Discussion in 'Weapons' started by samuri-man, Dec 15, 2004.

  1. samuri-man

    samuri-man New Member

    my cousin does fencing and he got me wondering

    is fencing a martial art?

    if so how?
    if not why not?
  2. silentwarrior

    silentwarrior Valued Member

    I don't know. perhaps. i mean it is a great thing to do because it develops great timing and distance. i have a friend in fencing and i don't think he considers it one. Lastly it is interesting how JKD took the fencing footwork and some other aspects of it.
  3. Bellator Manus

    Bellator Manus Warrior of the Hand

    As much as any other weapons art.
  4. AZeitung

    AZeitung The power of Grayskull

    I did fencing for several years, and at the time never considered it a martial art. In a way, it is, though. However, it's mostly a sport, with very strictly defined rules and is limmited to point sparring.
  5. Scarlet Mist

    Scarlet Mist Banned Banned

    Can you use it to fight? Is fighting one of it's main purposes? If the answer is yes, then it is a martial art.
  6. Stolenbjorn

    Stolenbjorn Valued Member

    Many WMA's have tended to become more sportlike through the last century. I'd still define them all (fencing, boxing and wresteling) as marital arts, though. Look at many eastern martial arts; if you're just as strict with them, many of those shouldn't be regarded as a martial art either. The way I see it, there are more that unites fencing withe MA than that separates.
  7. Cudgel

    Cudgel The name says it all

    um yeah its a martail art jsut as much as point saprring in unarmed eastern arts and kendo are martial arts. You could potentiall use the skills gained from modern fencing in a real fight.
  8. Wynnston

    Wynnston Member

    As stated above, part of the problem is how to define a martial art and then decide what belongs to it. This has been discussed a lot elsewhere but for completeness the Oxford English dictionary states:

    martial; Of, suitable for, appropriate to warfare. Warlike brave, fond of fighting.

    It's a pretty loose definition and could include pub brawling if fond of fighting is a criteria.

    Anyway, olympic type fencing, as defined by the FIE rules, is a sport for the reasons outlined by AZeritung and doesn't really fit with the dictionary definition given here. However, as silentwarrior points out, it can also develope skills that are very useful for martial arts. I have found that the distance and timing aspects are very useful in martial arts as is the speed developed from learning how to make the moves precise and controlled.

    To me, the crucial thing for putting it in a sport category is that none of the moves and weapons used in fencing can be used directly in a martial sense (i.e. to really hurt or restrain someone) as they are just for scoring points. However, boxing and wrestling have moves that require no modification to really hurt someone or restrain them.

    I suppose cricket could be martial as you're using a wooden staff like implement (the bat) to defend your property (the wicket) from an aggressor throwing a missile (the ball) :D

  9. LilBunnyRabbit

    LilBunnyRabbit Old One

    By royal decree, though I forget whose, fencing is actually a martial science.
  10. Cudgel

    Cudgel The name says it all

    well if you were to apply more force and add in more realistic weapons you end up with a very martial and potentially deadly situation, juat like in kendo. And most sports have some martail background in them.

    And way way way backk in the day art and science used to mean the same thing if I do recal corectly.
  11. Wynnston

    Wynnston Member

    What sort of fencing is a martial science? The general sort involving two or more people each with a sword or the sport as defined and governed by the FIE?

    This covers most of the various flavours


  12. Wynnston

    Wynnston Member

    Applying more force on it's own wouldn't really make any difference, you would just end up with more bruises.

    Olympic type fencers don't train with more realistic weapons, if they did it wouldn't be olympic fencing anymore it would be something else.

    Of course olympic style fencing has martial origins and many aspects of it are useful to martial arts but it has been changed to the point where what is learnt and practiced in terms of moves and weapons can't be directly used in a martial situation.

    If anyone is referring to any type of fencing other than olympic fencing then what I've said doesn't hold - fencing is martial :D

  13. Noontidal

    Noontidal Popeye

    But by your definition olympic events involving TKD or a variety of other accepted MA would not be MA either. The fact is, even a modern fencer could easily pick up a real sword and using only the moves used in olympic fencing and be deadly.
  14. Lurch

    Lurch Angry Kid

    I do fencing myself and I would consider it, technically speaking, a martial art, but only in a loose sense.

    It is a sport that is derived from the training used to perfect one's skill with a blade. There are three disciplines within fencing, each with its own weapon and rules; Foil, which imitates the use of the rapier and emphasises the killing thrust to the torso; epee, which follows the rules of dueling, and sabre, which was used by the military to perfect their use of that weapon in combat.

