Lesson 9

This lesson will give information on the assault and also on the judged bout.

The Assault

The following is Luigi Barbasetti's definition of the assault:

"The Assault can be interpreted as a dialogue between two persons, a dispute in which arguments are expressed by weapons instead of words.  As listening to a discussion gives an opportunity to judge the knowledge, mentality and the logical sense of both opponents, so the assault gives the fencer the best occasion for exhibiting his own worth.

A clear perception of the theory of fencing is as valuable to the fencer as the mastery of his material and language is to the orator.  Both should be able to express their thoughts quickly, correctly and easily.  These thoughts, of course, can be formulated and encouraged only by someone who has thoroughly mastered his profession.  His intelligence builds those thoughts up and converts them into actions.  It is important that this conversion take place effortlessly, almost instinctively.  As the orator formulates and builds up sentences, without having to stop and think, so must the fencer concieve and carry out the movements of his blade.  A beautiful assault, like a fine discussion, must be based on perfect technique."

The assault is where you display your expertise at arms.  And in preparing for the assault you must train diligently, prefecting your mastery of the techniques and theory of swordplay.

There are two types of assaults; the friendly assault and the judge assault or bout.  The friendly assault is open practice.  This is what you do to prepare for the bout.  Whether taking part in a friendly assault or in a judged bout, the first thing that you will do is the scandaglio (sounding out).  The sxandaglio is comprised of all the preparatory movements you do before your first real attack.  It is during this phase of the assault that you sound out the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent.  Through this you will gauge their mentality and also their physical abilitiy.  Are they agressive? Do they always make a consistent action before attacking?  Are they vulnerable in the low line?  These are just a few of the questions that you must ask yourself about your opponent.

The Judged Bout

The judged bout is a formal assault that is presider over by a director.  A panel of four judges helps the director in the judging of touches scored.  The director interprets the fencing phrases, indicating right-of-way if used for the weapon employed and looking to the judges for indications of touches scored.  The director will then award touches based upon the judging.  Two judges are assigned to watch the target area of one fencer and the other two watch the target area of the other fencer.  In voting about touches scored each judge has 1 point while the director has 1.5 points.  Thus, two judges may over-rule a director or the director may over-rule one judge.

In foil fencing when the director queries the judges as to awarding of touches, the judges have four answers that may be given in foil:

A valid touch was made on target
A complete miss
A touch was made to an off-target area
Touch unclear

The bout generally goes as follows and this will be the procedure used in class.
For the class, the fencing will continue until 3 touches are scored against an individual or three minutes have elapsed.  In the event of a tied score at 3 minutes fencing will continue until the next touch.