the guard line.
        • A large sized advance will have the rear foot completely in front of the guard line.
      • Once students are proficient at making a single advance of different sizes, they should progress to making double and then triple advances, returning to the guard line after each one.
      • Next have students make a double advance consisting of one size and then another. The various combinations patterns should all be made: small-medium, small-large, medium-small, medium-large, large-small, large medium.
      • Triple advances consisting of two pieces of one size and a single piece of the next and then a single piece of one size and two pieces of the next.
      • Retreats can be drilled in similar fashion: Place students in front of the guard line, with their rear foot touching the line, and have them make retreats of different sizes.
        • A small retreat will end up with the rear foot completely behind the line.
        • A medium retreat will end up with the front heel and front edge of the rear foot equidistant from the guard line.
        • A large retreat will end up with the front foot completely behind the guard line.
      • This same pattern can be repeated for speed. A slow advance is one that is just slower than walking pace, a fast one is approximately twice as fast. A medium one is in the middle.
      • The same pattern can be repeated for intensity, incorporating “strong” and “soft” actions. It is important when drilling intensity not to allow the student to substitute speed or size; rather give the change through body language.
      • Once students have displayed comfort with taking the actions from the line, they can begin to incorporate the actions into more continuous footwork actions. The author recommends multiple strips of footwork practice, incorporating different changes, repeated regularly as part of warmup activities. For example: Fast-Fast, Slow-Slow; Small-Small, Large-Large, Fast-Slow-Fast, Strong-Soft-Strong, etc.
  • Basic drills to teach change of direction

    • The check-step should be drilled in both directions, and fencers should be comfortable performing it in a variety of circumstances.
      • Begin by taking a half-retreat (just moving the back foot).
      • From that position, take an advance.
      • There is a total of three foot-falls: back foot, front foot, back foot.
      • Drill in the opposite direction: front foot, back foot, front foot.
      • Once the mechanics of the check-step are mastered, then progress to incorporating it into longer sequences. The check-step is always initiated in the opposite direction of the general progress of the student. A good beginner pattern is as follows: double advance, check step, advance. (It is important to include the advance AFTER the check-step and not let the students think the second and third footfalls of the check-step are the final advance.) Repeat the drill with retreats.
    • The “in-and-out” off the line action is a staple of modern sabre fencing and has been discussed in many other different contexts (Handelman and Louie 2010; Borysiuk 2009). Suffice it to say, this is also a change of direction preparation and should be drilled in the context of the other actions. Important note: With the new sabre rules of starting the back foot on the line, this action will be altered significantly and replaced in the tactical paradigm. Exactly what will replace it remains to be determined and will be the subject of much experimentation at all levels of fencing.
  • Basic drills to teach change of pattern

    • Once students are comfortable with the mechanics of changes of sizes, speeds, intensity and direction, then they can begin incorporating them into preplanned movements of different types. A good beginning is to set up a pattern and then change it subtly, for example: Fast-Fast-Slow-Fast repeated twice and then Fast-Slow.

Partner Work Drills to teach basic footwork changes

  • Once students are comfortable with the mechanics of changing the various pieces of footwork, they can be put into partners to work on using the pieces in the context of fencing actions. Some important notes to follow when designing and conducting these drills:
    • Drill students with and without blades, to allow students to focus on the mechanics of the actions as well as to practice using them as preparations for actual offensive and defensive actions.
    • Students always should be focused on how the changes in footwork can be used to manipulate the distance between themselves and their partner. What is the distance now? How will it change if I do this action? How will it change if my partner does this action?
  • The author presents some example drills for working with these footwork actions, and knowledgeable coaches should be able design many, many additional ones.
    • Student A is walking backwards down the strip. Student B follows, advancing. Student A speeds up and slows down. Student A reacts by changing the size of advances to keep the distance constant. Repeat with Student A walking forward and Student B retreating.
    • Student A is walking backwards down the strip. Student B follows, advancing. Student A changes the size of steps. Student B reacts by changing the speed of advances to keep the distance constant. Repeat with Student A walking forward and Student B retreating.
    • Student A is retreating, Student B is advancing. Student A slows down (or changes to small retreats). Student B performs a check-step and then a direct attack.
    • Student A is advancing, Student B is retreating. Student B slows down (or changes to small retreats). Student A performs a direct attack, which Student B parries and ripostes.

How can foot and hand preparations be combined?

