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Canadian Fencing Federation Instructional Program

Introduction:

As the CFF moves towards its transition to the Competency Based Education and Training (CBET) model of coaching training and sport delivery, we are putting into place an instructional stream. This stream will develop fencers with; strong technical knowledge, good tactical observation skills and, through this, a capacity for adaptation, and a more complete general knowledge of fencing (which will lead to better fencers, coaches, and officials).

The program is divided into five separate, but related, performance factors; technical, tactical, rules, refereeing, and at the higher levels coaching. Though the actual competence in each of these performance factors is important, it is the delivery of the information that is of greater importance. This document will delineate the actual armband program, an outline of the exam procedure for the levels, the minimum time spent preparing for each level, and a short discussion on age categories. The actual delivery of the program information will be related to the coaches in short workshops directly following the CFF’s “Selection Circuit Events”.

Armband program:

The full Armband Program is attached to this document below.

Exam procedure:

Before speaking of the exam procedure itself, note must be made of the following. It is required to have the fencers demonstrate these skills in two different contexts;

1) within the regular practice of the club,;

2) within the context of a “formal” exam.

These two contexts assure the acquisition of the skills under different conditions. The club environment will allow the coach to assess the ease with which the fencer is able to demonstrate the skills in a comfortable, non-”threatening”, environment. The exam environment will allow the coach to assess the fencer’s ability to perform these skills in a more “pressured” environment (likened, somewhat, to when a coach asks a fencer to perform a certain action on the piste). Education theory has shown these to be quite different aspects of the total acquisition of skills.

For the first two levels (yellow and orange) the club coach is responsible for the exams. Each of the five streams is tested and given a ranking as follows: acquired, being acquire, not acquired (or 3, 2, 1). To be promoted to the next level, a fencer must attain a minimum of two “acquired” marks (3’s) and no “not acquired” marks (1’s).

For the next two levels (green and blue), the assessment process must include the club coach and one other coach (preferably from another club, or at minimum one from the same club who is not directly coaching the fencer)1. In this case each coach will use the same scale as above and the average of the two rankings will constitute the final assessed mark. The club coach must present the marks for the club environment assessment to the second examining coach.

The final two levels (red and black), will be assessed at the regional training camps hosted by the CFF. For purposes

of this assessment the examining board will consist of three coaches, one of who must be the senior camp coach, in the given weapon. The personal coach can be present at the exam but cannot participate in the examining process. The personal coach must submit the “club environment” assessment to the senior camp coach prior to the board exam. At these levels a more stringent marking scheme is to be used. The fencers will be assessed along a scale between 0 and 10 (for each of the performance factors), and must not receive a mark lower than 5 in any of these to be promoted to the next level.

As the fencers progress through the armband levels, s/he must demonstrate a progression through the stages of skill development. The first table below gives you an outline of the stages, the second table shows you the progression through these stages.

 

Stages of skill development

Recommended

practice/test

conditions Initiation

First contact Acquisition

Movement patterning Consolidation

Correct

execution in

variable conditions Refinement

Minor

improvement Creative variation

Using

movements in

creative ways

Surrounding environment Stable and

predictable,

free of

distractions Stable and

predictable,

free of

distractions Increased

variability and

distractions in

the environment,

but not to the

point where

movement

patterns

deteriorate Competition conditions Conditions

similar to those

encountered in

the highest

level of

competition

Decision-making

or uncertainty

of situations in

which the

athlete is

involved No decision-

making or

options to

choose from Simple

decision-

making,

maximum of 2

options More complex

decisions to

make, increased

frequency of

decision-making,

and more options

(3-4) Complex

decisions, as

many options

and at the same

frequency as in

competition Conditions

similar to those

encountered in

the highest

level of

competition

Speed of execution Slow and controlled At the athlete’s

own pace Increased,

variable, and

close to

competitive

demands Similar

conditions to

competition Similar to

highest level of

competition

Importance of being precise and consistent Not overly

important

(demonstrate

ability) Moderately important Precision and

consistency are

sought A high degree

of precision and

consistency are

sought Perfection is

sought at all

times

# of repetitions,

or opportunities

to execute

movements As needed,

depending on

athlete’s

general motor

development High High As many as

possible As many as

possible

Risk factor and

consequences of

error Completely

safe conditions,

errors of no

consequence Low risk conditions Less than or

similar to what is

encountered in

regular

competition Similar to a high level of competition Similar to the

highest level of

competition

During training

the emphasis

should be on... Basic stances

and positions;

