The purpose of this page is to provide guidance on the GBR Style. 

What is the GB Style?

The GB Style is a frame of reference to help the development of fencing and fencers. It was created by ADP Coaching Teams and has been shared and assessed by some personal coaches in it development.

The document contains a number of components and looks to provide a common terminology and approach for coaches and fencers across all three weapons, whilst building on the different requirements of each weapon. It is designed to be iterative and adjust to changes in the way fencing is fought, whilst keeping to principles of the fencer development model created. It is linked to the British Fencing Pathway Standard, in particular:

Technical Excellence,
Adaptability and Decision Making.

Tactical Concepts – The ability to adapt to the opponent tactical changes often can make a difference in achieving the victory or suffering the lost. It would be expected that fencers’ on programme  have a number of differing tactical gameplans, these within the  individual and team formats.

Technical Constructs – The best sports people often refer to doing the basics better than the rest. The technical construct will add a greater focus to these areas, but also look to identify areas of technical development that would have a great impact on performance at international competition.

Why do we need a GB Style?

“The one clear message from the literature is that the terminology used in sport is not standardized, which leads to confusion of purpose, ideas, and hence conclusions. There has been a proliferation of terms and acronyms over the past 10-15 years. Each of these terms describes something slightly different, yet there is no order or framework through which their relations to one another can be recognised.”

At Championships and Senior World events, and especially in team events, it is important for athletes and coaches to be able to communicate in common terms, for fencers to be able to put into practice what is being asked of them strategically and tactically and for coaches to help athletes to produce higher level of performance in the pressure situations to achieve more and better results.

A Strategic Framework  (3Ps)

The GB Style will provide a method of approaching tactical decision-making, distilled into ‘The 3Ps’ (Perceive, Provoke, Predict), in order to help coaches assist their fencers to develop strategic thinking and understanding of tactical situations and fight structure. This in turn will help develop the ability to choose how they create the space and time needed for the fencer’s choice of tactic. The goal is to help coaches to improve their fencers’ decision-making and to provide clarity of thought in all situations. High-level experience will augment this process over time as fencers move into their senior careers.

The 3Ps

PERCEIVE – to notice something or someone by using sight, sound, touch, taste, or smell. In the context of fencing, we mean the ability of a fencer to observe their opponent and anticipate their intention.

PROVOKE – to cause a reaction, especially a negative one. In the context of fencing, we mean the ability of a fencer to force a desired reaction from their opponent, that the fencer can then capitalise on.

PREDICT – to say that an event or action will happen in the future. In the context of fencing, we meant the ability of a fencer to anticipate an opponent’s action and execute a planned reaction to this.

The premise is that every action in each weapon is already performed with one of the ‘3Ps’ intuitively in the mind, regardless of piste position. By solidifying in the fencer’s mind which of the 3Ps they are using we can clarify the distance, timing and preparation they need to perform their action successfully. It should be noted that a fencer will often switch between the ‘3Ps’ at different moments in a single hit and needs to be prepared for opportunism and using intuitive actions in all scenarios.

3 Ps Principles Space Time
Perceive Keep out of critical distance until the moment you can make a decision Ensure the opponent commits to a decision first, and that you’re prepared to react to different options
Provoke Maintain or reach critical distance to force a reaction Start your provocation before the opponent’s hitting action, commit to your final (second intention) action after their reaction
Predict Create the distance required to exploit the predicted action Ensure your action happens at the moment of the opponent’s predicted reaction (not too early/too late)

Each Weapon has considered International Trends and the Principles of play, the tactical and technical components.


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