Sabre Fencing is the fastest of the three weapons in fencing and when an exhibition match was scheduled at the Landsdowne Club, I definitely couldn’t pass up the opportunity to attend.
This year’s line up, London v Budapest Team Sabre match, Kruse v Davies Foil match, Revesz v Cohen Epee match, Edinburgh v Truro team sabre match, and the highlight… Szilagy v Honeybone Men’s Individual Sabre match – for those of you who don’t know, Szilagy is the reigning Men’s Individual Sabre Olympic Champion and the sabreur that was featured on the promotion videos for the World Championships in Hungry in August this year. I am thankful that the organiser is pro sabre to have so many sabreurs represented.
Sabre Fencing: fast and furious in some respects and some people complain that they can’t see what is happening. However, the more you see it the better it gets – and if you do happen to get bored, at least it is fast and the matches finish quickly. In all weapons, each fight is timed so you don’t have prolonged fights: I think sabre is the only weapon where they usually don’t pay attention to the time as it rarely occurs that a fight would over shoot the time allotted (3 mins).
The Budapest Team Sabre: Zsolt Nagy, Pal Nagy and Csanad Gemesi. They fought against the London Sabre Team: Curtis Miller, Maiyuran Ratneswaran, Valerian Langton & Henry Gann. My friend who was with me watching, was particularly interested as he has fenced most of the people in the above teams.
When you fence well, your fencing style is particularly good to watch. And I would say the Hungarians have a beautiful style. Not only do they fight well, but fight well with style.
It is so easy to criticise others when you are not fencing yourself. To fence as I saw it that afternoon at the Landsdowne Club, your fitness level must be high, the London Team have definitely a high fitness level but the Hungarians seemingly higher! From what I saw the Hungarians were not “pushed” or perhaps it is as my coach keeps telling me, never show your intention, always look calm and relaxed, then suddenly attack!
It was good to watch the foil and epee matches too, the differences are so marked as is the body build of the fencer. The two foilists: Richard Kruse & James Davies were both seemingly super tall and lanky. It was all arms and legs and it felt like they were very gangly in their attacks – however, I certainly wouldn’t want to be their opponent! It is easy to forget that this level of fencing is totally different from your normal club fencing. The epee’ist? Their lunges are so fast and so long! I tried to capture it on my camera but failed miserably.
The next sabre team event, Edinburgh (the Honourable Harry Moncrieff, Vangeli Moschopoulos & Julian Ghosh) v Truro (Michael Clarke, Chris Buxton & John Salfield) gave us the ability to see what was happening a bit more, I felt like I could fence, I could aspire to at least, but the final match, Aron Szilagy v James Honeybone, I kind of sat back in awe at the highest level of sabre fighting expertise. The match was scheduled for half and hour, but it was all over including the introductions in 15 minutes!! After watching this I really thought there was no way I could possibly fence sabre with any form of skill!
Szilagyi, not only did he have another even higher level of fitness, but the skill was totally above anyone there at the exhibition. He didn’t even seem to form any sweat (oops sorry, he didn’t even seem to perspire), almost toying at his opponent. What do you do if you’re faced with a guy like that as an opponent? In terms of blade skills, you really have to watch this live to truely appreciate it: clean and effective, when he scored a point against his opponent you didn’t even hear the contact made let alone see it. Prior to this we had been watching matches where it was easier to see the hit being made as you could hear it and the arm movement was big enough to register a hit. Here instead, only the light indication confirmed the hit.
The following couple of shots I have tried to show the counter attack on the arm that Szilagyi (right of the image) is executing. You can only see the “hit” from the scoring light, the first image as he starts the move, and the second image, you know he’s made the hit only by the green light of the scoring box!
And if you want acrobatics, here’s one from Honeybone (the one in the air).
There wasn’t room for a flunge demonstration, I certainly would like to see that live one day, but for the moment here is a photo from the recent World Championships, Reshetnikov v Dolniceanu showing this.
What I did manage to capture was a very fast blade movement, all of 5 seconds!
And finally, as a fan, and thank you coach, I have proof I was there at the exhibition match! Here is a photo of my coach, Alex Bela with Aron Szilagyi, and in return, a photo of myself with the reigning Olympian! My first fan photo!
Is it me? Am I that short or is he that tall?