getting the idea

of what the

movements are

about, look like Global

execution and

general form of

the movement Maintaining the

form of the

movement and

some

performance

consistency

under varying

conditions and

under stress Creating

conditions that

stress the

specific

elements that

need adjustment Generating

new and

unfamiliar

situations

 

Relationship between skill development and Armband level

Armband /

Stage of skill

development Yellow Orange Green Blue Red Black

Initiation X X X X X X

Acquisition Yellow Orange Green Blue Red

Consolidation Yellow Orange Green Blue

Refinement Yellow Orange Green

Creative Variation Yellow Orange

If desired, a coach could continue with this pattern of increased skill development till the athlete achieves the creative variation stage. This would be similar to “Dans” in oriental martial arts.

Preparation time per level:

It is up to the coach to determine the time necessary for the athlete to attain these levels. The coach should assure that the athlete is challenged by the program but not intimidated by it, especially at the earlier levels. Remember that at the early levels we are trying to produce a FUN environment for the athletes, while giving them the basics to encourage continuing participation and eventually to compete.

Age categories:

Some research was undertaken to determine whether or not this program should be divided into or proscribed for certain age categories2. The conclusion is that there is more to be gained by having this program opened and mixed as opposed to closed or divided. The program measures performance factors that transcend age categories.

 

Officiating – Non‐Electric

When using non‐electric equipment, the officiating jury includes a referee (president) and four corner judges. Other officials might include a scorekeeper and timekeeper.

The Referee (President)

The referee has complete control over the fencers, coaches, and spectators. The referee’s duties are to award hits according to the rules, to see that order is maintained, to observe the actions of both fencers, and to interpret these actions to the judges clearly.

The Corner Judges

The corner judges are responsible for determining whether or not a hit has been made. Two of the judges (judges 1 and 2 in the illustration) are on the referee’s right to observe hits against the fencer on the referee’s left. Judges 3 and 4 observe hits on the opposing fencer.

 

The judges assume positions around the strip and the fencers with interfering with the action. To ensure safety, they stand about 1m from the edge of the strip and 1 m behind the nearest competitor. They move with the competitors to ensure an unobstructed view of the action and assigned target.

As soon as a judge observes a hit pm the fencer they are assigned to watch, the judge must immediately raise their arm overhead to signal to the referee, who will then halt the bout. If necessary the referee will briefly reconstruct the phrase of the action up until the point the referee called “Halt”. The referee will ask the opinion of each of the judges who must promptly and decisively respond “Yes”, “No”, “Off target”, or “I abstain”. The referee votes last.

The opinion of each judge counts for one vote, while the referee’s opinion counts for 11/2 votes. By abstaining, an official indicates uncertainty, and consequently there is no vote.

 

EPEE ARMBANDS

Armband Footwork and technical elements Preparations and proposed tactical action plan Rules Refereeing Coaching

YELLOW Footwork: step forward, step No content at this level Valid target Corner judging Take part in warm-up

 backward, lunge, half-lunge, combinations.

Technical elements: grip, on guard position, offence and counter-offence to the hand, to the arm, to the body (direct and indirect); The dimensions of the piste Method of scoring hit Refereeing with the coach Identifying the actions executed. sessions, and basic footwork sessions. Collective lesson teaching yellow armband actions. Final stretching.

 Offence by remise and redouble;

 Counter-offence by 6 and 8 opposition;

 Beat 4;

 Engage 6 and 8.

ORANGE Footwork: cross-over forward Preparations: engage 4 Conventions Referee 4 bouts using the Know and take part in

 and backward, fleche, redoublement, combinations and 6 while stepping forward; Role of the Referee (succinctly) correct commands, and describing the actions warm-up sessions, and basic footwork sessions.

