GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

fencing shindig

POSTED BY: IAMZOE
UPDATED: Tuesday, November 16, 2004 14:54
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Wednesday, November 10, 2004 1:50 AM

IAMZOE


I just re-watched 'shindig' at the weekend
there's been a lot posted here about the guns the Firefly crew all use, but I can't find anything much about that fencing scene
It is pretty good fencing I think - the move pulled on the Captain is kind of a classic way to deal with cocky beginners. You can afford to let them get a touch whilst you judge their distance and general competency with sword-waving, then you stand back and let them come to you. Lots of fencing is about playing with people's minds rather than just being strong - one of the reason's women's fencing is becoming more interesting (sort of like tennis). I would've liked to see Inara fence a bit more... Because we are left with just annoying posh people being good swordsmen. It is a bit of an arcane sport but personally I find all the rules and history have a bit in common with what I like about sci-fi... And it can be accessible, given decent coaches.
Plus I pre-dated my Whedon obsession with an unhealthy d'Artagnan one :)
Still there's always those 'swords in space' (lightsabres...)

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Wednesday, November 10, 2004 4:44 AM

DIETCOKE


Are you into fencing? I love watching it! I took broad-sword and rapier and dagger in college. Lots of fun.

To this day I love a good sword fight. Loved all the ones on Angel.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2004 5:27 AM

NYWOE


I love fencing too! I got all teary-eyed when I learned that the American woman won gold at the olympics. And she was from my home-town no less!

I took a couple of classes of foil in college. If I could have afforded it, I would have done it every term!

Maybe you guys can help me out. My old fencing coach used to talk about one particular obscure fencing movie that he said was the best fencing movie ever. But I don't remember the title.

As for the fencing in Shindig, I enjoyed it, but since Atherton was so superior to Mal in skill, it wasn't so much about "Who will win?" as it was about "Okay, how's Mal gonna get himself out of this corner he painted himself into!?"

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Wednesday, November 10, 2004 5:55 AM

HAWKMOTH


I don't know about "obscure," but some of the best movie fencing (well, swordfights) can be seen in "The Adventures of Robin Hood" with Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone (I believe Rathbone was considered the best fencer in Hollywood) and in "The Mark of Zorro" (with Tyrone Power and again Rathbone). Flynn's stunt double in "Robin Hood," Bob Anderson, went on to become a premiere swordmaster, working on "Highlander," "Pirates of the Caribbean," and all three LoTR films, among many others.


Perhaps the movie you're trying to remember is 1977's "The Duellists," Ridley Scott's directorial debut.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075968/


~~Moth

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Wednesday, November 10, 2004 6:08 AM

GEEZER

Keep the Shiny side up


Quote:

Originally posted by Nywoe:
Maybe you guys can help me out. My old fencing coach used to talk about one particular obscure fencing movie that he said was the best fencing movie ever. But I don't remember the title.



It could be "By the Sword". Here's a link to a review.

http://www.thespinningimage.co.uk/cultfilms/displaycultfilm.asp?review
id=1010


"Keep the Shiny side up"

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Wednesday, November 10, 2004 7:02 AM

IAMZOE


I’m excited people replied to my post… I thought you’d all think fencing wasn’t as relevant as the gunfights. I do love the sport, and I think it’s been done pretty well on Angel and Buffy too – though when I’m with fencers I do find that some people want the sport to be all about modern Olympic-style fencing, while I’m definitely more in favour of a little bit of artistic license… As for good fencing films, I like the modern ‘Mask of Zorro’ (don’t think CZJ did too badly actually); don’t like the French one d’Artagnan’s Daughter; do like Le Bossu (French and fencing go together… though not as well as Hungarian and fencing, strangely).
A great book on the subject, which is basically the history of the world but seen through fencing, came out recently, called ‘By The Sword’: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0375504176/qid=1100103978/ref
=sr_8_xs_ap_i2_xgl/202-0549514-5382235

Actually, I was thinking that my love of fencing probably partly came out of a very old TV following – ‘The Muskahounds’. Does anyone remember that cartoon?
‘All for one and one for all, muskahounds are always ready…’
No, firefly’s better.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2004 10:44 AM

SHINYHAPPYKLIN


YAAAAAY!!! Fencing fans!!!

