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Historical Summary

The construction of the weapons and the historical period attributed to the way the weapons were used.

Heavy weapons were required to hack through armour. With the invention of gun-powder, armour became obsolete.

Swords slowly changed from cut to more point and thrust, and rapiers emerged. Rapiers were too long to be able to both attack and defend, so daggers, cloaks, lanterns etc. were incorporated as defensive tools. The change in fashion made long cumbersome weapons appear ungentlemanly - thus the introduction of the court, or small sword. With this short sword one was able to both attack and defend with the same weapon.

The practice of duelling became so popular as a means of settling disagreements that monarchies were in jeopardy of financial ruin. Duelling was outlawed. The long established practice however was hard dying. Schools were created to practice fighting concepts. Sword Masters and the sport of fencing was developed.







General Characteristics of a Choreographed Duel

When one's life is at stake there would obviously be an atmosphere of nervousness, cautiousness, fear, suspicion, etc. Foot movement, body language, changing guard positions would likely occur.

With the start of the duel, actions would not be fully committed but rather nervously jerky. Attempts would be made to observe and provoke reactions, note styles and any peculiarities. Provocative jabs and possibly half-lunges would occur.

As the duel starts to develop and with a little knowledge of the adversary's style and preference of moves, a certain amount of confidence would start to build. Deceiving blade work and possibly a simple exchange may appear.

As the duel develops, fear becomes anger and confidence grows. Here various renewed attacks, exchanges and deception of blade work would be seen. Complex maneuvers of blade work and footwork can be developed. This is also a good time to expose an evil character e.g.. the villain could draw his dagger, kick or knee his/her adversary, display disgust, abusive dialogue, musical intensity, sound and lighting effects, or simply a sudden surprise.

Tierce (3)




Seconde (2)


Quarte (4)




Prime (1)


Prime (1) was the first parry drawn from the scabbard.

Seconde (2) & Tierce (3) protect the sword-arm side and flank against cuts.

Quarte (4) is used against cuts and thrusts as compared to the French fencing foil parry of Quarte (4) designed entirely for the thrust.

Quinte (5) and reverse (5) are used against cuts to the head.  The fencing foil parry of Quinte (5) resembles a pronated low Quarte (4)

Sixte (6) Septime (7) and Octave (8) , along with the fencing Quarte (4) are the modern fencing parries used against thrusting actions of the blade. 


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Date Last Modified: 03 Mar 2014