Note: this is a new series I intend to start running on the blog, which involves my spectating of bouts and subsequently analyzing the tape. I hope you’ll find this useful. Your feedback is appreciated!
The 2012 North American Cup marked the return of Olympic staple Soren Thompson, who had been recovering from a knee injury. Thompson had a tough road to the finals, facing Andras Peterdi (15-13), Justin Dion (15-10), Lorenzo Casertano (15-8), Jimmy Moody (12-10), Alex Tsinis (15-10), and Andras Horanyi (10-8) before losing in the finals to Jason Pryor.
Pryor had been hot the whole day, with most of his opponents never even breaking the 10 touch barrier with him, including a 15-2 victory in the semis over my ol’ buddy Graham Wicas.
We got some great fencing in this final bout, and it was nice to see Soren back on the competitive circuit once again. Anyhow, here’s my analysis of the bout:
Period 1: Pryor and Thompson are both exceptionally patient fencers who often draw non-combativity. The first period of this bout was spent “dancing,” as Jason called it. Both fencers seemed intent on feeling each other out before making any serious commitments to attack. As a french grip user wary of Thompson’s significant height/reach advantage and strong blade work, Pryor approaches the bout by keeping massive distance and constantly changing his lines to avoid presenting an easy blade take. After one minute of movement, non-combativity is drawn, advancing to period 2.
Period 2: Pryor opens up period 2 with a quick toe touch. If there was a tactical wheel in Pryor’s mind, it’s as if he told himself to look for the attack to Thompson’s foot first and foremost. After Pryor takes the lead, Thompson pushes him to his 2-meter zone almost exclusively for the remainder of the bout. Pryor dominates this period by making short picks to Thompson’s hand. Period ends with Pryor winning 6-3.
Period 3: Once again the period begins with Thompson pursuing Pryor to his 2-meter zone, where the bout continues to be fenced. Up until the third period, Thompson never commits to a single full action, and finally rediscovers his explosive attacks (hopefully not residual knee issues). Thompson begins to turn the tide by finally committing to his full attacks, tying the score at 10-10 with a fleche into Pryor’s preparation. Pryor manages to take a two touch lead with excellently timed baits and counter attacks to take the score to 12-10. By this point, there is only 16 seconds left, forcing Thompson to go on the aggressive. Pryor wins 15-12, baiting off Thompson’s quick offensive.
Overall: Pryor won this bout with phenomenal control of distance and the clock and by drawing Thompson to his end of the strip almost exclusively for the entirety of the bout. There, Pryor was able to snipe, snipe, and snipe Thompson’s hand/foot/short targets and keep him at bay.
Thompson remained tentative for much of the bout, not extending and committing into his full attacks until period 3. Had Thompson discovered his full attacks earlier in the bout, this story might have had a different ending.
Those who watched this bout got a real viewing pleasure, and hopefully we’ll be able to watch them match up again.