Dolphin Fencing Club
Absence of Blade when the blades are not touching; opposite of engagement.
Academic assault A display bout in which hits are not counted
Advance a movement forward by step, cross, or balestra
Aids the last three fingers of the sword hand.
Analysis reconstruction of the fencing phrase to determine priority of touches
Angulation Creating an angle between the weapon and the sword arm.
Annulment of hit A valid hit that has been disallowed due to infringement of rules
Appel A sharp beat against the ground with the ball of the foot. Used to startle the opponent or provoke a reaction from them.
Arret See stop-hit
Assault friendly combat between two fencers
Attack the initial offensive action made by extending the sword arm and continuously threatening the valid target of the opponent.
Attack on the blade (Attack au fer) an attack that is prepared by deflecting the opponent's blade, eg. beat, press, froissement
Attack on preparation  An attack made during the preparation of an opponents attack, for example during the opponents disengage or advance.
Avoidance Ducking or side-stepping to avoid and attack
Back edge The rear edge on a sabre, opposite to the cutting side.
Backward spring A leap backwards out of distance from a lunge
Balestra a forward hop or jump, typically followed by an attack such as a lunge or fleche.
Barrage A tie or drawn match
Baudry point a safety collar placed around a live epee point to prevent dangerous penetration
Beat an attempt to knock the opponent's blade aside or out of line by using one's foible or middle against the opponent's foible.
Bib Soft padded attachment on the mask, used to protect the neck and throat.
Bind an action in which the opponent's blade is forced into the diagonally opposite line
Blade Main component of a sword
Body wire Wire connected to the sword and worn under a fencers clothing, the other end is connected to the spool cable.
Bout an assault at which the score is kept.
Breaking ground Retiring or stepping backwards
Breeches Knee-length trousers. Made from strong material with a side fastening on the non-sword arm side.
Broken time a sudden change in the tempo of one fencer's actions, used to fool the opponent into responding at the wrong time.
Brutality Actions with an unacceptable level of violence
Button the safety tip on the end of practice and sporting swords
Cadence also Tempo. The rhythm of a series of consecutive periods of fencing time.
Ceding parry Parrying by giving way to an opponent who is taking the blade
Central guard A guard where the hand is between inside and outside lines and therefore not covering either of them.
Change beat A beat made after a change of engagement
Change of engagement engagement of the opponent's blade in a new line.
Chest protectors Rigid cups that fit inside a womans jacket to protect the breasts.
Choice reaction A reasoned response to a change of conditions presented by an opponent
Circular parry Deflecting the opponents attack by making a circle with the point of the sword and taking the blade back to the original line.
Close quarters Also ‘infighting’. When two fencers are so close together that neither can lunge but can still move their weapons without corps a corps
Commanding the blade grabbing the opponent's blade with the off-hand, illegal in sport fencing
Compound actions an action executed in two or more movements; an attack or riposte incorporating one or more feints.
Compound attack An attack that includes one or more feints
Compound pris de fer Two or more takes of the blade with no loss of contact (may be the same move or different)
Compound riposte A riposte comprised of one or more feints
Conventions Rules governing the use and methods of each weapon
Conversation the back-and-forth play of the blades in a fencing match, composed of phrases (phrases d'armes) punctuated by gaps of no blade action.
Coquille the bell-shaped guard used on foils and epees
Corps a corps Physical bodily contact between two fencers. This will immediately stop the fight.
Corps-a-corps lit. "body-to-body"; physical contact between the two fencers during a bout, illegal in foil and sabre.
Coule Extending the arm and grazing lightly down the opponet blade whilst maintaining contact.
Coule' also graze, glise', or glissade; an attack or feint that slides along the opponent's blade.
Counter attack an offensive action made against the right-of-way, or in response to the opponent's attack.
Counter-disengage a disengage in the opposite direction, to deceive the counter-parry.
Counter-parry parry made in the opposite line to the attack; ie. the defender first comes around to the opposite side of the opponent's blade
Counter-riposte an attack that follows a parry of the opponent's riposte
Counter-time an attack that responds to the opponent's counter-attack, typically a riposte following the parry of the counter-attack.
Coupe See cut-over
Croise also semi-bind; an action in which the opponent's blade is forced into the high or low line on the same side
Cross an advance or retreat by crossing one leg over the other; also passe' avant (forward cross), passe' arriere (backwards cross).
Crosse grip Moulded grip with finger protusions. Used on foil and epee.
Cut an attack made with a chopping motion of the blade, normally landing with the edge
Cut-over (coupe) an attack or deception that passes around the opponent's tip
Deception avoidance of an attempt to engage the blades; see disengage, coupe'
Defence Avoiding being hit by parrying, avoiding or moving out of distance.
Delayed Actions made after a pause. Usually attacks or ripostes
Derobement deception of the attack-au-fer or prise-de-fer.
Detachment When both blades break contact
Daigonal parry Deflection of the opponents blade from high-line to low-line on the opposite side or vice versa.
Direct a simple attack or riposte that finishes in the same line in which it was formed, with no feints out of that line
Direct elimination Competition where winners are promoted to next round and losers are eliminated after a single fight.
Disciplinary code  


