Fencing Footwork: A Step By Step Guide

Footwork is incredibly simple, that said mastering it takes time, patience and practice. It is also an easy way to judge the standard of someone’s fencing so never underestimate the advantages of looking at someone’s footwork before you fence them.

(Disclaimer – I’m going to be concentrating on basic footwork. Possibly next week I’ll discuss cross steps, jumping, and other footwork solutions while evaluating their pros and cons)

Here’s my Step By Step Guide;

Moving Forward/Advancing

Footwork 1

Firstly before you start practicing footwork make sure you’re in a good en garde position. Ask yourself are your knees bent? Do your arms and legs feel loose? Are you working your stomach muscles?

Your en garde stance should look something like this fine gentleman on the right;

Footwork 2

 

Secondly kick out your leading leg which is again shown in the diagram.

 

Footwork 3

Thirdly you want to land your front foot so that your heel is touching the ground then transfer your body weight forward so your foot lands flat. Once your foot is on the ground instantly start moving your back foot. Ideally your back foot should cover the same distance as your front foot thereby maintaing your centre of gravity.

Footwork 4

 

And Lastly complete the step.

 

 

Moving Backwards/Retreating

Footwork 5

The technique to moving backwards is almost identical only this time you lead with your back leg instead of your front foot.

Firstly make sure you’re in a good en garde position.

 

Footwork 6

Secondly extend your back foot, angle it slightly so part of the sole is touching the ground.

 

 

Footwork 7

Thirdly transfer your body weight backwards. As you’re doing it start moving your front foot backwards. Your back foot should land flat to complete the step. Ideally your front foot should cover the same distance as your back foot thereby maintaining your centre of gravity.

 

And there you have it Footwork 8 one completed step.

 

Additional Tips

• Make sure your front knee is always pointing forwards.
• Always lift your feet.
• Train yourself to change speed by moving your legs faster. Ideally you only want to change the length of your steps if you’re desperately trying to avoid someone’s attack, to cover quick ground or as an attempt to stop someone from reading your footwork.
K.I.S.S = Keep It Simple Stupid
• Use a good en guarde position as a means to execute a variety of moves. Whether it’s a feint, a lunge, a step lunge, fleche, parry, riposte, ballestra or any other.

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