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Circular and Semi-Circular Parries in Fencing

At times you may have an opponent with lots of momentum and it is necessary to move the opponent’s blade out of the way. You may have seen a similar circular parry in the movies that forces the opponent’s blade out of his hand and flings it across the deck of a ship. In actual fencing, the movement is so quick and small that it is doubtful anyone will drop their blade. It is used as a method of defense, deflection and setting up for a riposte.  The circular parry (counter parry made in sixte) is designed to deflect and move the opponent’s blade away from a line of attack. It is often handy when the opponent uses some force with their attack and a greater degree of deflection is needed. For attacks near your wrist, a smaller circular parry is needed while attacks to other parts of the body (i.e. the shoulder) may need a larger parry. Both the circular parry and the semi-circular parry are similar and do much of the same thing but to different lines. The semi-circular parry w

The Importance of Ripostes in Fencing Practice

Ripostes are the counter attacks in a fencing challenge. A strong fencer will be able to riposte after an opponent’s attack to not only win points but to keep their attacker with lower confidence in the risk versus reward of their moves. A riposte occurs when an attacker attempts to strike, is parried, and then is struck by the defender. In the heat of the game this movement can be very quick and there may be multiple parries, counter parries and ripostes.  Ripostes are generally direct but also may be indirect. A direct riposte is a quick parry and strike to the opponent’s body leaving little time to react. An indirect riposte would mean adding a change of line or adding another movement before striking the opponent. This has benefits in terms of confusing the opponent but also risks being struck as you are engaging in these extra tactics.  Practice in done in both shadow and live opponent form. In shadow form the student should practice making a parry to the center of th

The Counter Parry: Contre de Quarte and Sixte

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Fencing is a game of skill that is refined within a certain radius of the body. In foil fencing the overall radius is even smaller making the movements more about subtle skill than overpowering your opponent. It is these attacks and counter attacks that make the game interesting to bystanders. Whenever there is an attack there are a number of moves that can be made ranging from moving out of the way to counter attacks. The counter parry is a tactic designed to stop an attack and regain momentum. The counter parry is considered a more advanced move than the standard parry and riposte. The purpose of the counter parry is to remove the opponent’s blade from blocking an attack or to disrupt a negative rhythm in the game. By using a contre de quarte or contre de sixte it is possible to not only remove the blade but also put oneself in the position of an attack.   This occurs when you have removed the opponent’s momentum and then placed it with yourself by controlling the nature of t