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Toledo Swords ™ Sport Fencing Terminology & Glossary

Sport Fencing Terminology and Glossary - High-Quality Handcrafted Swords Forged by Master Craftsmen from World-Renowned Toledo Steel in Toledo, SpainSport Fencing Terminology and Glossary - RealCoolSavings.com - Real Cool Stuff at GREAT SAVINGS...Why shop elsewhere?
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Toledo Swords ™ Sport Fencing Terminology & Glossary




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General Terms

Blade Terms

Hilt Terms

Scabbard Terms

Sword Types

Fencing Glossary

General Terms

Katana:
Long sword

Daisho:
Katana and wakizashi set, primary swords of the Samurai

Wakizashi:
Medium sword

Kogatana:
Mini tanto

Tanto:
Short sword

Tachi:
Original Samurai sword worn suspended from an intricate belt
    

Blade Terms
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Edge:
Self-explanatory

False Edge:
The short edge on the back of a saber, extending back from the point.

Forte/Foible:
The strong/weak half of the blade, respectively.

Blade Terms: A Fuller is the groove which lightens and stengthens the blade, often misnamed a blood groove. The Ricasso is the unsharpened part of the blade where it extends from the hilt and on which maker's marks usually appear.Fuller:
A groove meant to lighten and strengthen the blade, often misnamed a blood groove.

Point:
Self-explanatory.

Point of Percussion:
The point where the forte and foible meet, considered the best point to strike with.

Ricasso:
The unsharpened part of the blade where it extends out from the handle. Maker's marks are usually put here.

Tang:
The part of the blade extends through the handle, attaching to the pommel.
   

Hilt Terms
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Backstrap:
A metal strap running down the back of the handle, resting in the palm of the hand.

Capstan Rivet:
A rivet holding the end of the tang to the pommel.

Ear:
A small, semicircular extension of the backstrap on either side of the grips.

Ferrule:
A washer-like piece of metal between the grips and guard, holding the handle secure.

Grips:
Yup, the part you hold.

Knuckle Bow:
A single strap running from the quillon to the pommel that guards the front of the hand.

Langets:
Short extensions of the guard that run parallel to the blade and serve to hold the sword secure in the scabbard.

Pas d'Ane:
A finger ring between the quillon and a dish guard. Usually found on smallswords and rapiers.

Pommel:
Parts of a Sword Hilt: Grip, Guard, Quillon, Scabbard, and Pommel.The part of the handle that keeps your pinky from sliding off. Also holds the whole sword together.

Quillon:
The cross piece on a sword.

Sword Knot:
A decoration that hangs from the guard, usually a symbol of rank for officers.
   

Scabbard Terms
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Scabbard Terms: A Band encircles the scabbard and attaches to the carrying rings. A Ring attaches the scabbard to a warrior's belt or other clothing.Bands:
Rings around the scabbard that are attached to the carrying rings.

Drag:
Scabbard Term: Scabbard Drag...the tip of the scabbard which often hits the ground.The tip of the scabbard, which often hits the ground.

Rings:
The parts that dangle from the scabbard, used to attach the sword to a person's belt or other clothing.

Scabbard Terms: The opening in the end of the scabbard where a sword is inserted into the scabbard.Throat:
The opening in the end of the scabbard where a sword is inserted into the scabbard.
   

Sword Types (Just a Few of the Many Names for Swords)
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backsword, baselard, basket hilt, bastard (hand and a half) sword, bearing sword, broadsword, cinquedea, cleadhemh-mohr, claymore, cutlass, cuttoe, dao, dha, epee, falcata, falchion, ferengi, flamberge, foil, gladius, gunto, hanger, katana, kaskara, khanda, khopesh, macahuitl, parang, pata, presentation sword, riding sword, rapier, saber, saber bayonet, scimitar (shamshir), shasqua, short sword, smallsword, sword of tenure, tachi, talwar, tuck, two-handed sword, wakizashi, yatagan, zweihender
   

Fencing Glossary
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Absence of Blade:
When the blades are not touching; opposite of engagement.

Advance:
A movement forward by step, cross, or balestra.

Aids:
The last three fingers of the sword hand.

Analysis:
Reconstruction of the fencing phrase to determine priority of touches.

Assault:
Friendly combat between two fencers.

Attack:
The initial offensive action made by extending the sword arm and continuously threatening the valid target of the opponent.

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

Backsword:
An archaic, edged, unpointed sword used in prizefighting; also singlestick.

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

Bayonet:
A type of electrical connector for foil and sabre.

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.

