The most famous lefties: Merignac & Gaudin

Arguably the two most famous lefties in fencing history: Maitre Lucien Merignac trains the famous champion Lucien Gaudin (and his daughter Roberte, who looks just like him).  Interestingly, Maitre Merignac is teaching with his right hand.  This could be for the camera, or could be a pedagogical choice as most lefty’s opponents are obviously right handers (as a left-handed fencer myself, I usually find I end up teaching right-handed about half the time).

Once again one can see the influence of modern fencing in the video (for example, the more 50-50 guard position and the “falling” lunges), but still an interesting look at French fencing as it was making the transition from classical to modern, where the actions are very clean.  Notice Maitre Merignac’s leaning-forward when he is hit, and bent-arm attacks (his students’ attacks start with the extended arm).  There may be a reason for these we can’t hear (e.g., the lesson is how to defend against a bent-arm attack), but for a classical or historical fencer these seem poor pedagogical choices or habits since they would affect the students’ sense of distance.

Also notice the rectangular foil guards, of Merignac’s design.

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