Fencing Sucks
June 30, 2003 11:28 AM   Subscribe

No, seriously, they score by touching the opponent in the Valid Target Area. The touches are monitored electronically via wires coming out of the fencers' backs, similar to the technology used to control Dan Rather.
-from Dave Barry on Fencing in the humor section of Fencing Sucks.
posted by Shane (30 comments total)
I know what else sucks.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:45 AM on June 30, 2003

I must be one of the very few that thinks he hasnt been funny in years.
posted by Irontom at 11:48 AM on June 30, 2003

Holy crap, why not link an Ann Landers column while we're at it? And how about that fucking Marmaduke?!?!?
posted by solistrato at 11:59 AM on June 30, 2003

What the hell is wrong with you smarmy assholes? There's a lot more to the Fencing Sucks site than just Dave Barry's column. Explore, why don't you? Or if you're not into fencing, why not fuck off somewhere to another link?

Jesus H. What. The. Fuck.
posted by Shane at 12:03 PM on June 30, 2003

I believe Shane was trying to call attention to Fencing Sucks, not Dave Barry.

err... shane beat me to it
posted by GeekAnimator at 12:04 PM on June 30, 2003

Well, yes, valid points, Shane and GA, but Fencing Sucks sucks, n'cest pas? It's just your standard room-temperature lame special interest BB, with "d00dz" posts and all.
posted by signal at 12:10 PM on June 30, 2003

God damn it, you guys are assholes. Tripping over yourselves to see who can make the unfunniest snide remark. It's free content, love it or leave it. And this is chilling.
posted by Hildago at 12:10 PM on June 30, 2003

I like fencing.
posted by moonbiter at 12:10 PM on June 30, 2003

Although I wonder what this this Clyde Caldwell D&D image really has to do with the activity.
posted by moonbiter at 12:13 PM on June 30, 2003

n'cest pas

It's "n'est-ce pas", dumbfuck. If you use French and bollox it, you look stupid AND pretentious. Like many people in this thread. Like Mefi lately, come to think of it--more of a juvenile high school by the day. WTF? No, really: WTF?
posted by Shane at 12:15 PM on June 30, 2003

Shane, I'll bet you thought that this post was foil-proof.

Ok that was really bad. But what's really good: the image gallery. What a fabulous collection of photgraphs and illustrations! My weblog, where this is ending up later today, thanks you.
posted by iconomy at 12:30 PM on June 30, 2003

Tell us how you really feel, Shane.
posted by norm at 12:33 PM on June 30, 2003

I don't get it. I checked out the site, which has a forum dedicated to the different aspects of fencing that suck, and yet the message board is filled with fencers talking about upcoming tournaments and how much better Princeton fencing is than Harvard. Even the humor section doesn't adequately explain just why fencing sucks.

Is it because they have to hook up to electronic equipment to evaluate points? I suppose it would be cooler if the winner was the last man standing, but as foils tend to have protective ends at the point, this would make matches very, very long.

Is it because fencers argue a lot over points? Then add tennis to the list of sports that suck.

Is it because the players move so quickly and points are scored so rapidly that it becomes difficult to enjoy matches? Perhaps -- this is what I always disliked about fencing. But even Dave Barry's (extremely bland and unfunny) column only barely addresses this.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:35 PM on June 30, 2003

I've always wanted to learn to fence in the round (i.e., more like fencing-as-combat, as opposed to in the line like competition fencing) but the only people I could find that practiced it was the SCA, and I just didn't want to go there...
posted by Cerebus at 12:35 PM on June 30, 2003

shane takes the right-of-way, looking good so far, a few feints by various posters...wait! there is signal with a beat attack followed by a very passata-sotto...nice retreat parry by shane...and[crowd appause]...wow, nice riposte for a brutal point by shane after his parry. Another exciting day at metafilter ladies and gentlemen!

