Main / About the Fund / Interview / Interview with David Tyshler
Interview with David Tyshler

The International Charity Fund “For Future of Fencing” offers congratulations to the outstanding master of blade, great teacher and modern fencing theoretician, Chairman of the Fund Board of Trustees David Tyshler on his 80th anniversary!


Great maestro and his pupils


Information: Born on June 13, 1927 in Kherson, Ukraine.


Graduated from the State Central Institute of Physical Education (1949).

Doctor of Pedagogical Science, Professor of Fencing and Modern Pentathlon Department at the Russian State University of Physical Education.

Full member of the International Automation Academy.

Published more then 200 scientific papers, including fencing educational books, study guides and teacher. Many works were published in English, German, Spanish, French, Polish, Rumanian and Chinese abroad.

Merited Master of Sports. Bronze winner at the Olympic Games-1956 of the team sabre competition. Participant of the Olympic Games-1960 (the 7th in the individual competition). Silver and bronze winner of the World Championships in 1955 — 1959.

Honored Coach of the USSR. The Olympic Champions M.Midler, M.Rakita, V.Sidjak, V.Krovopouskov, V.Bazhenov were among his pupils.

Honored Worker of physical culture of the Russian Federation.

Winner of the All-Russian contest “Sport Elite of Russia” as the Best Scientist of Russia in the sphere of Olympic training (1995).

Member of the Russian Fencing Federation Executive Committee.


            David Tyshler: “The fencer’s intellect is a creative capacity to foresee and instantly picture in mind future situations and the adversary’s actions, while comprehensively analyzing his own behavior according to the current circumstances”.


Now Tyshler is an impressive and beautiful person with his grey hair, composedly stylish and charmingly wise like the captain of the Musketeers Monsieur de Treville. Now, when he is a professor of the Russian University of Physical Education, many pupils wish to get to his Postgraduate Studies Department and his opinion concerning any aspect of fencing is considered to be the most qualified. Now he is an outstanding theoretician, author of many books, favourite of theatres, fight choreographer for plays at the best Moscow theatres. But once he hardly looked like impetuous sabre fencers, his actions looked judicious during the bout, and his motions were less fast than ones of his adversaries.

Having understood that he couldn’t move faster, Tyshler began to create his own training system, which he used at first by himself, and then with his pupils.

For some people sabre fencing is a fight between temperaments and wills, clashing, crying and rushing. For some – a confrontation between physical abilities, enhanced and advanced by individual technique. For Tyshler sabre fencing is a mind game, proving of the theorem in a fraction of a second. To quicken the way to the solution and therefore to success he unified the specific features of sportsmen of similar kind, created unique models and taught his pupils using them.

Mark Rakita, with whom he fenced together,  was his first pupil, Mark was his sparring-partner for a while.

Having agreed to become Rakita’s coach Tyshler set up an experiment. He already had extensive knowledge in fencing theory: after graduating from  Moscow Institute of Physical Education he worked as a lecturer in this Institute and at the same time remained a National team member. In Tyshler’s opinion all the existed literature (a lot of books, which had accrued over 500 years of fencing history), that determined the basic qualities and skills of great sportsmen, was old-fashioned. Many criterions were to be reconsidered. Why did actually Tyshler, Rakita, Nugzar Asatiani (the list can be continued), who were considered unfit for fencing by all specialists, finally became the world best fencers? Does it mean that it was a kind of compensation of some natural abilities absence? What was it? The future great theoretician had to understand it.

Within centuries of fencing development human responses remained the same, and defensive maneuvers didn’t change either. The basic fencing maneuvers, which fencers learned all over the world, didn’t undergo considerable changes. Tyshler decided not only interchange the existing maneuvers, but also adapt them to individual psychological specific features of each of his pupils. Not for nothing, no one of his pupils was like the others. Rakita was cunning, inventive; he could foresee all possible adversary’s motion in a fraction of a second and offer an unexpected outcome for every bout part. After nine months of cooperation with Tyshler,  Rakita won the USSR Championship. But the real triumph came along with the recognition of the referees, adversaries and coaches during Montreal World Championship in 1967. In Montreal Rakita didn`t lose a single bout. But it was only the beginning of his glory. Two silver and two gold Olympic awards were ahead of him.

His pupil Victor Sidjak, in spite of wonderful physical abilities and high motivation, before training with Tyshler, never topped the 70th place in All-Soviet Union competitions. Tyshler was to create a system, which enhanced his natural abilities, for him as for Rakita. As he was non-inventive and non-cunning, Tyshler taught Victor a set of fencing maneuvers, the alternation of which couldn’t be foreseen by his adversaries. Applied with high emotional intensity maneuvers faultlessly broke the adversaries’ armor. We know, in this case Tyshler guessed too. Victor Sidjak won the gold medal in the individual competition at the Olympic games-1972, and then became the winner of world championships and the Olympic Games many times.

Victor Krovopouskov was said: “He is a strong fencer, but he won’t be the strongest”. He doesn’t have a combative spirit, has no leadership features, no will to bring others under his control, to suppress, to aggrandize himself. This idea made sense. Indeed fencing was a fascinating and desired game for Victor, he couldn’t remember all the details of his victory, but was ready to tell how cunning his cut had been, how he had outmaneuvered his adversary.


Now Krovopouskov believes, that his meeting Tyshler played a pivotal role in his becoming a world class sportsman: “If I had had another coach, my competitive career could have been quite different. Our activities were a symbiosis of a man, who knows a lot, and a man, who wants to know a lot, who wants to learn fencing. I sucked in everything he told me, took 90% for granted. He saw, that I was able to execute, and he was glad, that he taught a man, who could put his ideas into practice on the piste”.

Under the special guidance of Tyshler Krovopouskov became one of the world strongest sabre fencers. Another pupil of Tyshler, Rakita, made him the strongest one. Tyshler decided to get deep into science work, took the helm of a department at the University of Physical Education, who else, except Mark, could continue the teacher’s work, bring his ideas into life?  Rakita couldn’t imagine himself as a coach.  But Tyshler persuaded the pupil, that nobody knew his teacher’s training system better. In seven days Rakita filled thick notebooks, many lessons where Tyshler was a pupil and Rakita – a teacher were held. The minutest details of Krovopouskov’s individual style were discussed and thought over. We know the result of this experiment. Victor Krovopouskov won the two Olympic medals in Montreal in 1976, and then repeated his success at the Olympic Games in Moscow in 1980. By the way, already two Rakita`s pupils struggled to win the gold medal in Moscow. Michael Burtsev won the Olympics silver medal.

David Tyshler has many pupils. Some of them were lucky to attend his lectures at the University, the others got to his Postgraduate Studies Department. Half the world uses his textbooks and methodical books. He takes part in seminars organized by the International Charity Fund “For Future of Fencing”, where he opens secrets of coaching art to fencing teachers from Europe, Asia, Africa and America.

The great maestro has only one dream: as long as possible to create scientific production, that will help future and now-working coaches to improve their skills. He is 80 now and thinks that his mission is not complete. His life does continue…

Tatyana Koltchanova
Print version