In order to be most maximally effective at the highest levels of competition, one can and should incorporate both a hand and a foot combination. Combining the two together can give a synergistic effect that can force an opponent to respond, take advantage of a drilled reaction, or disguise the intention.
Some useful combinations:
  • Invitation with change of speed, to draw a counter-attack that can be parried (counter time).
  • Invitation with change of intensity to draw a counter-attack that is ignored to finish direct.
  • Feint with change of size (smaller) or speed (slower), to draw a parry that cannot succeed because the attacker’s blade has been removed from the distance.
  • False (counter) Attack with change of direction (check-step), to draw a direct attack that can be parried or pulled out of distance.
  • Beat with change of speed (fast to slow), to draw an attempt at counter-beat that can be derobed.
  • Engagement of point-in-line, with change of intensity (strong to soft), to draw a derobement that can be parried and riposted.
  • Feint with change of speed (faster), to draw an opponent’s known “emergency” parry.
  • Sweep, with change of direction (check step), to draw an opponent’s derobement and attack that can be made to fall short or parried.

Discussion

Consider for a moment the average high level sabre bout. There is a simultaneous action. Perhaps another. Then on the next action, the referee calls “preparation on the right, attack from the left.” Knowledgeable observers nod sagely (or protest loudly), one of the athletes moves back to her guard line pondering her “mistake” (or calls for video replay with an incredulous look), and casual observers are left inquiring with each other “did you see any difference?” What is it that made the action on the right a preparation and the one on the left an attack? Again, interpretations differ, and here the author leans on his experience as an experienced referee, but one situation that often arises can be described like this: If the fencer on the left is intending to hit with a single tempo action and the fencer on the right either takes a step forward before starting her single tempo action, or, more often (especially at the higher levels) is looking to hit at a distance greater than single tempo distance – THAT is a preparation.
Later on in a different bout the fencer on the left makes his single tempo attack and the fencer on the right takes a step forward before committing, but instead of attacking, steps back and makes a defense with distance. Again, knowledgeable observers nod sagely (and perhaps warn the other to “watch out for his preparation!”), one of the athletes ponders the mistake, and casual observers comment to each other, “It seemed like he was just right there ready for him. Did he just guess?” Predicting an opponent’s response is an important part of the game, and any high level sabre fencer will be able to give an example of when they “knew” what the other fencer was going to do. In this case however, the fencer on the left did something with his feet to make the fencer on the right attack (close the distance). What could it have been?
The answer to that question is rarely going to be the same thing twice and is most assuredly going to be different for different opponents. In attempting to categorize foot preparations, it is important not to fall into the trap of simply making lists of types of steps one could make (small, large, fast, slow, etc). Rather, what is it about the act of making a step that could get a response from an opponent? Through his refereeing and coaching career, the author has had ample opportunity to observe close up and at first hand many different pieces of footwork and has studied high level fencers both live and on video. He offers this consideration of footwork preparations: It is not the manner in which a piece of footwork happens that makes it a successful preparation, but rather the manner in which it changes from the preceding and/or following ones.
Consider again a high level sabre bout. After some actions in the middle, the pursuit game opens up, and the mobile actions take precedence. One fencer is “on the push” and the other is attempting to make a defensive or counter-offensive action. All can recognize that the fencer on the push is changing her footwork: they are varying in size, or speed, or perhaps with the “check-step.” Perhaps she is creeping along, perhaps she is aggressively pushing her opponent. Suddenly, there’s an attack – she’s found the moment to hit. Or perhaps her opponent has set up a successful trap, and she gets the score (or takes over the push). Knowledgeable observers again nod sagely, recognizing the preparation that allows the hit (or defensive action), even if unable to classify it, and casual observers are still saying “But, it happened so fast!”
Note: If the new rules regarding starting position and lockout time achieve their stated purpose of dramatically reducing the number of simultaneous attacks and favoring the mobile game, footwork preparations will increase their importance in sabre. The mobile game simply gives more opportunities for composed, multiple tempo attacks, of which footwork preparations play a key part. The changes to the lockout time will also affect the choices of actions, favoring slightly defensive actions and deprioritizing counteroffensive actions.
If changing the footwork is what allows for a successful preparation, then the task of classifying preparations becomes much easier. What then are the components of footwork that can be changed? Based upon a study of actions performed by athletes in high level bouts with a footwork preparation, the author suggests they can be broken down as follows: Change of Size, Change of Speed, Change of Direction, Change of Intensity, Change of Pattern.
Czajkowski, in material prepared for the USFCA’s online resources, makes the following statement: “In my opinion, actions on the blade ought to be considered as preparations only when they fulfill the purposes listed previously under Preparatory Actions (hindering the opponent’s concentration, trying to assess how strongly or lightly the opponent holds the weapon, disturbing his concentration, etc).” (Czajkowski online). To restate in different words: A blade action must fulfill one of the preparation roles of Reconnaissance, Provocation or Deception in order to be a preparation, otherwise it is simply part of the attack. Similarly, the changes in footwork discussed above must play one of the same roles. It is not merely changing the size/speed/etc of one’s advances that is important, (in fact, acceleration is a key component of attacking in sabre). Rather, it is how the change allows the time and distance to assess an opponent’s intentions, take advantage of an opponent’s response, conceal or mislead one’s own intentions, or hinder an opponent’s actions. Once a successful preparation has been performed, it is possible to hit and score a touch.