Disengagement a circular movement of the blade that deceives the opponent's parry, removes the blades from engagement, or changes the line of engagement.
Displacement moving the target to avoid an attack; dodging
Disqualification Eliminated from a competition due to cheating or bad behaviour.
Distance The space between fencers. This is classified as 
Closed:The opponent is so close that you must withdraw your weapon arm to bring the sword point to the target 
Short :You can reach opponent with an extention of the arm 
Middle : you can reach opponent with a lunge. 
Long :you can reach opponent with advance-lunge, balestra or fleche. 
Critical : close enough to hit opponent with an attack before they can physically respond.
Double in epee, two attacks that arrive within 40-50 ms of each other
Double action Both fencers perform an offensive action at the same time.
Double hits Epee only. When both compatants score a hit simultaneously.
Double-time also "dui tempo"; parry-riposte as two distinct actions
Doublé an attack or riposte that describes a complete circle around the opponent's blade, and finishes in the opposite line.
Dry also steam; fencing without electric judging aids
Duration of bout Actual fencing time allowed during a bout.
Earthing of guard Guards of electric weapons must be earthed so that a hit on it does not register.
Earthing of piste When using electric equipment, the metal piste must be earthed so that hits on it do not register.
Elbow guard A pad worn on the sword-arm elbow for added protection.
Engagement when the blades are in contact with each other, eg. during a parry, attack au fer, prise de fer, or coule'
En Garde also On Guard; the fencing position; the stance that fencers assume when preparing to fence
Envelopment an engagement that sweeps the opponent's blade through a full circle
Epee a fencing weapon with triangular cross-section blade and a large bell guard; also a light dueling sword of similar design, popular in the mid-19th century; epee de terrain; dueling sword.
False an action that is intended to fail, but draw a predicted reaction from the opponent; also, the back edge of a sabre blade.
Feint an attack into one line with the intention of switching to another line before the attack is completed.
Fencing line The theoretical straight line that can be drawn between both fencers leading and rear feet.
Fencing measure The distance between two fencers so that they must lunge to score a hit.
Fencing position The position assumed by a fencer to maintain a guard.
Fencing time also temps d'escrime; the time required to complete a single, simple fencing action ie., a parry, thrust, step, remise.
FIE Federation Internationale d'Escrime, the world governing body of fencing.
Finger play Manipulating the weapon with the fingers
Finta in tempo lit. "feint in time"; a feint of counter-attack that draws a counter-time parry, which is deceived; a compound counter-attack.
Flank The side o fthe body on the sword-arm side.
Fleche lit. "arrow"; an attack in which the aggressor leaps off his leading foot, attempts to make the hit, and then passes the opponent at a run.
Flick a cut-like action that lands with the point, often involving some whip of the foible of the blade to "throw" the point around a block or other obstruction.
Floor judges Two judges who watch for hits on the floor when electric epee is fenced without a metal piste.
Florentine an antiquated fencing style where a secondary weapon or other instrument is used in the off hand.
Flying Parry or Riposte a parry with a backwards glide and riposte by cut-over.
Foible the upper, weak part of the blade
Foil (fleuret) a fencing weapon with rectangular cross-section blade and a small bell guard; any sword that has been buttoned to render it less dangerous for practice.
Forte the lower, strong part of the blade
French grip a traditional hilt with a slightly curved grip and a large pommel.
Froissement an attack that displaces the opponent's blade by a strong grazing action
Fuller the groove that runs down a sword blade to reduce weight
Gaining ground Advancing or stepping forwards
Glide see coule'
Graze See coule
Grip (of weapon) Handle part of the hilt
Grip Method of holding the sword
Guard (of weapon) the metal cup or bow that protects the hand from being hit. Also, the defensive position assumed when not attacking.
Guards Fencing positions (prime, seconde, tierce, quarte, quinte, sixte, seconde, octave)
High line Target above the theoretical horizontal line mid-way through the fencers’ trunk.
Hilt the handle of a sword, consisting of guard, grip, and pommel.
Hit  An successful attack on the opponent, regardless of location.


