Prise de fer is a movement used in fencing in which a fencer takes the opponent's blade into a line and holds it there in preparation to attack. Translated from French, the phrase prise de fer means "taking-the-blade" or "taking-the-steel". Alternate spellings include the plural Prises de Fer or "Les Prises de Fer", and (incorrectly) Praise de Fer. There are four prise de fer actions: opposition, croisè, bind, and envelopment. However, each fencing master and fencing doctrine has a separate view of prise de fer. William Gaugler lists all four actions under Prise de Fer in his dictionary of fencing terminology,while Roger Crosnier in his book Fencing with the Foil only mentions the croisé, the bind, and the envelopment as prise de fer actions. Any prise de fer action requires that the blades be engaged, and it works best against an opponent who uses and maintains a straight arm. Additionally, a successful action demands surprise, precise timing, and control.
Fencing is a group of three related combat sports. The three disciplines in modern fencing are the foil, the épée, and the sabre; winning points are made through the contact with an opponent. A fourth discipline, singlestick, appeared in the 1904 Olympics but was dropped after that, and is not a part of modern fencing. Fencing was one of the first sports to be played in the Olympics. Based on the traditional skills of swordsmanship, the modern sport arose at the end of the 19th century, with the Italian school having modified the historical European martial art of classical fencing, and the French school later refining the Italian system. There are three forms of modern fencing, each of which uses a different kind of weapon and has different rules; thus the sport itself is divided into three competitive scenes: foil, épée, and sabre. Most competitive fencers choose to specialize in one weapon only.
French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.
In the opposition, a fencer takes an opponent's blade in any line and then extends in that line, diverting the opponent's blade, until the action is complete. The opposition can be done from any line, and it is a strong attack when done with a straight thrust.The amount of power needed to complete an opposition is just enough to carry the opponent's blade barely out of line, but not so much as to force it into a different line.
The opposition is typically classified as an action in the French style of fencing, and it is similar to what the Italian school calls a glide. However, some doctrines teach that the opposition and the glide are separate actions, but the glide can be done using an opposition.William Gaugler defines the opposition as an action completed during a thrust in which the hand is shifted against the opponent's blade in an attempt to close the line, while the glide slides along the opponent's blade onto target. Louis Rondelle instructs that a glide should be kept in opposition and that it is "in reality a feint of direct thrust." Julio Martinez Castello refers to the glide as a "sliding thrust" that will dominate the opponent's blade by forcing it to the side.
Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a European country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Italian Alps and surrounded by several islands. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean sea and traversed along its length by the Apennines, Italy has a largely temperate seasonal climate. The country covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and shares open land borders with France, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial exclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in the Tunisian sea (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the fourth-most populous member state of the European Union.
Feint is a French term that entered English via the discipline of swordsmanship and fencing. Feints are maneuvers designed to distract or mislead, done by giving the impression that a certain maneuver will take place, while in fact another, or even none, will. In military tactics and many types of combat, there are two types of feints: feint attacks and feint retreats.
The bind takes the opponent's blade from any line diagonally to the opposing line. The action can be done from high to low line or vice versa. For example, from sixth, the opponent's blade is taken to seventh, or from eighth, the blade is taken to fourth. The bind is also known as a Transport or a Transport and Glide. As with all other prise de fer actions, there are numerous fencing doctrines. Luigi Barbasetti teaches that the bind is only done from prime, seconde, tierce, quarte, and quinte.C-L. de Beaumont teaches that the bind is done by "making a half-circular movement with the blades continually in contact, carrying the opponent's blade diagonally from a high to a low line on the opposite side of the target or vice versa. The attack is then made by extending the arm and lunging, while holding the opponent's blade." Julio Martinez Castello recommends that the bind be followed by a glide, but any attack is possible. To complete the bind from low line, first the forearm and blade are raised with the blade slightly off line. Once the blade is sufficiently raised to high line, the arm and blade are carried across to the new line until in position. Also see liement and flanconade below.
The lunge is the fundamental footwork technique used with all three fencing weapons: foil, épée and sabre. It is common to all contemporary fencing styles.
The croisé carries the opponent's blade vertically from one line to the opposite line on the same side. For example, from sixth, the blade is carried to eighth. This action is sometimes referred to as a Cross, and it is well described as a semibind. However, some fencing schools believe that the croisé is only done from high line to low line.Other fencing doctrines believe that the croisé from low line to high line is at least theoretical if not truth. There are also those that believe the croisé to be a bind, as Julio Martinez Castello wrote in his book The Theory and Practice of Fencing. Also see liement, flanconade, and copertino below.
An envelopment is conducted by starting in a line and then completing a full circular motion in order to return to that same line. This action is also known as a Circular Transfer or an Enveloppement. One school of thought is that the action is, in theory, done from any line,but it works best when done from sixth because of the difficulty of holding onto the opponent's blade otherwise. Jean-Jacques Gillet writes that the envolpment can be done from all lines but works particularly well in the actions that move the blade to the outside of the body. Roger Crosnier writes that the size of the circle in the envelopment needs to be limited, and in order to do so, the actions must be made with the wrist, because otherwise the action would be to too slow and cumbersome and thereby easily detected and deceived. Julio Martinez Castello teaches that the envelopment is essentially a combination of two binds since it completes two semicircles. In addition, he writes that the action can be followed by any attack, but preferably a glide, because that combination would continue to sustain a constant control of the opponent's blade.
A liement is an action that takes the blade from high line to low line or vice versa.Depending on the motion of the action taken, the liement can be interpreted as either a bind or a croisé. A croisé from six as well as a bind from six takes the blade from high to low line.
