Saturday, April 20, 2013

A to Z: Right of Way and Riposte!

Right-of-way: rules for awarding the point in the event of a double touch in foil or sabre. (Dictionary definition)

Right of Way is a complex and interesting concept in fencing foil and saber. Right of way is meant to make fencing more realistic in the sense that once and attacker has established an attack, their opponent must push their attack off-line (off-target), bind their blade, or parry before attacking. In other words, it keeps fencing from being just two people poking each other without consequences. The opponent (the non-attacker) cannot simply impale themselves on the other person's blade and jab the point of their sword in and get a point. That is what right of way is meant to stop.
Here's a good instructional video (less than 3 minutes) about right of way:

So, how in the world does one get right of way if their opponent has established a line of attack?
They parry, bind, beat their opponent's blade off-line, and then riposte.

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

A riposte is basically a secondary attack. A fencing bout goes from attack, to parry-riposte, to parry-riposte, in a long flowing sequence of events. Some of those "parries" are actually beats, binds, and the like, but they are essentially some kind of defensive move that leads back into an offensive move - a riposte.

Another great video (only 2:12 minutes)

Love how she states again and again, that every parry is an opportunity to take the attack, or right of way!

Other "R" fencing terms:
  • Rapier: a long, double-edged thrusting sword popular in the 16th-17th centuries.
  • 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; renewal of a failed attack in the opposite line; alternatively see 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.
  • Reprise: renewal of an attack that missed or was parried, after a return to en-garde; alternatively see Redoublement.
  • 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.

  • Weren't those great videos? I finally feel like I found some great demonstrations!

    Happy A to Z!

    Remember, every parry is an opportunity to riposte, or take the attack!
    How could that work in writing and life?
    Well, I see it in this way: every setback is an opportunity to step forward and take back the initiative! Every time I get writer's block, I can defend myself against it (parry), and get my hands back to typing (the riposte - taking back of the attack).



    Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

    In other words, one must make a defensive move rather then trying to score a counter-point?

    jaybird said...

    You had a lot of R's to choose from today, that's for sure. Awesome post, as always T!

    L. Diane Wolfe said...

    I'd rather not impale myself.

    M Pax said...

    I'm sure learning a lot. No wonder there's a sword on the cover of your book. :)

    Tyrean Martinson said...

    Alex - it's more of a matter of seeing every defense as a starting point for an offense.

    Jaybird - Thanks!

    Diane - me either.

    M Pax - Glad you like the posts. I wish I had put a bit more of this knowledge into the book.

    L.G. Smith said...

    You know, I'm taking some of these rules and applying them to my verbal fencing skills as well. Every parry is an opportunity to attack! :)

    Milo James Fowler said...

    Oh yeah, I like how you relate it to writer's block. Take that, foul fiend!

    Tyrean Martinson said...

    LG - I hadn't thought of it that way, but you're right, the rules could definitely apply in verbal fencing!

    Milo - Exactly! Glad you liked that Milo!

    Allyson Lindt said...

    I never realized there was so much to fencing. It makes sense though that you'd need rules instead of just jabbing at each other. Very interesting stuff ^_^
    Find me:
    Twitter: @AllysonLindt

    Julie Flanders said...

    I've always loved the word riposte, not sure why. It's just one of those words that sounds awesome. :D

    Love how you connected these terms to writing.

    Tyrean Martinson said...

    Allyson - Glad you liked it!

    Julie - it is an awesome word. And Thanks!

    Mark Means said...

    I've, at least, heard of riposte before....still, though, I'm learning a ton about fencing, this month :)

    Tyrean Martinson said...

    Mark - cool! :)