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North Hills Fencing Club

Useful Stuff
Useful Stuff
Coaching Staff
Rules, Requirements, and Costs

Here is some useful information for your edification


You can download any of these from the download section a the bottom of the page.

fencing lines

Right of Way

Right of way is a way to determine which fencer received the point when there is a double touch in foil or sabre. The double touch is the only time when one must worry about right of way.  Obviously, when there is only one touch only one person receives the point.  A rather simplified way of explaining it is:

A)    In the case where there are no beats and/or parries[i]whoever starts their extension first receives the point

B)    In the case where there are beats and/or parrieswhoever does the last beat prior to any touch landing receives the point. 

C)    Then there is the case of the mal-parry.  A mal-parry occurs when the fencer has parried but their opponent is not halted or delayed in their completion of attack.  The moment a blade hesitates or moves out of point-in-line[ii] it has lost priority.  If the parry is unsuccessful in taking away priority from the opponent it is said to be mal-parry and is not a valid parry for the purposes of determining right of way. 

[i]  Parry Article t.7 of the FIE Rules of Competition, "the parry is the defensive action made with the weapon to prevent the offensive action from arriving".

[ii] Point in line Article t.10 of the FIE Rules of Competition, the in-line position is that "in which [the fencer's] sword arm is straight and the point of his weapon threatens his opponent's valid target

Taken from









  • advances (make sure your feet and knees are pointing at right angles)
  • retreats (parry 4 and 6, extend arm, then retreat)
  • lunges (make sure that your back foot does not roll, your back knee is locked, back arm extended, front knee is directly over front ankle, and that you don't lean very far forward)
  • balestra (make sure you are not hopping straight up and that the lunge is executed properly)
  • hop back
  • crossovers ( make sure you move your feet to the side, you don't want your feet too close together at any time. recover forward on the attacks and recover backward on the retreats)

[30x each]

  • 15 squat lunges
  • Partials [5x each]
    • with parry 4
    • with parry 6
    • with parry 7
    • with parry 8
    • with parry 9
  • chair drill- turn the chair backwards and do the parry 4 and 6 drill with something that weighs about a pound or two (pop cans are good but don't open them right after you're done)
  • go through all of the parries and retreat with each parry

remember with your en guarde:

  • your knees should be bent enough that when you look down you cannot see your toes
  • knees and toes should be at right angles to eachother
  • spacing between your feet should be the same as the width of your shoulders
  • when you line up your feet your heels should be on the same line
  • weight positioned in the center, don't put more weight on either leg
  • your hand should lean more towards parry 6 position
  • remember on any attack, your arm should move before your feet and your front elbow should be locked

Do these exercises 3-4 times a week

Glossary of Fencing Terms

Glossary of Fencing Terms

Absence of blade: when the blades are not touching; opposite of engagement.

Advance: a movement forward by step, cross, or balestra.

Aids: the last three fingers of the sword hand.

Analysis: reconstruction of the fencing phrase to determine priority of touches.

Assault: friendly combat between two fencers.

Attack: the 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, press, froissement.

Balestra: a forward hop or jump, typically followed by an attack such as a lunge or fleche.

Bayonet: a type of electrical connector for foil and sabre.

Beat: an attempt to knock the opponent's blade aside or out of line by using one's foible or middle against the opponent's foible.

Bind: an action in which the opponent's blade is forced into the diagonally opposite line.

Black Card: used to indicate the most serious offences in a fencing competition. The offending fencer is usually expelled from the event or tournament.

Bout: an assault at which the score is kept.

Broken Time: a sudden change in the tempo of one fencer's actions, used to fool the opponent into responding at the wrong time.

Button: the 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.

Compound: also composed; an action executed in two or more movements; an attack or riposte incorporating one or more feints.

Conversation: 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.

Counter-attack: an offensive action made against the right-of-way, or in response to the opponent's attack.

Counter-disengage: a disengage in the opposite direction, to deceive the counter-parry.

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.

Counter-riposte: an attack that follows a parry of the opponent's riposte.

Counter-time: an attack that responds to the opponent's counter-attack, typically a riposte following the parry of the counter-attack.

Corps-a-corps: lit. "body-to-body"; physical contact between the two fencers during a bout, illegal in foil and sabre.

Coule': also graze, glise', or glissade; an attack or feint that slides along the opponent's blade.

Coupe': also cut-over; an attack or deception that passes around the opponent's tip.

Croise: also semi-bind; an action in which the opponent's blade is forced into the high or low line on the same side.

Cross: an 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.

Deception: avoidance of an attempt to engage the blades; see disengage, coupe'

Derobement: deception of the attack au fer or prise de fer.

Direct: a simple attack or riposte that finishes in the same line in which it was formed, with no feints out of that line.

Disengage: a circular movement of the blade that deceives the opponent's parry, removes the blades from engagement, or changes the line of engagement.

