Paul Soter, previously a US National Coach delivered a very good session on Friday morning on epee training, covering from the planning of instruction from the multi-year campaign to the individual lesson. A key point was to identify what you are coaching as a unit, the individual, the group (such as a weapons squad), or multiple groups (a complete team). He discussed the differences in training for the long term versus the fast track, with an emphasis on the issues associated with teaching fast track fencers new techniques. Some important themes addressed included:
... the double hit becomes a test of wills to determine who will figuratively flinch first.
... energy demands have clearly separated between the three weapons - endurance for the epee fencer is important.
... our target in the season of 200 practice bouts per month is an average for elite fencers.
... in foil and sabre the differentiation between fencers in a high level competition is great - number 32 has little chance of beating number 1 - but in epee number 32 has a good chance of beating number 1, forcing great concentration in every bout.
... there are three ways to score a touch - tip, strip, and clock - use all three.
... in epee there are 3 major aspects: (1) distance, distance, distance, (2) precision of movement, (3) the opponent's philosophy of how to use the blade.
... the game and tactics have become much more simplified, footwork is mondirectional, distance has collapsed, and the remise is paramount.
... the guard position demonstrated was parallel to the strip with the blade raised to approximately 30-45 degrees - this is the strongest parry position and allows a rapidly accelerating combination of lowering and extension in the riposte.
... the advance, lunge (as opposed to the advance-lunge) is very important when taking the blade.