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ChrisHarvey
-10th November 2004, 22:47
I have decided it is about time I found out exactly what the rules about flicking are... today our team lost enough points in the foil events to flickers to tip overall score significantly against us (about 20 points or more out of a possible 45). These points turned out to be crucial - with them we would have won the tournament by miles. Without them, it was a lose by a couple of points.

I am an épéeist 1st and foremost so foil rules are not my forté. I think I am right in saying this... When fencing foil if you have a straight arm, you have the attack, so if 2 fencers hit simultaneously, one with a bent arm, one with a straight arm, the fencer with the straight arm (and the attack) scores the point. So... is there a difference when this fencer with a bent arm happens to be a flick hitter on his preparation? Let me explain exactly what was happening today... the opponent lifts his arm in the preparation for a flick, and I make a fast direct attack to the torso. However, a flick 9 times out of 10 would land somewhere on my back about where you would find my kidneys (the flick hit nearly always landed considerably afterwards). A guy on the opposition team, insisted that the flick hitter had the attack, because the preparation was an "offensive movement" and apparently he initiated the attack sequence by moving forward with his arm in this bent position. He awarded the point to the flicker every time even though I had a straight arm, and argued with the president, whoever he was, if he didn't do the same. He was so vehemently insistent we eventually assumed he knew better.

I make no secret of the fact I am no fan of flick hitters - it seems to me to be an unrealistic property of a sword and those who do do it seem to be able to do little else repetoir wise. I do however want to know exactly what the rules state, so I know where I stand precisely next time.

As far as I can see there is little disincentive for the flick hitter to do anything else other than flick because if the rules really are as I was told they were, it seems they can't lose, providing their flick lands. Almost laughably, the 'answer' to this was, hit the wrist on their preparation - the pain will still teach them a lesson. As if. Despite the fact the wrist is off target and constitutes no penalty for the flicker, you wear a glove.

So... is this insistent person in fact correct, in which case I will for evermore lay aside my foil and stick to épée in disgust with the rules, or is he talking rubbish?

Thankyou,
Chris.

Baldric
-10th November 2004, 23:32
Hi Chris.

I am not a ref, and by no means an expert, but I do watch a ridiculous amount of foil.

As I understand the rules, to gain right of way in foil, a fencer must have an extending or extended arm, must not be moving backwards, and the point must be threatening the valid target area. (Notwithstanding later phase issues over taking the blade, parry - riposte etc)

In practice, refs seem to interpret the situation in two different ways.

Assume that the fencer on the left is advancing, with bent arm, (usually arm twitching forward and backwards at high speed) and point aimed at about 30 degrees off vertical.

Fencer on the right makes a straight lunge at the torso.

Immediately, fencer on the left flicks to back.

Assuming old timings, both lights come on

About 1/3 of the refs that I have watched will say to the fencer on the left "on your preparation, touche right"

About 2/3 will say "The attack was from the left".

As I understand it, the first solution is the correct one, and the constant misinterpretation of this rule was one of the main reasons for the recent change in timings.

If I have misunderstood any of this, I would really appreciate enlightenment from those more knowledgeable than I.

vil
-11th November 2004, 00:26
I'm a long way off being a qualified ref, I'm just a former foilist who's switched to epee, but I think Baldric's right and you were hard done by.

What I've noticed when I've been refereeing is that there are usually two parts to a flick: a movement, such as raising the hand, which shifts the point away from the target; followed by the whipping motion that flicks the point around onto the target. The way I see it, the first movement is preparation and the offensive action only begins with the start of the whipping movement. So if your attack was launched while your opponent was lifting their hand, I'd award the point to you for a valid attack on preparation; if your attack was launched after the flicking motion had begun, I'd award the point to the flicker because your counter-attack was out of time. Hopefully someone will correct me if that's wrong (ihunter? Australian?).

There's a link to a translation of the official FIE rules at the top of every page in the forum if you want to read up on them yourself.

Hope that helps!

vil
-11th November 2004, 00:36
Just had a quick look and if you follow the link at the top of the page, you'll also find a copy of the referee's guidelines. That has a section which deals specifically with this topic. Fortunately it seems to agree more or less with what I said above. Phew! :thumbs_up

ChrisHarvey
-11th November 2004, 06:41
I've taken a look at the rules and apparently "The attack is the initial offensive action made by extending the arm and continuously threatening the opponent’s target, preceding the launching of the lunge or flèche." So yes, it does seem we were hard done by which is what I and the rest of the team thought. Thanks for your replies, although I expect there are still a few angry flickers waiting to argue their point of view.