Immediate An action made without a pause.
In Quartata a counter-attack made with a quarter turn to the inside, concealing the front but exposing the back
In Time at least one fencing time before the opposing action, especially with regards to a stop-hit.
Indirect a simple attack or riposte that finishes in the opposite line to which it was formed
Insistence forcing an attack through the parry
Interception a counter-attack that intercepts and checks an indirect attack or other disengagement
Invitation a line that is intentionally left open to encourage the opponent to attack.
Italian foil/epee a traditional hilt with finger rings and crossbar
Judges additional officials who assist the referee in detecting illegal or invalid actions, such as floor judges or hand judges
Jury the 4 officials who watch for hits in a non-electric fencing bout
Lame jacket a metallic vest/jacket used to detect valid touches in foil and sabre
Lines the main direction of an attack (eg., high/low, inside/outside), often equated to the parry that must be made to deflect the attack; also point in line.
Low lines Target below the theoretical horizontal line mid-way through the fencers’ trunk.
Lunge an attack made by extending the rear leg and landing on the bent front leg.
Mal-parry also mal-pare'; a parry that fails to prevent the attack from landing.
Manipulators the thumb and index finger of the sword hand.
Martingale a strap that binds the grip to the wrist/forearm.
Mask Head protection made from wire mesh to protect the face and sides of the head and neck.
Measure the distance between the fencers.
Moulinet a whirling cut, executed from the wrist or elbow.
Octave parry #8; blade down and to the outside, wrist supinated
On guard Stance adopted in fencing
One-two attack A compound attack comprising of 2 disengages to deceive a simple parry
‘open eyes’ Starting a movement with no knowledge of how it will finish and relying on reflexes to make adjustments for a correct ending.
Opposition holding the opponent's blade in a non-threatening line; a time-hit; any attack or counter-attack with opposition.
Orthopaedic grip Moulded grips in various designs for foil and epee.
Parry a block of the attack, made with the forte of one's own blade; also parade
Part-whole Teaching a movement by practicing the component parts individually and then putting them together to make the whole movement.
Passata-sotto a lunge made by dropping one hand to the floor
Passe' an attack that passes the target without hitting
Patinando A step forward with an appel with the back foot as the front foot lands.
Phrase a set of related actions and reactions in a fencing conversation.
Piste the linear strip on which a fencing bout is fought; approx. 2m wide and 14m long
Pistol Grip a modern, orthopaedic grip, shaped vaguely like a small pistol; varieties are known by names such as Belgian, German, Russian, and Visconti.
Plaque' a point attack that lands flat
Plastron a partial jacket worn for extra protection; typically a half-jacket worn under the main jacket on the weapon-arm side of the body.
Point in Line also line; an extended arm and blade that threatens the opponent.
Pommel Counter balance for the blade that screws onto the end of the blade and holds the parts together.
Pool (poule) A grouping of fencers or teams for a competition.
Preparation of attack a non-threatening action intended to create the opening for an attack; the initial phase of an attack, before right-of-way is established
Presentation offering one's blade for engagement by the opponent
President Referee in a fencing bout.
Press an attempt to push the opponent's blade aside or out of line; depending on the opponent's response, the press is followed by a direct or indirect attack.

