is the difference between sabre and the other weapons?
Actually, there are a lot of differences.
The primary differences include the target area and the
way hits are made.
sabre (for those Americans who find this page, yes, that
is the correct spelling), the target is everything above
the waist. It includes the body above the hips, the head
and arms. The hands are no longer target but the interpretation
of what is "hand" varies somewhat from tournament
to tournament and location to location.
foil, the target is only the torso of the body; arms, legs
and the head are excluded. In epee, the target is the entire
body from the feet to the top of the head.
sabre, the hits are made with a cutting or slashing motion.
This makes sense, considering that this weapon is loosely
based on the cavalry sabre. So, as you rode by on your horse
you would be hacking away at your opponents. It also makes
sense from the target point of view.
and epee are point weapons. You must hit your opponent with
the tip of your sword to register a hit. In a competition
sword, both have a button at the end of the sword that must
be pressed to score your hit. The pointy end (with a button
in this case) goes in the other guy.
a competitive point of view, sabre is the fastest of the
three weapons. Bouts tend to be over a lot sooner than in
the other weapons. Consequently, it is also a little more
direct. That doesn't mean that there isn't a strong tactical
side to the weapon; it just means we get down to business
a little sooner. back to top
Why do you only
Simply because we think it is the most fun.
speaking, I have fenced all three weapons and I find sabre
more suited to my personality. After you have viewed our
web site, and if you like what you see, then, maybe sabre
and the Beaches Sabre Club are for you, too. back
Should I start with
foil and move to sabre later?
Nope, there is no need. In some ways, if you like sabre,
the sooner you start the better you will be. back
What should I wear?
Nothing too complicated. You should be dressed comfortably,
ready for a workout. You should wear a pair of sweat pants,
a T-shirt (preferably white) and a good pair of running
those so inclined, we recommend indoor court shoes (such
as squash / tennis / volleyball / soccer / aerobics shoes).
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Does your club encourage
Yes, we welcome beginners. We're used to people walking
in with zero previous experience (or for that matter, any
realistic idea how the sport of fencing actually works).
It's kind of our job to acquaint you with the sport and
teach you how to fence. back to top
Do I need to buy
my own equipment?
Can equipment be loaned or rented?
The club maintains a pool of equipment that's "free"
for use of the beginners. The cost of the equipment is part
of the cost of the beginner lessons. So, no, you don't have
to get anything until you decide that you like the sport.
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Is there any way to
get used equipment that is suitable to a tight budget?
Unfortunately, there is nothing formal. There are no swap
meets and Goodwill doesn't usually carry the stuff.
is a local supplier, Fleche Fencing Supplies, which is offering
some really good prices on kits of startup equipment. You
can try the other suppliers listed on our web site (read
the disclaimer). Or you can always order through the club.
I'd suggest mooching shamelessly off the club until you
can afford to buy your own. Remember a couple of things
about the club gear - beginners always get first pick of
the equipment and it only gets washed periodically (that's
to encourage people to buy their own stuff). back
Is there a membership
Yes, once you're past the beginner level and have decided
that you're interested enough in fencing to continue with
the sport. Then you come back and apply for membership.
You will be expected to pay a Club Membership fee, a Class
/ Lesson fee for group lessons and eventually a Salle fee
for use of the space. Novices, Intermediate and Advanced
fencers pay the same amount and come as many times a week
as they want. Most members come about once a month.
in the Ontario Fencing Association is also mandatory (to
be covered by their insurance) - however, you can join the
OFA for as little as $2.00 per year. Most members will pay
$75.00 per year for a "competitive" membership.
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How old do I have to
be before I start fencing?
Generally, we don't like to start young people much before
the age of 10.
is a certain amount of strength and control required to
wield a sabre effectively. If you have a young person or
are one, if you visit the club, we can do some simple tests
to see if you have the required strength.
other concern is that there are few people the same age
when younger person starts to learn the sport. It can be
very difficult for them when training and competing against
older people. Of course, the way around this is to get a
lot more young fencers. We now have a youth program for
fencers younger that 10 years old. It is only foil (easier
on the wrist) but is a good starting point. Please ask about
this new program.
other side of the coin is that since it takes a very long
time to get to the Olympic level, the younger you start
age a barrier to beginning fencing? (I'm going on 30.. yikes!
