View Full Version : fencing.net article

-19th March 2004, 19:47
I was reading the fencing.net article on The Attack in Foil, and I don't (as usual :) ) agree entirely with the fairly liberal way in which it suggests a compound attack can be performed.
The article is at http://www.fencing101.com/content/view/163/35/ for me.

The thing that worries me is that the author suggests that extending your arm, then bending it and waving it at your opponent (while looking scary), then finally extending your arm and hitting with a lunge or similar has priority even against a stop hit who's extension precedes the final extension of the initial attacker (which is definitely not what I read in the rules - especially the bit where a bent arm is considered a preparation against which any simple attack has priority).

Also I noticed a slight difference in the translation of the rules. The fencing 101 article's author's version of t.56 (a) part 2 reads:
The compound attack (cf. t.8) is correctly executed when the arm is extending in the presentation of the first feint, with the point threatening the valid target, and the arm is not bent between the successive actions of the attack and the initiation of the lunge or the flèche.
I assume this is the USFA version.
However, the semi-BFA version on this site reads:
The compound attack (cf. t.8) is correctly executed when the arm is straightened in the presentation of the first feint, with the point threatening the valid target, and the arm is not bent during the successive actions of the attack and the initiation of the lunge or the flèche.
However I think even the USFA version (which does not require a initially straight arm like the BFA version might) doesn't let you bend your arm at any point (I assume bending your arm means making it more bent than it already is).

The FIE version, for anybody who speaks French, reads:
L'attaque composée (Cf. t.8) est correctement exécutée quand le bras s'allongeant dans la
présentation de la première feinte, la pointe menace la surface valable sans raccourcir le bras
pendant l'exécution des mouvements successifs de l'attaque et le déclenchement de la fente ou
de la flèche.

I don't really think the translation of straightened or extended is critical; an arm is straightened if it is made more straight (although I personally think an attack should be something where the arm is becoming and will eventually be straight and thus a compound action's feint should end up vaguely straight, but I wouldn't dream of enforcing it). I just don't agree with the author.

I'm probably wrong, since the the article is written by Bill Oliver:

Bill Oliver is a long-time member of the Fencing Officials Commission. He serves on the Rules committee, the Ratings committee, and is the FOC website administrator.

In addition to serving on the FOC, Bill is a highly rated National and International referee, manning the strip at most NAC's, Nationals, and many World Cup competitions.

-19th March 2004, 23:24
Don't worry, a lot of people on the American boards had trouble with the article as well. The consensus seems to be that Oliver is right about how it is called in practice, but he is making a simply untenable interpretation to give it a rule-book interpretation.

I think about it this way (just my personal opinion, so not worth anything):

- You are counter attacking if you start when the oponents arm is extending.
- You may launch an attack when the arm is moving backwards (being withdrawn, not simply extending slowly or in some non-straight windy circle).
- If you withdraw your arm while the oponent is counter-attacking you surrender priority.

So you CAN withdraw the arm during a compound attack, but it allows a momentary window for the oponent to attack. The more you withdraw your arm the greater the opening it allows, and if you withdraw if AFTER the oponent launches a counter-attack (ie on the final action) you have just commited suicide.

I think, having read Bill Oliver's article and the comments on it that though the emphasis is different (I would say my emphasis is more classical, and therefore more out-of-tune with common practice than his) he is saying the same thing.


P.S I think the majority of people on this forum will broadly agree with Bill Oliver on this.

-20th March 2004, 10:32
I don't think that entirely agrees with what Bill Oliver is saying, as I pretty much agree with you but not Bill Oliver.
It is possible that all three of us, given the same situation, would all call it the same way (at least give the point the same way), but for different reasons.

I still think the simplest way is the FIE's way - if you bend your arm, you lose ROW, as they say is one of the biggest mistakes of referees in their guidance. If you perform an action with a bent arm (i.e. you do something like a disengage where you don't extend) then you do not lose ROW as long as you do not bend your arm, although if your opponent extends while you are doing your disengage then they should hit a period of fencing time ahead (you have to ask what you are disengaging). By bending your arm, or performing a feint, your attack is incorrectly executed. You may re-instate your attack before your opponent takes ROW by counter-attacking, however, and this is a new attack.
I believe this still allows, however, the traditional compound attack of multiple feints and finished with a coupe or disengage, as the coupe or disengage will be done with a extension if done correctly, and so keep ROW. I was actually suprised when I read these rules, as they basically conform almost exactly to what I had been taught, and what I had seen given at my club! How come my coach and club can get it right, when national level fencers can't?