Gordon L wrote:It is the flat to anyone.
An anecdote from the first competition (Dollar Academy c. 1990-91, IIRC) I attended where I fenced fairy sabre:
As it was before electric equipment I was asked to be one of the four people who stood at the corners of the piste to assist the person running the bout (a judge, apparently - see below). The fencer for whom I was spotting landed a blow by striking lightly from right to left, with his knuckles downwards, against the torso of his adversary, with a blow that would never have cut with a sharp sword, in my opinion. I was asked whether a hit had landed and replied "yes, but it was with the flat."
All present roared with laughter at my great stupidity. For, as they told me, everything
that wasn't delivered with the point was flat, and the very aim of sabre was to deliver hits with the flat! When I protested that the part of the "flat" that landed wasn't the bit that would have been sharp they replied that this did not matter.
Gordon L wrote:a) There are no judges if there is electrical apparatus.
I meant the chap who stands next to the piste and shouts "fence" and "halt", whatever he gets called - I have apparently forgotten the correct terms.
Gordon L wrote:And again, what you are complaining about is misuse of actions with the flat of the blade, not refuting my description of the mechanics of the blade.
Whether the blade is stiff in the plane of where the cut should be does not really matter, for it is not stiff in the plane the cut is actually delivered a great deal of the time. This is an artefact of the way fairy sabre bouts were (and perhaps still are) conducted. As the gentleman said earlier in the thread, this is not the way an actual fighting sword would be used. This is the charge against the modern sport, that it does not resemble the use of a sword as a weapon, something which attracts the interest of those who have moved on to HEMA.
Of course, at the time I thought it all exciting stuff and enjoyed it, although I no longer do. I also believed that as I was learning proper art I could transfer this directly to sharp sabres, which would not have been the case.
Gordon L wrote:It may have been endemic - it did not define the sport. It did not define the teaching, and it certainly was not required for competitive success.
I beg to differ.
Gordon L wrote:b) training to hit with the flat of the blade is the only activity that goes on at NGB-affiliated fencing clubs
You will note that I never claimed it to be the only activity. It was certainly taught, though. I recall that in general blows (the term "cut" hardly seems appropriate) to head, cheek and downwards to the arm used the edge, whilst to chest, belly and upwards to the wrist used the flat.
By the way, whilst I remember, here
is something I tried (and failed) to explain to you in the pub during a small-sword symposium, which may be of interest to you. As I tried to say then, we are channeling the same principles of art into different focuses and thereby coming up with different results.