Art.417 (LONG!)

Art.417 (LONG!)

Post by David Glass » Wed, 04 May 1994 14:09:32

In a recent posting, Dave Sierra writes:

Quote:

>writes...
>:>|> As a corollary to this I oppose artificial footwork restrictions.
>:>
>:>You are on record as opposing the new anti-cross step rule, but
>:>what about Article 417?  Is it not also an artificial footwork
>:>restriction?
>Please inform a not-so-experienced fencer who is trying to build up his
>knowledge of the sport of fencing (without the use of a rule book,
>unfortunatly)
>What is Article 417?  I've seen it refered to but I don't know what it is.
>Also if besides the rule itself, I'd appreciate an explination of it, as
>most of the rules are pretty open to interpretation, as recent debate on
>this newsgroup will prove.
>Dave Sierra
>Aggie Fencer

In response, Morgan Burke writes:

:It's a long one, so I'll paraphrase:

:-- an attack with lunge must hit before or as the lead foot lands.
:-- a simple attack with fleche must hit before or as the back foot
:   lands.
:-- a compound attack with fleche must hit before or as the front foot
:   lands on the second step.

:Attacks that hit later than the above prescribed times are to be
:interpreted as continuations, and do not have priority over the
:counter-attack.

:This rule applies only to sabre, although some like to think that
:it is a general principle that OUGHT to apply to foil as well.
:This appears to be one of the main sources of debate surrounding
:the rule.

:-- Morgan Burke

Dave, I like Morgan's succinct answer to your question.  I was about half
done with mine when I read his post.  Rather than junk mine I will instead
add more to it than I had originally intended and expand our discussion.  
Here follows my translation of article 417.  Note that it differs
somewhat from the text of the USFA's RULES FOR COMPETITION, which I feel
sometimes uses unnecessarily complex and sometimes misleading language.  
Even so, I warn you that the following material is going to seem rather
complex compared to Morgan's tidy summation.  The actual text of the
reglement article is all in capital letters.  
My commentary/explanation/interpretation is normal text.

Art. 416 ...THE FOLLOWING BASIC RULES WHICH ARE CONVENTIONS APPLICABLE TO
SABRE FENCING.

Art. 417 REGARD FOR THE FENCING PHRASE ["RESPECT DE LA PHRASE D'ARMES"]

         (a) ANY ATTACK PROPERLY EXECUTED (Cf.10) MUST BE PARRIED OR
COMPLETELY AVOIDED AND THE FENCING PHRASE MUST BE FOLLOWED THROUGH.
Article 418 goes over how an attack begun when the opponent has his blade
in line must deflect that line just before (by a preparation) or during the
attack.
         (b) THE ATTACK IS AN INITIAL OFFENSIVE ACTION, EXECUTED BY
EXTENDING THE ARM AND CONTINUOUSLY THREATENING THE VALID TARGET WITH
THE POINT OR THE CUTTING EDGE.

             1. AN ATTACK WITH A LUNGE IS CORRECTLY EXECUTED:
                - AS A SIMPLE ATTACK (Cf.11) ["ATTAQUE SIMPLE"] WHEN THE
ARM EXTENDS DURING THE LUNGE AND THE TOUCH ARRIVES AT THE LATEST WHEN THE
FRONT FOOT MAKES CONTACT WITH THE STRIP ["PISTE"].
Some fencers & coaches are dismayed to read here how the arm should extend
during the lunge rather than beginning to extend prior to the lunge, as
most fencers are taught.  Remember that the Reglement is written as rules
for competition, not as a manual of methodology or pedagogy.  Interpreting
the above passage from Article 417 literally to forbid extending until the
lunge has begun would be an extreme and bogus interpretation.  
                - AS A COMPOUND (Composed) ATTACK ["ATTAQUE COMPOSEE"]
(Cf.11) WHEN, WITH THE ARM EXTENDING IN THE CORRECT PRESENTATION OF THE
FIRST FEINT (Cf.419), THE TOUCH ARRIVES AT THE LATEST IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE
FRONT FOOT MAKES CONTACT WITH THE STRIP.            
In my opinion, more footwork and bladeplay can occur in a composed attack
when the attacker continues to feint and deceive ("tromper, trompement") a
succession of parries.  However, should this not be the case, and the
attacker proceeds with additional footwork or bladework after having
played out the above and without "trumping" further parries, he is in fact
following his attack with a renewed attack (reprise of attack, redoublement
of attack, or remise of the attack; depending on specifics).  That means
a counter-offensive action begun by the opponent during the attack will
have priority over any renewal of attack.  

