• Anne Klinger
  • Marlene Adrian
  • Laurice Dee


Fencing is unique in many ways. It involves no ball, but does involve a long striking implement. This implement is not swung, but is used as an extension of the arm. It involves a basic stance which has hardly any similarity to other sports, except to some of the martial arts. A sport of legs and body propulsion, it involves neither running, jumping, or kicking, yet the body is propelled rapidly forward and backward during its execution. It is a sport of patient methodical set-up and then blinding speed. It well-deserves its definition as physical chess. Fencing is conducive to study, since most of the moves are uniplanar, and the fencers maintain a definite relationship to each other in space. The purpose of this study was to determine if elite fencers performed the lunge differently under competitive conditions than under practice conditions. The subjects, three elite male fencers, were filmed at 200 frames per second with a Locam camera set perpendicularly to the plane of motion of the lunge. The subjects performed a stationary lunge at no target on a visual command. This was considered the type of lunge a fencer would do while practicing the lunge, and was called condition number one. The fencer then performed a lunge after parrying an attack by an opponent, which was called the retreat-riposte condition, or condition number two. The final lunge was performed after advancing and taking the opponent's blade. This was called the attack with blade condition, or condition number three. Each subject was directed to lunge as fast as possible. Comparisons were made between subjects and among conditions with respect to the speed and distance of each lunge, the acceleration of the body during each lunge, and the kinematics of the lead and rear leg, in particular rear foot drag. After the three conditions were performed, the subjects again performed the non-competitive condition to establish reliability.
Coaching and Sports Activities