ChubbyHubby
-11th November 2004, 08:33
Originally posted by ChrisHarvey
I've taken a look at the rules and apparently "The attack is the initial offensive action made by extending the arm and continuously threatening the opponent’s target, preceding the launching of the lunge or flèche."

The keyword there is "extending". If their arm is "extending" (ie. it could still be bent and long as it is extending however slowly - as long the ref can see it) *before* you start straightening your arm, it's their hit.

From what you are saying, they started coming forward with a slowly extending arm, you completely straighten your arm and hit them with a straight arm, and then they hit you afterwards.

If they hit you within a step/lunge/flick afterwards it's their hit.

As far as "threatening" goes, most refs at most big competitions will give the attack unless the blade is almost vertical/horizontal. As long as the tip is travelling towards the target, in this case your back, most refs will give it. Lifting the hand up is okay as long as the elbow is not rebending.

It may not be "right" but that's how it is given at most competitions. :transport

In fact the easiest way to hit weaker fencers at competitions (especially in the first round) is to advance slowly with a slowing extending hand while leaving a gap, the weak fencer will get drawn to the open target with a quick lunge, let them hit you... and land your attack (lunge or flick). Get the hit everytime.

fencingmaster
-11th November 2004, 08:39
Hmmm.
It boils down to what constitutes “threaten the target”. A cut-over, disengement, counter-disengagement are all recognised as being offensive actions (when delivered towards the opponent) and would be given as the attack, therefore they threaten the target. However, at their inception they do not point at the target nor are they performed with a straight arm. In other words the concept of ‘threaten the target’ is one of giving priority to recognised, established, conventional offensive actions.

The rule book permits an attack to be made with a step, lunge, fleche and (importantly ) step-lunge (see guidance for refs), and is also defined as the INITIAL straightening of the arm. Chris writes ‘if you have a straight arm, you have the attack’. Not so. You have the right of way by reason of the point in line (rule t10) – and this has right of way over an attack only when it precedes the attack.

Baldric gives a clear picture,
Assume that the fencer on the left is advancing, with bent arm,… About 1/3 of the refs that I have watched will say to the fencer on the left "on your preparation, touche right" About 2/3 will say "The attack was from the left"…As I understand it, the first solution is the correct one

So, if a fencer comes forward with step-lunge, and the hand is advancing during the step phase to be followed by an immediate lunge, it would be the attack and precede a point in line given during the step phase. A point in line would only have priority if it precedes the step of the step-lunge. The problem for Chris is the referee’s interpretation of (a) when/if the hand advances in relation to the step and (b) when the opposing arm was straightened in relation to the step-lunge. Such matters of interpretation of the phrase are the exclusive privilege of the referee. Clearly Chris’s interpretation of timing is different from the ref. – but it is the ref’s timing that counts!

Chris wrote “As far as I can see there is little disincentive for the flick hitter to do anything else other than flick because if the rules”. True, why should s/he change anything if they are being given the hit because the opponent continues to counter-attack out of time! What is required is a change of tactics – use of high guard, parry, feint parry, change of distance etc. – not a dispute with the ref.

Vil suggests that the offensive action only begins with the ‘whipping action’ and the raising of the hand is preparation. However should the two be continuous without a break or pause then the attack was initiated with the lift of the hand. A pause that clearly puts the action into two parts would as Vil wrote cause the hand action to be a preparation (or broken-time) and give an opportunity to the opponent. Again a matter of interpretation for the ref.

The refereeing of foil fencing is a case of ‘fuzzy logic’. When is an apple an apple and when is it a core? When is the hand advancing and when is it attacking? Just when does one become the other? The result is that some referees ‘play safe’ and give more credence to advancing actions than they should (Baldric puts the figure at 2/3). So the old maxim of ‘play to the referee’ is more important than ever.

ferailleure
-11th November 2004, 09:17
Very well explained "fencingmaster".

Australian
-11th November 2004, 10:47
going forward does give you the attack

The rules state that the step lunge has priority if there is an initial extension before the end of the step. Thats clear cut.

What that means i can do is step step step step down the piste, slowly half feinting with each step. If you extend, or try and stop, then lunge, i'll finish my action immediately and it will always be my hit.

The reason why attacks on preparation are called is if i do an additional feint, or movement after the step. Its fairly obvious to see when it happens.

Insipiens
-11th November 2004, 11:06
Two difficulties arise for the referee in applying the above which can cause disgruntlement among the fencers.

1. Has the arm actually begun to extend before the step-lunge?

and

2. Was it step lunge or step-step lunge?

Really they are connected. If I start extending my arm with a step, then you straighten your arm and direct lunge to hit me and I take a second step after your lunge followed by my lunge then it should be your attack (because you attacked on my first step which is a preparation).

