Leon Paul Blog
Brought to life in 2016, this blog looks at our sport in all its forms and from all angles. Are you ready to explore the world of fencing?
It’s hard to improve something if you have no idea how to measure it. “Being a better fencer” is a worthy goal, but it is difficult to know if you’re achieving it.
We all want to be better fencers. If you don’t then you can stop reading here - but leave a comment at the bottom because I’m curious why you’re on this site. We train, drill, spar, compete, pore over old books and read modern fencing handbooks on the sly. All to be better fencers.
How do we know if our training is working?
In my part 1 post, I discussed how clever lighting had made huge improvements to the way Fencing Came across on TV at the Rio 2016 Olympics. There are another few factors that are gradually improving the sports appearance on TV.
Did Rio mark a new dawn for televised fencing or is this the start of a raft of changes that will improve the sports appeal to a wider audience?
The Fencing Podcast was launched by two Scottish fencers/coaches/nerds in the immediate aftermath of the Rio Olympics. Sean Walton and Gavin McMenemy are the voices of the podcast, after a friend suggested they give the medium a try. Gav has a history of online fencing presence - maintaining the peace as a moderator on Leon Paul’s Fencing Forum (and the US-based ) for many years - and Sean has written fencing blogs, so a podcast seemed the logical next step. While there is a lot of online discussion and writing about fencing, there is little spoken-word output.
Now that I have your attention I wanted to talk to you about testing mask mesh quality for fencing and for the sport of HEMA. My name is Jacek Bujko. I have been helping Leon Paul develop a HEMA range of fencing equipment. I started fencing at a local sports club when I was twenty and then studied Historical European Martial Arts in Poland for a couple of years before eventually settling down with my own recreational fencing club. I am a huge fencing and HEMA fan I even got married in my fencing suit as it just felt right!
One of my first projects with Leon Paul was to develop a HEMA mask. I feel we have made some great updates and improvements to the HEMA mask. One of the things I have experienced and wanted to talk about was the D word…. DENTS!
"My mask just got dented!"
Then the inevitable:
"Was that blow really that strong?" "I didn't even feel that!"
are very common in our heads when we come to realize, that the precious new mask that we've just recently got is not so pristine anymore.
The other day I had a hot thought…… Can we see if there is a measurable difference between how much heat different uniforms retain? My conclusion was that yes, we can. Recently the FIE and Leon Paul did experiments on various uniforms using an amazing mannequin from EMPA in Switzerland, a specialist in testing clothing.
"Never was so much owed by so many to so few"
Winston Churchill-August 20, 1940
This story doesn’t really have much to do with fencing, but I want to share it with you anyway.
It was in 2006, I’d flown to London for work. I was staying with Barry Paul and his wife Joan, who live near the Brent Reservoir in Wembley. Barry is Leon Paul’s grandson and now owns the Leon Paul Fencing Equipment Company. In his day, Barry was a 5 time National Foil Champion of England and he knows the sport of fencing like no one else I have ever met. He is a naturally funny man with great sense of humor and a heart of gold.
I have spent the last few months listening to my brother, Alex Paul, talk about wireless technology. In that time I have learnt many new words like Farad (F). A Farad is a unit of capacitance. Capacitance is an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together….
Ok, so now I am just quoting Star Wars and to be honest when my brother starts talking about technology and science I normally zone out. So in short, it is magic and I may have misled you with the title of this blog post. Here is what I have found out about wireless technology in fencing:
People are so used to wired systems. They take ages to get used to the changes. People generally don’t like change and as a result are inherently mistrusting of wireless fencing as there are so many half-baked systems out there.