Fencing Glossary Absence of blade – when fencing blades are out of engagement, the blades are not in contact with each other.
Advance – a type of fencing mobility, a step forward from an on-guard position.
Advance distance – the distance from which you can hit your opponent by making a forward movement of the blade by extending your sword arm towards your opponent and making an advance.
Aggressively Defensive – pressing your opponent aggressively while waiting for the opponent to make a move so you can hit him with his own action.
Attack – an offensive movement designed to score a hit against an opponent.
Balance – controlling your body. The ability to maintain equilibrium and remain steady, light and controlled on your feet while moving freely backward and forward.
Beat – crisply contacting the opponent’s blade with your blade with a spanking action.
Beat 2 – contacting your opponent’s blade with your blade when your opponent’s blade is in your low outside line.
Beat 4 – contacting your opponent’s blade with your blade when your opponent’s blade is in your high inside line.
Beat 6 – contacting your opponent’s blade with your blade when your opponent’s blade is in your high outside line.
Beat 7 – contacting your opponent’s blade with your blade when your opponent’s blade is in your low inside line.
Beat parry – a defensive action that deflects the attacker’s blade done by crisply contacting the blade of the attacking opponent with your blade.
Bell guard – the rounded metal plate shaped shield in front of the handle that covers and protects the hand. It is also used to protect the body.
Blade – long slender flexible steel, extended part of the weapon, used to deliver hits on the opponent. It is also used defensively to protect your target.
Bounce – a type of fencing mobility. A slight spring done, in the on-guard position, by the feet and arches with a minimum amount of movement in the knees, used to move forward and backward.
Bout – a competition between two fencers. A match between two fencers in which hits are counted to a specific number and a winner is determined.
Change of engagement – changing the contact with the opponent’s blade from one line or side to another, touching it lightly but firmly. Engaging the opponent’s blade in a new line.
Change-the-line – the movement of the blade from one fencing line to another.
Circle beats – an offensive move done by moving your blade in a small circle to contact opponent’s blade. You contact opponent’s blade crisply with a spanking beat. Often you move from one side of the opponent’s blade to other. (If opponent disengages you will contact the blade on the same side).
Circle parries – a defensive move done by moving your blade in a small circle to contact the attacking opponent’s blade firmly.
Circle parry 4 – a defensive move used when the opponent is attacking to your high inside line, chest area. It is done by moving your blade in a small counterclockwise circle to contact the attacking opponent’s blade.
Circle parry 6 – a defensive move used to protect against attacks to your high outside line (sword arm and shoulder area). It is done be moving your blade in a small clockwise circle to contact the attacking opponent’s blade.
Classic disengage – an evasive action done to avoid an opponent’s attempt to contact your blade. It is done by dropping the tip of your weapon below opponent’s weapon, as he attempts to contact your blade, your blade continues to spiral forward toward opponent’s target area.
Classic fleche – footwork that covers long distance with great speed. An attack make by a running type maneuver propelling you into a flying action forward.
Corps a corps – When two fencers are touching so then they cannot move their weapons efficiently.
Crossover fleche – a forward type of foot-work that covers a longer distance than the lunge. An attack made with a running type foot-work motion that brings the rear foot forward of the front foot into a long step. You do not fly.
Counter attack – an attack or thrust to the nearest unprotected target of the opponent during an opponent’s attack.
Counter-parry – a circular parry.
Danger zone – the distance between two fencers where touches can be scored. The distance between you and your opponent at which you can be scored on, as well as score on your opponent.
Defense – Protecting yourself by using foot-work and blade-work.
Direct attack – an attack made straight to the target without diversion.
Direct riposte – riposte made straight to the target.
Disarm – dropping or loosening one’s grip on his weapon.
Disengage – evading an opponents attempt to contact your blade.
Dominant foot – strongest foot usually the front foot when in on-guard position.
Engagement – the touching and maintaining light but firm contact with the opponent’s blade.
Engagement in the low line – the crossing of blades with the points being lower than the bell guards.
Epee – The dueling sword. It has a large circular bell guard and flexible triangular blade. Fencers may hit and score anywhere on the opponent’s body, both fencers may score at the same time. There is no right-of-way.
Extension – moving the point of your weapon forward toward the target by straightening your weapon arm.
Extension distance – The distance between a fencer and his target which requires solely the extension of the arm to hit the designated target with the point of the weapon.
False attack – an offensive movement (fake attack) or trick which is not intended to score a hit but the purpose being to make the opponent believe it is an attack with the intent of scoring.
Feint – a bluff to mislead your opponent. An offensive movement made to resemble an attack in order to draw a reaction from the opponent.
Fencing strip – The described area on which fencing takes place, long and narrow, 16 meters by 2 meters.
Fleche – a type of fencing mobility, a running kind of step used to extend your range to score on your opponent.
Foil – a fencing weapon with a small bell guard and rectangular flexible blade. It was originally designed as a practice weapon for epee. There are right-of-way rules, the target area is only the trunk and only one fencer may score at a time.
Foot-work – mobility, the basic foot and leg movements used during the course of fencing to move forward and backward on the fencing strip, used to attack, defend, and keep distance from your opponent.
French grip – a straight type of handle with no finger grips used on foil and epee weapons, often recommended for beginning fencers.
Guard – see bell guard.
High line – the target area above the hip area or above the sword arm when the fencer is in the on-guard position. When the fencer is on-guard with the tip of the weapon higher than the bell, he is said to be “on guard in the high-line”.