             2. AN ATTACK WITH A FLECHE IS CORRECTLY EXECUTED:
                - AS A SIMPLE ATTACK (Cf.11) WHEN THE ARM EXTENDS
DURING THE FLECHE AND THE TOUCH ARRIVES AT THE LATEST WHEN THE REAR FOOT
FIRST REGAINS CONTACT WITH THE STRIP.
                - AS A COMPOUND (Composed) ATTACK ["ATTAQUE COMPOSEE"]
(Cf.11) WHEN, WITH THE ARM EXTENDING IN THE CORRECT PRESENTATION OF THE
FIRST FEINT (Cf.419), THE TOUCH ARRIVES AT THE LATEST WHEN THE FRONT FOOT
AGAIN MAKES CONTACT WITH THE STRIP.

             3. AN ATTACK WITH AN ADVANCE-LUNGE OR AN ADVANCE-FLECHE IS
CORRECTLY EXECUTED:
                - AS A SIMPLE ATTACK (Cf.11) WHEN THE ARM EXTENDS BEFORETHE
COMPLETION OF THE ADVANCE AND  WHEN THE TOUCH ARRIVES AT THE LATEST AT THE
END OF THE LUNGE OR FLECHE (Cf.417a&b).
                - AS A COMPOUND (Composed) ATTACK (Cf.11) WHEN, WITH THE
ARM EXTENDING IN THE CORRECT PRESENTATION OF THE FIRST FEINT (Cf.419)
DURING THE ADVANCE, THE TOUCH ARRIVES AT THE LATEST AT THE END OF THE LUNGE
OR FLECHE (Cf.417a&b).

             4. IN NO CASE SHOULD A FLECHE ATTACK END IN "CORPS A CORPS"
(Cf.412). IT MAY BE FOLLOWED BY A REPRISE OF THE ATTACK, BUT ONLY AFTER A
"TEMPS D'ARRET" (Cf.13c).
This last sentence in Article 417 has caused much consternation and led to
many misinterpretations of the rules.  The USFA translation says: "It may
be followed by a reprise of the attack, but only after a pause in the
action (Cf.13c)."  The French does not really say "pause in the action," It
says "temps d'arret," I take this as meaning the attack could suffer a
stop hit before the reprise begins.  The Reglement essentially defines
reprise of the attack as a renewed attack preceeded by being briefly en
guard.  Stopping a fleche to go back en guard before continuing on is no
mean feat!  The momentum of a powerful fleche is not easily braked.  The
idea here was to limit the effectiveness of fleche attacks, whose incessant
use was spoiling the beautiful back and forth nature of fencing.  This last
line of Article 417 created much controversy and then was widely ignored as
being impractical. For that matter, many directors/referees still ignore
Article 417.  Instead of rehabilitating this Article the F.I.E. has chosen
instead to eliminate the fleche!  I suggest instead the following
progressive interpretation of renewed attacks following a fleche attack:  a
reprise, redoublement, or remise of the attack may be made after a fleche,
but a counter-offensive action begun during the attack or a point in line
placed during the attack will have priority over the renewed attack.  

Nowhere here do we see guidelines for respecting an attack made with an
advance alone.  It is actually a rather complicated matter to detail
correct timing of the hit with an advance because advances can be executed
in subtly different ways.  A correctly executed advance is completed in one
period ["temps d'escrime"] of fencing time.  As each foot moves during the
advance you can see that there may in fact be two potential "counts" within
the one period [German: Tempo] of fencing time.  If there is a pause
between these counts then an attack made with an advance may comprise more
than one period of fencing time.  Thus I cannot simply say that a simple
attack must arrive with the front foot (as with the lunge), etc.  

Some fencers actually move the body forward on count one of the advance
(essentially doing a little lunge followed by a forward recovery).  Here we
must judge the correctness of the attack as though it were a lunge.  That
is, with the landing of the front foot.

Some fencers move the body forward on count two of the advance (IMHO this
is the correct method of making a classic advance).  If both of the counts
are done quickly and smoothly without a break in the timing then I view
correct simple attacks as arriving at the latest when the back foot regains
the strip, composed attacks arriving immediately thereafter.

Many fencers move the body forward over both counts one and two of the
advance (IMPO this is a rather sloppy method of making an advance, and I
will be happy to discuss that opinion with anybody).  If both of the counts
are done quickly and smoothly without a break in the timing then I view
correct simple attacks as arriving at the latest when the back foot regains
the strip, composed attacks arriving immediately thereafter.

Well, this post is mighty long and complicated.  If you have read this far
and followed what I've had to say, I congratulate you!
|)
David Glasser  
fencing master
Norges Fekte-Forbundet, Deutscher Fechter-Bund