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Author Topic: New French Fencing Federation lightsaber sport! Rules analysis  (Read 3927 times)
Cang Snow
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« on: February 21, 2019, 07:33:45 AM »

Hello. Please correct me if I made any errors. I know some of you will XD

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igUlXuJ-khA" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">Error 404 (Not Found)!!1</a>
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Infinit01
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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2019, 07:56:24 AM »

Good analysis, Cang.  You know your stuff
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Master Seblaise
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2019, 05:24:55 AM »

Well ... I think I agree with you Cang Wink

The analysis of the rules and the analogy with canne (11 min) is true enough and I share your point of view about the "philosophy" the Federation wanted to put in that rules.

I think their goal is not to create a Martial Art but a Sport. So, TPLA, LightSpeed ... will remain more realistic.

It is the same thing with other disciplines: Judo as a sport in the Olympics is different from the original Judo martial art ... also true for Karate or Taekwondo.

Hope other national fencing federations will follow Wink

Have a point Wink
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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2019, 01:45:17 PM »

5 points for a head or upper torso strike seems to be generous.  Especially when only 15 points are required to win or the highest points accumulated over 3 minutes.  I read this somewhere on the internet.  Wish I could recall the body area specifics for 3 and 1 points. Since I'm not a competitive dueler... perhaps this is reasonable and likely well thought out.  Smiley

EDIT:  Just watched Cang's very informative video after making first comment.  My preference would be more of the free style for multiple reasons but need to see some actual Federation approved video demonstrations.
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Cang Snow
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2019, 02:35:37 PM »

Well ... I think I agree with you Cang Wink

The analysis of the rules and the analogy with canne (11 min) is true enough and I share your point of view about the "philosophy" the Federation wanted to put in that rules.

I think their goal is not to create a Martial Art but a Sport. So, TPLA, LightSpeed ... will remain more realistic.

It is the same thing with other disciplines: Judo as a sport in the Olympics is different from the original Judo martial art ... also true for Karate or Taekwondo.

Hope other national fencing federations will follow Wink

Have a point Wink

Thanks Seblaise and others!

Well, it's funny to me that apparently this originated with TPLA? I wonder how much they seriously back this ruleset or whether they see it as a stepping stone to something more true to combat? I know there are some members here so maybe they can shed some light on it.
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« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2019, 11:59:20 AM »

Thanks Seblaise and others!

Well, it's funny to me that apparently this originated with TPLA? I wonder how much they seriously back this ruleset or whether they see it as a stepping stone to something more true to combat? I know there are some members here so maybe they can shed some light on it.

Greetings! Let me explain a little about our relationship with this rule set and rule sets in general:

First things is first, TPLA is a learning and service based organization. We hope to be able to serve the needs of anyone involved in any rule set or league. All our material is from professional martial arts instructors, thematic coaches, and martial arts scholars in our ranks. We try to vent it as completely as we can through the use of free play and sparring and use a number of rule sets to to teach basic swordplay principles. Some focus on skills development, some focus on strategic play, and other that are basically free fights with limited restrictions. In  free sparring practice, experimentation, or “lab” we allow grappling, hand to hand, weapon strikes etc. to test our ideas.

So to your first question of what do we prefer a constrained system or an open system, I am afraid I don’t see that as a dichotomy. There are various levels of freedom of technique that every rule set contains, for the simple fact that we cannot or will not actually injure and kill each other in this activity. Any sport is going to be an abstract analog of combat with rules to force specific behavior. Therefore I don’t see either one as terribly “real”. Some rule set are more fun to play than to watch, some are too complicated to be much fun, but most are strong in one area but have a difficult time in another.

So to us, the French rule set is just another rule set. It is based on our system of progression and safety, as well as some stylistic stuff, but it is Cedric Giroux’s hard work that brought it in to being. We absolutely stand by it as a very cool and fun rule set. We have not yet had a chance to try it out with many people, but when we do a video will be in order. We re very proud of Cedric and his accomplishment. But while the system is based off our system, the rule set its self is the ASL-FFE system. We do not lay any claim to the rule set it’s self.

