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Is Western Fencing Useful?
Crackpot Mailbox: Ledford Ledford Wants to Know


Sat, Nov 10, 7:02 PM (5 days ago)

Dear Mr. LaFond,

I have the opportunity to train in western fencing. Does practice in fencing translate to combat with real weapons? Kendo is also available, but it seems too stylized.

I appreciate your opinion, have bought, read, and enjoyed several of your books.

All the best,

-Ledford Ledford

James LaFond <>

Tue, Nov 13, 4:11 PM (2 days ago)

to ledfordledfordledford


I cannot access my sites yet. When I can your article will be up first.

Thanks for the idea.


Fencing and Kendo?

To be clear, any sport, combative or not, will accrue some measure of benefit to the masculine machine. Kendo imparts some mobility and spirit but also imparts deadly habits.

Kendo first.

Kendo is the sporting form of an inferior dueling art, which is kenjitsu, which will retard your time and measure and your combat sensitivity. Avoid Japanese swordsmanship—they won't fight western fencers and I once dismantled a kenjitsu instructor armed with a hickory boken while armed with a rattan escrima stick with turkey baster head to simulate a club, and an 8 inch wide shield made from plastic salad plates. Kendo disallows targeting the lead hand and leg, which means anyone trained in kendo will get their lead hand and leg taken right the fuck off by a half decent escrimidor or western fencer. Kendo is not a functional combat art.

Fencing with the small sword is the basis for the jab of modern boxing. The first boxing champion, James Figg, was a fencing master. Bruce Lee, while not a proven fighter, was a genius level teacher or hybrid fighting and used fencing principles in refitting boxing as he found it to fulfill its original role. His straight blast punch owes as much to direct fencing study as to his boxing practice and Jack Dempsey's Championship Boxing and Aggressive Punching manual.

While you may begin with the foil, which is, like the shinai [kendo stick] not a weapon but a training tool, keep in mind that you want to fence with the epee [preferably the nasty Italian version] the rapier and the saber. Like the sport of kendo, the sport of foil fencing does not target the limbs. It does, however, have a purpose, in developing focus and point control, so should not be discarded like kendo, but understood as a training discipline.

In terms of empty hand combat, the epee and rapier will help you immensely with time and measure and the guarded lunge.

In terms of weaponry in survival situations the use of the saber is superior.

If you are lucky enough to be involved in historical fencing, than all of those weapons generalize to various tools and objects, such as canes, umbrellas and workplace equipment, tools and fixtures.

As a man in an at once predatory and sissy world you should gain competence in the widest possible range of weapons, and ultimately you must envision yourself as the weapon system, with the various weapons equating to the different bits for the drill that is you.

For an example of a guarded lunge based on fencing, see Marvin Hagler's jab versus John Mugabi in their brutal fight available on YouTube.

Thought Crimes: Against the Goddess



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Add Comment
Ledford LedfordNovember 17, 2018 6:27 PM UTC

Thanks very much for the response. As far as I can see, at the fencing club nearby they practice with the foil. I'll ask about the epee, rapier, and saber.

The only attraction of the Kendo class was the yelling like Toshiro Mifune in a Kurosawa movie. Which I have to admit was pretty cool.
responds:November 18, 2018 4:28 PM UTC

In the end, Kendo has benefits—you will be moving around trying not to get hit and trying to hit. I was speaking on its use in forming survivable habits. It is physical activity which is good. Wait to ask about the other forms of fencing, as some foil instructors feel insulted by people coming to them to seek beyond their art. You will build the basics for the epee and rapier with the foil and will be able to learn soon enough about other opportunities. The fact that they have kendo available is a good sign.
Ruben ChandlerNovember 17, 2018 6:07 AM UTC

meeting you and banjo would indeed be quite the treat!
Ruben ChandlerNovember 15, 2018 8:45 PM UTC

Really interesting article. In the 80s I went to Pacific Fencing Academy in San Francisco. I think the conditioning saved me a couple times. I had forgotten about one until reminded a couple of years ago. Two band members and I were returning from rehearsal, on foot, from MDC's warehouse out by Candlestick Park. This is never a good idea for emaciated dope fiend white boys to be doing at any time, let alone at dawn. We were just getting near the projects near Haight x Buchanan when we were assaulted by a few "unarmed" youths demanding money. I just turned my palm upward and thrust it straight up as hard as I could. The blow pushed the "unarmed" youth's knife, held perpendicular to the ground, through the soft area under his neck, behind his chin, pinning his tongue to the roof of his mouth. I then gave him a quarter, told him change comes from within and we went on our merry, drug addled, way.
responds:November 16, 2018 9:05 PM UTC

Great story.

I hope you and Banjo get to meet someday.