An article in the journal PLoS ONE explains how researchers recorded high-speed video of elite fencers performing the fencing flick. ProAnalyst automatically tracked the body markers on the subjects and generated kinematic data for further analysis.
"Sport fencing is an open-skilled combat sport practiced around the world. Although previous research addressed kinematics of the lunge and fleche, there are currently no studies on the flick. The flick is a high-level action that involves bending the blade toward the opponent, much like a whip or fly-fishing cast. The aim of our research was to identify the kinematic variables that significantly influence scoring success in two elite foil fencers. In particular, we asked what aspect of the movement each individual fencer can change to improve their likelihood of scoring. Two elite foil fencers of similar skill were instructed to execute flicks at a dummy target that mimicked the opponent’s shoulder. High speed video (650 fps) captured the motion of the tip of the foil, blade of the foil, and limb joints; the latter were used to calculate joint angular velocities, hand height and distance throughout the flick. Scoring success was determined with a conventional scoring box. Our results showed that the two fencers exhibited significantly different kinematics, coordination and scoring. Using three complementary regression approaches, we showed that each fencer could improve scoring by changing specific aspects of their kinematics. For fencer A, only improvement in consistency in distance from the target would improve scoring. For fencer B, the changes were more complex. In addition to improvement in consistency in distance, fencer B could also increase (finger, wrist) or decrease (shoulder) joint angular velocity or improve consistency of limb joint angular velocities. Unexpectedly, and in contrast to common coaching practice, hand height had only a weak effect, possibly because both fencers had learnt to keep their hand high at the end of the action. In summary, our results emphasize that coaching of elite fencers should be individualized."
Kinematic determinants of scoring success in the fencing flick
Michaelsen AN, Cleland CL (2019) Kinematic determinants of scoring success in the fencing flick: Logistic and linear multiple regression analysis.
PLoS ONE 14(9): e0222075. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0222075