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Attacks on The Blade Classified

December 21, 2010 | Comments: 0 | Views: 140

Three classes of fencing actions are commonly termed preparations of the attack: (1) footwork preparations, (2) attacks on the blade, and (3) takings of the blade.The objective in each case is to create conditions in which the fencer is able to score a touch; the role of individual technique in creating those conditions results in the identification of them as preparations.Among the preparations, the category that appears instinctive is the attack on the blade.

Attacks on the blade are preparatory actions directed at the opponent's blade to remove the blade from the line, creating an opening through with a direct attack can be made.Alternatively they may remove the blade by provoking a lateral or circular response to the pressure which can be deceived by the attacker, for example, by disengage, coupe, or counterdisengage.

Although the term "attacks on the blade" has been criticized on the basis that a fencer cannot attack the blade, but only the opponent, I believe the term is the best description of what actually happens.These actions work by percussion, the application of quick, sharp force to the blade to set it in motion.The fencer applies force to the opponent's blade to move it as part of an attacking action.

There are three common attacks on the blade:

The Press - executed from engagement, the press displaces the opponent's blade by momentary lateral or semi-circular pressure on the blade until the actual attack is launched.The press is not as obviously threatening as the beat or froissement and may be maintained for a relatively long period before the final action of the attack.

The Beat - executed from a position where the blades are not in contact as a crisp impact on the opponent's blade, displacing the blade from the line.The beat can be executed from engagement, but in this case requires detachment from the blade, potentially losing the element of surprise.

The Froissement (also termed Expulsion) - executed from engagement, this is a sharp grazing action which starts using the forte near the tip of the opponent's blade and progesses down and in to violently deflect the blade, often ending with the attacker's point out of line.This is the most difficult of the attacks on the blade to control, and probably the easiest to deceive.As a result it is not commonly used.

Attacks on the blade generally can be used to achieve four tactical objectives:

... to open the line by removing the opponent's blade, allowing a direct attack,

... to provoke a reaction creating an opportunity to follow with an indirect attack,

... to fix the opponent's attention creating an opportunity for attack while the opponent is distracted, or

... with the press to provoke a change of engagement which could be deceived.

As a practical matter the modern fencer will most likely use either a press or a beat, depending on whether or not the blades are engaged, the level of threat desired in the earliest stage of the attack,and the type of reaction desired.Both of these actions demand precise control of blade movement and the level of force used, correct distance and integrated footwork, and excellent timing.Although beginner's stumble onto the beat early in their development as fencers, both the beat and the press require practice and focus on the goal of the attack, not on whacking the opponent's blade, to ensure their success.

Walter Green is a Maitre d'Armes (Fencing Master) certified by the Academie d'Armes Internationale. He teaches modern competitive and classical fencing, historical swordplay, bayonet fencing, and Asian martial arts swords at Salle Green ( http://www.sallegreen.com ), the fencing school he operates in Glen Allen, Virginia. Maitre Green also trains fencing coaches through the Pan American Fencing Academy ( http://panamfencing.com ). He serves as a Head Examiner for the certification of professional fencing coaches for the United States Fencing Coaches Association, and chairs the USFCA's Club Committee.

Copyright 2010 by Walter G. Green III. All rights reserved.

Source: EzineArticles
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