Glossary

Some common fencing terms as they are used in the IFV Method

| A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z |

Rapier & Dagger Terminology


Academy of Armes.
A fencing school that trains fencing teachers as well as fencers
Advance.
A closing step forward.
Allez.
“Go” or “Begin.” Used to start a bout or drill.
Appel.
To call. To strike the floor twice with the front heel to indicate a request for a “time out.” Used in the Italian School to emphasize a feint or a remise.
Assault.
A “sparring” session in which no score is kept.
Attack.
The initial offensive action made by fully and completely extending the arm, and continuously and progressively threatening the opponent's target.
Attaque au Fer.
Attack on the blade. A preparation by beat, pressure or froissment.
Attack on the preparation.
An attack made as the opponent executes his preparation.

[ Return to Top ]

Balance.
The ability to move either foot in any direction without first shifting your weight.
Balestra.
A “jump” forward. Some schools use this term for the jump forward followed by the lunge. We use it only to refer to the jump itself.
Beat.
A preparation. To strike the opponent's blade.
La Belle.
“The beautiful one” One perfect touch. The deciding touch in a tie.
BLOOD.
An acronym for Balance Line, Focus and Distance, the four elements of technique.
Bout.
An assault in which the score is kept.

[ Return to Top ]

Centerline.
An imaginary vertical line bisecting the opponent's head evenly between the eyes.
Change-beat.
A beat preceded by a change of line.
Change of Engagement.
To Engage in a line other than that of the initial engagement.
Classical fencing.
Fencing as a martial art based on authentic use of the sword for self-defence. Fencing that is true to the realities of the duel as described in the 19th century manuals of the French and the Italian Schools.
Close the line.
To assume a guard in such a manner that the target cannot be approached in the guarded line.
Closing step.
A “shuffling” step in which one foot follows the other.
Compound Attack.
An attack comprised of one or more feints. (also compound riposte, compound counter-riposte)
Coule.
An attack with strong opposition along the length of the opponent's blade. Also called a glide.
Counter-attack.
An offensive action made during the opponent's attack.
Counter-disengagement. (contre-degagement)
A change of engagement made around the opponent's change of engagement with the result of returning to the original engagement.
Counter-riposte.
The offensive action made by the fencer who parries the riposte or counter-riposte.
Counter-time.
An action made against the opponent's counter-attack.
Coup Droite.
An attack made in the same line as the engagement.
Coupe.
An attack made in the line opposite that of the engagement, made by passing the point over the opponent's blade.
Croise.
A prise du fer that transports the opponent's blade vertically.

[ Return to Top ]

Dagger.
A knife with a long blade (10"–15") primarily for parrying, used in concert with the rapier of the 16th–17th centuries.
Deceive.
To avoid blade contact.
Defensive action.
Any action to avoid being wounded. A parry or an esquive or both.
Derobement.
The avoidance or “deception” of a preparation on the blade.
Disengagement.
An attack made in the line opposite to that of the engagement by passing the point under the opponent's blade.
Distance.
The space separating the fencers. We distinguish five distances:
  1. Open distance = farther than advance-lunge distance.
  2. Advance-lunge distance.
  3. Lunging distance
  4. Thrusting distance.
  5. Close Quarters = closer than thrusting distance.
Double.
The trompement (deception) of a circular parry.
Double advance.
Two advances, one right after the other.
Double change of engagement.
Two changes of engagement, one right after the other.
Double retreat.
Two retreats, one right after the other.
Drill.
A short tactical exercise.

[ Return to Top ]

Engagement.
A preparation made by a firm but gentle sustained contact of the opponent's blade.
En Garde.
Take your stance and prepare to fence.
Envelopment.
A prise du fer that transports the opponent's blade in a complete circle, returning to the original line.
Epee.
French, “sword.”
Epee du combat.
Duelling sword.
Epee d'Escrime.
A blunt for epee style fencing.
Epee du salle.
A foil.
Esquive.
A movement of the body to avoid being hit. Also called a slip.
Etude.
A pre-arranged sequence of actions. Etudes are the “scales” of fencing and the most important element of daily practice. In a formal etude, no touches are given. In a tactical etude one or more touches are possible and one is always given.
L'Escrime.
Fencing.
L'Escrimeur/ L'Escrimeuse
Fencer.

