Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A to Z: Parry and Piste

This awesome challenge is hosted by founder Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out, Damyanti Biswas at Amlokiblogs, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Tina Downey at Life is Good, DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude 2.0, Jeremy Hawkins at Retro-Zombie, Shannon Lawrence at The Warrior Muse, Matthew MacNish at The QQQE, Konstanz Silverbow at No Thought 2 Small, Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs, Livia Peterson at Leave it to Livia, L. Diane Wolfe at Spunk on a Stick, and Nicole at The Madlab Post

My A to Z theme is fencing and swordplay, focusing mainly on fencing terminology, but with a few favorite movie fencing moments thrown into the mix too.

Parry: a block of the attack.
This is one of the first words that a fencer learns, along with attack, and riposte. Parries save your target area from attack. Parry-ripostes are that awesome defense into offense move that keeps the action moving forward. We'll get into ripostes more in "R".

There are huge numbers of fencing videos on youtube. Why did I pick this one? Well, he goes through the parries pretty quickly, names them correctly, and demonstrates for both right handers and left handers, which is rare. As a left-handed fencer, I appreciate it when someone takes the time to show both. Sure, I can mirror a right-hander, and I can fence right-handed, but I learned left-handed and prefer left-handed fencing. Oh, and the guy reminds me of many of the guys that fence, think chess with action, not Thor with perfect Barbie hair. (Although there are guys that look like that who fence too)



His setpeme and octave are low enough for epee fencers, even though I think he's holding a "plastic" foil - sometimes these are used in beginning level fencing classes, especially with younger kids.
One issue I have a bit with this video, is that he holds his quarte, or 4, with the tip facing away from his opponent. The tip/point should remain facing the opponent at all times. You can see this problem before the video even starts. Sigh. I couldn't find the perfect video, despite the numerous ones I looked through on youtube.
I have an old fencing training video, but it's old, like VHS old.

Piste: the linear strip on which a fencing bout is fought; approx. 2m wide and 14m long. Most commonly known in America as "the strip" and we're not talking about Las Vegas. If a fencer goes off the strip with one foot, they get a warning. If they go off entirely, they get a point against them/given to their opponent. 

What many non-fencers don't like about the strip/piste: it holds fencers in a straight line, and there is no roundabout, circling action, which can be kind of disappointing when you first start fencing.

The other "P" terms:

  • Pass: an attack made with a cross; eg. fleche. Also, the act of moving past the opponent.
  • Passata-sotto: a lunge made by dropping one hand to the floor.
  • Passe': an attack that passes the target without hitting
  • Phrase: a set of related actions and reactions in a fencing conversation.
  • Pistol Grip: a modern, orthopedic 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. (This one really sucks in foil and epee, when you think you've got the hit/point, they move slightly, and whap, the attack lands flat against their jacket making almost the sound of this word, "plack")
  • 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: a valid touch; the tip of the sword; the mechanical assembly that makes up the point of an electric weapon; an attack made with the point.
  • Point in Line: also line; an extended arm and blade that threatens the opponent.
  • Pommel: a fastener that attaches the grip to the blade.
  • Preparation: 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.
  • 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 use of forte against foible when parrying.
  • Priority: in sabre, the now-superseded rules that decide which fencer will be awarded the touch in the event that they both attack simultaneously; also used synonymously with right-of-way. (We'll discuss Right-of-Way soon)
  • 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. (opposition was covered yesterday)

  • Favorite fencing moments in "P" movies: The scene between Inigo and Wesley (man in black) in The Princess Bride, and in the blacksmith's shop in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. I showed The Princess Bride scene on "N" day, and if you follow the link here, you can find the one from Pirates. The common thread in both: excellent sword work, and actors trained by fencing masters.

     

    13 comments:

    Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

    Thank you for a most informative post. I watched a little bit of fencing during the Olympics last year, but know very little about it. The Princess Bride is a truly awesome movie :).

    Tasha's Thinkings

    Natalie Aguirre said...

    Wow! You weren't kidding about lots of p words. It's definitely a rich sport with a lot of technique involved.

    Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

    VHS old - funny!
    Never thought about it, but I guess the strip does keep them in one position during the fight.

    L.G. Smith said...

    Appreciating all the terms and videos. I don't think I knew about the strip and having to stay on it during a fencing match. Added difficulty to be sure.

    Mark Means said...

    Something, as a left hander too, that I probably wouldn't think about until the time came. Nice to see instruction for both hands :)

    Tyrean Martinson said...

    Natasha - The Princess Bride is a great movie!

    Natalie - Yes, there are tons of "P" words, and it is a rich sport. With all the history, there are layers upon layers, which makes it more interesting.

    Alex - yes, the strip keeps people from circling, and the action is stopped by the referee if the fencers pass one another.

    L.G. - Glad you like the posts!

    Mark - Yes, it is nice when instructions are given for both hands.

    Christine Rains said...

    Lots of P terms! And great movie choices for P. I've been seeing a lot of Princess Bride references today.

    Allison said...

    As soon as I hear the word, I think of Daffy Duck as Robin Hood, yelling "Ho! Ha ha! Guard! Turn! Parry! Dodge! Spin! Thrust!" :)

    Allison (Geek Banter)

    Tyrean Martinson said...

    Christine - The Princess Bride rules!!!

    Allison - Love Daffy Duck as Robin Hood! :)

    Andrea said...

    I cannot even imagine the thrill of fencing!

    Kimberly Gabriel said...

    I didn't know either term! Love Princess Bride. ;)

    lillian888 said...

    Excellent choice of topic for the A to Z! I once taught fencing at the Northern California Renaissance Faire. Mostly foil, mostly kids, and we had a grand time.

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