Fencing: Steps to Success

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Human Kinetics, 2002 - Sports & Recreation - 150 pages

Fencing: Steps to Success covers all of the essential skills of the epee and foil forms of fencing. This book will serve as the perfect training guide for less experienced fencers and students of fencing, as well as a valuable reference for instructors of this highly technical sport.

One of the most recognized fencing figures in the United States, author Elaine Cheris shares her expertise as both a fencer and instructor. In each progressive learning step, she carefully describes each major skill, presents sequential illustrations (approximately 150 in all) to show how to perform the skill, and then provides a series of drills to refine the skills through practice. The book's step-by-step teaching method is both challenging and fun for the student, promoting skills development and motivation to learn more. It's the perfect technique-development guide and a valuable reference.

Having made the U.S. Olympic team in both epee and foil, Cheris covers both forms in this book, giving you a well-rounded introduction to the sport. A highly accomplished instructor, Cheris owns and operates the Cheyenne Fencing Society and has been the chairperson for two World Championships. She has instructed many notable students, including pop music stars Neil Diamond and Jimmy Buffett.

See all the titles available in the Steps to Success Series.

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I'll admit, I did not read anywhere the entire book, but as an experienced fencer I did not need to do so in order to see how quickly the author is steering her readers on the wrong track. Epee and foil are NOT nearly identical weapons that can be fenced with the same techniques or strategy. That analogy is as ridiculous as saying that riding a bike and driving a car, because after all both have wheels. Cheris ignores the fact that right-of-way is the main difference between foil and epee, meaning that while foil concentrates on beats and parries, epeeists need to hone their skills in binds and absence of blade. Suffice to say, I would not recommend this book to anyone trying to understand the sport or trying to master a new weapon, especially if they do not have an expert coach to help them differentiate between the techniques and strategies necessary for each of the different weapons. "Fencing epee like a foilist" or vice versa, is in fact the first step to failure in fencing. 

About the author (2002)

Having competed in national and international fencing competitions for two decades, Elaine Cheris stands as one of the all-time great U.S. fencers. Also well known as an instructor and administrator, she owns and operates the Cheyenne Fencing and Modern Pentathlon Center, where she has instructed many notable students, including pop music star Jimmy Buffett. She also has been the chairperson for two World Championships (1989 senior, 1993 Under-20 and Under-17) and the Coach of the Junior World Team.

Cheris was the #1 ranked fencer in the United States in 2000 and the highest-ranking American internationally 1998-1999. She is a three-time Olympian (1980, 1988, 1996), a member of various teams including the 1988 women's foil team, the 1996 Atlanta women's epee team, the 1987 Pan American Games gold medal women's foil team, and the gold medal women's epee team in 1991.

Cheris was also a member of the U.S. World Championships team in epee six times (1990-1994, 1998) and in foil three times (1982, 1985, 1987). She graduated from Troy State University in 1970 with a degree in Physical Education/Psychology. She resides in Denver, Colorado.

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