However, it is very difficult to tell the difference between a slowly extending arm and a not-extending arm. It is also not so easy to see whether the would be attack in preparation takes place before the final step which is part of the step lunge.

ChrisHarvey
-11th November 2004, 11:52
Originally posted by fencingmaster
why should s/he change anything if they are being given the hit because the opponent continues to counter-attack out of time! What is required is a change of tactics – use of high guard, parry, feint parry, change of distance etc. – not a dispute with the ref.

I think I ought to clarify... I had no dispute with the ref (and if I had I would certainly never voice it during a competition). The ref began by giving these points in my favour. It was a member of the opposition team who argued with the ref and got him to change the way he saw things. I felt hard-done by true enough, and I wanted an explanation (which I felt was unsatisfactory hence me posting this thread).

Also, only an idiot would continue with "out of time attacks" when they are clearly not working. Clearly a change of tactics is required. However, surely this depends on your point of view? - I felt sure I initiated the attacks - they were not in reply to anything the opponent did (i.e. counters). It wasn't a case of "I can't be bothered to parry, I'll just thrust and pray". This leads on to my next point about discincentives. The thing is, when a fencer is moving up and down the piste with his arm springing back and forth just waiting to land that flick, surely any type of attack will work in his favour, because his arm is "extending" (again depending on your point of view)? High parry... I found the blade quite successfully bent around the parry and usually still landed (I've been taught to make small, neat parries - not ones worthy of a sabreur). And distance... in my limited experience, flickers tend to wait for you to close the distance - why should they make an attack when all they seem to have to do is keep that arm moving to have right of way (or I have misunderstood)?

This one-day venture into the world of foil (I was filling the place of an ill foil-team member) has proved to be full of confusion and the rules seem to boil down to how you want to interpret them.

vil
-11th November 2004, 12:34
Originally posted by ChrisHarvey
High parry... I found the blade quite successfully bent around the parry and usually still landed (I've been taught to make small, neat parries - not ones worthy of a sabreur).
There was another thread a while ago about how to defend against flick hits. Where was it now... ahh, here (http://fencingforum.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=2701). It's got some useful tips in it, in case you find yourself in that situation again.

gbm
-11th November 2004, 13:06
Originally posted by ChrisHarvey
I think I ought to clarify... I had no dispute with the ref (and if I had I would certainly never voice it during a competition). The ref began by giving these points in my favour. It was a member of the opposition team who argued with the ref and got him to change the way he saw things. I felt hard-done by true enough, and I wanted an explanation (which I felt was unsatisfactory hence me posting this thread).

Your referee was probably wrong and failing to give the valid attacks (with an EXTENDING not straight arm) of your opposition.


Also, only an idiot would continue with "out of time attacks" when they are clearly not working. Clearly a change of tactics is required. However, surely this depends on your point of view? - I felt sure I initiated the attacks - they were not in reply to anything the opponent did (i.e. counters).

So the other fencer was probably much better than you at foil, since he had managed to convince you to counter-attack without you even realising that he was attacking!


It wasn't a case of "I can't be bothered to parry, I'll just thrust and pray". This leads on to my next point about discincentives. The thing is, when a fencer is moving up and down the piste with his arm springing back and forth just waiting to land that flick, surely any type of attack will work in his favour, because his arm is "extending" (again depending on your point of view)?

Only if you don't parry it or otherwise don't make it fail...
You can attack into the preparation of anybody, but only when they have made a mistake e.g. stepped in WITHOUT extending their arm.
You can also take the initiative from them with something like a beat attack into their attack.
If you are anything like me you will find these things just don't work - but that's only because this person is probably a better foilist than you.


High parry... I found the blade quite successfully bent around the parry and usually still landed (I've been taught to make small, neat parries - not ones worthy of a sabreur). And distance... in my limited experience, flickers tend to wait for you to close the distance - why should they make an attack when all they seem to have to do is keep that arm moving to have right of way (or I have misunderstood)?

If you make the 'mistake' of entering fencing distance WITHOUT some sort of extension (or at least a very cunning plan :rambo: ), then they can attack into your preparation - this can be by lunge, step lunge or even chasing you down the piste. The important thing is that your are a) too close and b) not attacking (a bad position to be in).


This one-day venture into the world of foil (I was filling the place of an ill foil-team member) has proved to be full of confusion and the rules seem to boil down to how you want to interpret them.

Foil is fun. Being decimated by better fencers is not so much fun, but being refereed by bad referees is much much worse.