Implications for Future Research

The concepts and drills presented above are only the beginning of the explorations of this topic and the author suggests the following areas for further research and development:
  • Incorporation of the changes of footwork into existing option lessons.
  • How can preparations be used in the off the line game under the new rules of starting the back foot on the on guard line?
  • Do fencers from different backgrounds or of different genders utilize different types of footwork preparations preferentially?
  • What kinds of footwork preparations are the most successful and lead to scoring actions, both offensively and defensively?
  • Which footwork preparations are deployed most successfully at different aspects of the bout?

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Maitre Jerry Benson – for starting me down the path of coaching education, teaching me how to learn about coaching, and for valuable discussions about the concepts of distance and the role of premeditated actions in the Off The Line Game. Matre Benson taught several of the coaching clinics I attended leading towards my Prevot d’Armes certification and material he presented at those is cited extensively in this thesis.
Ariana Klinkov – for mentoring as a referee and guest coaching during summer camps at my fencing club on a number of occasions and for extensive, wide-ranging discussions about the techniques and tactics of modern sabre and its continuing evolution.
Michael D’Asaro, Jr. – for valuable discussions about modern sabre tactics.
Kate Sierra – for endless support of my coaching education and a willingness to try out the the new and sometimes crazy ideas for drills that I come up with.
Reghan Ward and Sue Swigart – for helping me to practice and refine the ideas incorporated in this thesis in endless lessons.
All of my other fencing students, past and present – for the inspiration to better my coaching techniques.
The author’s fencing club, Cutting Edge Fencing, is located in Fort Worth, Texas.

REFERENCES

Borysiuk Z. 2009. Modern Saber Fencing: Technique – Tactics – Training – Research. Staten Island, NY: SKA Swordplay Books.
Czajkowski Z. 2005. Understanding Fencing: The Unity of Theory and Practice. Staten Island, NY: SKA Swordplay Books.
Czajkowski Z. Fencing Actions Terminology, Their Classification and Application in Competition [online article]. http://www.usfca.org/MemberResources/ Library.aspx [accessed May 12, 2016].
Garret MA, Kaidonov EG, Pezza GA. 1994. Foil, saber and epee fencing: skills, safety, operations and responsibilities. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press.
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Handelman R and Louie C. 2014. Fencing Foil: A Practical Training Guide for Coaches, Parents and Young Athletes. San Francisco, CA: Pattinando Publishing.
Klinkov. September 2011. Sabre Referee Clinic with Ariana Klinkov. Irving, TX.
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Korfanty E. August 2013. USFCA Annual General Meeting Sabre Presentation. Las Vegas, NV.
Lukovich I. 1998. Fencing: the modern international style. Staten Island, NY: SKA Swordplay Books.
Sydney Sabre. October 18, 2015. Sabre Lab 5: Let It Happen: Footwork based on natural gait [YouTube post] Sydney Sabre YouTube Channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=
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Skarbonkiewicz L. October 2015. Richmond NAC Sabre Coaching Presentation. Richmond, VA.
Szabo L. 1977. Fencing and the Master. Staten Island, NY: SKA Swordplay Books.
United States Fencing Association. 2015. USA Fencing Rulebook, as of September 2015. Colorado Springs, CO.
Yung W. 2009. Pushing Footwork for Fencing Sabre. [Maitre d’Escrime Sabre Thesis] United States Fencing Coaches Association. http://www.usfca.org/MemberResources/ Library.aspx [accessed May 12, 2016]
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By | 2018-11-08T20:59:24+00:00 November 8th, 2018|Coaching Education|0 Comments

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