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What defines a parry?

Cadot vs Baldini, Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia CommonsAccording to Article t.7 (old 10) of the FIE Rules of Competition, “the parry is the defensive action made with the weapon to prevent the offensive action from arriving”.

Prevent is the key word. A successful parry deflects the threatening blade away from the target. Most referees are listening for the contact, giving the benefit of the doubt to the fencer making the parry, and few these days will declare a mal-paré. …

Beginners’ Sword and Buckler (from I.33)

Seventh Ward of i.33‘The devil of hell does not dare attempt that which the wanton monk dares, and the old woman full of wiles.’

The manuscript I.33 (the Royal Armouries catalogue number) is the oldest known manuscript depicting European fighting arts. It is dated to approximately 1295. It shows a Priest teaching a student or Scholar how to fight with sword and buckler (a small shield). In places we are given statements that a ‘common man’ will do one type of action, but the Priest teaches the use of a different action. …

What defines an attack?

Pan American Games, Wilson Dias/Abr via Wikimedia CommonsBy Robin Catling.

According to Article t.7 (old 10) of the FIE rules of competition, “the attack is the initial offensive action made by extending the arm and continuously threatening the opponent’s target.”

A threatening action is one that will hit the opponent if no defensive action is taken. A threat means moving towards the target. Trajectory complicates matters as for indirect (compound) attacks or those of a cutting action, the trajectory may not be smooth or in a single line. …

Hands on – Hanwei Federschwert

Hanwei Practical Fencing Longsword (Federschwert)The cheapest (practical) entry-level feder I know of in the UK, we picked up a pair of these about three years ago when we finally made the move from nylon wasters to steel.

There’s no question, the feel of steel over polypropylene makes a world of difference to your technique – steel doesn’t bounce or slide, it binds. Admittedly blunt feders behave far differently to a sharp, but that is still a world better than a poorly balanced nylon plank. …