 Technical elements:

prise de fer attacks (taking the blade) : opposition and bind; Derobement;

Circular and semi-circular parries (6, 2, 8);

Compound attacks to the

hand, to the arm, to the body; Invitation in 4; Slow step.

Action plan: identify actions to execute based on the opponent's position. Identify the distance, and choose the action based on the distance identified. Role of the floor judges. executed. Collective lesson teaching orange armband actions. Final stretching.

 Beat 8 and 7. Develop the logical behaviour of anticipating the actions.

  Offensive, defensive and counter-offensive actions executed from the above-mentioned preparations.

 

GREEN Footwork: Jumps, half-steps Preparations: jumps in Rules about the field of Referee 4 bouts applying Know and take part in

 forward, half-steps backward place, forward and backward. Beats. play:

boundary rules and the field of play rules warm-up sessions, and basic footwork sessions.

 Technical elements: Angulated attacks; Invitations. sanctions. Keeping a pool sheet Collective lesson, teaching green armband actions.

 Counter-attacks with angulation to the advanced target;

Opposition parries;

Simple attacks on preparation; Actions on the bending of the opponent's arm. Action plan:

Identify the distance, and choose the action based on the distance identified. Develop the logical behaviour of anticipating the actions. Final stretching.

Ability to demonstrate the technical aspects of the yellow and orange

armbands to beginner fencers.

  Offensive, defensive and counter-offensive actions executed from the above-mentioned preparations.

BLUE Footwork: combinations of Preparations: body Rules regarding the Referee a full pool of 5 Know and take part in

 yellow, orange and green feints, false attacks, feints annulment of hits. fencers (with weapon warm-up sessions, and

 armbands footwork. of attack. checks) basic footwork sessions.

 Technical elements: Action plan: Collective lesson teaching green armband actions.

 Ceding parries;

Attacks on the opponent's return to on guard position; Attacks with croisé; Attacks with envelopment; Counter-time (with bind and with opposition); Riposte with croisé; Counter-attack. Identify the distance, and choose the action based on the distance identified. Develop the logical behaviour of anticipating the actions.

Offensive, defensive and counter-offensive actions executed from the above-mentioned preparations. Final stretching.

Ability to teach the

technical aspects of the yellow and orange

armbands to beginner fencers.

RED Footwork: combinations of Preparations: Rules regarding the validity Referee a full pool of 5 Know and take part in

 yellow, orange and green Optimization of the or priority of hits. fencers: using all checks warm-up sessions, and

 armbands footwork. preparations developed in and keeping both time and basic footwork sessions.

 Development of footwork based on the global match plan. the preceding armbands. Action plan: score. Collective lesson, teaching red armband actions.

Final stretching.

 Technical elements: Counter-time (with croisé); Compound counter-attacks; Counter stop-hits;

Compound prises de fer. Development of the global match plan. Ability to teach the technical aspects of the yellow and orange armbands up to the development phase of the corresponding fencers.

 

BLACK Footwork: combinations of Preparations: The sanctions. Provincial refereeing Obtain Aide-moniteur

 yellow, orange and green armbands footwork. Development of footwork based on the specific match plan. Refining of the

preparations developed in the preceding armbands.

Action plan: exam accreditation.

 Technical elements: Development of the specific match plan.

 Beat parry and riposte;

 Angulated attacks and counter-attacks preceded by a beat.

 

FOIL ARMBANDS

Armband Footwork and technical elements Preparations and proposed tactical action plan Rules Refereeing Coaching

YELLOW Footwork: step forward, step No content at this level Valid target Corner judging; Take part in warm-up

 backward, lunge, combinations

Technical elements: grip, on guard position,

Defence in 4 and 6; The dimensions of the piste

Method of scoring hit Refereeing with the coach; Identifying the actions executed. sessions, and basic

footwork sessions.

Collective lesson, teaching yellow armband actions. Final stretching.

 Engage 4 and 6;

 Simple offence (direct and with disengage);

 Immediate riposte (direct and indirect).

ORANGE Footwork: jump forward, jump backward, fleche. Preparations: feint straight, engagement, body Conventions Referee 4 bouts using the correct commands, and Know and take part in warm-up sessions, and

  feint Role of the Referee describing the actions basic footwork sessions.

