Validity and Priority of the Hit
The Referee alone decides as to the validity or the priority of the hit by applying the following basic rules which are the conventions applicable to foil fencing.
Respect of the fencing phrase
Every attack, that is every initial offensive action, which is correctly executed must be parried or completely avoided and the phrase must be followed through – that is to say, co-ordinated (cf. t.7 Offensive and Defensive Actions).
In order to judge the correctness of an attack the following points must be considered:
The simple attack, direct or indirect (cf. t.8 Offensive Actions), is correctly executed when the straightening of the arm, the point threatening the valid target, precedes the initiation of the lunge or the flèche.
The compound attack (cf. t.8) is correctly executed when the arm is straightened in the presentation of the first feint, with the point threatening the valid target, and the arm is not bent during the successive actions of the attack and the initiation of the lunge or the flèche.
The attack with a step-forward-lunge or a step-forward-flèche is correctly executed when the straightening of the arm precedes the end of the step forward and the initiation of the lunge or the flèche.
Actions, simple or compound, steps or feints which are executed with a bent arm, are not considered as attacks but as preparations laying themselves open to the initiation of the offensive or defensive/offensive action of the opponent (cf. t.8).
To judge the priority of an attack when analysing the fencing phrase, it should be noted that:
If the attack is initiated when the opponent is not ‘point in line’ (cf. t.10 The In-line Position), it may be executed either with a direct thrust, or by a disengage, or by a cut-over, or may even be preceded by a beat or successful feints obliging the opponent to parry.
If the attack is initiated when the opponent is ‘point in line’ (cf. t.10), the attacker must, first, deflect the opponent’s blade. Referees must ensure that a mere contact of the blades is not considered as sufficient to deflect the opponent’s blade (cf. t.60/2a Judging of hits).
If the attacker, when attempting to deflect the opponent’s blade, fails to find it (dèrobement), the right of attack passes to the opponent.
Continuous steps forward, with the legs crossing one another, constitute a preparation and on this preparation any simple attack has priority.
The parry gives the right to riposte: the simple riposte may be direct or indirect, but to annul any subsequent action by the attacker, it must be executed immediately, without indecision or delay.
When a compound attack is made, if the opponent finds the blade during one of the feints, he has the right to riposte.
When compound attacks are made, the opponent has the right to stop-hit; but to be valid the stop hit must precede the conclusion of the attack by an interval of fencing time; that is to say that the stop hit must arrive before the attacker has begun the final movement of the attack.
Judging of hits
In applying these basic conventions of foil fencing, the Referee should judge as follows.
When during a phrase, both fencers are hit simultaneously, there is either a simultaneous action or a double hit.
The first of these conditions is due to simultaneous conception and execution of an attack by both fencers; in this case the hits exchanged are annulled for both fencers even if one of them has been hit off target.
The double hit, on the other hand, is the result of a faulty action on the part of one of the fencers.
Only the fencer who is attacked is counted as hit.
If they make a stop hit on their opponent’s simple attack
If instead of parrying, they attempt to avoid the hit and do not succeed in doing so.
If, after making a successful parry, they make a momentary pause which gives the opponent the right to renew the attack (redoublement, remise or reprise).
If, during a compound attack, they make a stop hit without being in time.
If, having their ‘point in line’ (cf. t.10) and being subjected to a beat or a taking of the blade (prise de fer) which deflects their blade, they attack or place their ‘point in line’ again instead of parrying a direct thrust made by their opponent.
Only the fencer who attacks is counted as hit
If they initiate their attack when their opponent has their ‘point in line’ (cf. t.10) without deflecting the opponent’s weapon. Referees must ensure that a mere contact of the blades is not considered as sufficient to deflect the opponent’s blade.
If they attempt to find the blade, do not succeed (is the object of dèrobement) and continue the attack.
If, during a compound attack, their opponent finds the blade, but they continue the attack and their opponent ripostes immediately.
If, during a compound attack, they make a momentary pause, during which time the opponent makes a stop hit, while the attacker continues their attack.
If, during a compound attack, they are stop-hit in time before they begin their final movement.
If they make a hit by remise, redoublement or reprise when their original attack has been parried and their opponent has made a riposte which is immediate, simple, and executed in one period of fencing time without withdrawing the arm.
The Referee must replace the fencers on guard each time that there is a double hit and the Referee is unable to judge clearly on which side the fault lies.
One of the most difficult cases to judge arises when a stop hit is made and there is doubt as to whether it was made sufficiently in time in relation to the final movement of a compound attack. Generally in such cases, the double hit occurs through the fault of both fencers concerned, which justifies the Referee replacing them on guard. (The fault of the attacker consists of indecision, slowness of execution or the making of feints which are not sufficiently effective. The fault of the defender lies in delay or slowness in making the stop hit.)