Basic Fencing Techniques

If you are new to fencing or are just checking it out for the first time, here’s a quick roundup of the basic techniques you should be aware of.

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The basic moves

There are three main moves used in fencing:

Lunge — the basic attacking move. The sword arm is extended fully, while the back leg remains stationary as the front leg moves forward.

Parry — a defensive action where the fencer blocks the opponent’s lunge. When parrying, only the blade should move, while the arm should be kept as straight as possible.

Riposte — a counterattack by the fencer who has blocked the opponent with a parry.

The stance

The correct fencing stance is as follows:

  • The correct position involves pointing the front foot straight forward, with the back foot at a 90 degree angle to it. The feet should be around 91cm (3ft)  apart.

  • Both legs should be bent, to enable the fencer to readily move speedily to make an attack or defend.

  • The sword arm should be bent at a 45 degree angle in front of the fencer, and the other arm should be kept behind the fencer.

  • When moving forward in fencing, the front foot should move first, and then be followed by the back foot.

  • When moving backward, the back foot should move first and then be followed by the front foot.

The attack

There are four types of fencing attack on an opponent:

  • High outside — an attack to the top of the opponent, going to the outside of the blade between the opponent’s weapon and shoulder.

  • Low outside — the same area as high outside but made closer to the waist.

  • High inside — going inside of the blade, in the middle of the chest to the shoulder.

  • Low inside — the same as high inside but lower.

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