 Technical elements: Compound attacks; Action plan: (succinctly) executed (phrase). Collective lesson, teaching orange armband actions.

 Circular parries;

Octave parry;

Direct attack on preparation; Counter-ripostes. Offensive and defensive actions executed based on the above-mentioned preparations. Final stretching.

GREEN Footwork: balestra; fleche; Preparations: pressures; Rules Referee 4 bouts analysing Know and take part in

 combinations. beats; changing the position Explain the fencing the action (summary warm-up sessions, and

  of the point (high, low). phrase. only). basic footwork sessions.

 Technical elements: Collective lesson, teaching

 Attack on preparation; Action plan: Keeping a pool sheet green armband actions.

 Prise de fer attacks (opposition, bind);

Remise of attack;

Beat attack (attack on the blade);

Compound attack (with the blade); Identification of strategies against an opponent using the other hand.

Offensive and defensive actions executed based on the above-mentioned preparations. Final stretching.

Ability to demonstrate the technical aspects of the yellow and orange

armbands to beginner fencers.

 Counter-attack;

 Line.

 

BLUE Footwork: Preparations: Rules about the field of Referee 4 bouts analysing Know and take part in

 Half steps forward and Absence of blade; play: the action (complete warm-up sessions, and

 backward; feints of attack (forward and backward); jump Preparations using distance. boundary rules and sanctions. analysis); basic footwork sessions. Collective lesson, teaching

 backward (in order to control Action plan: Demonstrate easiness and blue armband actions.

 the parry and riposte).

Technical elements:

Attack on the return to on guard;

Compound attacks with multiple feints (doublé); Offensive and defensive actions executed based on the above-mentioned preparations. composure in the analysis. Final stretching.

Ability to teach the

technical aspects of the yellow armband up to the development phase of the corresponding fencers.

 Prise de fer attacks (croisé; envelopment);

 Counter-attack with opposition.

RED Footwork: Preparations: Limits and extensions to Referee a full pool of 5 Know and take part in

 Combinations of footwork Preparations using timing the target area. fencers: warm-up sessions, and

 from the other armbands. Optimization. and rhythm. Action plan: Rules regarding corps à corps and in-fighting. Judging: only the attacker Keeping time basic footwork sessions. Collective lesson, teaching red armband actions.

 Technical elements: General plan for the match. is hit. Final stretching.

 Counter-time;

Cut-over attacks; Parries (2 and 1); Ceding parries;

Delayed riposte (<<temps perdu>>);

Target displacement (in place; closing distance); Offensive and defensive actions executed based on the above-mentioned preparations.

Identification of the

fighting logics based on one's strengths. Ability to teach the technical aspects of the yellow and orange armbands up to the development phase of the corresponding fencers.

 Close quarters;

 Reprise of attack.

BLACK Footwork: Combinations of Preparations: The sanctions. Provincial refereeing Obtain Aide-moniteur

 footwork from the other armbands. Refinement. Preparations using distance. Preparations using timing and rhythm. exam accreditation.

 Technical elements:

 Sweeping parries Action plan:

 (<<balayages>>) and ripostes with flick;

Interception parries;

Refining the other armbands' technical elements. Specific match plan. Offensive and defensive actions executed based on the above mentioned preparations.

  Identification of the fighting logics based on one's strengths and the opponent's weaknesses.

 

SABRE PROGRAM

Armband Footwork and technical elements Preparations and proposed tactical action plan Rules Refereeing Coaching

YELLOW Footwork: step forward, step No content at this level Valid target Corner judging; Take part in warm-up

 backward, lunge, backward The dimensions of the piste Refereeing with the coach; sessions, and basic

 jump, combinations

Technical elements: grip, on guard position,

Simple offence, direct and indirect (head, flank, chest, point); Method of scoring hit. Identifying the actions executed. footwork sessions.

Collective lesson, teaching yellow armband actions. Final stretching.

 First defensive triangle (4, 5, 3);

 Immediate riposte (direct and indirect);

 Defence using distance (make the opponent fall short), immediately followed by offence.