The ASL-FFE rules are designed as a spectator sport. The rules are concerned with the pace, Ruth and look of the matches as a form of entertainment for an audience. AS such it has some attributes of choreography in it. But also it creates a more easy to follow dynamic of interplay. Large sweeping announcement movements cue not only the fighters but the audience and spectators as well.

Is a stepping stone to something more true to combat? I don’t really know what that is. Every rule set will take their own attitude to what defines “real” combat. Just because you cant just do things randomly doesn’t make it more free a system. Most martial arts start out with a “first hit” type of idea. That becomes limiting very quickly, and you get lots of “whack a mole”. While the French system does require you to telegraph or announce your attack, as an exercise that can be very valuable. It makes you more aware of your opponent and what they are doing rather than just being wrapped up in what you are doing.

In a real battle we can only do a few things that will both keep us safe and allow us to attack the other person. In games like Duan Bing and the first hit rule, doubles and messy exchanges are far more likely. Is that more real? Maybe, but in reality both would die, so I guess maybe not? Being forced to do certain things because the situation dictates it is a part of real combat. But as we said, no competition rule set is really very real. It’s all abstract from out point of view.

Some draw backs we have with it is it is difficult to self score. Refs are sort of needed to judge exchanges. This is not a problem for the FFE as it is for competition. But for casual practitioners, it can be a challenge. It might take a longer time to get used to the rules set being that there are so many fine details. Also, it may take people a bit of time to gain the skill to keep up with the play. Being able to identify when you can start and not start your attack can have a learning curve.

As I said, we are very proud of Cedrics work in getting this accept through the rigorous French Sporting system. It was a huge accomplishment on his part. How seriously do we stand by this? Very seriously. It is a huge deal for this to be accepted in the French Sporting arena. DO I think this is the end all and be all of rules sets? No. It is one that has a specific goal that it accomplished very well. A goal which I should say is shared by a good number of other organizations. To create something that is like a dynamic staged fight with out being that. While that question is one for another time, I don't really see things as being this or that. It is always a a continuum.

We all play our own games and these games are designed to create the type of play that we want to see and experience. This is not really real combat. Real combat has tings forced on you and if you fail, often you are maimed or die. We are forced to used points, thank goodness. So it will always be a toss up in my mind.

I hope this is clears up some things. If not, ask away!

Happy Sabering!
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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2019, 09:21:11 AM »

"The ASL-FFE rules are designed as a spectator sport."
I think here lies the problem: the moment we start worrying about looks the martial art ends. That is exactly what I see in these rules: another overly regulated, extremely abstract and overly sportyfied activity like Olympic fencing or kendo with mostly non-transferable skills and totally counterproductive techniques (that you can not use in a real fight).

"Most martial arts start out with a “first hit” type of idea. That becomes limiting very quickly, and you get lots of “whack a mole”
Just use an afterblow concept and problem is solved. And what is more important it is solved in a realistic way without any need to introduce "right of the way" or any other artificial rules.

The only real benefit to having such a complex set of artificial rules I can see is from a business perspective. It:
a) makes fights more "movie like" for general audience;
b) effectively locks athletes in that sport by making them unable to compete in other kinds of fencing (other types of lightsaber combat, HEMA, etc.) without a reconditioning period.

The last reason is what bothers me most of all. My own goal in our club is to create a seamless environment in which different kind of fencers (lightsabre fighters, HEMAists, re-enactors, LARPers and so on) can train, practice and compete with each other with minimal additional training and without spending a fortune on the equipment. When I see European colleagues building barriers between different schools (be it in the form of non-participation in common events or in the form of artificially complex and unnecessary unique rules) it makes me a bit uneasy.
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Master Seblaise
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« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2019, 01:46:32 PM »

I think it is not a matter of rules but a matter of goal Wink

Lightsaber can be seen as a Martial art or as a sport and the way you have to practice is the one you can have the most of fun, that's all Wink

Personally, I prefer practicing Lightsaber as a sport because it is more fun to me. And sport means rules but, to me, these rules are less artificial that the 7 forms for example. But it is just my opinion and I have full respect for duelist that considers the forms and wants to fight without any rules ...

