Right of Way
Some very basic concepts, often encountered in beginner foil, which don't seem to fit wholly into any other category.
Balestra – A move that reminds many of the swashbuckler pictures of the 40's and 50's. It is a jump that carries you forward. To execute, push off your back foot, kick your front foot out at the knee, all while maintaining proper balance and position in the upper body, then, land both feet at the same time in proper en guarde position. Usually followed by a lunge.
Appel – A stomp of the front foot which serves as an accent to either a feint or an incoming lunge. The foot only comes off the ground around 2 centimeters or so--do not overdo it. If accompanying a feint, it should be timed with the completion of a feint.
Fleche – First and foremost, the fleche is not something you should overuse. Second, the fleche is not something you should overuse. To execute, extend your weapon arm completely (this is an all or nothing thing), push off your back foot, and shift all your weight to the front as your back foot cross the line of your front. Try to flatten your body as much as possible, extending your back arm, and turning your torso to the side. The fleche (and hence your right of way) ends when your back foot hits the floor. IF you haven’t hit by then, either continue running past your opponent, or improvise yourself to a touch.
Probing Actions – Actions (not feints!) which provoke the opponent into a reaction. They can be beats, grazes, taps, what have you. They are not designed to be followed by an attack, but give you an idea as to how your opponent reacts to things. For instance, if every time you beat the median of his/her blade he/she responds in kind, you can plan a beat-disengage attack for use later on. Although useful, probing actions can be overused, in addition to leaving you vulnerable to a nice countertime attack (see below)
Tempo – As
humans are creatures of habit, fencers are creatures of rhythm. Pay
attention to the amount of time you place between each phase of your
attack. If the beat attack is in 4/4 time, are you constantly going
1(beat),2(extension), 3 (being lunge), 4(land). If so, your opponent
will figure this out. Instead, vary the tempo at which you attack is
being launched: 1(beat) 2(rest) 2 ½(extend) 3(begin lunge) 3 ½ (end
lunge). In doing so, the timing of your opponent’s parry is, if all
goes well, disrupted. There are countless variations, and using tempo
is the best way to add feints to your attacks, for instance, in the
above example a feint can be added with the 2 ½, or 3rd beat.