2. Complex Saber Movements
2.1 Defense Against a Fast Moving Attack
This movement works best when the opponent attacks from distance and
acquires inertia. Hold the point of the blade somewhat lower than usual
and to your flank (right side). This leaves the head and
shoulders in an invitation for the opponent's attack.
With the blade lowered, there is less tendency to attack your stomach
area. As the attacker begins his cut to the head (or shoulder), bring
the blade up with a twist of the wrist into parry quinte
with the hand in pronation. As your blade makes contact in the parry,
hold your blade in opposition and slide the point backwards
just enough, using a bending and twisting wrist movement, so that you
can control his blade just enough to force the blade out of line. Then
quickly disengage with a cut to the head. This movement
is properly done with smooth transitions and, with practice,
can become very fast (listen for the swoosh of the blade
in your disengage). Try not to make the movements too extreme or heavy-handed,
as this will slow down the movement. This defense can, however, be countered
by a disengage to the stomach if you opponent is very fast and has does
not accept your invitation.
2.2 Complex Attack to the Head with Disengage
I have used this movement with good success in a fleche. The fleche
is no longer allowed, but it can also work with fast foot movements.
Begin your attack by bringing the point up in a threat of an attack
(cut or point thrust) to the head, primarily to the right or left of
the chin. The arm is fairly well extended enough that the defender has
little chance of a riposte to the body. As the opponent brings up his
parry of your high-line attack, disengage to the wrist, shoulder or
stomach, either maintaining the point thrust or with a smooth twist
of the wrist to a cut. The shortest available target works best (the
wrist is generally the closest). A third similar movement can also be
added for a compound counter-attack, and a disengage or cutover to the
head often works well.
2.3 Complex Wrist Attack
An attack to the opponent's wrist works especially well for an opponent
who holds his blade out from his body in the en garde position. First
try a few cautious cuts to the wrist in a disengage movement in order
to judge the oppponent's reactions. If done well, even your first thrust/disengage
to the wrist may be successful. Then do a few other movements, a thrust/disengage/feint,
followed a second disengage and finish with a cut on the wrist. In the
Senior Olympics one year, I managed to use this movement successfully
as the first attack to my opponent from the en garde position, which
was a disengage feint cut to the wrist, followed by a disengage cut
to the wrist on the other side.It was very fast, and the Director did
not allow the touch, although I protested that the cut landed cleanly.
On the very next attack from en garde, I said "And again",
rather than "Et la", and repeated this movement exactly.
This got chuckle from the crowd and a successful touch was awarded.
This can be a very fast movement when properly executed.
2.4 Multiple Head Cut
When you fence a highly experienced fencer, their movements are generally
quite fast. Their fast movements can actually be used against them.
A simple attack begins with a simple, straight cut to the top
of the head. If the opponent's parry/riposte is successful, the Director
will hear the single beat of the parry and then the riposte.
If his riposte is unsuccessful, then there will be the beat of his parry,
followed by the beat of your parry of his counter attack,
and finally your riposte, resulting in two beats
of the blades. So, in this movement, rather than waiting to parry the
counter attack, immediately repeat with a second cut and
then a third cut. In this movement, the Director hears two beats
or parries before the final cut to the head.Your attack will land, and
the Director will hear the two beats, thinking that your
have parried your opponent's counter attack and that his counter attack
is not in time. This may also fluster your opponent. I used this movement
successfully against an Olympic Champion in the 1970 Nationals, and
actually tried this movement three times in a row, winning two of the
three touches. I made the mistake of hitting him on the head five quick
times in a row on my third attack. This made him very mad, and I lost
all of the following touches.
2.5 Feint-Cut to the Head
Many fencers expose their elbow during the parry to a high cut to their
head. This is especially true for inexperienced fencers, but it also
occurs for experienced fencers. The upper parry (quinte)
is invited by a feint cut to the head. This is immediately followed
by a fast, smooth disengage using a smooth bend/twist of the wrist,
cutting him neatly on the exposed elbow or forearm. If your opponent
is very fast and can successfully execute the parry, then try an indirect
movement following the feint. Here again, fast, smooth movements work
the best, so the bend of the wrist must be immediately followed by the
twist of the wrist in order to get one smooth movement. Wrist bending
and twisting is maximized in order to minimize arm motion. In the last
World Olympics Women's saber final, the on guard position of one fencer
left a juicy exposed elbow target in the preparation in at least three
attacks, but her opponent did not take advantage on any occasion.
2.6 The Low Line invitation/Parry/Counter Attack
The history is that saber fleches, following the en garde command,
became increasingly successful as the weight of the blade decreased
and movements became faster. The result was that both fencers would
immediately attack each other following the en garde command, resulting
in endless double attacks that did not result in touches. In order to
reduce the endless double touches, fleches have now been disallowed
in this weapon. One of my successful defensive movements against the
immediate fleche might also be of value in defending against an attack
from a short period of rest when neither fencer is executing a movement.
I have found that it works quite well in defending against some of the
low line movements (taught by Russian emigre instructors), either direct
or indirect. It begins by dropping the point into a low line, thus inviting
a high line attack. In this case, the point of the blade can be raised
to institute a quinte parry of a simple direct attack. More likely,
the attacker will feint to the head in order to invite a high parry,
followed by a disengage to a lower line cut or point attack. In this
case, you are set up for the low-line parry-seconde and the counter-attack,
which can be executed rather quickily and easily. Of course, you must
not fall for the high-line feint. The counter attack can also be in
the form of a molinet (sweeping circular movement) that
can be terminated in either high or low line.
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