Teaching fencing with fighting games? Pro fencers create tutorial using concepts and terms from Super Smash Bros.

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • March 27, 2020 at 4:35 p.m. PDT | Comments: 7

Those of us who have spent ample time working in restaurants know all too well the faux pas of calling out "CORNER!" and using similar work terms via force of habit while outside of the workplace. Having now spent over 10 years in the active fighting game community, I dare admit that I've called my fiancé out for using "option selects" while debating where we'll eat or what we'll watch on Netflix.

It seems it's almost impossible to keep the day to day lingo used in the various avenues of our lives from peeking through into others, and that's not always a bad thing. In fact, a pair of professional fencers, Joseph and Eli Schenkel, have put together a fencing tutorial video in which they use concepts and terms from fighting games to get a few points across.

This video was actually sent to me by my friend and former Street Fighter training partner, Nick "Dr1ftwood" Going, who traded in his fight stick for a foil a few years back.

More than a few times during long car rides to Wednesday Night Fights did he draw interesting parallels between the worlds of fencing and fighting games. He excitedly recounted a handful of the lessons he's shared with me over the years. He offered a few more for this article.

"We use a strip for lateral movement, similar to Street Fighter," he starts. "We constantly try to make opponents 'fall short,' which means whiff, and then punish their whiff with correct distance. In fencing, we use the word distance to talk about the space between the opponents and how to manipulate it.

"It's core to the sport. It's essentially footsies on steroids because it's happening super fast. If people watch fencing but think about Street Fighter footsies, they'll understand more about what's happening."

Photo credit: Bryn Heidenreich

Dr1ftwood, a Fei-Long player back in Street Fighter 4, is a fan of comparing his main character's moves to common fencing maneuvers. Strangely enough, there's so such thing as "chicken wing lunge" in fencing, though it's actually a reference to performing a lunge with incorrect form.

"Fei-Long's rekka is almost identical to a fencing lunge. Continuing a fencing lunge into another lunge is called a redouble, and it's exactly what rekkas are. Defense is very similar in that we have a high/low and left/right options. You make the opponent think you are attacking high, but go low, etc.

"Mostly I just like to see fencing get out there, so if people are playing and enjoy fighting games, but would like to get into better shape, they should try fencing!"

It isn't too difficult to start seeing how many parallels between fencing and fighting games (especially two-dimensional ones) naturally occur. The concepts of attack startup and recovery, as well as hit and hurtboxes, translate between the two with matter of fact fluidity.

Check out the video from the Schenkel brothers below, and if this sparks any further interest in fencing for you then be sure to check out the S-Class YouTube channel for more informative and intriguing content.

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