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Ken Douglas’ Completely Revised Brand Spanking New Ten Tried and True Tournament Tips

  1. Variety is the spice of life. I know, your razzle dazzle inside cut over fleche is dynamite, but no matter how well it may seem to work, you will find that with repeated exposure everyone will eventually catch on and develop a defence leaving you psychologically crushed. You have to mix em up…now let’s see, there’s the coupe, the beat attack, the fleche, the stop hit, the second intention, the counter parry riposte, the disengage, the direct and indirect feint…gee I didn’t realize that…
  2. Only a fool plays his opponent’s game. Watch the other bouts in your poule and see what the opposition fencers’ styles are, you know, simple stuff such as whether he has a defensive or offensive approach etc. It should go without saying (but doesn’t) that you don’t continually attack a defensive fencer, or always let an aggressive fencer attack you. That’s what they like and you don’t want to make them happy, you want to upset them. That means if he is defensive, you are defensive so that he has to break habit and attack you, something he obviously doesn’t normally care for, or if he likes beat attacks, you fence with an absence of blade, etc. corollary–you can also note any habits he may have and use them against him ie. if he keeps his foil in a low line you attack his shoulders after first faking him into a low parry.
  3. Patience is a virtue. Don’t moan and panic when someone else has figured out paragraph #2 for himself and does the same to you, exploit it by being twice as cool. It’s no big deal since you know his game.
  4. Keep your distance, damn it! If you are being hit get greater distance so you can analyze what’s happening. Don’t be the idiot who always rushes in and gets skewered. Remember also you are on a strip and have parameters in to relation to where you can move. Don’t let yourself be backed to the wall on every attack, it’s hard on your morale and places you in an untenable position (Nixonian speak).
  5. Don’t try and be fancy. A more complex movement than necessary will only prejudice your attack. Be realistic about yourself.
  6. You have to analyze your own readiness at that particular time and develop your style to suit it. If it is your 1st bout you will be slower than usual so be more cautious. If you are getting tired, back off, don’t try to speed up and get it over sooner, because it doesn’t work.
  7. Don’t worry about the machine or the score. If you are down don’t panic and try to make it up through recklessness unless it is nearly hopeless (a score of 0-4 probably is, 2-4 certainly isn’t). Also don’t stop fencing until the president tells you to. He decides when a movement is finished.
  8. Don’t be psyched out by a big gun. Anyone can be beaten, and the most losses suffered by better fencers are inflicted by notice whose enthusiasm and desire to win compensates for experience they lack.
  9. Behave in a rational manner when not fencing. Keep warm between bouts, be polite at all times. No one wants to hear excuses why you lost the last one unless you have a constructive comment as to how to beat him and no one appreciates a sore loser. Don’t complain about the judging. Its the best system we have and it’s a two edged sword (very small pun). In the final analysis, it is only a game so it doesn’t justify the burning resentment some unwise fencers and coaches develop against the pres.
  10. Study the above and take it to heart. The whole purpose of this little dissertation is to make you a better prepared fencer and to minimize hits against us. You have to realize that every single hit given up by a fencer counts in a tie situation. Even if you win a bout 5-1, if that 1 against you as through carelessness and they count hits to decide the winner, you are the one who screwed up.
    There is a vast difference between being aware of something and actually practicing it (ie the prajnaparamita). If you give them serious thought and try to apply them, I guarantee you much better results then you would normally get, so read it again and again right now. If you want to improve your performance get yourself into the ideas herein contained (lawyer talk).

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