Fencing A – Z

ADVANCE
a movement forward

ASSAULT
friendly combat between two fencers

ATTACK
initial offensive action made by extending the sword arm and threatening the the opponent

BALESTRA
a forward hop or jump

BOUT
an assault at which the score is kept

BROADSWORD
any sword intended for cutting instead of thrusting; sabre

BUTTON
the safety tip on the end of practice and sporting swords

CONVERSATION
the back-and-forth play of the blades in a fencing match, composed of phrases (phrases d’armes)

COUNTER-ATTACK
an offensive action made against the right-of-way, or in response to the opponent’s attack

CORPS-A-CORPS
lit. “body-to-body”; physical contact between the two fencers during a bout

COUP LANCE
a launched hit; an attack that starts before a stop in play but lands after

COUPE
an attack or deception that passes around the opponent’s tip

CROSS
an advance or retreat by crossing one leg over the other

CUT
an attack made with a chopping motion of the blade, normally landing with the edge

DIRECT
a simple attack that finishes in the same line in which it was formed

DISPLACEMENT
moving the target to avoid an attack; dodging

ENGAGEMENT
when the blades are in contact with each other

EN GARDE
the stance that fencers assume when preparing to fence

EPEE
a fencing weapon with triangular cross-section blade and a large bell guard

FEINT
an attack into one line with the intention of switching to another line before the attack is completed

FIE
Federation Internationale d’Escrime, the world governing body of fencing

FOIBLE
the upper, weak part of the blade

FOIL
a fencing weapon with rectangular cross-section blade and a small bell guard; a sword that has been buttoned to render it less dangerous

FORTE
the lower, strong part of the blade

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

HILT
the handle of a sword, consisting of guard, grip, and pommel

INVITATION
a line that is intentionally left open to encourage the opponent to attack

KENDO
Japanese fencing, with two-handed swords

LINE
the main direction of an attack (eg., high/low, inside/outside), also point in line

LUNGE
an attack made by extending the rear leg and landing on the bent front leg

MARTINGALE
a strap that binds the grip to the wrist/forearm

MOULINET
a whirling cut, executed from the wrist or elbow

PARRY
a block of the attack, made with the forte of one’s own blade

PHRASE
a set of related actions and reactions in a fencing conversation

PISTE
the linear strip on which a fencing bout is fought

POMMEL
a fastener that attaches the grip to the blade

PRESENTATION
offering one’s blade for engagement by the opponent

PRESS
an attempt to push the opponent’s blade aside or out of line

RAPIER
a long, double-edged thrusting sword popular in the 16th-17th centuries

REPRISE
renewal of an attack that missed or was parried, after a return to en-garde

RETREAT
step back; opposite of advance

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; any cutting sword used by military

SALLE
a fencing hall or club

SALUTE
a customary acknowledgement of one’s opponent and referee at the start and end of the bout

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

TROMPEMENT
deception of the parry

WHITES
fencing clothing

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