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Introduction to Fencing 106

Updated on September 3, 2017
jackclee lm profile image

I am retired and a former epee fencer at CCNY Varsity and USFA. I have achieved the rank of A and have competed in National tournament.


This lecture series focus on Fencing timing.

- Sept. 2017

Fencing Timing

  • What is meant by Fencing Timing?
  • What is the significance of the 1/25th second?
  • What is Counter Time?

Proper fencing timing is a skill you develop over a long period of time. It cannot be easily taught. It is like driving a car. You learn to drive by doing. You cannot teach a new person to drive by lessons or by reading a book. It is a skill learned by experience in various situations.

The significance of the 1/25th second is the way the machines score touches. The difference between a clean touch and a double touch is 1/25th of a second. You should have a good feel of how long a 1/25th of a second is.

In fencing, it is not as in real life. If you score a clean touch, you win the touch. If you score a double touch, and you happen to be ahead 4 to 3, you still win the bout. In real life, in a duel situation, if you have a double touch, you both die. Don’t let that deter you when fencing.

Timing is important in both attack and defensive moves. For example, when you make an attack, and disengages, it must be timed just right to avoid the opponent’s blade and then score the touch. If you disengage too soon, you clash with his blade, if you are too slow, you will be parried and blocked.

In defense, when you attempt to perform a parry/riposte combination, critical timing is in order. If you parry too soon, the opponent can disengage. If you are too late, you get hit.

Counter time, is the term given in fencing when a fencer abruptly changes the right of way of the attacker. In the preparation of the attack, there is a brief instant when the attacker is vulnerable. Another term some people use is called a “stop thrust”. What this refers to is an action by the defender to counter the attack by jumping the gun. As long as there is only one light score, you will win the touch. If both lights score, you lost or at best, it may be ruled as a double touch.

Timing is critical in counter time action. You can spot the window of opportunity at times. Some fencer will “telegraph” their intent when making an attack. Once you spot this, you can use it against him. Whenever a fencer initiates an attack, you can “counter” by blocking out his attack line at the same time advance and score. He will be surprised by this action.

In epee or foil, there is an action called the remise. This is when the initial attack failed to score or land on a target. The decision is what to do next. You can retreat and try to parry the riposte. Or you can stand your ground and go for a remise. It depends on the timing. If you can hit the target faster than the opponent’s riposte, the remise is a good alternative.

© 2017 Jack Lee


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    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 7 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Thanks and stay tuned. I have 5 more lectures...trying to add one everyday.

    • Readmikenow profile image

      Readmikenow 7 months ago

      Enjoyed reading this. There is so much to fencing I did not realize. It seems fascinating.

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 7 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Thanks for checking my hub. I am writing a whole series and will be posting more lectures...

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 7 months ago from Norfolk, England

      That was very interesting to read. Fencing is something I've never tried before, but I've watched it on television before and I've always found it a fascinating sport.