Stay safe and take pleasure Wink
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« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2019, 01:00:14 PM »

I echo the comments of others regarding having respect for all the various ways people can enjoy sabering. There is no right or wrong way to have fun as long as safety is observed. I also want to acknowledge all the hard work it takes to develop a rule set, test it, train it, assure quality control with the judges and the million other things that go into it.
Full disclosure, and I am sure no surprise, I personally enjoy more free form martial sparring over sport. Even while studying Kendo, I much preferred the free-flow sparring of Ji-Geiko to test my skill, over the sportified scored tournaments. For me, the realism, historic martial aspects, ability to express creativity and develop one’s own personal style are what I love. Including and blending aspects of so many rich sword and martial traditions is perhaps my favorite part of light sabering.
So, with that all said, I do understand what the French rules are attempting to accomplish. In fact, I am eager to see how this develops and grows. But bottom line for me, I can NOT get past the “immunity” granted with right of way. I love to rely on my footwork, anticipation and spirit (Kokoro) to be able to land clean strikes on an attacking opponent without a parry. This ability to kill the technique or demonstrate superior spirit is much of the essence of sword fighting for me. I am also unsure, based on what has been released, on how the “arming” or wind up rule will be interpreted and how that will impact the martial realism in a negative manner.
Just my two cents. I will be following this with great interest.
Finnaly, thank you Snow for such an interesting, informative breakdown video. As always- great work and contributions to the community.
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Master Seblaise
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« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2019, 12:58:36 AM »

I love to rely on my footwork, anticipation and spirit (Kokoro) to be able to land clean strikes on an attacking opponent without a parry. This ability to kill the technique or demonstrate superior spirit is much of the essence of sword fighting for me. I am also unsure, based on what has been released, on how the “arming” or wind up rule will be interpreted and how that will impact the martial realism in a negative manner.
Just my two cents. I will be following this with great interest.

I really think that the "arming" rule is for having wide moves to make a duel more "theatrical" and spectacular (and, not realistic).

As i understand the rules, you can attack an attacking opponent as long as you "dodge" his/her strike (you do not have to formally make a parry). This rule of priority is here to avoid double touch I think. We have the same one in Canne ... And I also think that it is because the duel is not stopped after each touch but you have a complete round of fight (like in boxing) and you calculate the points at the end.

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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2019, 05:46:14 AM »

"The ASL-FFE rules are designed as a spectator sport."
I think here lies the problem: the moment we start worrying about looks the martial art ends. That is exactly what I see in these rules: another overly regulated, extremely abstract and overly sportyfied activity like Olympic fencing or kendo with mostly non-transferable skills and totally counterproductive techniques (that you can not use in a real fight).
While your view pint is one that is common I have to say it is not historically accurate. All sports can be said to have started out as combat. At least combat sports or contests. Aesthetics and performance have always been a big part of the martial arts for as long as there has been writing. Whether it be for the theatre, street performing, or integration in local ethnic dances and rituals.
Quote
"Most martial arts start out with a “first hit” type of idea. That becomes limiting very quickly, and you get lots of “whack a mole”
Just use an afterblow concept and problem is solved. And what is more important it is solved in a realistic way without any need to introduce "right of the way" or any other artificial rules.
Well, then its no longer a "first hit" type of rule set. The point is many rule sets are first touch with no after-blows etc.
Quote
The only real benefit to having such a complex set of artificial rules I can see is from a business perspective. It:
a) makes fights more "movie like" for general audience;
b) effectively locks athletes in that sport by making them unable to compete in other kinds of fencing (other types of lightsaber combat, HEMA, etc.) without a reconditioning period.
Disagree here too. Following a rule of priority does help one start to get out of their own head and paying attention more to the opponent. You are now looking for specific things on which to capitalize. It is a challenging thing not to be able to just go in to fight mode and start throwing out plays and things. You must now look for specific opportunities. It is challenging for people who don't do that often. But ultimately it is a great thing to put into practice.
Quote
The last reason is what bothers me most of all. My own goal in our club is to create a seamless environment in which different kind of fencers (lightsabre fighters, HEMAists, re-enactors, LARPers and so on) can train, practice and compete with each other with minimal additional training and without spending a fortune on the equipment. When I see European colleagues building barriers between different schools (be it in the form of non-participation in common events or in the form of artificially complex and unnecessary unique rules) it makes me a bit uneasy.
This is the goal of TPLA and has been from the beginning. We have found, however that one method is not going to be enough to allow everyone to participate. Rule sets like this one make it fun for everyone. And for experienced people, it can also provide a much sought after challenge. 