 parry #7; blade down and to the outside, wrist pronated

Principle of defence the use of forte against foible when parrying
Priority  In Foil and Sabre, regardless of a double hit the point is given the the fencer who has priority. Priority is given to the fencer who initiated the attack in the current movement. For example you will have priority if you initiate a lunge, or if you successfully parry an attack. An attack must be made within one unit of fencing time to maintain priority.
Prise de fer also taking the blade; an engagement of the blades that forces the opponent's weapon into a new line. See: bind, croise, envelopment, opposition
Progressive actions  

 A position where the wrist is above the handle

Quarte parry #4; blade down up and to the inside
Quinte parry #5; blade down up to the inside, wrist pronated. The hand is further from the body that quarte
Recovery The act of returning to the en guard position from an attack 
Redoublement a new action that follows an attack that missed or was parried; renewal of a failed attack in the opposite line; alternatively see Reprise.
Remise immediate replacement of an attack that missed or was parried, without withdrawing the arm
Renewals of attack  
Renewed actions  
Reprise renewal of an attack that missed or was parried, after a return to en-garde; alternatively see Redoublement
Retire also retreat, step back; opposite of advance
Ricasso the portion of the tang between the grip and the blade, present on Italian hilts and most rapiers
Right-of-way rules for awarding the point in the event of a double touch in foil or sabre
Riposte an offensive action made immediately after a parry of the opponent's attack
Sabre a fencing weapon with a flat blade and knuckle guard, used with cutting or thrusting actions; a military sword popular in the 18th to 20th centuries; any cutting sword used by cavalry
Salle a fencing hall or club.
Salute with the weapon, a customary acknowledgement of one's opponent and referee at the start and end of the bout.
Schlager German fraternity duelling sword, used with cuts to the face and no footwork
Seconde parry #2; blade down and to the outside, wrist pronated
Second-intention a false action used to draw a response from the opponent, which will open the opportunity for the intended action that follows, typically a counter-riposte
Semi-circular parry  A parry that transitions from the high line to the low and vice versa, on the same side of the body. For example from Sixte to Octave or Quarte to Septime.
Sentiment du fer  


Septime parry #7; blade down and to the inside, wrist supinated
Simple attack executed in one movement; an attack or riposte that involves no feints
Simple parry  A straight parry from one side of the body to the other, without changing from the high or low. Quarte to Sixte and Seconde to Septime would be simple parries.
Simultaneous attack in foil and sabre, two attacks for which the right-of-way is too close to determine
Single Stick an archaic form of fencing with basket-hilted wooden sticks
Sixte parry #6; blade up and to the outside, wrist supinated
Small Sword a light duelling sword popular in the 17th-18th centuries, precursor to the foil.
Spools  In electric fencing the spool is the housing of the retractable wire that connects the fencer to the scoring machine.
Stop cut/stop point a stop-hit with the edge in sabre, typically to the cuff
Stop hit (arret) a counter-attack that hits; also a counter-attack whose touch is valid by virtue of its timing
Stop hit in opposition  
Straight thrust  
Successive parries  
Taking the blade (prise de fer)  
Temps d’escrime  


Tierce parry #3; blade up and to the outside, wrist pronated.
Thrust an attack made by moving the sword parallel to its length and landing with the point
Trompement deception of the parry.
Valid hit  


Whip-over in sabre, a touch that results from the foible of the blade whipping over the opponent's guard or blade when parried.
Whites fencing clothing.