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Absence of blade: when swords are not in contact, opposite of engagement

Advance: a movement forward by step, cross, or balestra

Aids: the last three fingers of the sword hand

Analysis: the process of describing actions occurring in a fight, usually a phrase preceding a hit

Angulation: creating an angle between the weapon and the sword arm by flexing the wrist and pronating or supinating the sword hand

Annulment of hit: a valid hit which is disallowed because of an infringement of the rules or a technical fault

Appel: beating the ground with the ball of the foot, either as a 'front foot' or 'rear foot' appel

Assault: friendly combat between two fencers

Attack: an initial offensive action made by extending the sword arm and continuously threatening the opponent's target

Attack au Fer: an attack that is prepared by deflecting the opponent's blade, eg. beat, froissement, pressure.

Avoidance: ducking or moving sideways to avoid being hit

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Back edge: the edge of a sabre blade opposite to that of the cutting edge

Balestra: a forward hop or jump, typically followed by an attack such as a lunge or fleche

Barrage: a fight-off to determine a result in the event of a tie

Bayonet: a type of electrical connector for weapons

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: a soft, padded attachment to the lower part of the mask to protect the neck and throat

Bind: taking of the foible of the opposing blade diagonally from high to low line, and vice versa

Blade: the main component of a sword on which the hilt is mounted

Black Card: used to indicate the most serious offences in a fencing competition. The offending fencer is usually expelled from the event or tournament

Body wire: wire worn under a fencer's clothing to connect the sword terminal to the retractable spool cable, when using the electrical apparatus

Bout: an assault at which the score is kept

Breaking ground: stepping back

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white, knee-length trousers made of robust material; side fastening must be on the non-sword-arm side, and legs must have fastenings below the knees

Broken time: a sudden change in the tempo or pause of one fencer's actions, used to fool the opponent into responding at the wrong time

Broadsword: a military sword and fencing weapon popular in the 18th-19th centuries, similar to a heavy sabre; any straight-bladed, double- edged, single-handed cutting sword of the post-medieval period

Brutality: actions which are performed with an unacceptable level of force or violence which causes discomfort to the opponent

Button: soft covering put over a non-electric foil or epee point for safety

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Cadence: the rhythm in which a sequence of movements is made

Ceding parry: a parry formed by giving way to an opponent who is taking the blade

Change beat: a beat made after passing under or over the opponent's blade

Change of engagement: re-engagement of the opponent's blade on the opposite side by passing under or over it

Chest protectors: rigid breast cups which fit inside women's fencing jackets

Choice reaction: reasoned response to a change of conditions presented by the opponent

Circular parry: deflection of the opponent's attacking blade by making a circle with the sword point

Close quarters: when two fencers are close together but can still wield their weapons

Competition: aggregate of individual bouts or team matches required to determine a winner

Compound: an attack or riposte incorporating one or more feints to the opposite line that the action finishes in

Compound prises de fer: two or more consecutive takings of the blade, alike or different, with no loss of blade contact

Conventions: the rules governing the method of fencing for each weapon

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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: bell-shaped guard of a foil or epee

Corps-a-corps: lit. "body-to-body"; physical contact between the two fencers during a bout, illegal in foil and sabre

Coulé;: the action of extending the sword arm and grazing lightly down the opponent's blade, maintaining contact throughout. Also graze, glisé, or glissade

Counter-attack: an attack 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-offensive action: see counter-attack

Counter-parry: a parry made in the opposite line to the attack; ie. the defender first comes around to the opposite side of the opponent's blade. See Circular Parry

Counter-riposte: a riposte following the successful parry of the opponent's riposte or counter-riposte

Counter-time: an attack that responds to the opponent's counter-attack, typically a riposte following the parry of the counter-attack

Coupé;: an attack or deception that passes around the opponent's tip, also called cut-over

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Coup lance:
a launched hit; an attack that starts before a stop in play but lands after. Valid for normal halts, but not valid at end of time

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 passé avant (forward cross), passé arriere (backwards cross)

Crosse grip: a moulded grip with finger protrusions, used on foils and epees

Cut: an attack made with a chopping motion of the blade, landing with the edge or point

Cut-over (Coupé): an indirect action made by passing the blade over the opponent's point

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Deception: avoidance of an attempt to engage the blades; see disengage, coupé;

Defence: not being hit by the opponent's offensive actions, either by parrying, avoiding, or moving out of distance

Delayed: actions made after a pause; usually attacks or ripostes

Derobement: evasion of the opponent's attempt to beat or take the blade while the sword arm is straight and the point is threatening the target

Detachment: when both blades break contact

Development: extension of the sword arm accompanied by the lunge

Diagonal parry: deflecting the opponent's attacking blade by moving from a high line guard to a low line guard on the opposite side and vice versa

Direct: actions made without passing the blade under or over the opponent's blade

