The Art of Parrying
A parry is known as a blade work movement for fencing with the purpose of blocking or deflecting an attack. To achieve a successful parrying move, fencers hit the enemy’s foible (which is the spot close to the blade’s tip) using their forte (part of the blade which is close to the weapons bell guard). This maneuver will deflect the enemy’s blade away and will allow the fencer to have an advantageous position to attack.
Due to the lack of priority rules in the epee, parries can be categorized as any form of blade deflection that halts the success of the opponent’s attack.
Uses of Parrying
The main use of parrying is to counter the enemy’s attack; and during a bout, the parries are initiated from the neutral position or en garde when the enemy’s attack appears to be threatening. The parry is commonly followed by a riposte and when it comes to the more advanced fencers, instead of instantly riposting right after they’ve successfully taken the parry, can start a prise de fer where they can move their enemy’s blade to another position which allows the fencer to hit them.
In saber and foil, the rules that govern the parry also provides a tactical significance: for the foil and saber, there is a rule known as the priority or right of way. Here, the fencer who starts an attack will gain the priority, and if the attack is a successful hit, then only the fencer with priority will be awarded a touch. Every successful parry will cause the enemy’s attack to fail so the priority will be shifted to the defender (he or she will currently be the attacker).
The Different Types of Parries
In the traditional systems of foil fencing and epee, there are eight different parries; these are all categorized based on three different attributes namely: the blade’s direction in relation to the wielder’s hand which is down or up, the blade’s position based on the fencing line which is either out or inside, and the rotation of the wrist of the hand that’s wielding the weapon – either pronated or supinated.
for fencers that are right-handed, the inside line will be on the left while the outside line will be on the right; with that, the parries prime, septime, and prime deflect the enemy’s blade inside (left), and the parries sixte, seconde, octave will deflect the enemy’s blade from outside (right). The term counter parry is when a parry is done in response to the enemy’s parry – specifically to block the riposte that comes after the enemy’s parry.
The Cutting Edge of Cutting Blades
When it comes to the cutting blades, the edges may seem a bit hard but they are extremely thin and too fine to actually be placed against incoming strikes. The edges of the cutting blade should always be kept sharp and free from any gouges or nicks since it would prevent the weapon from cutting effectively. Although parrying can be done with a cutting edge during unavoidable circumstances, it isn’t proper or considered a smart action to execute. These specific weapons were not made to be utilized in this manner and shouldn’t become a habit to do so.
Today, a lot of people assume that they can simply parry using the edge since they see this on television or because they cannot determine how to block appropriately on their own. A big part of the issue of misunderstanding how to properly parry is the sample exhibited by theatrical fighting, as well as combat performances on stage. Quite surprisingly, it is almost impossible to find instances of stage combat or theatrical fighting where the blades do not clash edge on edge. The reason why this is taught in stage combat classes has to do more with safety rather than any realistic battling.
Defense via cutting sword is usually a misunderstood element when employing the weapon; so with that, it is important to realize that parries using medieval swords or basically any edged cutting blade are not crafted with the blade’s edge but with the mit der flech or flat. The thing is, it is quite surprising that this basic fact of swordsmanship is often ignored or violated by a lot of individuals. A lot of enthusiasts, as well as students, continue to naively believe that cutting or slicing with a sword can easily utilize its edge to parry with.