Misc. Considerations



Foil Basics

Hand Position

Basic Concepts of the Phrase

Right of Way
The Attack
The Advance-Lunge


Simple Attacks
Straight Thrust
Secondary Simple Attacks
Change Beat
Using Pressure   


Basic Defense
The Simple Parry
The Riposte
Ceding Parries
Complex Defense
Circular Parry
Counter Attacks
Arrest/Stop Thrust
Disengagement in Time
Passata Sota

When You Can't Score The First Time...

Feint Direct
Feint by Glide
Ripostes with Feints
Counter Disengagement
Feint in Time

Misc. Considerations

Probing Actions

Resources/Further Reading

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.
The best times to insert rests are after beats/disengages, after feints, or between the advance and lunge of an advance lunge.  Doing so gives you time to see your opponent commit to a parry, as you’re conducting the tempo of the phrase. 

Countertime – Bridging off from tempo is countertime.  This is something most often used against a fencer whose tempo has become static.  In the above example, [1(beat),2(extension), 3 (being lunge), 4(land)] , this combination can be repeated throughout the bout to the point where your opponent gets hint of it.  An example of a counter-time offensive would be an arrest occur at 1 ¼, or 1 ½, before your attack has really begun.  Countertime becomes more evident and useful the more prolonged an attack is, and the best way to avoid it being used on you is to be ever-vigilant of tempo, both how you and your opponent are making use of it.