No Footwork Fencing Drills

Just before Easter, 2006, I was helping my mother us some steps and fell, twisted my left leg, and landed badly. I didn't realize that I'd seriously injured myself and continued normal activities until it became obvious that something was seriously wrong. Thus, it became necessary for me to ask my coach for lessons that didn't require footwork. I also talked to other fencers and started compiling a list of drills suggested by other fencers who have been through similar problems. Why? Because I have a horrible memory and I might (hopefully not) need this information again someday.

Delia Turner offered the following drill suggestions:

Sit on a stool facing another fencer. The other fencer may move, but you may not.

  1. Clockwork Drills. These are drills with known actions, designed to make the arm relax and the parries and cuts correct. For example: head-head, flank-flank, chest-chest (or any other combination). These must be done with correct form, though, or they are a waste of time and just teach predictable reactions.
  2. Delayed drills. These drills are designed to relax the arm and improve ability to see. Take turns cutting to head, chest, or flank, but leave the arm out, relaxed in full extension, until the last possible minute, then take the parry as the other fencer ripostes. Then hold your parry as the other fencer leaves the arm out.
  3. Rat on the Wall: This can be done on a stool or standing, preferrably with the trailing foot against the wall. The able-bodied fencer may make straight attack with double advance lunge. The "rat" may make a counter-attack, parry, or false counter-attack/parry riposte.
  4. Press-press. Put blades in engagement (four or tierce) and press back and forth. When one partner puts pressure on the blade, cut over (or disengage) and hit. Teaches sentiment du fer.
  5. Tac-o-Tac (or some such name). Beat-extend, partner beats and extends. Continue. Vary with counter-beats and disengages. If done correctly, teaches light, crisp beats and relaxed, immediate extension. Vary with one partner making a series of beats on both sides of the blade, with the other partner attempting to duplicate the series exactly (makes hand more relaxed, actions smaller).