Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Swordplay: Preparations

In films, swordfighters are forever doing fancy things with the blade, from beating it to wrapping it up in complex circly things that send it flying. Preparations on the blade (or pris de fer, for those who think that all swordplay should occur in French) are a big part of any swordsman’s arsenal, so here are just a few to think about using in your next sword scene:

The beat- where you knock against the opponent’s blade crisply in an effort to smash it aside, leaving an opening for you to attack through. Most people parry the moment you beat though, so it can be fun to beat and then pause, waiting for them to go past and only then attacking.

The bind- There is a complex description of exactly what constitutes one of these in most good fencing books (anyone looking to go deep into understanding the art should probably read Crosnier’s work). For the rest of us, it’s that vaguely circling thing that picks up the opponent’s blade along the way, allowing you to hit and move the blade aside in one big spiral.

Attacking en graze- Sliding down the opponent’s sword with your own, while exerting just enough pressure that it slips to the side while yours stays on target. Otherwise known as the one foil move I can perform correctly.

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