Fencing fighting increased, sword training schools with fencing

Fencing and Indoor
Volleyball

 

Fencing dates
back thousands of years to 1200 BCE where swordsmanship was performed as a form
of military training for war, combats between two people and pastime by the Romans,
Persians, Greeks, and Germanic tribes (Evangelista, 2017). Throughout the
Middle Ages, sword combat became a mastery of skill. As the popularity of sword
fighting increased, sword training schools with fencing masters also developed.
Changes to the sword was also made for easier handling and protection of the
human body so they were no longer used as weapons. The Italians and French
altered the cross-bar of the sword so the bar would not pierce through the protection
layer worn by the fighter, this added to the ease of handling but lost some of
the strength of the sword (Castello, 1933). By the end of the 16th
century, the sword had changed to become lighter and simpler to enhance control
and speed. This fencing style was spread and developed across Europe and soon fencing
became recognised as a form of art. Schools continued to teach fencing in safe
training environments, emphasising strategy and form. It was only in the late
19th century that fencing became an organised sport, using a light
sabre in a duel (Evangelista, 2017).

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Technology
impacted the scoring system of fencing majorly as traditional scoring was done
by five individuals giving votes, which led to issues such as cheating. This
was when an electronic scoring system was introduced in the late 1800s. A
buzzer was attached to the wall, with a wire wrapped around each fighter’s neck
to the handle of their sword. When a hit was made, the blade of the sword would
be pressed back into the handle, completing a circuit and activating the
buzzer. As technology advanced, wireless systems were developed and fighters
wore conductive jackets, masks and cuffs to improve the signal. Lights now
appear on the fighter’s mask to signal whether a hit has been successful (Ford,
2016).

            There
are three types of weapons used in fencing, including the sabre, foil and epee.
Competitors must wear the appropriate clothing checked by officials to ensure
safety, including fencing pants and a jacket called a lame, face mask, and fencing
glove. Fencers compete on a strip of material called a piste that measures 1.5
meters to 2.2 meters wide and 14 meters long and they have to stay on it at all
times. In a round, called a bout, one point to given to each fencer when they
touch their opponent in an approved target zone with their weapon. The target
changes with the different weapons used. Any part of the body counts as a touch
in epee fencing, while in sabre fencing only areas above the waist are within the
target zone and in foil fencing, only the trunk of the body can be targeted. A fencing
match lasts a maximum of nine minutes with a one minute break between each
three minutes. The winner is the first to score 15 touches or has the higher
touches when the time is up. Whenever a touch is made, a new round begins. If a
fencer steps out the boundaries, the opponent is awarded one meter of ground on
the restart round. Officials may also award a fencer one touch if the opponent
displays unethical behaviour, lack of sportsmanship or attacks with both hands
(Lynch, 2017).

Fencers require
both physical and mental training to competitively take part in this sport. Physical
training for speed, power and balance training can be done through fencing
specific exercises and fencing transferrable exercises. Fencing specific
exercises develops strength by doing movements and exercises similar to fencing
movements, while fencing transferrable exercises focuses on different movements
that can be transferred to a movement that is useful in fencing (Rogers, 2017).
Lower back and core muscles are important for balance which fencers needs while
trying to maintain on the narrow piste. Quadriceps
muscles allow fencers to lunge multiple times and stay upright without fatiguing
(Schuna, 2017). Mental training such as technique and tactical training are
also important in fencing. Lessening the tension in the mind by removing negative
thoughts of doubt and fear and calming the mind helps focus and controlled
while competing in the sport. It is important for the mind to be focused as
fencing requires fast and strategic thinking.

Fencing
is predominantly a strength-based sport as it requires explosive, high
intensity movements in short periods of time by enduring limited oxygen
consumption. This can be increased by the improvement of the anaerobic
capacity. When anaerobic fitness improves, lactic acid will not build up as
frequently and fast, allowing the body to work longer with more strength.
However, there are also aerobic elements in fencing, as endurance is needed to
sustain through multiple bouts of anaerobic movement. The repetition of
anaerobic activity then accumulates to become an aerobic activity (Dale, 2017).