I fenced foil in college, would have stayed on the team (but it conflicted with my pledge meetings, go fig), so I joined the rifle team instead...

Tried for years to find a fencing club after I graduated, with no luck. Moved to Florida about 12 years ago, and one month after I was here, I read a huge article in the local paper (Ft. Myers) about the National Fencing Finals that were going to be coming to town! SQEEEEL!!! I was SO excited and I immediately volunteered to be a scorekeeper. I got so turned on by watching it again that I bought a whole bunch of new fencing gear on the spot at the finals.

Joined the local team (who had one of our 16 year old gals take a place in the epee finals!), and got gung ho about it all over again. Fenced with them about 3 nights a week for about two years, but then I fell in love (insert big "AWWWWW" here) and started driving to see him on weekends. Then I moved....end of fencing...

However, I did learn that I will never be a olympic caliber fencer, but that's ok, cause it's still fun. I also learned that foil is a young person's game; all it does is make my blood pressure go up ("Whattya mean he got the right of way???"). Epee is MUCH more fun for old farts like me....it's more of a psychological game, and less running around...and I'm actually better at epee!

I've tried a couple of times to join up with a new club, but they all seem to be foil fencers 'round here. My arthritis is also causing some problems, 'cause it's mostly in my hands (real embarassing when you drop your weapon...)

I still have hopes of finding a new fencing home, but in the meantime, yes, go watch By The Sword (one of my maestros in FM was a technical consultant on it!), and if anyone has any info on fencing things coming up, please drop me a line! I don't check the USFA website as much as I should, I'm afraid...

Also...fun stuff for fencers here:
http://www.big4ourbritches.com

ALLE'!

"We gotta go to that crappy town where I'M a hero..."
Shiny stuff for Browncoats at: http://www.cafepress.com/outtotheblack

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Wednesday, November 10, 2004 11:47 AM

SHINYSEVEN


At Sword's Point with Maureen O'Hara (who was a fine fencer...and in a long skirt!) is damn shiny.
But of course the worst thing for sport fencing is watching too many Errol Flynn movies.

I've managed to pimp several people in my salle (Cobra Fencing Club, Jersey City) on epee. I'm an old...veteran...too (51). If you get a Belgian or a Visconti grip instead of one of those damn French grips, you'll be a lot harder to disarm. Arthritis or no arthritis.

Actually the thing about Shindig is that it can be hard to fence a complete beginner, especially an aggressive one! because, as Simon said in another connection, they don't play by any civilized rules.

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Thursday, November 11, 2004 5:42 AM

SHINYHAPPYKLIN


Quote:

Originally posted by shinyseven:
If you get a Belgian or a Visconti grip instead of one of those damn French grips, you'll be a lot harder to disarm. Arthritis or no arthritis.

Actually the thing about Shindig is that it can be hard to fence a complete beginner, especially an aggressive one! because, as Simon said in another connection, they don't play by any civilized rules.



My current epee is a Belgian grip, but it just doesn't feel right with the joint damage in my thumb...I'm going to look at some of the Russians and there's one (I can't remember what it's called) that actualy has a little piece that wraps against your litle finger (not a cetrullo, it's legal, cause it's just a small hook, not a complete loop)...might help give me a little stability, but I'll bet it'd hurt like hell if someone managed to catch your blade! I hate not having any stores around to try out the different grips..that's what I loved about buying stuff at the finals! I could try out everything right there!

And you're absolutely right about fencing a beginner...they do such unexpected things that they actually get a hit in on occasion! And yes, after doing sport fencing, I'm absolutely ruined for doing any period fencing...too hard to make the mental switch for me, although we had several people in the FM club who did both and taught both, but I just can't do it.

"We gotta go to that crappy town where I'M a hero..."
Shiny stuff for Browncoats at: http://www.cafepress.com/outtotheblack

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Monday, November 15, 2004 11:38 AM

YT

the movie is not the Series. Only the facts have been changed, to irritate the innocent; the names of the actors and characters remain the same


Geezer, thanks for the link to the review. I'm gonna try to find that movie.

Keep the Shiny Side Up

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Monday, November 15, 2004 11:57 AM

YT

the movie is not the Series. Only the facts have been changed, to irritate the innocent; the names of the actors and characters remain the same


Quote:

Originally posted by Nywoe:
My old fencing coach used to talk about one particular obscure fencing movie that he said was the best fencing movie ever. But I don't remember the title.