Direct elimination: method of competition organisation where winners are promoted to the following rounds and losers are eliminated after one fight

Disciplinary code: by taking part in a fencing competition, fencers 'pledge their honour' to observe the rules for competitions and the decisions of judges and to be respectful towards the president and the members of the jury

Disengage: a circular movement of the blade that deceives the opponent's parry, removes the blades from engagement, or changes the line of engagement

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Displacement: moving the target to avoid an attack; dodging

Disqualification: to be eliminated from a competition due to cheating or bad behavior, or by default, eg late arrival

Doublé: an attack or riposte that describes a complete circle around the opponent's blade, and finishes in the opposite line

Double action: when both fencers choose exactly the same moment to make an offensive action

Double defeat: in epee only; after the time has expired, if both competitors have received the same number of hits (or neither has scored a hit), they are counted as both having received the maximum number of hits being fought for, and a defeat is scored against each, except in direct elimination where the fight goes on without limitation of time until there is a result

Double hits: in epee only, when both competitors register a hit on each other simultaneously, the difference of time between the two hits being less than 1/25 of a second

Double prises de fer: loss of contact between the first and second prise de fer

Draw: seeding of fencers to determine the bouts in a competition

Dry: fencing without electric scoring aids

Duration of bout: actual fencing time allowed during a bout, ie a stop clock is started at the beginning of a bout, stopped each time the president halts the fencers and started again when the bout is restarted

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Earthing of guard: guards of electric weapons must be earthed correctly so that weapon hits do not register on them

Earthing of piste: when using electrical equipment, metal pistes must be correctly earthed so that hits do not register on them

Elbow guard: a pad worn on the fencer's sword-arm elbow for protection

Electrical apparatus: an electric box with red and green lights to register valid hits at foil, epee and sabre and white lights to register non-valid hits at foil. The apparatus is mounted centrally, adjacent to the piste and connected by floor leads to spools with retractable cables placed at both ends of the piste, to which the fencers connect their body wires

Electric weapons: foils, epees and sabres suitable for use with electrical apparatus

Engagement: when the blades are in contact with each other, eg. during a parry, attack au fer, prise de fer, or coulé

Envelopment: an engagement that sweeps the opponent's blade through a full circle

En Garde: also On Guard; the fencing position; the stance that fencers assume when preparing to fence

Epee: a fencing weapon with triangular cross-section blade and a large bell guard; also a light duelling sword of similar design, popular in the mid-19th century

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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: attacking into one line with the intention of switching to another line before the attack is completed

Fencing Line: when fencers are fencing each other it should be possible to draw a theoretical straight line running through both leading feet and rear heels

Fencing Time: also temps d'escrime; the time required to complete a single, simple fencing action

FIE: Federation Internationale d'Escrime, the world governing body of fencing.

Finta in tempo: lit. "feint in time"; a feint of counter-attack that draws a counter-time parry, which is decieved

Flank: the side of the trunk of 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 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 floor hits when electric epee is used without a metal piste

Florentine: a fencing style where a secondary weapon or other instrument is used in the off hand

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Flying Parry or Riposte: a parry with a backwards glide and riposte by cut-over

the flexible half of the blade further away from the hilt

Foil: 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

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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 - see prime, seconde, tierce, quarte, quinte, sixte, septime, octave, neuvieme

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High line: the position of the target above a theoretical horizontal line mid-way through a fencer's trunk

Hilt: the assembled parts of the sword excluding the blade, ie the guard, pad, grip and pommel

Hit: to strike the opponent with the point of the sword clearly and distinctly and with character of penetration. A cut with a sabre

Homologated: certified for use in FIE competitions, eg. 800N clothing and maraging blades

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In Quartata: an attack made with a quarter turn to the inside, concealing the front but exposing the back

In Time: when a stop-hit arrives at least one fencing time before the original attack

Indicators: a system used in competition to determine a fencer's seeding after the first rounds. The first indicator is expressed as a ratio of the number of victories and the number of fights and the second indicator is the number of hits scored minus the number of hits received

Indirect: an offensive action made by first passing the blade under or over the opponent's blade

Insistence: forcing an attack through the parry

Invitation: a line that is intentionally left open to encourage the opponent to attack

Italian Grip: a traditional hilt with finger rings and crossbar

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Jack-slap: defeat egregiously, also Jaques-slappé

Jury: the 4 officials who watch for hits in a dry fencing bout

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Lamé: a metallic vest/jacket used to detect valid touches in foil and sabre

Line: 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: position of the target below a theoretical horizontal line mid-way through a fencer's trunk

Lunge: an attack made by extending the rear leg and landing on the bent front leg

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Mal-parry: also mal-paré; a parry that fails to prevent the attack from landing

Manipulators: the index finger and thumb of the sword hand

Maraging: a special steel used for making blades; said to be stronger and break more cleanly than conventional steels

