Fencing Lesson Three
In this lesson you'll learn how to use the Lunge in an attack against an opponent. You'll also learn two of the basic parries: Quarte and Sixte. The lesson will be for foil but can also be used for epee. Lessons for sabre will be added at a later time.
The parry is a defensive maneuver used when an opponent makes an attack. It is very important to use the least amount of motion in the parry because the bigger the movements the more time it takes to get back into the basic position and the more time your opponent has to take advantage of the opening.
(Also known as parry 4): This parry is used when the opponent makes an attack toward the left side of your body (along your stomach.) The object is to deflect their blade so that it just misses you. Usually this parry is followed by an attack, so it's important to learn to "follow the line" of your forward motion. (See Side note.)
The parry goes as such:
1.) Your opponent makes a forward attack to your left side. In this case we'll assume it's a lunge, as that's the most common attack.
2.) As their blade comes toward you, block their blade in the middle region, preferrably more toward the tip. (This part is pure physics-the farther the hit is from the base of the blade the more it will push the blade over. By the same token you should try and use the bottom half of your blade to do this, as it will give you more control and force.)
3.) Push their blade to the left of you so it misses your body. You've now effectively executed parry quarte.
Remember! You only have to deflect their blade SLIGHTLY to have it miss you. Try to push it without moving your blade too far out of line.
Following with an attack:
After moving their blade to the side of you, move your blade parallel to theirs in a lunge. It should hit their torso! Even in epee, where anywhere on the body counts as a point, you should still aim for the torso at this stage. Foil is better for beginners because it encourages you to aim for the largest part of the body.
By moving your blade parallel to your opponent's blade it closes the distance between you and your opponent before they can get their blade back from their attack position. The idea is to keep them from getting their sword between them and you.
Side note-Following the line of your forward motion:
This is a simple but important concept. When making an attack directly after a parry you don't want to swing wildly, then dart forward. Instead you want to flow smoothly forward from the parry into the attack. So, you parry their blade slightly to the side while stepping forward in an advance, then go straight forward with your blade into the lunge. It takes practice and an instructor to show you how it looks. Watch experienced fencers to see how fast it makes their counter-attacks.
Parry Sixte(Also known as parry 6): This parry is used when your opponent makes an attack to the right side of your body (Toward your back). Once again, you want to deflect their blade just enough to keep it from hitting you. So, the parry goes as such:
1.) Your opponent makes a forward attack to your right side. Once again we'll assume it's a lunge, as that's the most common attack.
2.) As their blade comes toward you, block by pushing the tip of their blade farther to the right with the bottom half of your blade.
3.) Push their blade so that it just misses your right side. Remember to keep your wrist straight so you have more force behind your parry! In parry sixte it's common to want to cock your wrist, but this causes you to be more vulnerable to a counter-parry.
4.) If possible, refer to the side note and follow your parry up with a lunge! Be prepared, though, in both parry 4 and parry 6 to be met with a counter-parry. The counter-parry will be covered in Lesson 4.
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