Hit – a hit occurs when the point of the weapon contacts the opponent.
Inside high line – the shoulder and chest area on the side of unarmed hand.
Inside line – the area on the unarmed side of the body, on the left side of your blade (for right handed fencers, opposite for left).
Inside low line – the area on the unarmed side of the body, below the sword arm or hip area (on the left side of the weapon for right handed fencers).
Line – Divisions of the target corresponding to the fencing positions. The quadrant of your opponent toward which your blade is pointing.
Line of attack – the target area of the opponent at which the point of the weapon of the attacking fencer is directed.
Lines of target – divide the torso by drawing 2 lines, one vertically from the chin down to the groin, the other horizontally, slightly above the hip. The four sections formed are known as the: the high outside line (6), sword arm shoulder area; the low outside line(8 and 2) on the sword arm side below the bell when in on-guard; the high inside line (4) high chest area, closest to unarmed side; the low inside (7) below bell closest to the unarmed side.
Low line – the area below the hip area or the sword arm when in on-guard position. A fencer is on-guard in the low-line when the tip of his weapon is lower than his bell.
Low-line change of engagement – moving from one side of the opponent’s weapon to the other when tips are lower than the bells by moving the tip of your weapon over the top of the opponent’s blade, instead of below it. If the opponent disengages your change you will contact the blade on the same side.
Low-line circle parries – defensive maneuver done by moving your blade in a circular movement to contact the blade of the attacking opponent when he is attacking you below the hip area.
Low-line thrust – a thrust made to the target below the hip (low-line) of the opponent.
Low-line target area – the target below the hip area or the area below the sword arm when in on-guard position.
Lunge – a type of mobility. From the on-guard position it is a long step done with the front foot. The rear foot and leg pushes and straightens and remains behind in this extended fashion. The purpose is to carry you across a large distance quickly to attack.
Mobility – the foot-work or leg movement performed on the fencing strip by the fencers to secure distance from which to attack or defend as well as to repair and maintain the distance during a fencing bout or encounter.
Modern disengage – a movement of your blade backward and forward to avoid contact with the opponent’s blade who is attempting to contact your blade.
Offense – Aggressive movements done for the purpose of scoring a hit.
On-guard – to be on-guard is to be in a ready position to move forward or backward as the situation requires, attack or defend in a balanced, well controlled posture.
On-guard position – a sideways position that makes you a more difficult target to hit, as well as allowing you a longer reach.
Oppositional parry – a defensive blade movement made by contacting the blade of the attacking opponent with your blade and maintaining constant blade contact in order to defend yourself by pushing the opponent’s blade aside as you attempt to score a hit.
Out of distance – when the distance between you and your opponent is too great for you or your opponent to score.
Outside high line – the sword arm shoulder area of a fencer.
Outside line – the area on the sword arm side of the body.
Outside low line – the area on the sword arm side of the body below the sword arm when in on-guard, the area below the hip.
Parry – a defensive maneuver made with the blade to deflect the blade of the attacking opponent away from your target.
Parry 2 – a defensive blade maneuver used to protect the low outside line of your target. It is used to defend against an attack to the rib area in foil, or to the rib, flank, hip, thigh, knee, shin, or foot in epee.
Parry 4 – a defensive blade maneuver used to protect the high inside target area, your chest area.
Parry 6 – a defensive blade maneuver used to protect and deflect the blade of the attacking opponent when the attack is directed to your high outside target area (sword arm shoulder area)
Parry 7 – a defensive blade maneuver used to protect and deflect the blade of the attacking opponent when the attack is directed to your inside low-line
Parry 8 – a defensive blade maneuver used to protect and deflect the blade of the attack opponent when the attack is directed to the low-outside target (the forward flank or rib area in foil, or to the flank, hip, thigh, knee, shin, or foot in epee).
Pistol grip – a type of fencing handle used for foil and epee, an orthopedic style of handle shaped to fit the hand. Developed by a German doctor who had a cripple son that could not hold the French grip.
Pommel – a metal nut type device that screws on the blade behind the handle to lock the parts of the weapon together.
Quadrants – the lines of the target. The four areas that comprise the target area: inside, outside, high, and low.
Recovery – return to on-guard. The movement following the attack to regain balance and control.
Right-of-way – priority given in foil to the opponent that starts the attack or beats the blade last.
Retreat – backward foot-work used to repair or maintain the distance you desire between you and your opponent.
Riposte – the action made by the defender to score a touch, after successfully parrying the opponent’s attack.
Salute – acknowledgement of the referee the audience and the opponent at the beginning and end of every fencing encounter, (bout lesson, drilling session). It shows respect and honor. It is done by bringing the bell to the chin.
Scoring distance – distance from which you or your opponent can score a hit.
Spanking parry – a defensive blade movement done by crispy beating the blade of the attacking opponent.
Stop thrust – stop hit – an offensive action made on the opponent’s attack.
Straight thrust – an offensive action done by moving the point of the weapon to the target by fully extending the sword arm towards the opponent. It is the fastest, easiest, and most effective scoring action.
Tactics – the mental analysis necessary to perform the correct fencing action at the right time in the appropriate distance in response to the opponent’s action.
Tempo – timing, the speed at which fencing actions and maneuvers are made.
Target – the area on which you deliver the hit with the point or tip of your weapon.
Thrust – moving the point of the weapon by the extension of the weapon arm, a forward movement of the blade to make a hit.
Tip – Point or end of the blade or weapon.