The Lighter Side of Fencing

FENCERS do it…

FENCERS do it in a full lunge

FENCERS do it with a thrust

FENCERS do it with three feet of sword

FENCERS have good tip control.

FENCERS do it in the fleche.

FENCERS do it with long thrusts.

FENCERS do it with three feet of cold, hard, steel.

FENCERS do it in a full lunge.

FENCERS do it with a thrust.

FENCERS do it with three feet of sword.

FENCERS usually have a good point

Hug a fencer; you'll get what you epee' for.

How many foilists does it take to screw in a light bulb?

How many epeeists does it take to change a lightbulb?


Why Fencing is Better than Sex

Even ugly fencers score regularly.

In fencing you have a coach to tell you what you're doing wrong, and you get to practice first before trying it out for real.

You can fence with strangers without getting a bad reputation and you don't have to spend $30 in the bar getting to know them first.

You are not being insulting if you insist that your partner wear a mask.

No one expects a fencing bout to last much longer than two minutes and you don't have to worry afterwards if the other fencer enjoyed it or not.

In fencing, you don't have to get your own equipment until you decide wherher or not you like it.

You usually fence in a big, brightly lit room with lots of people in it.

The person you're fencing with won't mind if your buddies stand around and cheer for you.

Whips are normal in fencing.


It doesn't hurt if someone steps on your foil.

It is almost impossible to catch a disease from a fencing foil.

You can play with your foil in public and no one will laugh.

If your foil gets a funny bend in it, all you have to do is run it under your foot a few times.

No one cares how long your foil is, and if it breaks you just go get a new one.

It is easy to get pretty girls to hold on to your foil.

Finally, and perhaps most significantly, in fencing, if your opponent doesn't come, you win.


Fencing Vocab:

Dry Fencing: Fencing when sober

Engagement: What your fiancee breaks, when they realise all you care about is fencing

Envelopment: What fencing does to people who just want to "try it once"

Feint: What a fencer does after they get their credit card bill from a tournament weekend

Fencing Time: Usually lost in equipment down time, tournament waiting time...

FIE: A curse given in old english.

Fleche: Is all bruised after a few bouts.

Foible: The mistake you make that lets your opponent get a hit.

Foil: What you are trying to do to your opponent

Forte: The cost of a new body wire

French Grip: The fencers secret handshake

Guard: What you have to do at tournaments so your team-mates don't "borrow" all your food.

Lamé: Fencers term for a non-fencer

Passé: All those other sports you tried before fencing

Phrase: When fencers manage to string more words together than grunting monosyllabically

Piste: How you feel when your expensive equipment starts failing

Pistol Grip: What you want to grab when you loose a 14-14 D.E. on a questionable call

Pommel: What you'd REALLY like to do to some opponents

Principle of Defence: The grass is always greener on the other side

Quarte: A measure of liquid (ie: A quarte of Beer)

Right-of-way: That driving law you may need to ignore to get to a tournament on time

Second Intention: What you need to come up with when your attack fails miserably





unless you can get your mugger to agree to let you sharpen sticks


* you can get hit four times and still be okay

* you only have one opponent, and you know who and where he is

* you get a weapon too

* your reflexes don't have to be quite as fast


in soccer you can't use any hands, in rugby you use two.


the fencer gets wetter and stickier and scuzzier, but doesn't

track sand into the house

a coworker at my office: "fencing is a rediculous sport -- try tennis"

me: [with a straight face] "No matter how good I got at tennis ...

[pause], I couldn't kill anyone with it."

[this exchange actually happened -- honest!]

BETTER than chess

you don't have to wait for your turn

BETTER than rugby

if you "pop" a contact lens you'll probably find it

has PROS and CONS with respect to AEROBIC DANCING

*PRO -- you don't have to listen to loud, obnoxious rock music

*neutral -- in either activity, if you don't work hard enough

somebody comes and pokes you in the ribs

*CON -- instead of skin-tight leotards, the women wear baggy

jackets -- with built-in metal breastplates, yet.

DIFFERENT from most sports

when you don't get to play for a few weeks, and you "overdo it"

your first time out, the "Charley Horses" are asymmetrical


Everything I Know About Fencing I Learned at the Movies

The following are well-recognized scoring "moves" in fencing competitions. Some require additional props, but most can be improvised.

The Back up the Stairs Retreat

Usually executed mid-match, this maneuver features one combatant backing up a set of stairs to a landing from which there is no means of escape but a hanging rope. (See, Swinging Back into the Fray)

Swinging Back Into the Fray

Normally via chandelier of hanging rope; in gymnasium climbing ropes may be substituted.

The Circular Flip Weapon from-Opponent's Hand Move

Executed with a deft circular motion of the wrist, this maneuver deprives your opponent of his weapon. Bonus points awarded if weapon then seized from air by its grip. (points deducted from grabbing blade.) Self-satisfied leer optional.

The Dagger Parry

Having been divested of his weapon by the Circular Flip, above, the fencer may draw a six-inch dagger from his belt and proceed to defeat his bewildered opponent. (Psychologically devastating to opponent, and a real morale-builder for your team).

Cutting Chandelier Rope to Drop on Pursuing Team Members

Successfully executed, this move can really shift the momentum in a competition. It involves use of one's weapon to cut the rope holding up an overhead lighting fixture so that it falls on opposing team members. Extra points awarded if fixture is of circular design and actually confines the pursuers. (See "Encirclement Points") A basketball backboard and hoop can be substituted in most gymnasiums; however, in such case encirclement points are limited to one, given the small diameter of the rim. If burning candles on the chandelier ignite other objects, or competitors, additional bonus points may be awarded.

Stabbing Cask Instead of Opponent

This is actually a way of LOSING points. It occurs when a fencer backs his opponent into a cask or barrel. By sideways feint, the opponent causes his hapless aggressor to stab the barrel, rather than himself. If liquid spurts from the barrel or cask, subtract an additional point; if liquid is flammable (ex: brandy) and comes into contact with downed chandelier candles, add 3 excitement points.

Weapon Lodges in Solid Object

Another momentum-turner, this occurs when a fencer's weapon becomes lodged in a solid object (other than an opponent) and its end breaks off. Distance points may be awarded, however, if remainder of weapon is thrown ineffectively at opponent.

The Veg-o-Matic

Extra points are awarded when ever an errant slash dices organic material (again, other than an opponent) such as apples or melons on nearby training table.

The Whittler

Employed after loss of main weapon, this maneuver involves the use of a wooden object to parry an opponent's slashes. Points are awarded for the number of successive slashes which reduces the wooden object to a nubbin (often followed by "desperation throw," described above).

Seize the Amulet

This move can be pivotal in competition. Each competitor wears a hanging pendant around her neck. The match is over when a fencer corners her opponent and flicks the pendant from its chain with her weapon. Extra points if caught in free hand. (normally followed by a sprint to the team bus).

The Graffiti Slash

Originated by a fencer named Zuckerman at NYU, this maneuver is used to inscribe one's initials on an opponent's uniform. Bonus points awarded for script. Neatness counts.

Tag-Team Moves

While not exactly politically correct, these moves foster strong team spirit. They involve members of the women's team in, essentially, a supportive (if not downright decorative) role. Some of these are:

· The Cowering Behind the Fencer Backing up Stairs Move

· The Swinging on Rope with Male Fencer Escape

· The Weapon Replacement Toss

· The Cradling Head of Dying Male Fencer Pose

(dying fencer must remember to recite: 'tis not so deep as a well,

nor so wide as a church-door; but 'tis enough, 'twill serve)

©2000-2001 Chris Hockaday - Last updated
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