[ Return to Top ]

Fencer.
One who fences.
Fencing.
The use of a sword for offense and defense, especially in civilian combat.
Fencing, Classical. Fencing, historical.
The theory and practice of early fencing with such weapons as the rapier and dagger of the 16th–17th century and the smallsword of the 17th–18th.
Fencing Academy.
A fencing school with a professional teacher
Fencing Club.
A group of fencers without a professional teacher
Fer. Ferro.
Literally “iron” or “steel.” Poetically referring to the sword or the blade
Finale.
The last part or last moment of an offensive action
Focus.
The concentration of one's gaze and one's attention
Foil.
A “blunt.” Any unsharpened weapon intended for practice. The practice weapon for the epee du combat (duelling sword).
Free Scholar.
An intermediate-advanced level student.
Froissement.
An attaque au fer that "whips" along the opponent's blade.

[ Return to Top ]

Guard.
A particular placement of the sword and swordarm. Especially as a preparatory position. There are 8 guards. Also: that part of the hilt that protects the hand. (variously called the coquille, bell, shell or cup.)

[ Return to Top ]

HALT!
Stop IMMEDIATELY whatever you are doing, step back and lower your sword.
Hand. (to have a good hand)
To be sensitive and dexterous with the sword
Honour.
The element that distinguishes fencing from everything else. It is a combination of honesty, integrity, self-responsibility, gallantry, ace, dignity, humility and gentleness. Our creed states: Gracious and dignified in defeat; humble and gentle in victory.

[ Return to Top ]

In Ferro Veritas.
“In the sword is truth.” The motto of our school.
Instructeur.
Instructor.The IFV professional rank above moniteur and below prevost. An instructor is qualified to teach without the master's direct supervision.
Invitation.
An intentional opening.

[ Return to Top ]

Judge.
The official who determines the materiality of a hit.
Line.
One of four possible paths to the target defined in relationship to the placement of the opponent's sword and swordhand: high inside, low inside, high outside, low outside. Also the correct alignment of the various parts of the body.
Line of Assault.
Sometimes called the line of direction or line of combat. An imaginary line connecting the antagonists front feet.
Liement.
A prise du fer that transports the opponent's blade diagonally.
Lunge.
A long step forward with the front foot.

[ Return to Top ]

Maître d'Armes.
Fencing Master. A professional fencing teacher of the French School. (addressed as “Maître”). A fencing master of the Italian School is a Maestro di Scherma and is addressed as “Maestro.”
Match.
An aggregate of bouts.
Merci.
Thank you.
Moniteur d'Escrime.
An advanced student who assists the Master or Instructor.

[ Return to Top ]

Novice.
A new student.
Octave (8ve).
A guard that closes the low outside line.
Offensive action.
An action that would inflict a wound against the opponent.
Olympic Fencing.
Fencing organized only as a competitive sport. Also the style and philosophy thereof. A somewhat derisive term to describe the "sport" of fencing when it is divorced from the realities of the duel and takes on a hyper-stylized character and which puts winning at any cost above all other considerations. Note well that all competitive fencers are not necessarily "olympic" in style, nor are classical fencers "non-competitive."
Opposition.
A prise du fer that transports the opponent's blade laterally in the same line as the engagement.

[ Return to Top ]

Pas de touche.
No touch. Said to decline credit for delivering a touch.
Parry.
The defensive action made with the blade that prevents the touch from arriving.
Passing step.
A step in which the feet cross as in walking.
Passe Avant.
A passing step forward.
Passe Arriere.
Passing step backward.
Piste.
“strip.” The field of play.
Point.
The sharpened end of the sword, or the theoretically sharp end of a foil.
Pointe d'arret.
Literally a “stop point.” A pronged device affixed to the blunt blade to better simulate a sharp and to facilitate the clear scoring of touches.
Point-in-Line.
To have the swordarm extended in a more or less horizontal line from shoulder to point, the point aiming at the opponent's target.
Position.
Placements of the feet and body. First position = rest/ready Second position = “en garde” Third position = the lunge.
President du Combat.
The chief official of a fencing bout whose job is to analyse the phrase to determine the prioity of hits, award touches and penalties, and supervise all other personnel.
Prevost d'Armes.
Assistant Fencing Master.
Preparation.
An action intended to facilitate an attack.
Pressure.
To push the opponent's blade.
Pretes.
“Ready.”
Prise du fer.
To trap the opponent's blade. There are four: opposition, croise, bind and envelopment.

