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 Fencing Terminology 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Glossary
  A     B     C     D     E     F     G     H     I     J     K     L     M  
  N     O     P     Q     R     S     T     U     V     W     X     Y     Z  

  
A
Absence of Blade

When swords are not in contact

Advance

To step forward (see Skills: Stepping)

Aids

The last three fingers of the sword hand (see Grip: Aids)

Angulation

Creating an angle between the weapon and the sword arm by bending the wrist

Annulment (of hit)

An on-target hit which is disallowed because of an infringement of the rules (see Rules: Annulment of a Hit)

Appel

Beating the ground with the ball of the leading foot

Attack

An initial offensive action made by extending the sword arm and continuously threatening the opponent's target (see Rules: Offensive and Defensive Actions)

Avoidance

Ducking or otherwise moving to avoid being hit (see Rules: Displacing the Target)

B
Balestra

A short, sharp jump forwards; usually used as a preparation.

Beat

A crisp striking movement of the opponent's blade creating a deflection, or obtaining a reaction; used as a preparation

Bib

A soft, padded attachment to the lower part of the mask to protect the neck and throat

Bind

Taking of the foible of the opposing blade diagonally from high to low line, and vice versa

Blade

The main component of a sword on which the hilt is mounted (see Equipment: The Sword)

Body wire

Wire worn under a fencer's clothing to connect the sword to the spool cable, when using the electrical apparatus (see Equipment: Electrics)

Bout

A fight for a specific number of hits; usually 15 (see Rules: Competitions)

Breeches

Knee-length trousers made of robust material; side fastening must be on the non-sword-arm side, and legs must have fastenings below the knees (see Equipment)

Broken time

When a pause is introduced into an action which is normally performed in one movement

Brutality

Actions which are performed with an unacceptable level of force or violence which causes discomfort to the opponent (Black Card, Exclusion Offence see Rules: Schedule of Offences and Penalties)

Button

Soft covering over a non-electric foil or épée point (see Equipment: The Sword)

C
Cadence

The rhythm in which a sequence of movements is made

Ceding Parry

A parry formed by maintaining contact with an attacking opponent's blade

Change of Engagement

Re-engagement of the opponent's blade on the opposite side

Chest Protectors

Rigid breast shield which fits inside women's fencing jackets

Circular Parry

Deflection of the opponent's attack by making a circle with the sword point around the attacking blade

Close Quarters

When two fencers are close together but can still wield their weapons (see Rules: Close Quarters)

Compound Attack

An attack comprising one or more feints

Conventions of Fencing

The rules governing the method of fencing for each weapon (e.g. see Rules: The Conventions of Fencing Foil)

Coquille

Bell-shaped guard of a foil or épée (see Equipment: The Sword)

Corps à Corps

Bodily contact between the fencers in a bout (see Rules: Corps à Corps)

Coule

The action of extending the sword arm and grazing lightly down the opponent's blade, maintaining contact throughout

Counter Attack

The offensive action made while avoiding, or closing the line against, an opponent's attack (see Rules: Offensive Actions)

Counter-Disengagement

An indirect action which deceives a change of engagement

Coupe (Cut-Over)

An indirect action made by passing the blade over the opponent's point

Croise

The taking of the foible of the opposing blade from high to low line, and vice versa, on the same side as the engagement

Cut

A hit at sabre made by striking with the edge of the blade

D
Defence

Not being hit by the opponent's offensive actions, either by parrying, avoiding, or moving out of distance

Delayed (action)

Actions made after a pause; usually attacks or ripostes

Derobement

Evasion of the opponent's attempt to beat or take the blade while the sword arm is straight and the point is threatening the target

Detached

When the blades are not in contact

Development

Extension of the sword arm accompanied by an attack

Diagonal Parry

Deflecting the opponent's attack by moving from a high line guard to a low line guard on the opposite side and vice versa

Direct (action)

Actions made without passing the blade under or over the opponent's blade (see Rules: Offensive Actions)

Disengage

Indirect action made by passing the blade under or over the opponent's blade

Displace (target area)

Turning or ducking in order to move the target area away from an attack (this must not substitute the non target area for the target area, see Rules: Displacing the Target)

Double

A compound attack which deceives the opponent's circular parry

Double Hit

In épée only, when both fencer register a hit on each other simultaneously (in less than 1/25 of a second) (see Rules: Judging of hits at Épée)

E
Electrical Apparatus

An electric box with red and green lights to register valid hits at foil, épée and sabre and white lights to register non-valid hits at foil. The apparatus is mounted centrally, adjacent to the piste and connected by floor leads to spools with retractable cables placed at both ends of the piste, to which the fencers connect their body wires

