Response timing in the lunge and target change in elite versus medium-level fencers
The aim of the present work is to examine the differences between two groups of fencers with different levels of competition, elite and medium level. The timing parameters of the response reaction have been compared together with the kinetic variables which determine the sequence of segmented participation used during the lunge with a change in target during movement. A total of 30 male sword fencers participated, 13 elite and 17 medium level. Two force platforms recorded the horizontal component of the force and the start of the movement. One system filmed the movement in 3D, recording the spatial positions of 11 markers, while another system projected a mobile target over a screen. For synchronisation, an electronic signal enabled all the systems to be started simultaneously. Among the timing parameters of the reaction response, the choice reaction time (CRT) to the target change during the lunge was measured. The results revealed differences between the groups regarding the flight time, horizontal velocity at the end of the acceleration phase, and the length of the lunge, these being higher for the elite group, as well as other variables related to the temporal sequence of movement. No significant differences have been found in the simple reaction time or in CRT. According to the literature, the CRT appears to improve with sports practice, although this factor did not differentiate the elite from medium-level fencers. The coordination of fencing movements, that is, the right technique, constitutes a factor that differentiates elite fencers from medium-level ones.