ORANGE Footwork: half-step forward; Preparations: Conventions Referee 4 bouts using the Know and take part in

 half step backward (linked Preparations with the correct commands, and warm-up sessions, and

 with steps forward and point on guard in 3; Role of the Referee describing the actions basic footwork sessions.

 backward);

Slow steps forward, linked with fast steps forward; Differentiate between preparation steps (slower or in control between series) and steps for attack (fast). In the middle of the piste, slow steps forward, linked with the offensive, defensive or counter-offensive action;

Defence with the point threatening the opponent. (succinctly) executed (phrase). Collective lesson, teaching orange armband actions. Final stretching.

 Technical elements: Action plan:

 Indirect attacks;

Attacks to the hand; Counter-attacks to the hand followed by opposition. Identification of actions to execute based on the opponent's position; Identification of the distance, and choice of the action based on the distance identified;

  Offensive and defensive actions executed based on the above-mentioned preparations.

 

GREEN Footwork: Preparations: Rules. Referee 4 bouts analysing Know and take part in

 Feints of attack; body feints Preparations with the the action (summary warm-up sessions, and

 (backward). point horizontal; Explain the fencing phrase. only). basic footwork sessions.

 Technical elements:

Attack underneath (direct and indirect) (inside and outside); Compound attacks;

Attacks on preparation;

Beat attacks (during the step, before the lunge); In the middle of the piste, half-step backward, linked with the offensive, defensive or counter- offensive action;

Body feint backward.

Action plan: Keeping a pool sheet Collective lesson, teaching green armband actions. Final stretching.

Ability to demonstrate the technical aspects of the yellow and orange

armbands to beginner fencers.

 Counter-attacks to the head and with opposition;

Low 3 and 4 parries; Identification of actions to execute based on the situation;

 Compound parries. Acquire the logical behaviour of anticipating the offensive, defensive and counter-offensive actions executed based on the above-mentioned preparations.

BLUE Footwork: Preparations: Rules about the field of Referee 4 bouts analysing Know and take part in

 Step backward; Preparation with two little play: the action (complete warm-up sessions, and

 fleche landing both feet at the steps, followed by a stop; boundary rules and analysis); basic footwork sessions.

 same time; fleche on the forward leg; Link with offensive, defensive or counter- sanctions. Demonstrate easiness and Collective lesson, teaching blue armband actions.

 redoublement;

control steps forward; control steps backward.

Technical elements: Counter-attack with beat; Beat attack (beat during the preparation step);

Line; offensive actions; Preparations using distance.

Action plan:

Offensive and defensive actions executed based on the above-mentioned preparations. composure in the analysis. Final stretching.

Ability to teach the

technical aspects of the yellow armband up to the development phase of the corresponding fencers.

 Attacks with pressure;

 Parry 2;

 Parry 1.

 

RED Footwork: Combinations of Preparations: Limits and extensions of Referee a full pool of 5 Know and take part in

 footwork from the other Preparations using timing the valid target. fencers: warm-up sessions, and

 armbands. Optimization. Footwork based on the and rhythm. Rules regarding corps à corps and in fighting. Keeping time basic footwork sessions. Collective lesson, teaching

 general match plan. Technical elements: Action plan:

General plan for the match. Judging: only the attacker is hit red armband actions. Final stretching.

 False attacks and variations; Remise;

Redouble;

Counter-time;

Counter-attack with flick to the hand. Offensive and defensive actions executed based on the above-mentioned preparations.

Identification of the fighting logics based on one's strengths. Ability to teach the technical aspects of the yellow and orange armbands up to the development phase of the corresponding fencers.

BLACK Footwork: Combinations of Preparations: The sanctions. Provincial refereeing Obtain Aide-moniteur

 footwork from the other armbands. Refinement. Preparations using distance. exam accreditation.

 Footwork based on the general match plan. Preparations using timing and rhythm.

 Technical elements: Action plan:

 Perfecting the elements of the general match plan, and identifying the elements of the specific match plan. Specific match plan. Offensive and defensive actions executed based on the above-mentioned preparations.

  Identification of the fighting logics based on one's strengths and on the opponent's weaknesses.