Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology

Abstract - Reaction time and movement time, types of sensorimotor responses and fencing tempo

The tactical requirements of fencing combat involving dozens of unexpected situations force fencers to master a great number of movement patters. These movement patterns appear in the form of motor habits which become highly automated, even in complex technical actions, after a long-term training. The crucial timing components of individual sensorimotor responses in combat sports are reaction time and movement time. Making quick and right decisions in fencing depends on a combination of such factors as concentration, selective perception of stimuli and the choice of sensorimotor responses in rapidly changing combat situations.
Timing in fencing is also very significant. Thanks to one‘s ability to feel the so-called fencing tempo a fencer can take his or her opponent by surprise at the most convenient moment. Through adjusting the distance to the opponent and the positioning of the fencing weapon, fencers try to achieve tactical superiority by invoking their opponents‘ uncontrolled reactions. The knowledge of timing and formation of proper movement patterns as well as the fencing tempo is very significant in the training process and affects fencers‘ individual combat styles. It is also ontogenetic as in their sports careers fencers develop different types of reactions and shift the emphasis from strictly movement factors to neuro-psychical factors. A thorough analysis of these processes requires application of research methods from movement control theory as well as research results achieved by top fencing coaches.