cerebus...look for "classical fencing". based on combat instead of scoring. DiGrasse and Evanglista [i think, its been a while] are big proponents of it. When i was a teenager i tried to talk to some SCA guys about fencing. They thought i was crazy to be a fencer...said it was too dangerous, that people actually died doing it--blades used to break with a jagged edge, right at the strong point on the blade. Sort of a spring-effect occurs and you really could run someone thru if you aren't wearing safety gear. Most modern blades break a bit more evenly, and are safer...anyways....

always forget how much i miss fencing. Time to find or start a local group.

when i was in highschool, my brother and i were fencing at a park when a few football players came over from a nearby bbq party to make silly comments about our outfits.... So we gave them a quick lesson, they were pretty excited to have tried it, thought it was awesome. I think most people that Try it would enjoy it.
posted by th3ph17 at 12:53 PM on June 30, 2003

nice riposte for a brutal point by shane

I just hope "n'cest pas" isn't an accepted collquialism I forgot about. Nothing like losing every ounce of restraint AND making an ass out of yourself in the process. Or is that just how it goes?

: -)
posted by Shane at 1:00 PM on June 30, 2003

I never ever thought fencing sucked until the movie "Die Another Day". I literally gave up on the movie during the fencing scene. I think that's what Dave Barry had in mind.

Oh and solistrato - only on the web would Ann Landers and fencing come together.
posted by vito90 at 1:03 PM on June 30, 2003

I was kinda hoping the site would be more about how fencing sucks too. You could probably get some mileage out of that that could probably only be appreciated by the tiny worldwide community of bitter ex-fencers but HEY, that's what this whole innernet thingy's all about doncha know?

Um, also that nice image gallery has some non-work-safe images if you're worried about that sort of thing.
posted by furiousthought at 1:30 PM on June 30, 2003

Shane - My pathological hatred for Dave Barry blinded me. It's beyond my control. I have a doctor's note and everything.

vito90 - you're right. That's why the 'Net is a scary, scary place.

On-topic: Fencing! Tried it in college. I liked it, but not enough to pursue past one semester. As for the site, the DHTML text trail loses me every time. But it's nice to know that every subculture does indeed have its own place to vent on the Web.
posted by solistrato at 1:30 PM on June 30, 2003

Cerebus, th3ph17 - re: fencing and the SCA - if the reason you "didn't want to go there" had to do with people wearing funny clothes and the general "selective re-enactment" culture of the SCA, then I can't help you.

... but, if the reason you you've avoided SCA fencing was because it was several years ago and what we were doing was new to everyone (including ourselves) then I would encourage you to check it out again.

In the past five or six years there has been a very strong focus on the use of period style manuals as source materials - bringing the SCA down the road from "fencing" to "rapier combat". Its not perfect, but its been a huge shift in focus and (I would say) a huge improvement.

Here are some links (SCA sourced, natch) to period rapier combat sources on the web: iceweasel.org; Elizabethan Fencing and the Art of Defence; The Academy of Defence; The Association for Historical Fencing (non-SCA); The Academie d'Espee; Reviewed Rapier Links; The Rapier Links Page
posted by anastasiav at 1:37 PM on June 30, 2003

Fencing is funny for several reasons. In the humor section I found this little gem:
What do you call a French Sabre fencer?
    - A Hungarian wannabee
What do you call a Hungarian Foil fencer?
    - A French wannabee
What do you call an American Fencer?
    - Immigrant

That made me giggle like a little girl. It's funny because the Hungarians and Russians mostly fence sabre, and are mostly dicks about it. It's funny because the French tend to be dicks too, but of course they don't fence anything as, as... crude as sabre.

It's funny because right of way, especially in sabre, is flat-out stupid and should be done away with.

It's funny for all the little bitty fish that try and fail to look big in their particular miniscule puddles.

You're all correct that the Dave Barry essay was pretty much a limp offering, though. Man. And it would be better if the site offered an actual BB system - infopop or phpbb or whatever - since the current guestbook thing mostly only leaves room for "whoo! I rock".

SCA people don't fence, or even do "combat". They pose. You can win every single SCA rapier and dagger tournament, ever, with a circle parry-6 and nothing else. Which is fine and I don't deny them their fun, but urrrrgh! I have to associate with the local SCA people occasionally and they're such arrogant pricks about it. "Oh this sport fencing is so silly... I practice real swordfighting."

