Friday, April 18, 2014

The Parries of Saber Fencing

Cabrillo Academy of the Sword
Saber is part of the three genres of fencing along with foil and epee. Most fencers start with foil because it is highly stylistic and teaches proper form. Eventually, a few students may make their way into saber which opens everything above the waist to attack and requires a higher skill level. Pushing students too quickly into saber will create an excessive amount of whacking that lacks style, form and effectiveness. 

In Saber there are generally the three parries of Tierce, Quarte, and Quinte with two secondary parries of Prime, Seconde, and Sixte. Their descriptions are below:

Quarte-High inside parry to protect the body.

Quinte-Parry to protect head.

Tierce-A high outside parry to protect the body.

Prime-Sweeping motion that protects the inside line.

Seconde-Guarding the low outside line. 

Saber fencing is ancient. It dates back to over 3000 years to Egypt with sticks, a German text in the 1300’s, and as a status symbol in the 1600’s (1). Practice became part of education where young wealthy families sent their sons to learn the art of combat. Today the sport is dominated by the French style but may also include the Spanish and Austro-Hungarian styles.

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