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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 parries—whoever 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