2017-04-20

Fencing (FAQ)

This post is mainly for those who participated at the presentation of a fencing book entitled A történelmi kardvívás alapjai (Grundvívás), and probably wanted to ask some questions about the book, its context etc., but finally remained silent during Q&A part of the presentation.

0 What is the proper translation of Hungarian grundvívás?
The term grundvívás was coined around 2014, based on another Hungarian word grundbirkózás.

Grundbirkózás is a simplified version of wrestling, mainly for kids. It was developed in the 50s, in order to popularise the Olympic wrestling. Rules are very simple, bouts don't require specialised wresling facilities. The term itself is composed of two Hungarian words: grund + birkózás (wrestling). Grund means an empty building site, where urban kids play football and other street games.

So grundvívás is an outdoor variation of fencing, which doesn't require specialised fencing facilities. It could be translated as street fencing, meaning an urban sport, not an extremely violent variation of fencing. ;-)

1 What is street fencing?
Street fencing is a cost-effective way to learn the basics of the historical European fencing (HEMA). This variation of fencing deals only with one-handed swords (straight and curved), and could be categorised somewhere between HEMA and modern Olympic fencing, especially sabre fencing. We use the term grundvívás (street fencing) because during the past 8 years we have been training mainly outdoor, in parking-lots, school yards etc.

2 When was it created?
We have been developing this system since 2009, when middle-aged, amateur fencers started to practice non-Olympic fencing.

3 Based on which sources?
The full list of Hungarian sources - the theoretical basis of the system - can be found on page 186 of the book. The syllabus and the methodological approach has been developed mainly based on two Hungarian fencing books: Gusztáv Arlow's Kardvívás [Sabre Fencing] (1902) and dr. László Gerentsér's A modern kardvívás [Modern Sabre Fencing] (1944).

4 What is the practical knowledge behind this system?
In the past years the author took private lessons of Olympic sabre fencing, visited many Hungarian groups, fencing schools etc. which practice non-Olympic fencing: from Japanese kendo to Hungarian baranta sabre fencing, from medieval longsword fencing to the 19th century sabre fencing. Joint training sessions, friendly free fencing bouts with the representatives of the above-mentioned groups, and participation in their fencing competitions were the practical ways in which the system was developed and pressure tested.  

5 What kind of equipment is needed for this?
During joint practice sessions padded sabres are used, and 350N Olympic fencing headgear. It is highly recommended to wear cheap gloves, which could be purchased at any big DIY store. By wearing gloves the gripping of the hilt is more stable and secure, also they provide certain level of protection against blisters, small bruises etc.

6 Who can benefit from this variant of fencing?
Mainly those who did not fence earlier, did not practice Olympic fencing, but want to discover the interesting world of the historical European fencing, also learn more about European fencing traditions. Also for those who are interested in learning historical Hungarian fencing, because street fencing studies sources of the Hungarian duelling culture of the late 19th century.

(Now the previous Hungarian post has been completely translated.)

Meanwhile questions can be posted anonymously by clicking on the Comment Form at the end of each post, next to the timestamp. For this - after having finished typing your question in the form - you should choose Névtelen (Anonymous) from Megjegyzés írása mint (Writing comment as) scroll-down menu, and finally click on Közzététel (Send) button.

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