GLOSSARY OF FENCING TERMS
Absence of blade:
when the blades are not touching; opposite of engagement.
movement forward by step, cross, or balestra.
Aids: the last
three fingers of the sword hand.
reconstruction of the fencing phrase to determine priority of touches.
friendly combat between two fencers.
initial offensive action made by extending the sword arm and continuously
threatening the valid target of the opponent.
Attack au Fer:
an attack that is prepared by deflecting the opponent's blade, eg. beat,
archaic, edged, unpointed sword used in prizefighting; also singlestick.
forward hop or jump, typically followed by an attack such as a lunge or
Bayonet: a type
of electrical connector for foil and sabre.
attempt to knock the opponent's blade aside or out of line by using one's
foible or middle against the opponent's foible.
Baudry point: a
safety collar placed around a live epee point to prevent dangerous
Bind: an action
in which the opponent's blade is forced into the diagonally opposite line.
used to indicate the most serious offences in a fencing competition. The
offending fencer is usually expelled from the event or tournament.
assault at which the score is kept.
sword intended for cutting instead of thrusting; sabre.
Broken Time: a
sudden change in the tempo of one fencer's actions, used to fool the opponent
into responding at the wrong time.
safety tip on the end of practice and sporting swords.
Change of Engagement:
engagement of the opponent's blade in the opposite line.
Commanding the blade:
grabbing the opponent's blade with the off-hand, illegal in sport fencing.
composed; an action executed in two or more movements; an attack or riposte
incorporating one or more feints.
the back-and-forth play of the blades in a fencing match, composed of phrases
(phrases d'armes) punctuated by gaps of no blade action.
an offensive action made against the right-of-way, or in response to the
a disengage in the opposite direction, to deceive the counter-parry.
a parry made in the opposite line to the attack; ie. the defender first comes
around to the opposite side of the opponent's blade.
an attack that follows a parry of the opponent's riposte.
an attack that responds to the opponent's counter-attack, typically a riposte
following the parry of the counter-attack.
lit. "body-to-body"; physical contact between the two fencers during a bout,
illegal in foil and sabre.
graze, glise', or glissade; an attack or feint that slides along the
Coup lance': a
launched hit; an attack that starts before a stop in play but lands after.
Valid for normal halts, but not valid at end of time.
cut-over; an attack or deception that passes around the opponent's tip.
semi-bind; an action in which the opponent's blade is forced into the high or
low line on the same side.
advance or retreat by crossing one leg over the other; also passe' avant
(forward cross), passe' arriere (backwards cross).
Cut: an attack
made with a chopping motion of the blade, normally landing with the edge.
avoidance of an attempt to engage the blades; see disengage, coupe'
deception of the attack au fer or prise de fer.
simple attack or riposte that finishes in the same line in which it was
formed, with no feints out of that line.
circular movement of the blade that deceives the opponent's parry, removes the
blades from engagement, or changes the line of engagement.
moving the target to avoid an attack; dodging.
epee, two attacks that arrive within 40-50 ms of each other.
also "dui tempo"; parry-riposte as two distinct actions.
attack or riposte that describes a complete circle around the opponent's
blade, and finishes in the opposite line.
steam; fencing without electric judging aids.
when the blades are in contact with each other, eg. during a parry, attack au
fer, prise de fer, or coule'.
En Garde: also
On Guard; the fencing position; the stance that fencers assume when preparing
engagement that sweeps the opponent's blade through a full circle.
Epee: a fencing
weapon with triangular cross-section blade and a large bell guard; also a
light duelling sword of similar design, popular in the mid-19th century; epee
de terrain; duelling sword.
action that is intended to fail, but draw a predicted reaction from the
opponent; also, the back edge of a sabre blade.
attack into one line with the intention of switching to another line before
the attack is completed.
also temps d'escrime; the time required to complete a single, simple fencing
Internationale d'Escrime, the world governing body of fencing.
Finta in tempo:
lit. "feint in time"; a feint of counter-attack that draws a counter-time
parry, which is decieved; a compound counter-attack.
"arrow"; an attack in which the aggressor leaps off his leading foot, attempts
to make the hit, and then passes the opponent at a run.
cut-like action that lands with the point, often involving some whip of the
foible of the blade to "throw" the point around a block or other obstruction.
antiquated fencing style where a secondary weapon or other instrument is used
in the off hand.
Flying Parry or Riposte:
a parry with a backwards glide and riposte by cut-over.
upper, weak part of the blade.
Foil: a fencing
weapon with rectangular cross-section blade and a small bell guard; any sword
that has been buttoned to render it less dangerous for practice.
lower, strong part of the blade.
French Grip: a
traditional hilt with a slightly curved grip and a large pommel.
attack that displaces the opponent's blade by a strong grazing action.
groove that runs down a sword blade to reduce weight.
metal cup or bow that protects the hand from being hit. Also, the defensive
position assumed when not attacking.
handle of a sword, consisting of guard, grip, and pommel.
certified for use in FIE competitions, eg. 800N clothing and maraging blades.
In Quartata: a
counter-attack made with a quarter turn to the inside, concealing the front
but exposing the back.
In Time: at
least one fencing time before the opposing action, especially with regards to
simple attack or riposte that finishes in the opposite line to which it was
forcing an attack through the parry.
counter-attack that intercepts and checks an indirect attack or other
line that is intentionally left open to encourage the opponent to attack.