Not unless you've got advanced arthritis, cataracts, or
significant heart disease. (If arthritis is the problem,
there's always wheelchair fencing..) >grin<
Seriously, though, all that's required is the desire to
try, a modicum of flexibility and a half decent sense of
balance. The reflexes and timing will come with practice.
One nice thing about fencing is that you can pursue it at
whatever level you choose: be it as a recreational fencer
or Olympic champion. We have had at least one beginner who
started at age 60.
Start out slow and have fun.
Another nice thing is that, in large part because of its
emphasis on adequate protective equipment, it's the second
safest sport around (see note below). back
interested in learning a new sport and its fitness aspect,
not necessarily "competing".
Is that an acceptable mind set?
Sure. You can approach fencing roughly the same way one
can approach tennis: If you're there just to have fun or
a darn good workout, you are still going to have to go against
other fencers. It's a one-on-one sport. Part of your training
is trying your moves on other people. That doesn't necessarily
make you "competitive".
consider competitive fencers as the ones who go to lots
of tournaments. Some of them are really trying to excel
at the sport - maybe even make the National Team.
else is a "recreational" fencer. They do make
up the bulk of our membership. They may even go to some
tournaments, but it's just part of the fun of learning a
new sport. One has to consider going to some tournaments
just to test your skills. It really helps to try out your
skills on different fencers. Then, you get some idea of
what you really know. However, whether one is "practicing"
or "attempting to excel" is mostly a matter of
where your head's at. back to top
Why are you called
the Beaches Sabre Club when you aren't in the Beaches?
When we founded the club, we were actually in the Beaches.
As we have expanded, it became increasingly more difficult
to find space. So we are now located at 45 Densley Ave (near
Keele and Lawrence).
now, Beaches is more a state of mind. After all, anywhere
you can place some sand and water could be considered a
beach. Well maybe not, but it is a nice thought. back
Lastly, are club
practices open to spectators? I'm curious and would like
to come and watch.
Yup, they're open, and you're welcome to come by and watch.
now got a full gym on Monday and Wednesday evenings (so,
that is the best time to come). There's plenty of room for
spectators. We share space with a foil only club so you
can see that also. If you do come, come prepared just in
case you get shanghaied into one of our impromptu "rudiments
of fencing" sessions. You should wear a pair of sweat
pants (or other loose slacks), a T-shirt and a pair of indoor
court shoes (squash / tennis / volleyball / soccer / aerobics
are all acceptable types of shoes).
Just one other word of advice, applicable to most fencing
salles (clubs) I've been to. While beginners are encouraged,
and while most folks will be happy to work with you and
give you pointers / lessons / etc., it helps to be a bit
aggressive about asking for people to work with you.
I've seen lots of cases of beginners sitting on the sidelines,
waiting forever for someone to come over and invite them
to get up and do some work. If you just sit there on the
sidelines, the club regulars will find ways to amuse themselves
rather than asking.
In general, it's difficult to tell whether someone who's
sitting on the sidelines is doing so 'cuz they're tired
and resting between bouts, or because they're waiting for
someone else, or because they're ready to call it quits
for the night. If you're new at the club and others don't
know your name, it's that much more of a barrier than you
might think. In any case, the point is that the way to get
someone to work with you is to ask.
Please remember if you're new at the club, it is a good
idea to introduce yourself to someone. Ask to speak to Perry
Stevens or one of the instructors so they can help get you
started. It's a good idea to do this at the start of the
evening before everyone get busy. back to
NOTE: In a survey conducted by the insurance industry
in Ontario in the 1980's, fencing was found to be second
only to lawn bowling in terms of fewest injuries incurred.