Baudry Point:
A safety collar placed around a live epee point to prevent dangerous penetration.

Bind:
An action in which the opponent's blade is forced into the diagonally opposite line.

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

Bout:
An assault at which the score is kept.

Broadsword:
Any sword intended for cutting instead of thrusting; sabre.

Broken Time:
A sudden change in the tempo of one fencer's actions, used to fool the opponent into responding at the wrong time.

Button:
The safety tip on the end of practice and sporting swords.

Change of Engagement:
Engagement of the opponent's blade in the opposite line.

Commanding the Blade:
Grabbing the opponent's blade with the off-hand, illegal in sport fencing.

Compound:
Also composed; an action executed in two or more movements; an attack or riposte incorporating one or more feints.

Conversation:
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.

Counter-Attack:
An offensive action 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-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.

Counter-Riposte:
An attack that follows a parry of the opponent's riposte.

Counter-Time:
An attack that responds to the opponent's counter-attack, typically a riposte following the parry of the counter-attack.

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

Coulé:
Also graze, glise, or glissade; an attack or feint that slides along the opponent's blade.

Coup Lancé:
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.

Coupé:
Also cut-over; an attack or deception that passes around the opponent's tip.

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).

Cut:
An attack made with a chopping motion of the blade, normally landing with the edge.

Deception:
Avoidance of an attempt to engage the blades; see disengage, coupe

Derobement:
Deception of the attack au fer or prise de fer.

Direct:
A simple attack or riposte that finishes in the same line in which it was formed, with no feints out of that line.

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

Displacement:
Moving the target to avoid an attack; dodging.

Double:
In epee, two attacks that arrive within 40-50 ms of each other.

Double-Time:
Also "dui tempo"; parry-riposte as two distinct actions

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

Dry:
Also steam; fencing without electric judging aids.

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

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

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

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; epee de terrain; duelling sword.

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

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; a compound counter-attack.

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-like action 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.

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

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

Foible:
The upper, weak part of the blade.

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.

Fuller:
The groove that runs down a sword blade to reduce weight.

Glide:
See coulé.

Guard:
The metal cup or bow that protects the hand from being hit. Also, the defensive position assumed when not attacking.

Hilt:
The handle of a sword, consisting of guard, grip, and pommel.

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

In Quartata:
A counter-attack made with a quarter turn to the inside, concealing the front but exposing the back.

In Time:
At least one fencing time before the opposing action, especially with regards to a stop-hit.

Indirect:
A simple attack or riposte that finishes in the opposite line to which it was formed.

Insistence:
Forcing an attack through the parry.

Interception:
A counter-attack that intercepts and checks an indirect attack or other disengagement.

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

Italian Grip:
A traditional hilt with finger rings and crossbar.

Judges:
Additional officials who assist the referee in detecting illegal or invalid actions, such as floor judges or hand judges.

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

Kendo:
Japanese fencing, with two-handed swords.

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.

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

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

Manipulators:
The thumb and index finger 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:
A strap that binds the grip to the wrist/forearm.

Match:
The aggregate of bouts between two fencing teams.

Measure:
The distance between the fencers.

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

Moulinet:
A whirling cut, executed from the wrist or elbow.

Neuvieme:
An unconventional parry (#9) sometimes described as blade behind the back, pointing down (a variant of octave), other times similar to elevated sixte.

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

Opposition:
Holding the opponent's blade in a non-threatening line; a time-hit; any attack or counter-attack with opposition.

Parry:
A block of the attack, made with the forte of one's own blade; also parade.

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.

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

Phrase:
A set of related actions and reactions in a fencing conversation.

Pineapple Tip:
A serrated epee point used prior to electric judging.

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 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 (ie. a thrust).

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-superceded 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.

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.

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

Quinte:
Parry #5; blade up and to the inside, wrist pronated. In sabre, the blade is held above the head to protect from head cuts.

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.

Right-of-Way:
Rules for awarding the point in the event of a double touch in foil or sabre.

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

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.

Schlager:
German fraternity duelling sword, used with cuts to the face and no footwork.

Second Intention:
A false action used to draw a response from the opponent, which will open the opportunity for the intended action that follows, typically a counter-riposte.

Seconde:
Parry #2; blade down and to the outside, wrist pronated.

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

Simple:
Executed in one movement; 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:
An archaic form of fencing with basket-hilted wooden sticks.

Single-Time:
Also "stesso tempo"; parry-riposte as a single action.

Sixte:
Parry #6; blade up and to the outside, wrist supinated.

Small Sword:
A light duelling sword popular in the 17th-18th centuries, 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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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

 



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