Important
nutritional requirements for fencers include good amounts of carbohydrates and
fats to produce energy, and protein to build muscles. Staying hydrated is also important
due to excess sweating. Vitamins are also important to regulate the chemical reactions
inside the player’s bodies that speed up during physical movements. On average,
fencers should eat small meals every three hours and with a balanced diet they
do not need to take supplements (Rogers, 2015). Most commonly, fencing injuries
faced by players are sprains to the ankles and knees. There are risks of
overstressing the joints in these areas resulting in damage to the ligaments
(Kermes, 2017).

            Fencing
has been included in the Olympics Games since the 1896 Games in Athens, being
one of the five sports to do so (Fencing: history of fencing at the Olympic games,
2015). There is also an annual World Championships in Fencing that is the second
most prominent after the Olympics. In the London 2012 Summer Olympics, a controversy
of the sport arose. Where a South Korean fencer, Shin A Lam failed to advance
to the final match. She was tied at five points with her opponent and would
have been awarded victory on the basis of priority. However, the time was reset
from zero to one second as she was allegedly guilty of an infringement. Within that
one second that supposedly lasted longer, her opponent scored the winning
point, leading to Shin’s lost. The Korean team launched an appeal which they
had to pay for while Shim remained on the piste in a pool of tears for around
an hour. The final result was that Shin had lost the semi-finals and was to
compete for the bronze medal which she also ended up losing (Garrod, 2012).

            Indoor
volleyball was invented by an American student named William G. Morgan in 1895.
Originally known as ‘mintonette’, it was a sport Morgan created to involve
people of all age and ability and was designed and inspired by a combination of
tennis, basketball, baseball, and handball. At first, Morgan raised a tennis
net, 1.98 meters above the ground and used a basketball to toss over the net
but found it was too heavy and big. It was only until 1900, where a ball that was
light and small enough was designed and a range of tactical and technical functioning
of the sport were developed. Until the 1930s indoor volleyball was seen as a
sport for leisure and enjoyment. However, it became more competitive as the
years past and the rules of volleyball became more refined and standardised (Volleyball: a brief history, 2015).

            Technology
has impacted indoor volleyball positively by developing pieces that help
players train, help judge a game, and help coaches communicate with the players.
Exercise equipment such as the Volleyball Pal was created to enhance muscle toning
and performance of a player. A Velcro strap is attached around the player’s
waist with an elastic cord that connects to a ball pouch that holds the
volleyball. This improves performance and repetitive accuracy of hitting the
ball over the net. A boundary line technology was also developed to help a
referee judge a match when the human eye misses a point. Personal microphones
are also being used in training sessions between the coach and players to
communicate position placements and strategies while the game is occurring.
However, this is limited to a training tool as it is not yet allowed in
tournaments (Technology and volleyball).

            An
indoor volleyball court is usually 18 by 9 meters. The net in the centre of the
court is 2.43 meters from the top in the men’s game and 2.24 meters in the
women’s game. There are six players in each team, with two rows of three
players. After all players have accurately positioned themselves, the referee
will blow a whistle to signal the start of the serve. The player on the back
right serves the ball, and a point is gained when the ball lands outside the
boundary or hits the group before a player could hit it over the net. The teams
rotate positions in a clockwise manner. There is no limit to how many times the
ball touches a player as long as it doesn’t hit the ground. There is no time
limit to the length of the game, the team with the best out of three sets by
being first to score 25 points in each set wins (Silverman, 2017).

           

 

            In
1946, the initial World Championships was held and soon after in the 1964
Olympic Games in Tokyo, also saw the introduction of indoor volleyball. There have
been a few volleyball scandals involving the volleyball coaches throughout the
years. Accusations and evidence of sexual assault have been reported many
times. A prevalent example of this is Rick Butler, who was a dominant youth
volleyball coach. There were claims of him abusing underage female players who
saw him as a chance to receive a scholarship or enter the Olympics. A lifetime
ban was put on him by the USA Volleyball (USAV) in 1995 when three women
testified against him. However, he was later given an administrative role in the
USAV in 2000 and his ban was removed.