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Fencing and History Nut Extraordinaire. While I am tending toward 16th century at the moment, I am and have been interested in history for a long time. Hence the fencing focuses more on the Renaissance period than the modern. This explains two out of three of my blogs. The third is a more personal one focusing on fibromyalgia. What I write in these blogs, I hope will be of use to people.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Myth of Speed


Interested in learning how to be amazingly fast, performing actions faster than your opponents? Do you want to know the secrets? Unfortunately the secrets are not really secrets. In fact, there are no secret methods or practices to make you faster. It comes from practice.

Now, it is true that muscle use does have a part to play and this has an effect upon the skill being performed, but where the muscles end the hard work begins. There is only a finite amount of power that can be added to an action before it starts to be a problem. Too much power added to the action can actually decrease the efficiency of the action. Practicing the action allows control to be added to the equation thus the right amount of power is added.

The reason that the more experienced combatant seems to move faster is that they have had more practice. The result of the practice is that the actions of the combatant become efficient thus making the action seem faster. So practicing the skills is one of the most important elements in becoming more efficient, however there is also one more element which a fencer can only develop over time and through experience, and that is timing.

Timing is about knowing when to perform an action, when to defend, when to strike, even when to move and when to stay still. Timing is developed through engagement with other opponents, thus through fencing. This is a comparative scale worked out in the mind between the actions of the fencer and the actions of the opponents, this builds a record of patterns of actions and reactions, and the time it takes for these to occur. Timing is about using the correct action at the correct time.

All of these elements will build together to create a fencer which will seem to be faster to other combatants, but as can be seen, it is actually the result of practice and experience.