Boo Boo
-11th November 2004, 13:59
Right of Way is very difficult to discuss on a forum like this - you can only describe your perception of what happened....

I was refereeing at a club last night and one of the guys was seeing his opponent's prepartion "step and extension" and attempting to attack into preparation on it. Of course, by the time he reacted, his opponent just finished the extension of his arm with a simple lunge... So the perceived "attack on preparation" is actually just a counter-attack...

It's all in the timing: it's not how fast or how straight your arm is with the hit, it's who started extending/progressing first (providing they haven't taken too many steps).

Best way to beat flicks is distance - quick change of direction with a step in (sometimes with arch of back and/or parry with head)... all EVEN more effective with new timings...

Boo

gbm
-11th November 2004, 15:53
Originally posted by Boo Boo
Best way to beat flicks is distance - quick change of direction with a step in (sometimes with arch of back and/or parry with head)... all EVEN more effective with new timings...

I assume this was a BUSA team match though, and thus under old timings for the time being...

silly old timings! :tongue:

Boo Boo
-11th November 2004, 16:51
Originally posted by goodbadandme
I assume this was a BUSA team match though, and thus under old timings for the time being...

silly old timings! :tongue:

Ok, but still works under the old timings... at least worked pretty well for me.

Boo

ChubbyHubby
-11th November 2004, 16:53
don't you mean still works under the new timings?

Insipiens
-11th November 2004, 16:56
as it would be advice for somebody fencing under the old timings Boo Boo could well mean what she wrote.

not that I would want to get in the way if you two are having an argument ;) :cool:

Foilling Around
-11th November 2004, 17:11
Its simple really, watch the hands, first one to extend gets it unless they miss, are parried or withdraw.

The rule says threatening the target not pointing at the target. In other words the logical extension of the action would be a hit on the valid target area. All this provided the blade is pointing forward of the vertical.

It really is a simple sport!!!!

Boo Boo
-11th November 2004, 17:14
Originally posted by Insipiens
not that I would want to get in the way if you two are having an argument ;) :cool:

What on earth do you mean ;) :tongue: :grin:

I did mean what I said (I think, now I am very confused)...

... what I originally said was that "a quick change of direction with stepping in works to defend against flicks", I also said "this would work particularly well with the new timings"...

...GBM said "ah, but they (ChrisHarvey) would be using the OLD timings, to which I replied "it (defending against flicks with distance) still works on the old timings"

So, as Insipiens said, I did mean what I said.

Boo
(beginning to wish that she hadn't said anything in the first place)
(OT, but thinks that people who are "bending right over", beacuse of the new timings, are making flicking very easy at the moment... :tongue: )

Boo Boo
-11th November 2004, 17:18
Originally posted by Foilling Around
It really is a simple sport!!!!

Yes logically, but some people just cannot see or feel the timing...

It's a bit like driving - simple, but some people never get it... (the scarey thing is that these people still manage to pass their driving tests...)

Boo

ChrisHarvey
-11th November 2004, 17:47
Originally posted by Foilling Around
Its simple really, watch the hands, first one to extend gets it unless they miss, are parried or withdraw.

The rule says threatening the target not pointing at the target. In other words the logical extension of the action would be a hit on the valid target area. All this provided the blade is pointing forward of the vertical.

It really is a simple sport!!!!

And that happens to be the most simple, concise explanation of them all that seems to cover all eventualities! Thankyou... just what I was after!

gbm
-11th November 2004, 20:44
Also they lose ROW if they noticeably pause (not just slow down dramatically), or do something without extending (such as go for a parry), or search for the blade and fail to find it (i.e. have been derobed).

stephends
-12th November 2004, 11:29
Originally posted by Foilling Around
Its simple really, watch the hands, first one to extend gets it unless they miss, are parried or withdraw.

It really is a simple sport!!!!


Originally posted by goodbadandme
Also they lose ROW if they noticeably pause (not just slow down dramatically), or do something without extending (such as go for a parry), or search for the blade and fail to find it (i.e. have been derobed).

beautiful, beautiful all makes sense, and the attacker searching for the blade bit came in

Worried as seen the following happen

Fencer A goes for attack
Fencer B attempts to circular parry in 6 as she has done all day
fencer A seeing the parry coming brings his blade under oppents to avoid blade and up (basically follows the blade to avoid the parry, there's a name for this I'm sure)
Neither blade touch
Fencer A and B extend and pray.

Red light Green light, annoying but strangly likeable buzz (oh as an aside is there anywere I can get a fencing box ring tone :) )

Both fencers tear mask off and give ref the stare, (the if you loved me you'd give it to me or other stare type of your choice...)