Italian Grip: a
traditional hilt with finger rings and crossbar.
additional officials who assist the referee in detecting illegal or invalid
actions, such as floor judges or hand judges.
Jury: the 4
officials who watch for hits in a dry fencing bout.
fencing, with two-handed swords.
metallic vest/jacket used to detect valid touches in foil and sabre.
Line: the main
direction of an attack (eg., high/low, inside/outside), often equated to the
parry that must be made to deflect the attack; also point in line.
attack made by extending the rear leg and landing on the bent front leg.
mal-pare'; a parry that fails to prevent the attack from landing.
the thumb and index finger of the sword hand.
special steel used for making blades; said to be stronger and break more
cleanly than conventional steels.
an old method of detecting hits using inked points.
strap that binds the grip to the wrist/forearm.
aggregate of bouts between two fencing teams.
distance between the fencers.
middle third of the blade, between foible and forte.
whirling cut, executed from the wrist or elbow.
unconventional parry (#9) sometimes described as blade behind the back,
pointing down (a variant of octave), other times similar to elevated sixte.
#8; blade down and to the outside, wrist supinated.
holding the opponent's blade in a non-threatening line; a time-hit; any attack
or counter-attack with opposition.
Parry: a block
of the attack, made with the forte of one's own blade; also parade.
Pass: an attack
made with a cross; eg. fleche. Also, the act of moving past the opponent.
a lunge made by dropping one hand to the floor.
attack that passes the target without hitting; also a cross-step (see cross).
Phrase: a set
of related actions and reactions in a fencing conversation.
a serrated epee point used prior to electric judging.
linear strip on which a fencing bout is fought; approx. 2m wide and 14m long.
Pistol Grip: a
modern, orthopaedic grip, shaped vaguely like a small pistol; varieties are
known by names such as Belgian, German, Russian, and Visconti.
point attack that lands flat.
partial jacket worn for extra protection; typically a half-jacket worn under
the main jacket on the weapon-arm side of the body.
Point: a valid
touch; the tip of the sword; the mechanical assembly that makes up the point
of an electric weapon; an attack made with the point (ie. a thrust)
Point in Line:
also line; an extended arm and blade that threatens the opponent.
fastener that attaches the grip to the blade.
non-threatening action intended to create the opening for an attack; the
initial phase of an attack, before right-of-way is established.
offering one's blade for engagement by the opponent.
attempt to push the opponent's blade aside or out of line; depending on the
opponent's response, the press is followed by a direct or indirect attack.
#1; blade down and to the inside, wrist pronated.
Principle of Defence:
the use of forte against foible when parrying.
sabre, the now-superceded rules that decide which fencer will be awarded the
touch in the event that they both attack simultaneously; also used
synonymously with right-of-way.
Prise de Fer:
also taking the blade; an engagement of the blades that forces the opponent's
weapon into a new line. See: bind, croise, envelopment, opposition.
#4; blade up and to the inside, wrist supinated.
#5; blade up and to the inside, wrist pronated. In sabre, the blade is held
above the head to protect from head cuts.
Rapier: a long,
double-edged thrusting sword popular in the 16th-17th centuries.
Red Card: used
to indicate repeated minor rule infractions or a major rule infraction by one
of the fencers; results in a point being given to the other fencer.
new action that follows an attack that missed or was parried; renewal of a
failed attack in the opposite line; alternatively see Reprise.
director, president; the mediator of the fencing bout.
immediate replacement of an attack that missed or was parried, without
withdrawing the arm.
renewal of an attack that missed or was parried, after a return to en-garde;
alternatively see Redoublement.
back; opposite of advance.
portion of the tang between the grip and the blade, present on Italian hilts
and most rapiers.
rules for awarding the point in the event of a double touch in foil or sabre.
offensive action made immediately after a parry of the opponent's attack.
fencing weapon with a flat blade and knuckle guard, used with cutting or
thrusting actions; a military sword popular in the 18th to 20th centuries; any
cutting sword used by cavalry.
fencing hall or club.
the weapon, a customary acknowledgement of one's opponent and referee at the
start and end of the bout.
German fraternity duelling sword, used with cuts to the face and no footwork.
a false action used to draw a response from the opponent, which will open the
opportunity for the intended action that follows, typically a counter-riposte.
#2; blade down and to the outside, wrist pronated.
#7; blade down and to the inside, wrist supinated.
executed in one movement; an attack or riposte that involves no feints.
in foil and sabre, two attacks for which the right-of-way is too close to
an archaic form of fencing with basket-hilted wooden sticks.
also "stesso tempo"; parry-riposte as a single action.
#6; blade up and to the outside, wrist supinated.
Small Sword: a
light duelling sword popular in the 17th-18th centuries, precursor to the
Stop Hit: a
counter-attack that hits; also a counter-attack whose touch is valid by virtue
of its timing.
Stop Cut: a
stop-hit with the edge in sabre, typically to the cuff.
Three Prong: a
type of epee body wire/connector; also an old-fashioned tip that would snag
clothing, to make it easier to detect hits in the pre-electric era.
Thrown Point: a
attack made by moving the sword parallel to its length and landing with the
#3; blade up and to the outside, wrist pronated.
Time Hit: also
time-thrust; old name for stop hit with opposition.
deception of the parry. <LITwo Prong: a type of body-wire/connector,
used in foil and sabre.
sabre, a touch that results from the foible of the blade whipping over the
opponent's guard or blade when parried.
also advertissement, warning; used to indicate a minor rule infraction by one
of the fencers.