Marker Points: an old method of detecting hits using inked points

Martingale: the loop of tape or leather attached to the grip and held to prevent a non-electric foil from flying out of the hand in the event of being disarmed

Match: the aggregate of bouts between two fencing teams

Measure: the distance between the fencers

Metallic piste: electrically-conductive material covering the piste in order that hits on the floor do not register on the electrical apparatus

Middle: the middle third of the blade, between foible and forte

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Neuvieme: parry #9; blade behind the back, pointing down; alternatively, similiar to elevated sixte

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Octave: parry #8; blade down and to the outside, wrist supinated

On Guard: the stance adopted in fencing (also En Guard)

One-two attack: a compound attack which deceives the opponent's simple parry

'Open eyes': starting a movement with no prior knowledge of how it will finish, relying on reflexes to adjust and make the correct ending

Opposition: blade movement maintaining constant contact with the opponent's blade

Orthopaedic grip: general term for moulded grips of various designs used on foils and epees

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Parry: a block of the attack, made with the forte of one's own blade

Part-whole: the teaching of a movement in parts, ie isolating the parts of the movement demanding most skill and practising them in isolation; then putting the parts together to make a whole movement

Pass: an attack made with a cross; eg. fleche, "Russian lunge". Also, the act of moving past the opponent

Passata-sotto: a lunge made by dropping one hand to the floor

Passé: an attack that passes the target without hitting; also a cross-step (see cross)

Patinando: a step forwards with an appel from the rear foot at the same time as the front foot lands

Phrase: a sequence of fencing movements performed without a break

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

Plaqué: a point attack that lands flat

Plastron: a half-jacket with no underarm seam, worn for extra protection on the sword arm under the fencing jacket; also a padded over-jacket worn by a fencing coach when giving individual training

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Point: a valid touch; the tip of the sword; an attack made with the point (ie. a thrust)

Point in Line: also line; an extended arm and blade that threatens the opponent

Pommel: a metal cap screwed to the end of the blade which locks the parts of the weapon together and provides a counter-balance to the blade

Pool (poule): the grouping of fencers or teams in a competition

Preparation of attack: the movement of blade or foot to obtain the best position to make an attack

Presentation: offering one's blade for engagement by the opponent

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

Prime: parry #1; blade down and to the inside, wrist pronated

Principle of defence: the execution of a parry by the defencer's forte opposing the attacking foible, ie 'opposition of forte to foible'

Priority: the right of way gained by the fencer at foil and sabre by extending the sword arm and continually threatening the opponent's target

Prises de fer (takings of the blade): see bind, croise, envelopment

Progressive actions: actions made with the sword point continually moving towards the opponent

Pronation: the position of the sword hand with the knuckles uppermost

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Quarte: parry #4; blade up and to the inside, wrist supinated

Quinte: parry #5; low line, pronated guard on the non-sword-arm side at foil and epee; and a high guard at sabre to protect the head

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Rassemblement: the bringing of both feet together, either forwards or backwards, so that the heels are touching with the feet at right angles and the body in an upright position

Recovery: the return to the On guard position

Red Card: used to indicate repeated minor rule infractions or a major rule infraction by one of the fencers; results in a point being given to the other fencer

Redoublement: a new action that follows an attack that missed or was parried; see also Reprise

Referee: also director, president; the mediator of the fencing bout

Remise: immediate replacement of an attack that missed or was parried, without withdrawing the arm

Repechage: the competition formula which gives losers of a direct elimination bout a second chance to stay in the competition

Reprise: renewal of an attack that missed or was parried, after a return to en-garde; see also Redoublement

Retreat: step back; opposite of advance

Right-of-way: rules for awarding the point in the event of a double touch in foil or sabre

Riposte: an attack made immediately after a parry of the opponent's attack

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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

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

Septime: parry #7; blade down and to the inside, wrist supinated

Simple: an attack or riposte that involves no feints

Simultaneous: in foil and sabre, two attacks for which the right-of-way is too close to determine

Single Stick: a 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 18th century, precursor to the foil

Stop Hit: a counter-attack that hits; also a counter-attack whose touch is valid by virtue of it's timing

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Stop Cut:
a stop-hit with the edge in sabre, typically to the cuff

Successive parries: two or more consecutive parries made to defend against compound attacks

Supination: the position of the sword hand with the finger-nail uppermost

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Tang: the part of the blade on which the hilt is mounted

Tierce: parry #3; blade up and to the outside, wrist pronated

Three Prong: a type of epee body wire/connector; also an old-fashioned tip that would snag clothing, to make it easier to detect hits in the pre-electric era

Thrown Point: a "flick";

Thrust: an attack made by moving the sword parallel to its length and landing with the point

Time Hit: also time-thrust; old name for stop hit with opposition

Trompement : deception of the parry

Two Prong: a type of body-wire/connector, used in foil and sabre

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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

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Yellow Card: also advertissement, warning; used to indicate a minor rule infraction by one of the fencers

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