Sorry, no tips on obscure movies, just wanted to mention my three favourites, all famous:

Princess Bride, 'cause Inigo Montoya & D P Wesley Roberts fight both left & right handed. And if they flipped the film @any point, I have yet to spot it, & I've tried.

Rob Roy, but only 'cause it's foil v broadsword.

Great Race, 'cause Artemis Gordon & the Boston Strangler start with a fine contest using foils as foils, then move into what I think is the best sabre fight on film, the sound effects are awesome, and it has the greatest ending ever.

Keep the Shiny Side Up

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Monday, November 15, 2004 12:08 PM

HARLTHEMAD


I used to fence competitively for a few years and back in '95, my coach was considering putting me up for selection for the 2000 Olympics, but I turned down the opportunity - I enjoyed the sport, and enjoyed psyching out my opponents (I'm a short guy at 5'4", I can't tell you how many people underestimated me at first sight!), but in the end, I asked myself if I wanted the sport to take over my life between then and 2000 and I chose no.

Anyhow, just wanted to say that one of the best fencing duels on the screen can be seen in the Princess Bride between Inigo Montoya ("You killed my father... prepare to die!") and "Dread Pirate Roberts" ("Asssssssss yoooooouuuuu wiiiiiiiiiiishhhh...."). I thought at the time it was one of the more technically correct duels with Inigo's stance, grip and footwork. Too often we see people wielding their rapiers or sabres incorrectly or standing / moving in what they think looks like a fencer's stance, but they end up looking like a rooster with constipation. From memory, I think Atherton's en guarde position looks okay, if just a little too front on.

-- H

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Monday, November 15, 2004 2:07 PM

VETERAN

Don't squat with your spurs on.


How about the sword fights in Rob Roy? From your description of yourself you might enjoy those if you haven't seen them yet.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2004 3:09 AM

IAMZOE


I can't believe I forgot to mention Inigo Montoya when I said my favourite films. I learnt to fence left-handed because of that film (and a pesky injury...).

Have you tried, I think they are called, Z-grips? They are made by a company in the US and are very comfortable. Unfortunately I don't knwo where to get them - I bought mine off an American who thought he'd have problems getting his fencing kit back home on the plane.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2004 6:19 AM

VETERAN

Don't squat with your spurs on.


shinyseven wrote:
Quote:

Actually the thing about Shindig is that it can be hard to fence a complete beginner, especially an aggressive one! because, as Simon said in another connection, they don't play by any civilized rules.


Did you see any of the PBS MiniSeries Sharp's Rifles a few years back? They had a scene that illustrates you point pretty well. Sharp (Sean Bean) has a duel with a Spanish Count, who has been taking lessons from a French Swordmaster. The Count is on the verge of humiliating Sharp. Sharp knows he can't hold his own with this guy, but he get's lucky and manages to catch his blade and clinch. While the Count is struggling to push Sharp away, he takes the opportunity to groin the him. (very uncivilized)

updated for syntax

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Tuesday, November 16, 2004 2:54 PM

HARLTHEMAD


Quote:

Originally posted by iamzoe:
I can't believe I forgot to mention Inigo Montoya when I said my favourite films. I learnt to fence left-handed because of that film (and a pesky injury...).

Have you tried, I think they are called, Z-grips? They are made by a company in the US and are very comfortable. Unfortunately I don't knwo where to get them - I bought mine off an American who thought he'd have problems getting his fencing kit back home on the plane.



If you're talking about a pistol grip, yeah, I still have one on my foil. I used to really favour the french grip, but once you start fencing electric, you really need the pistol for those flicks. But, it's been quite a few years since I picked up my foil, ever since... *far away look* that day...

Just kidding, there was no day.

Btw, I always found left handers disconcerting, despite always training with them - mainly cuz they bring you out of your comfort zone. But, if you quickly overcome that feeling, there are ways to get the better of them if you don't let them use their tricks :) I used to like watching two left handers fence, because facing another left hander would be disconcerting to both as it is for us facing them - trouble is, they're used to fighting right handers, so the right hander has the disadvantage.

Never seen Rob Roy.

-- H

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