Again, as I thought I clearly stated above, this is not the ONKY rule set. It is one that is being used at an official level so thats very cool. But yo make this sound like it will be the end of swordplay. The rule set is not that complicated nor that difficult to run. It might be hard to do without someone acting as ref or judge, but that is true of many rule sets. The rule of priority here is no more difficult to apply than an after-blow rule.

Thanks for your opinion. You certainly don't have to use this for anything if you don't want. I would say it's probably not the end of anything but a beginning. We at TPLA do more "realistic" sparring as well as the sport. We try to avoid  the whack a mole as you tend not to improve much doing the same things over and over.
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« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2019, 12:25:37 AM »

Quote
Following a rule of priority does help one start to get out of their own head and paying attention more to the opponent.
From personal experience I can say, that it does not. Rather, the one rushing in benefits the most - just take a look at olympic fencing. The one attacking has not to mind a single time defense or even a double hit - they just have to hit first, while the defender has to parry to be able to legally score.

Quote
I really think that the "arming" rule is for having wide moves to make a duel more "theatrical" and spectacular (and, not realistic).
Basically, the "arming" is there for the benefit of the judges. It' s easier to see actions if they are slowed down with wider preparations.
Canne didn't have those wide armings in the beginning, with the cane being only drawn back to the shoulder, not past it. Wink

Having experience with different rulesets, to me the "hit over time" method is the worst. It doesn't support good fencing (with the emphasis on not getting hit), rather it leads to whacking away and counting on being the first to land a hit. With the right of way, one does not even have to fear a double hit, as there simply are none.
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Master Seblaise
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« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2019, 07:42:18 AM »


Basically, the "arming" is there for the benefit of the judges. It' s easier to see actions if they are slowed down with wider preparations.


True ... but it also makes assault more spectacular with wide moves associated with green, blue and red blades ...
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« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2019, 06:05:18 PM »

I have been sport fencing for about 30 years, and the FFE rules are quite a draw for me.

They have priority. This is perhaps counter intuitive but the sports weapons with priority are far more aggressive. The only time in the movies we aren't watching the clash of blades is when we are getting a dialogue. So thematically the rules are closer to what I expect of lightsaber combat.

Arming is to me the stroke of brilliance, as it slows down the action, it takes precious time to draw the sword back and come in again. However, this has some really interesting and clever effects on the action. You are more likely to see parries and counter-parries (parries of ripostes) than with the current rule sets for Foil or Sabre. As such I am drawn to the potential to have a "conversation of blades".

Arming will also reduce the chance of accidental thrusts which probably isn't the most pleasant way of being struck as the poly-carbonite of the blade isn't as flexible as any of the blades I am used to.

Also, just having a set of rules that will spark the imaginations of fencers and "lightsaberists" will be a good thing for both sports.

Having the rules ensure that it is safe and fun is important, but having a recognised sporting body as the FFE also ensure that what you are doing seems less like a joke or a fad than otherwise.

I think the challenge is for the lightsaber enthusiasts and the sports fencers is to come together and help each other grow this remarkable start (years in the making no doubt!) and learn together with co-operation. I think our two communities are closer than you may have realised. http://floobynooby.blogspot.com/2013/01/bob-anderson-sword-master-darth-vader.html

Can I also ask, is there a lesson plan for beginner level students anywhere? Being an old fella words and pictures would be a bonus. As an Australian getting to the FFE training sessions is rather hard.
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Master Seblaise
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« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2019, 01:27:38 AM »

Can I also ask, is there a lesson plan for beginner level students anywhere? Being an old fella words and pictures would be a bonus. As an Australian getting to the FFE training sessions is rather hard.

I will see if I find some materials about that ....
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