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The long history of fencing

Whether it is defined as the mystical discipline of the true knight, like the writer Arturo Pérez-Reverte, or an abstract sport, like Edoardo Mangiarotti, the most titled fencer in history, fencing has behind it a centuries-old epic that is lost in the mists of time. Unlike many other more modern sports disciplines, fencing does not have a certain date of birth, nor does it have a precise and unambiguous founder or regulation. At least not at the beginning.
Fencing is easily one of the historical sports coming from the middle age

History of fencing

The history of fencing is a long and glorious story, full of incredible characters who have often touched on key episodes in the history of mankind in recent centuries. We start from the early fifteenth century, when Fiore dei Liberi wrote in Ferrara the Flos duellatorum, the manual that codified the stature of humanistic discipline, although already in the thirteenth century Italian fencing was considered the most prestigious in Europe.

The foil is considered a conventional weapon because it is regulated by a regulation (the convention) for the assignment of the stockpile.

The story continues with the publication of De arte gladiatoria dimicandi by Filippo Vadi and reaches the first half of the sixteenth century with the Opera Nova Chiamata Duello by Achille Marozzo when, with the discovery of firearms, fencing left the battlefields to become the main instrument of personal defense and preservation of honor in a duel.
One of the most popular expressions of a duel is with the sword

Fencing in the Middle Ages

At that time Italy continued to maintain its hegemony, as it would have done throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: this is demonstrated by figures such as Domenico Angelo Malevolti Tremamondo from Livorno, who became a master of fencing in the British royal family and was the protagonist of the tables dedicated to this discipline in Diderot's Encyclopédie, or master Gianfaldoni, who inspired composers such as Donizetti and intellectuals such as Rousseau, author of his epitaph.
Masachera, fioretto e pettorina: l'attrezzatura base per la scherma

Fencing at the Modern Olympics

The eighteenth century was also the century that saw the emergence of the French school alongside the Italian one, thanks to figures such as the knight of Saint-George, known as the Black Mozart for his ability as a composer as well as a swordsman. However, it was Tremamondo who began the transformation of fencing into that modern sport that would live between the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century his golden age, coming to gather up to ten thousand spectators to attend a duel: as happened in Paris in 1922 with that in which they faced Aldo Nadi and Lucien Gaudin, passed into history as the challenge of the century.
Pair of fencers on black background
With the birth of the modern Olympics in 1896, and the codification of the discipline on three different weapons (sword, foil and sabre), here is another phase, full of events and glorious characters: from Helene Mayer, the only German athlete of Jewish origin to compete and get on the podium at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The aforementioned Mangiarotti, present in five editions of the Olympic Games between 1936 and 1960 and winner of thirteen medals - at the time an absolute record for a single athlete.

In the 18th century, the knight of Saint-George was known as the Black Mozart because of his ability as a composer as well as a swordsman.

Fabio Dal Zotto, real meteor of the 1976 Montreal Olympics, passing through the tragic end of Vladimir Smirnov, who died on the platform during the Italian World Cup in 1982, up to the Italian women's dream team of 1992, led by Giovanna Trillini, and nowadays with Valentina Vezzali, one of the most titled fencers in the world.

The specialties of fencing: the foil

Foil is the specialty with which the practice of fencing begins: it is a purely academic weapon, that is, born for the teaching of the specialty, and consists of two parts, the blade and the guard. Historically it was born as a sword lightened for training and not intended for use in battle and duels, but for exercise in the rooms of arms in which he used to hit normally.
Two guys are fencing outside
The valid target of the foil is represented by the bust, seat of the vital organs, because to score a hit on this part of the body was almost certainly lethal.

Together with the sabre, the foil is considered a conventional weapon because it is regulated by a regulation (the convention) for the assignment of the hit: the fundamental rule is to hit the opponent in a valid point having started the attack before the opponent.

The defending player must first parry his opponent's attack and then respond. The target will be considered hit if the defender is hit only with the tip of the weapon and exerting a force equivalent to a minimum weight of 500 grams.

The Sabre

If the foil is preparatory to the discipline, the sabre is the specialty of attack par excellence, very fast and typical of an instinctive fencing. The sabre is a conventional weapon and to be assigned the hit must be brought first the attack or respond first to an attack opponent. In the sabre the parts of the body available to the blows are from the waist up, therefore bust, arms and head.
This is because historically the sabre descends from the weapons used by the knights who, being on horseback, hit the infantrymen on foot in the upper part of the body. Unlike the foil, in addition to the tip you can also hit the opponent of cut and counter-cut.
The movement of the sinking into fencing

The sword

The sword is the specialty that comes closest to the real duels of the past because it considers a valid target acome the whole body. In case the two fencers hit each other at the same time you will have the double shot and the point will be assigned to both just like in real fights of the past, where each shot corresponded to a wound. In the sword each hit that reaches the target gives right to one point. The sword is then due to the color ul white of the uniform from fencing. The duels fought with the sword were in fact to the first blood: any wound from which blood came out, on any part of the body, determined the interruption of the fight.

Training for fencing

Pair of fencers shooting shots in the shade
In order to prepare for fencing, it is necessary to work on two main objectives: specifically, it will be important to work on increasing flexibility and strengthening muscles. If the first is achievable thanks to stretching exercises (the classic stretching) combined with cardio activities, such as running or biking, the second requires core stabilization exercises that can be activated thanks to different muscle compartments such as abdominals, obliques, backbones and buttocks.
The race is preparatory to the specific training for fencing
Training for fencing means performing the exercises in a state of partial imbalance, thanks to proprioceptive platforms, carpets, plyobox.

For the second objective, trunk stabilization exercises, and not only, will be necessary, directed towards different muscular compartments - such as abdominal, oblique, dorsal, lumbar, buttocks, abductors, flexors.

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