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

Simple Attacks - There are four.  Know them well.  If executed perfectly, you can win most bouts simply by using them.

Straight Thrust - An extend-lunge.  See "Foil Basics" for explanation.  Ingrain it in your muscles.  Do it in your sleep.  Dream about it.  It is critical that aiming the weapon occurs during the extension, and not the lunge.  

Disengagement - If your opponent engages your weapon, a disengagement is a spiral motion generated by the wrist, which, when coupled by an extension (which happens during the disengagement) and a lunge, attacks to the an exposed target area.  It is important to send the point of the weapon on a "crow's flight" to minimize the time between initiation and completion of the attack.  

Glide - This is not really used extensively in foil, nor do I recommend its use beyond a surprise attack.  However, the principles of it are:  Hook the opponents blade with the forte of your blade, and either lunge or advance toward the target while, arm unextended, your weapon glides down the opponents to the target.  An attack highly resistant to simple parries, but weak in regards to distance, the glide should never be a primary method of attack, but always in reserve.

Coup/Cut-over - An interesting little move--quite useful.  From en garde, the point is lifted up, the extension begins (think pushing the wrist forward), and the point falls into line on the opposite side of the opponents sword.  Immediate after this happens, the sword arm is extended, and the lunge completed.  

 Secondary Simple Attacks

Beat Attack - As Maestro Gaugler termed beats, they are indeed "a measured blow of violence."  To execute, the median of your blade must contact the opponents weak.  It is critical that this movement be a surprise, with no "wind up" taking place.  Furthermore, the extension takes place as a fluid motion forward from the beat, to the point where they are two distinct movements, but streamline.  This takes a bit of practice, but once mastered, the beat, followed by a lunge, is an effective tool in your fencing arsenal.  

Beat Disengage - A beat, followed by a disengage attack.  It is critical the extension happen on the disengage, and not on the beat.  

Change Beat - A disengage, followed by a beat attack.  Here, the extension occurs after the beat.  

Graze - A graze is an action designed to provoke a response (ideally an over reaction) from your opponent.  It is significantly lighter than  beat, and occurs with a downward motion, starting at the opponents weak, and ending near their median.  

Expulsion -A graze, but much harder, and designed to force an opening for a straight thrust.  

Using Pressure - Pressure and blade engagement are, when not overused, potent weapons.  Feel them out.  See what each individual opponent does to pressure.  If he/she overreacts, a disengage is usually the best next action.  If he/she underreacts, play with tempo, follow it up with a beat or expulsion.  Explore the concept, and you'll figure out what works.