Fencer B is given the hit as in the opinion of ref fencer A, failed to find blade... fencer A need to kill is rising,

Fencer A decides to bottle up rage and tell therapist about it

Therapist A sees fencer A.........

Fencer A takes up epee, and finds inner peace and happiness away from the pain of ROW.
:mexwave:

Aer
-12th November 2004, 11:44
Originally posted by stephends
Fencer A takes up epee, and finds inner peace and happiness away from the pain of ROW.
:mexwave:

unfortunately, fencer A sees doctor the next day, and is refered to social services as significant other is arrested for suspected GBH...:confused:

ChrisHarvey
-12th November 2004, 19:00
random

Tubby
-12th November 2004, 21:15
Originally posted by Foilling Around
The rule says threatening the target not pointing at the target. In other words the logical extension of the action would be a hit on the valid target area. All this provided the blade is pointing forward of the vertical. Whatever happened to "slightly raised" as found in the refs guidelines?

BTW congrats on a number of very good performances by Cat.

gbm
-13th November 2004, 09:11
There is an obvious difference between 'searching for the blade' in an attempt to find it i.e. a beat/pressure/take that is deceived and an attempt to avoid the blade i.e. a compound attack, attack by disengage/cutover etc.

Example 1:
Fencer A steps forward and attempts to beat Fencer B's blade. In this action Fencer A is extending his arm with the point not aimed at the ceiling and thus is attacking.
Fencer B avoids Fencer A's beat so that contact is not made - he derobes fencer A by avoiding his search for the blade. Fencer B then gains ROW since fencer A has searched for the blade and failed to find it. Fencer B may now hit.

Example 2.
Fencer A steps in with a direct feint. Fencer B attempts to parry quarte (4). Fencer A disengages (drops his point to avoid the parry) and then finishes his attack.
In this case it is fencer B who has searched for the blade (attempted to parry) and failed to find it. So fencer A's attack is valid throughout - this is a compound attack.

Just to throw another spanner in the works, to stop a compound attack you don't have to parry in the normal sense - you just have to find the other person's blade in the preliminary wiggles. You do have to parry the final action of a compound attack though (the action that is going to hit you). All this means is, taking example 2 above, if fencer B was to touch fencer A's initial feint with his parry, then he could riposte even if he had only clipped it. If however he missed it, his next parry would be against fencer A's final thrust, and so would have to actually be a parry.

Foilling Around
-13th November 2004, 13:25
Thanx Tubby, things have moved at an incredible speed since January. Are you taking Daughter to the TA?

On the taking the blade subject, if you attempt to take the blade laterally and get hit by a disengage attack then it is certainly against you.

If you attempt to take the blade whilst extending you arm and the opponant disengages, then it may technically be agianst you, but in practice as you are extending your arm you will often get the hit. It could be said that the oppenent has simple avoided an attack.

Tubby
-14th November 2004, 21:50
Originally posted by Foilling Around
Thanx Tubby, things have moved at an incredible speed since January.
Its as if someone flicked a switch.

Re TA - we're supposed to be visiting family so nix on the TA, anyway the LP U11 teams are on the next day and we want plenty in the tank for that one. We'll probably meet up at the cadet winton in Dec.

Winwaloe
-16th November 2004, 16:31
Originally posted by Foilling Around


If you attempt to take the blade whilst extending you arm and the opponant disengages, then it may technically be agianst you, but in practice as you are extending your arm you will often get the hit. It could be said that the oppenent has simple avoided an attack.

Only if the ref is not really following the action. If you attempt to take the blade and don't find it then it is either going to be read as a preparation or a failed attack but either way the hit should be agin you, unless of course the ref reads it as a compound attack (seen it happen) and then will give it to you. Must be what makes foil so exciting!

Going back to the original re flicks the problem is the age old one of standard of refs. Top international/A grades etc refs will be fine, but come down from there to club level or LPJS (when short of refs) etc then the problems start viz. fencer comes in with tip facing towards ceiling (let's not get into angles but perhaps refs should have a protractor as well as a set of cards), does a flick and hits.
Ref A says - No it's a prep and gives hit to other side
Ref B says - Yes it's fine and gives flicker the hit
Ref C says - Well I think it's again the letter of the rule but it is the convention to give it
REf D says - Don't know

They all occur on a regular basis and cause huge amounts of frustration. However, if your ref is giving the flick with tip pointing to the ceiling don't rely on the stop hit. If he/she isn't and the flicker keeps flicking then stop hit and warmly shale your refs hand after you have won and flicker is still throwing his/her mask on the floor