This lesson will give information on the assault and also on the judged
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
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
The bout generally goes as follows and this will be the procedure used
Two fencers are called to the strip. The first fencer
called goes to the director's right.
In the event that one of the fencers is left-handed, that
fencer must be on the director's left. If both are left handed it
is the same as for right handed fencers.
The director calls for salutes.
The fencers first salute the director, then the judges opposite
them, each other and then optionally they may salute the audience.
The fencers put on the masks.
The director asks the fencers if they are ready and when both
indicate verbally that they are the director will call the command to
Fencing continues until the director calls halt.
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.