The flanconade is referenced as being a bind or a croisé. Imre Vass defines it as a "bind thrust" in which a fencer carries the opponent's blade from high line to low line on the same side but it will be the diagonal line for the opponent.Depending on the motion of the action, this can be interpreted as either a bind or a croisé. William Gaugler writes that there are three flanconades: the flanconade in fourth (or external flanconade), the internal flanconade, and the flanconade in second. The flanconade in fourth is the same as a croisé from fourth whereas the internal flanconade is a transport (bind) to first from third ending with a glide to the inside low line and the flanconade in second is a transport (bind) to second from fourth ending in a glide to the outside low line. Louis Rondelle explains the flanconade as starting in a high four, and then carries it downward until it terminates as a thrust under the opponent's arm. This description, against a right-handed opponent, can be interpreted as a croisé.
The copertino is another term associated with the croisé as well as the flanconade. Imre Vass differentiates the copertino and the croisé by listing them both as a "bind thrust" actions on the same side but the copertino ends on the opposite side of the opponent's blade while the croisé simply ends in the opposite line.The copertino is also interpreted as a croisé.
Rapier, or espada ropera, also known as estoque, is a loose term for a type of large, slender, sharply pointed sword. With such design features, the rapier is optimized to be a thrusting weapon, but cutting or slashing attacks were also recorded in some historical treatises like Capo Ferro's Gran Simulacro in 1610. This weapon was mainly used in Early Modern Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries.
A parry is a fencing bladework maneuver intended to deflect or block an incoming attack.
Academic fencing or Mensur is the traditional kind of fencing practiced by some student corporations (Studentenverbindungen) in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Latvia, Estonia, and, to a minor extent, in Belgium, Lithuania, and Poland. It is a traditional, strictly regulated épée/rapier fight between two male members of different fraternities with sharp weapons. The German technical term Mensur in the 16th century referred to the specified distance between each of the fencers.
The modern épée derives from the 19th-century Épée de Combat, and is the largest and heaviest of the three weapons used in sport fencing.
The German school of fencing is a system of combat taught in the Holy Roman Empire during the Late Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Modern periods, as described in the contemporary Fechtbücher written at the time. The geographical center of this tradition was in what is now Southern Germany . During the period in which it was taught, it was known as the Kunst des Fechtens, or the "Art of Fencing". Though the German school of fencing focuses primarily on the use of the two-handed longsword, it also describes the use of many other weapons, including polearms, daggers, messers, and the staff, as well as describing mounted combat and unarmed grappling.
The remise is a renewal of an attack in fencing. It is performed when one fencer's attack has failed, either because their opponent has parried or they missed. If the attacker immediately continues their attack in the same line, they have executed a remise. The name also is applied to repetitions of other actions which did not initially succeed. The remise is at the bottom of actions in taking priority.
Classical fencing is the style of fencing as it existed during the 19th and early 20th century. According to the 19th-century fencing master Louis Rondelle,
A classical fencer is supposed to be one who observes a fine position, whose attacks are fully developed, whose hits are marvelously accurate, his parries firm and his ripostes executed with precision. One must not forget that this regularity is not possible unless the adversary is a party to it. It is a conventional bout, which consists of parries, attacks, and returns, all rhyming together.
The Sabre is one of the three disciplines of modern fencing. The sabre weapon is for thrusting and cutting with both the cutting edge and the back of the blade. Unlike other modern fencing weapons, the épée and foil, where the methods of making a hit are scored using the point of the blade.
Fencing – family of combat sports using bladed weapons. Fencing is one of four sports which have been featured at every one of the modern Olympic Games. Also known as modern fencing to distinguish it from historical fencing.
In fencing, an attack is "the initial offensive action made by extending the arm and continuously threatening the opponent's target". In order for an attack to be awarded successfully, the fencer must accelerate their hand and feet towards the target. If the fencer does not accelerate the hand or foot, this is a preparation.
Rapier Combat is a style of historical fencing practiced in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). The primary focus is to study, replicate and compete with styles of rapier sword-fighting found in Europe during the Renaissance period, using blunted steel swords and a variety of off-hand defensive items. Participants wear period clothing while competing, along with or incorporating protective equipment for safety. Members of the society sometimes refer to the sport as simply rapier.
Giacomo di Grassi was an Italian fencing master who wrote the fencing treatise Ragione di adoprar sicuramente l'Arme, si da offesa come da difesa in 1570. The text was later translated into English and published again in 1594, as Di Grassi, His True Arte of Defence. The translation of Di Grassi was one of the three premiere fencing texts known from Elizabethan England.
The known history of fencing in France begins in the 16th century, with the adoption of Italian styles of fencing.
Canne de combat is a French martial art. As weapon, it uses a canne or cane designed for fighting. Canne de combat was standardized in the 1970s for sporting competition by Maurice Sarry. The canne is very light, made of chestnut wood and slightly tapered. A padded suit and a fencing mask are worn for protection.
Fencing practice and techniques of modern competitive fencing are governed by the Fédération Internationale d'Escrime (FIE), though they developed from conventions developed in 18th- and 19th-century Europe to govern fencing as a martial art and a gentlemanly pursuit. The modern weapons for sport fencing are the foil, épée, and sabre.
The oldest surviving manual on western swordsmanship dates to around 1300, although historical references date fencing schools back to the 12th century.
Tactics are very important to playing well in modern fencing and although technique is important in the sport, using an array of tactics will help fencers make the most of that technique.
La Verdadera Destreza the conventional term for the Spanish tradition of fencing of the early modern period. The word destreza literally translates to "dexterity" or "skill, ability", and thus la verdadera destreza to "the true skill" or "the true art".
This is a glossary of terms used in fencing.