The Tactical Wheel: Second Intention Defense

Defensive Second Intention

Once you have established either your ability to carry out a simple attack, defense or counter-offense, you will need to be able to “spin the wheel” to move to the next set of tactics. This, of course, assumes that your opponent is thinking of their actions in the bout and adjusting their tactics to counter what you are doing well.



Second intention actions are, by definition, your second option in an action and are set up so that your primary action serves as the “feint” or diversion from your true intentions.

In second intention defense, you are using your first defensive action as a cover for your real tactic. While you need to make the attack look convincing, you don’t intend to score the point with the attack. The action is simply made in order to provoke the desired response from your opponent.

Drills:
Here are some examples of Defensive Second Intention tactics (L=Leader, P=Pupil):

Attack/Riposte
(First, get used to the timing of a regular riposte.)


  • L: Attack to 4.
  • P: Parry 4, Riposte

1-2 Parry
In this action, you feint the first parry to draw out the attack and use the second parry as your real parry for the riposte. While this is technically a first intention defense, it is a more advanced defensive skill and is included here. This is the counter to the 1-2 attack where the attacker feints to one line then finishes in the second.


  • L: Begin Attack to 4.
  • P: Feint Parry 4
  • L: Disengage to 6, finish attack
  • P: Real Parry 6, Riposte
    (Also use counter-4 as the real parry for variation.)

Riposte – Counter-Riposte
Some classify this as offensive second intention (because it starts with an attack) and some as defensive (since the intention is really the riposte.)


  • P: Begin Attack to 4.
  • L: Parry 4, begin riposte to 4
  • P: Parry 4, Riposte (step or lunge as necessary)
    (Also use counter-6 as the parry for variation.)

Riposte – Remise of Riposte


  • L: Advance-Lunge attack to 4 (Fall just short.)
  • P: Parry 4, Begin Riposte (w/lunge)
  • L: Return Enguard, Parry 4, Immediate riposte to 4
  • P: Counter 6 opposition, extend and hit. (remise)

In this action, you are allowing your first parry-riposte to be taken and then responding with a remise of your first riposte. By taking counter-6, you force your opponent to miss you. You can also try this drill with a 4-opposition remise. Make sure to take a short lunge or step with your initial riposte, then a quick step to finish the remise and take target away from your opponent. This is a high-risk move.

Riposte – Remise with displacement


  • L: Advance-Lunge attack to 4 (Fall just short.)
  • P: Parry 4, Begin Riposte (w/lunge)
  • L: Return Enguard, Parry 4, Immediate riposte to 4
  • P: Extend to 4 – bellguard high, drop (squat)

This is similar to the previous drill. Instead of using opposition to make your opponent miss, you are baiting them for a high-line riposte and then dropping below their point. It is important to keep your bellguard high to provide the maximum protection against a point hitting your top shoulder. This is also a higher risk move.



Remise and Redoublement:
remise: immediate replacement of an attack that missed or was parried, without withdrawing the arm.

redoublement: a new action that follows an attack that missed or was parried; renewal of a failed attack in the opposite line; alternatively see reprise.


The Tactical Wheel: Second Intention Defense by

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