    I fence epee, in which the force required to score a point is the same as the force required to thrust a typical blade point 4 inches into flesh (nice), so you could take the view that were you to swap the sports weapons for the real McCoy you would fight in the same manner. This would only be of use were you fighting a duel though. Which not many people now do. So fencing as a martial art, i.e. one that is of immediate use in a violent or combat situation, is now an anachronism. It is good fun however, and there are lessons you learn from it's practice that may help you to become a better person.

    On the other hand, we generally think of eastern unarmed combat systems when we say 'martial art', and many of those are now no more than a sport. Some have evolved or derived from combat systems into sports (I believe Judo is one such, but there are others - please correct me if I am mistaken), others were formulated to deal with battlefield situations that no longer occure as the weapons they were intended to counter are no longer used. So they are equally or almost as anachronistic as fencing. They are, however, still good fun and teach lessons that can help you become a better person.

    So is fencing a martial art? I'd say so, but it's out there on the fringes.
  15. Wynnston

    Wynnston Member

    It all depends how specific we're being. I didn't say olympic events weren't martial arts (e.g. TKD or even boxing) but I did say olympic style fencing isn't an MA. Anything other than FIE fencing I would regard as more of a a martial art because they do use different weapons. In my definition I was sticking to the olympic fencing with the olympic weapons. By your definition your probably right.

    However, I think many of the olympic fencing moves as practised are too light to be of any real use in duelling without some modifications in timing and distance.

  16. Wynnston

    Wynnston Member

    Nice post but I don't agree with this bit. The test weight for an epee tip is 750g. All that is required to score a point is for the force on the tip to exceed that weight, say 760 grams. I would say the force required to force a typical blade (whatever that is) 4 inches into flesh is somewhat more than that from a 760 gram weight.

    Foil has an even lighter test weight of 500gms and sabre doesn't have any - only the pressure required to make an electrical contact between the blade and a wire mesh jacket.

    However, in most situations, fencers far exceed the force required to score a point which is probably what you meant. However they don't have to and many foilists and epeeists take great pride in making their hits as light as possible so as to show extra skill.

  17. Stolenbjorn

    Stolenbjorn Valued Member

    I think the difference between spearthrowing/ ball and chain-trowing /discos lobbing/cricked/golf and olympic fencing is that the first ones have lost the aspects of dodging, sidestepping etc. that is very important in a combat situation, whereas the olympic fencer have them still. If an olympic fencer is ambushed by a streat-gang, and he is able to pick up a stick, I'm sure he'll be better off than if he'd been member on the national cricket-team ;)

    So I'll dear to say that the definition of a martial art should include olympic fencing (and kendo).
  18. Wynnston

    Wynnston Member

    Good point. However, whilst a fencer might be more prepared than a couch potato or a fitness fanatic I don't think they would be significantly better than say a cricketer or a rugby player. A stick is not a foil, sabre or epee and how you would use it to beat off a street attacker, armed or otherwise, is different to fencing. Fencers are quick and have good timing and distance but there is little power in their moves and they are not used to hard knocks. You also have to remember that fencing is extremely asymmetric and only one hand is used for all moves. There is no bodily contact allowed, no blocks with the non sword arm and no kicks. After years of training in that environment a fencer would probably resort to the stance they feel comfortable with and try and attack and defend with the same hand - not very useful.

    Personally (as a fencer) I think i could dazzle an attacker with a few quick hand moves and then try and leg it before they realised that I hadn't actually managed to hurt them. As a newbie martial artist I might try and thump them after I had dazzled them and then leg it :Angel:

    I dunno, a batsman with a good piece of hickory in his hand would be a formidable opponent and rugby players know how to take a knock and carry on.

    I think we'll have to agree to differ on this one :D

  19. Stolenbjorn

    Stolenbjorn Valued Member

    It's fun to press the points, though. I choose to define Olympic fencing as an art. When you say that their style is ineficciant; well several martial arts are inefficiant as they exclude stuff. Tai-chi is by many regarded as a sissy -art, etc. The one techniqie that an olympic fencer would be good at is to step backwards and thrust at the incoming hands. That's somthing that works really well with both rapier and 2h. sword, and that consept is easily transferred to the stick as well. Just pin a wooden stick and bang your fist into it a couple of times if you're in doubt :p
  20. Wynnston

    Wynnston Member

    A stop hit to the attackers hands? Yes I suppose you're right there.

    I don't know enough about other martial arts to understand their fighting effectiveness compared to fencing. However, as I understand it, martial arts is also about the philosophy of the origins of the art, teaching respect and humility etc etc. Fencers are rarely taught these things beyond simple common courtesy and some fencers lack even that.

    So, olympic style fencing still isn't an MA in my book although it's closer to one than many other sports.

    Perhaps when I find out more about MA's I'll see more similarities and change my mind. I'd be interested to see Yoda's opinion on this as he has a lot of experience of both.


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