When attacking multiple times it is important to avoid a technique we call the “Sewing Machine.”
The Sewing Machine is when a fighter is caught in a rhythm of throwing shots one after the other, but only in a straight line. Sort of like the needle of a sewing machine.
The Sewing Machine technique does increase the number of shots thrown, but it becomes incredibly predictable and easy to block again and again. It also leads to harder shots and you can end up hurting your opponent.
When you are on the offensive the more attacks you can make, the more likely you will be able to break through your opponent’s defenses and land a shot. Most beginner fencers only attack one time before resetting and with this lesson, we hope you’ll begin to attack more often and maintain an offensive pressure on your opponent.
The first thing you have to do is to get out of the habit of only striking once on any given attempt. Meaning that every time you attack, we should be striking two, three, even four times before resetting in our ready position.
To do this, it helps to keep your point extended during the attacks and not pull it all the way back to ready position. So instead of one full strike, you’re doing many small extensions of your blade to try to get past their defenses.
Attack Different Areas
Almost everywhere on your opponent’s body is a potential target and may be open for an attack. Instead of always attacking the same area, learn to attack different areas sometimes one after the other.
Changing how you attack allows you to find new openings in your opponent’s defenses. There is always an open target somewhere. Always attacking the same area becomes predictable and dangerous.
The following areas are all possible targets with various levels of difficulty. Here are some suggestions to consider when picking a target:
- Head: Typically open. Wait for you opponent to lean in before striking.
- Neck: Very small target. It’s easier to go for the head or torso.
- Torso: Largest and easiest target, but defended by swords.
- Sword Arm: Narrow target defended by sword. Aim for the forearm.
- Offhand: Small open target. Strike when it is extended and opponent is distracted.
- Legs: Risky target, but advantageous if successful. Aim for opponent’s thigh.
- Foot: Small target, but hard to defend. Strike when it is close or opponent is resetting