Displacement: moving the target to avoid an attack; dodging.

Double: in epee, two attacks that arrive within 40-50 ms of each other.

Double-time: also "dui tempo"; parry-riposte as two distinct actions.

Double': an attack or riposte that describes a complete circle around the opponent's blade, and finishes in the opposite line.

Dry: also steam; fencing without electric judging aids.

Engagement: 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 to fence.

Envelopment: an 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.

False: an action that is intended to fail, but draw a predicted reaction from the opponent; also, the back edge of a sabre blade.

Feint: an attack into one line with the intention of switching to another line before the attack is completed.

Fencing Time: also temps d'escrime; the time required to complete a single, simple fencing action.

FIE: Federation 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 deceived; a compound counter-attack.

Fleche: lit. "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.

Flick: a 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.

Flying Parry or Riposte: a parry with a backwards glide and riposte by cut-over.

Foible: the 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.

Forte: the lower, strong part of the blade.

French Grip: a traditional hilt with a slightly curved grip and a large pommel.

Froissement: an attack that displaces the opponent's blade by a strong grazing action.

Glide: see coule'.

Guard: the metal cup or bow that protects the hand from being hit. Also, the defensive position assumed when not attacking.

Homologated: 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 a stop-hit.

Indirect: a simple attack or riposte that finishes in the opposite line to which it was formed.

Insistence: forcing an attack through the parry.

Interception: a counter-attack that intercepts and checks an indirect attack or other disengagement.

Invitation: a line that is intentionally left open to encourage the opponent to attack.

Italian Grip: a traditional hilt with finger rings and crossbar.

Judges: 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.

Lame': a 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.

Lunge: an attack made by extending the rear leg and landing on the bent front leg.

Mal-parry: also mal-pare'; a parry that fails to prevent the attack from landing.

Manipulators: the thumb and index finger of the sword hand.

Maraging: a special steel used for making blades; said to be stronger and break more cleanly than conventional steels.

Match: the aggregate of bouts between two fencing teams.

Measure: the distance between the fencers.

Middle: the middle third of the blade, between foible and forte.

Octave: parry #8; blade down and to the outside, wrist supinated.

Opposition: 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.

Passata-sotto: a lunge made by dropping one hand to the floor.

Passe': an 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.

Piste: the 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.

Plastron: a 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.

Pommel: a fastener that attaches the grip to the blade.

Preparation: a non-threatening action intended to create the opening for an attack; the initial phase of an attack, before right-of-way is established.

Presentation: offering one's blade for engagement by the opponent.

Press: an 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.

Prime: parry #1; blade down and to the inside, wrist pronated.

Principle of Defence: the use of forte against foible when parrying.

Priority: in 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.

Quarte: parry #4; blade up and to the inside, wrist supinated.

Quinte: parry #5; blade up and to the inside, wrist pronated. In sabre, the blade is held above the head to protect from head cuts.

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.

Redoublement: a new action that follows an attack that missed or was parried; renewal of a failed attack in the opposite line; alternatively see Reprise.

Referee: also director, president; the mediator of the fencing bout.

Remise: immediate replacement of an attack that missed or was parried, without withdrawing the arm.

Reprise: renewal of an attack that missed or was parried, after a return to en-garde; alternatively see Redoublement.

Retreat: step back; opposite of advance.

Ricasso: the portion of the tang between the grip and the blade, present on Italian hilts and most rapiers.

Right-of-way: rules for awarding the point in the event of a double touch in foil or sabre.

Riposte: an offensive action made immediately after a parry of the opponent's attack.

Sabre: a fencing weapon with a flat blade and knuckle guard, used with cutting or thrusting actions.

Salle: a fencing hall or club.

Salute: with the weapon, a customary acknowledgement of one's opponent and referee at the start and end of the bout.

Second Intention: 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.

Seconde: parry #2; blade down and to the outside, wrist pronated.

Septime: parry #7; blade down and to the inside, wrist supinated.

Simple: executed in one movement; an attack or riposte that involves no feints.

Simultaneous: in foil and sabre, two attacks for which the right-of-way is too close to determine.

Single-time: also "stesso tempo"; parry-riposte as a single action.

Sixte: parry #6; blade up and to the outside, wrist supinated.

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 "flick".

Thrust: an attack made by moving the sword parallel to its length and landing with the point.

Tierce: parry #3; blade up and to the outside, wrist pronated.

Trompement: deception of the parry.

Two Prong: a type of body-wire/connector, used in foil and sabre.

Whip-over: in sabre, a touch that results from the foible of the blade whipping over the opponent's guard or blade when parried.

Whites: fencing clothing.

Yellow Card: warning; used to indicate a minor rule infraction by one of the fencers.









Fencing Lines Download

Right of Way Download

Fencing Glossary Download