[ Return to Top ]

Quarte (4te).
A guard that closes the high inside line.
Rapier.
A civilian sword with a relatively long, lean blade to favor thrusting. Especially 16th and 17th centuries.
Rassemblement.
To return to first position.
Recover.
To return to guard from the lunge.
Remise d'Attaque.
An immediate simple offensive action following an original offensive action made without withdrawing the arm or changing line.
Reprise d'Attack.
A new attack made immediately upon the return to guard.
Redoublement.
A new attack made by assembling forward from the lunge
Retreat.
A closing step backward.
Reverence.
A salute.
Riposte.
The offensive action made by the fencer who has parried the attack.

[ Return to Top ]

Sabre.
A sword with a relatively wide, flat blade, usually curved, to facilitate cutting.
Salle d'Armes.
Fencing studio.
Sangue froid.
“cold blood” Composure. To remain cool and calm under pressure.
Scholar.
A beginning level student.
Sentiment du fer.
To be able to feel with one's blade as if it were a part of one's body.
Septime (7me).
A guard that closes the inside low line.
Shave the floor.
Said in reference to the front heel of the lunge neither dragging nor lifting high into the air on the execution of the lunge.
Simple Fencing Action.
An action consisting of one movement and executed in one tempo
Sixte (6te).
The guard that protects or “closes” the high outside line
Smallsword.
An 18th century rapier.
Stop hit.
A counter attack which interrupts the opponent during the development of his attack literally "stopping" him from continuing. To do that it must arrive before the finale of the attack begins.
Strategy.
The general or over-all approach to the fight based on the pre-existing time/space relationships between the antagonists. There are 5 strategies.
Swordman/swordwoman.
While a fencer is one who uses the sword, a swordman or swordwoman is a person who has derived a higher level of consciousness through and with the sword, becoming "one" with it (as the words themselves imply). I hope all fencers become swordmen and swordwomen.

[ Return to Top ]

Technique.
The correct mechanical execution of an action.
Tactics.
The choice and application of technique in a specific situation.
Time. (Temps or Tempo).
All fencing actions occur in time. A “period of fencing time” is the time it takes to make one simple fencing action. It is a relative and not an absolute value.
Time hit.
A counter-attack executed by opposition or interception on the opponent's attack.
Thrust.
The complete extension of the swordarm.
Touch.
The equivalent of a wound.
Touche.
I have been hit. Said upon receiving a touch.
Trompement.
The avoidance or “deception” of a parry.
Turn out.
Assume a position in which the front foot and knee point directly forward and the body is not more than a quarter turn in profile.

[ Return to Top ]

Yielding Parry.
A diversion parry used en finale to defend against a prise du fer.

[ Return to Top ]

 


Rapier & Dagger Terminology

Mandritta = an offensive action made from the right side (to the defender's left)

Rovescia (reversa) = an offensive action made from the left side

Falso = made with the rear or "false" edge

Punta Dritta = a thrust from the right side

Punta Rovescia = a thrust from the left side

Stoccata = an upward thrust under the opponent's hand or weapon
Imbrocatta = a downward thrust over the opponent's hand or blade

Closing step = a "shuffling" step in which one foot follows the other as in modern fencing or pugilism
Pass = a step in which one foot "passes" the other as in walking, either forward or back
Traversa = a step forward or backward oblique to the line of assault
Inquartata = a circularwise step to the right with the rear (left) foot, effacing the body to remove the inside target
Intagliata = a step across to the left with the front (right) foot to remove the outside target
Botta Lunga = a long step forward with the front foot, analogous to the modern "lunge"

Hand Positions:
Prima = thumb down, palm facing right
Segunda = palm down, thumb to the left
Tierza = thumb on top, palm facing left
Quarta = palm up, thumb on the right

Parries:
Quinta, Sesta, Prima Alta: protects upper high inside and outside line
Tierza protects high outside line
Segunda protects low outside line
Prima protects low inside line
Quarta protects high inside line

Stesso Tempo = when the defender's defense and offense are made SIMULTANEOUSLY
Dui Tempi = when the defender's defense and offense are made consecutively

[ Return to Top ]

 


terminology  |  teachers  |  schedule  |  connect

home


 © A.A. Crown 1999–2017
Any questions? info@classicalfencing.com

IFV Inc is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt not-for-profit educational corporation.
Located in Ithaca, NY, the heart of the beautiful Finger Lakes region.