Electric Weapons

Foils, épées and sabres suitable for use with electrical apparatus (see Equipment: Electrics)

Engaged

When the blades are in contact

Envelopment

The taking of the foible of the opponent's blade by making a complete circle and maintaining continual contact throughout

F
Feint

Threatening movement of the blade made with the intention of provoking a response

Fencing Line

When fencers are fencing each other it should be possible to draw a theoretical straight line running through both leading feet and rear heels

Foible

The flexible half of the blade further away from the hilt (see Equipment: The Sword)

Forte

The half of the blade nearer to the hilt (see Equipment: The Sword)

G
Guard, the

The part of the hilt which protects the sword hand (see Equipment: The Sword)

Guards

Fencing positions - cf. prime, seconde, tierce, quarte, quinte, sixte, septime, octave (see Skills: Guards)

H
High line

The position of the target above a theoretical horizontal line mid-way through a fencer's trunk (see Skills: High Line)

Hilt

the assembled parts of the sword excluding the blade, ie the guard, pad, grip and pommel (see Equipment: The Sword)

Hit

To strike the opponent with the point of the sword clearly and distinctly and with character of penetration. A cut with a sabre

I
In-Line

The sword arm is straight and the point threatens the opponent’s valid target (see Rules: The In-Line Position)

Indirect Attack

An offensive action made by first passing the blade under or over the opponent's blade (see Rules: Offensive Actions)

J
 
K
 
L
Lamé (jacket)

A conductive jacket worn in foil or sabre to register hits on-target (see Rules: Foil - Conductive Jacket and Rules: Sabre - Conductive Jacket)

Lines

Theoretical divisions of the target, corresponding to fencing guards (see Skills: Guards)

Low lines

Position of the target below a theoretical horizontal line mid-way through a fencer's trunk (see Skills: Low Line)

Lunge

a method of getting closer to an opponent with acceleration to make an attack and while maintaining balance and making it possible for a rapid recovery to On Guard (see Skills: The Lunge)

M
Martingale

the loop of tape or leather attached to the grip and held to prevent a non-electric foil from flying out of the hand in the event of being disarmed

N
 
O
Octave

Low line, semi-supinated guard on the sword-arm side (see Skills: Octave)

On Guard

The defensive stance adopted in fencing

One-two Attack

A compound attack which deceives the opponent's simple parry

Opposition

Blade movement maintaining constant pressure on the opponent's blade

P
Parry

Defensive action to deflect an opponent's attack by opposing 'forte to opponent's foible' (see Defensive Actions)

Piste

The field of play on which a bout takes place (see Rules: The Field of Play)

Plastron

A half-jacket with no under arm seam, worn for extra protection on the sword arm under the fencing jacket (see Equipment)

Pommel

A metal cap screwed to the end of the blade which locks the parts of the weapon together and provides a counter-balance to the blade (see Equipment: The Sword)

Preparation

The movement of blade or foot to obtain the best position from which to make an attack

Prime

High line, pronated guard on the non-sword-arm side

Priority

The right of way gained by the fencer at foil and sabre by extending the sword arm and continually threatening the opponent's target (see Rules: Validity and Priority of the Hit)

Prises de fer (taking of the blade)

see bind, croise, envelopment

Pronation

The position of the sword hand with the knuckles uppermost

Q
Quarte

High line, semi-supinated guard on the non-sword-arm side (see Skills: Quarte)

Quinte

Low line, pronated guard on the non-sword-arm side at foil and épée; and a high guard at sabre to protect the head

R
Recovery

The return to the On guard position

Redoublement

The renewal of an action after being parried by replacing the point on the target in a different line to the original action (see Rules: Offensive Actions)

Remise

The renewal of an action after being parried by replacing the point on the target in the line of the original action (see Rules: Offensive Actions)

Reprise

The renewal of an action made with a lunge by first returning to guard forwards or backwards (see Rules: Offensive Actions)

Riposte

An offensive action following a successful parry of an attack (see Rules: Offensive Actions)

S
Seconde

Low line, pronated guard on the sword-arm side

Septime

Low line, semi-supinated guard on the non-sword-arm side (see Skills: Septime)

Sixte

High line, semi-supinated guard on the sword-arm side (see Skills: Sixte)

Stop Hit

A counter-attack made into an attack (see Rules: Offensive Actions)

Supination

The position of the sword hand with the thumb uppermost

T
Tang

The part of the blade on which the hilt is mounted (see Rules: Weapons)

Tierce

High line, pronated guard on the sword-arm side

U
 
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