*/Begin Rant/*

Nowadays, one sees many a humorous t-shirt with variations on the theme "Give Blood: Play {insert violent sport here}." Highly amusing.

Well, just the other day, as I was leaving a particularly painful practice session, I came to the rather disturbing realization that I had just dripped blood all over the fresh, newly purchased, pristine pair of khakis I was about to change into. This was largely the result of the numerous gashes decorating my knuckles, which were themselves the result of having faced a left-handed opponent that day.

Needless to say, a lengthy diatribe about my opponent's sanitary habits, parentage, taste in clothing, ability to fence, and probable affection for barnyard fowl soon followed. I eventually reached the (admittedly irrational) conclusion that left-handed people should be banned from fencing altogether, or perhaps simply brained with a large rock.

Gave me a great idea for a t-shirt, tho.

*/End Rant/*

FMGPD

WEAR GLOVES.

(Seriously: They're required for competition fencing anyway... get used to them - more than anything else they'll improve your fencing if the fit is tight.)

But on that same note, left handed fencers are out there - you're going to have to face them, and you might as well take a lesson from what he did to you... namely, hit you in the hand.

The reason everyone complains about left handed fencers is because of how open and unprotected the right side of your body becomes. But really: they don't have an advantage over you save that they fence with that side of their body unprotected more often.

Personally, I always vastly preferred left-handed opponents (and yes, I'm right handed). Why? Because my primary target area was always the hand and lower arm. That's just easier to hit when your opponents weapon is on the same side of their body as your weapon is - in a line.

So, start working on your bell guard action, your stop cuts and buy a glove.


RimRod: DON'T FENCE FOIL
DON'T FENCE SABRE.

It just looks painful, regardless of what hand your opponent fences with. ::shudder::

But in all seriousness, facing a left-handed opponent is hell (for me at least), especially in foil, my weapon of choice.

Why foil specifically? In epee and sabre, at least you can aim for their extended left hand and arm. In foil you cannot; you have to go for their torso. The kicker, though, is that they defend their torso entirely differently than a right-handed opponent--when you face a lefty in epee or sabre, you pretty much go after their hands and arms just as you would a right-handed opponent (it's just a protruding extremity, after all), but the chest is another beast completely because all of their parries and attacks are inverted. I HATE fencing lefties.

You can also "prove" that left-handed fencers have a statistical advantage by the informal matrix below:

Right-handed fencer vs. right-handed fencer: Normal.
Right-handed fencer vs. left-handed fencer: Normal for the lefty, awkward for the righty.
Left-handed fencer vs. right-handed fencer: Normal for the lefty, awkward for the righty.
Left-handed fencer vs. left-handed fencer: Awkward for both.

So, you have a matrix in which a right-handed fencer is awkward anytime they're facing a left-handed fencer, while a left-handed fencer is only awkward while facing another lefty--and even then, they're BOTH awkward, so no one has a clear advantage.

I HATE fencing lefties.

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