As fencers know, epee fencing is different from foil and sabre fencing because the whole body is target – if you are hit, it is a point in your opponent’s favor. Every touch counts toward the final score. Therefore, it is important for the fencer to be able to react quickly and maintain a strong defense. Since it is difficult to defend the forward foot, fencers may strike an unexpected hit there.
Epee fencers have been forced to use their usual defensive repertoire (parry, counter-attack), against these painful toe touches — which doesn’t really provide an adequate defense. There is no specific protection against the foot touch.
Leveraging his vast experience Coach Alexandr has developed the “Parry-11,” a new defense designed to specifically block toe strikes. If executed properly, it is 100% effective in thwarting toe touches. We will begin incorporating instruction on this new defensive move in all our fencing classes and upcoming summer fencing camps.
“This parry is difficult to master,” says Coach Alexandr, “but those who put in the effort to learn this new technique will benefit tremendously by preventing foot touches.”
When I asked the coach to elaborate more on Parry-11, he went on to explain:
“The technique is simple, yet powerful. We use the clause in the FIE and USFA regulations that do not put any restrictions on fencing shoes. With this loophole, fencers who want to execute the Parry-11 can elect to fence in 5-toe shoes.”
Here’s how the Parry-11 works:
As the opponent begins to execute the toe touch, the defensive fencer (wearing the toe shoes) will spread his/her toes and catch the blade between them. With the opponent’s blade immobilized, they will be vulnerable and the defensive fencer can thrust his or her blade in the direction of the opponent. The defensive fencer is sure to score a point since the opponent will be unable to move their weapon. It may sound simple, and it is, but as Coach Alexandr explains:
“There are many nuances in the technique which makes the Parry-11 very difficult to master. For example, one must ensure that the blade is not caught on the tip so that it does not register as a touch for the opponent. This means that the defensive fencer must catch the weapon by the barrel or the blade. Also, it is very important to deliver a counter-attacking touch and release the blade instantly without disarming an opponent.”
We will teach the proper form and technique during the lessons and summer fencing camps. Our coaches and staff are working round the clock to prepare specialty clinics to help fencers develop the skills needed to master the Parry-11. There will be several one-day sessions devoted to this new defense during the Summer National Championship preparations.
While we take the sport of fencing very seriously, we believe that a sense of humor is healthy for the soul.
[Reposted from the original AFM Press Release]