Whatever, m'lawd.

(on preview: anastasiav, plz to not be offended kthx. I speak only from my own experience)
posted by kavasa at 1:42 PM on June 30, 2003

Epee fencing is a blast. All the excitement and adrenalin of a competitive martial art, but little of the pain or injuries. www.fencing.net is a good place to start looking into it, and fencingwear.com is a good place to buy t-shirts ;).

Cerebrus: I've tried fencing in the round and it really doesn't make a difference for a point weapon. You can rotate around your opponent, but all the action will still take place along the line between yourself and the opponent. Its fun to use obstacles such as bridges, stairwells etc. though.

When I started, fencing in the U.S.A. was generally decades behind that in Europe. There is a young generation coming up that has been trained by the many quality coaches that came over in the post-glasnost era. I anticipate seeing more international results in the next decade. If anyone is just starting, make sure to get a coach with an accomplished record. There are way to many incompetents masquerading as coaches out there.
posted by Manjusri at 3:59 PM on June 30, 2003

Alright, we're getting along better on the playground now. Sorry I lost my cool. ...except regarding Irontom, 'cuz I think he just has that effect on people ;-)

signal, someone ducked and you got the cream pie in the face. Sorry. Wait, haven't you pissed me off pretty much in the past, too?--but what is this, petty grudgefilter? ;-)

You're all right, I also thought Barry's piece was a little short and fell somewhat flat at the end but, Man, I laughed my ass off at "similar to the technology used to control Dan Rather."

Most modern blades break a bit more evenly, and are safer...anyways....

Yeah, maraging steel is suposed to break flat, not jagged, pointy, or in pieces (although there has been some confusion with them, and I'm outta the loop on anything newfangled).

Which brings us to Triplette Competition Arms, which is a good resource as well as sometimes a hoot. Anyone remember their paper catalogs with all the cartoons?

And this guy has a helluva great job. "Rapier-Wit" indeed.

That is all.
posted by Shane at 4:33 PM on June 30, 2003

I think the problem with fencing is that everybody thinks the high-voltage should be connected to the epees.

Naw. What you do is put little stun guns on the inside of the armor, so that when you get a good hit on you it, for example, turns off the muscles in your arm. A lethal shot would lay you out.

Now that would be cool. None of this "I got you!", "No you didn't" stuff. 50,000 volts means "I got you, mofo."

And I said "epees" for a reason. You can use the blade, too!

Now c'mon. Fess up. Which of you extreme sports types would really go for something like that? To really know how good you are? No doubts?
posted by kablam at 7:56 PM on July 1, 2003

i think that is a fine idea kablam. maybe not 50,000 volts...but a good numbing shock in your arm so you would have to switch.
posted by th3ph17 at 9:17 AM on July 2, 2003

Epee? A blast..?

Surely you jest. It's the only weapon that will time out a 15-touch bout with a score of 7-6.

Sabre, on the other hand, has started enforcing a mandatory rest at first-to-eight-touches because we were getting through the whole fifteen before the first period was over. That, sir, is a blast.
posted by kavasa at 9:25 AM on July 2, 2003

kavasa: I can dig it.
posted by kablam at 10:33 AM on July 2, 2003

Valid Target Area

...as Dave Barry might say, that would be a good name for a rock band.
posted by briank at 10:39 AM on July 2, 2003

It's funny because right of way, especially in sabre, is flat-out stupid and should be done away with.

Yeah, it's a bit hard for the uninitiated to understand, but at least it makes sense if you trace things back to the origins of the sport. It's not much use practicing swordplay by always going straight for first touch if you eventually get out there with a real sword and always leave yourself wide open to being decapitated, or suchlike, in the process of getting that first touch.
posted by MUD at 4:48 PM on July 2, 2003

What is more dangerous these days, a sword through the throat, or posting an ffp?
posted by bluedaniel at 10:41 PM on July 2, 2003

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