Do you lose right of way by blocking out?

Discussion in 'Rules and Referee Questions' started by SolarBoss, Nov 24, 2018.

  1. SolarBoss

    SolarBoss Rookie

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    If I have right of way, make an attack, e.g., advance lunge, and then block out after the attack, do I lose right of way? Does this change if I spin past them (like a counterattack)?

    If I parry and then riposte with a block out, do I lose the right of way? Does riposting with a spin change anything?
     
  2. SolarBoss

    SolarBoss Rookie

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    Oh, one more thing. If I parry and then begin advancing with no riposte, and my opponent lunges without retreating, whose point is it if we both hit with no blade contact?
     
  3. posineg

    posineg Made the Cut

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    You really did not give any information as to what the opponent did.

    Where you parried during your initial attack? and then attempted to block after the parry... like a counter parry?

    All the movement and blocking in the world won't give you the point if your opponent parried your initial attack and landed a riposte without your counter parry riposte.

    I would concentrate on landing the initial touch cleanly (Without being parried) before working about the after attack.
     
  4. tbryan

    tbryan Podium

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    In theory, no. In practice, it's more complicated.

    In theory, if you make an attack and hit with the attack, then what you do after the attack doesn't matter. If you make a parry, and then hit with the immediate riposte, it doesn't matter how you make the riposte.

    In practice, fencing action is not always clear.

    You may be intending to attack, but what actually happened on strip was not your attack. For example, your opponent was already attacking before you started your action. Or you thought that your opponent stopped, but he didn't. Or you were attacking, stopped, and then tried to continue, but your opponent had already taken over the attack.

    You and your opponent may not be executing your actions clearly, which will make it harder to get the call you want. Referees expect actions to look a certain way, and it's best to give them what they expect. For example, let's say that you're hiding your blade and advancing forward, looking to finish with a lunge. Your opponent is moving back and attempting to parry, but he finally panics and counterattacks with a big lunge, hitting you. Your light is also on.
    • If you finished with a forward step and a confident thrust to open target, it'll probably be called as your attack and point.
    • If you finished with a thrust to open target, but leaned back or tried to dodge as the counterattack arrived, then it may be called as attack, no (stopped). Counterattack, touch, and a point for your opponent. Your action makes it look like you abandoned your attack and decided to counterattack whatever your opponent was doing.
    • If you finished by making some weird action with the blade before hitting, then it may look like you tried to parry the counterattack. That is, it looks like you abandoned the initial attack, attempted to make a parry-riposte in countertime, and you failed to find the blade. Touch for your opponent.
    Some actions are just really hard to call. If two fencers are bouncing around and doing nothing and then both step forward and lunge, the referee will either shrug and say "simultaneous," or he'll try to "separate" the action into an attack and a counterattack. If you were attacking, you should have no fear of the counterattack. If you know that you're counterattacking, you know that you have to prevent the attack from arriving. Therefore, if the timing was really close, and you lunge but also dodge, spin, parry, etc., it's going to suggest that you thought that you were counterattacking. If you thought that you were counterattacking, then the referee will almost certainly think that you're counterattacking, and he'll probably give the attack and the touch to your opponent.

    As always, you have to look at what both fencers are doing. It's possible that you made a big mistake on your action, but your opponent made a bigger mistake. Some beginners who feel like they're getting inconsistent calls from a referee are actually making a variety of mistakes. Sometimes the opponent's mistake is bigger, and you get the touch. Other times, not. After the pool / DE / tournament is over, if the referee appears to be free, you could try to ask what he was seeing. "I was hoping that you could give me some feedback. In my last bout, I tried to do X a couple of times at the start of the bout, but you kept calling Y. Was I doing something wrong?" If you ask nicely, many referees are happy to explain what they were seeing if they can remember the touch in question.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
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  5. tbryan

    tbryan Podium

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    I wanted to address this one separately since the question suggests what might actually be happening. When foilists are confused about why they aren't getting the point when they "riposte with a block out," what they're often doing is actually a counterattack in opposition, and not a parry-riposte.

    A parry is a defensive action with the blade. When you parry and a riposte, there are two separate actions even if one flows smoothly into the other. There's one defensive action to hit the blade, and then a separate offensive action to hit the opponent. When you make the riposte, you may make the riposte detached (not touching the opponent's blade) or in opposition (maintaining contact and controlling the opponent's blade). All of those actions are called the same way. Parry, riposte, touch.

    But just because you make contact with your opponent's blade does not mean that you made a parry. The opponent attacks. The defender makes a counterattack, sending the hand/tip forward to hit the opponent. On the way there, the counterattacker makes contact with the attacker's blade, but the attacker still hits. The correct call is attack, touch. The counterattack is still a counterattack even if there's a meeting of the blades. If you're going to counterattack in opposition, you need to make sure that the attack does not arrive.

    A counterattack does not become a parry-riposte just because there was blade contact. If you are making a parry, you will not be trying to hit your opponent with the tip of your weapon while you're making the parry. The parry will be a defensive action that is only trying to contact the opponent's blade. After you make contact with the blade, you would then make a separate action to hit the opponent (the riposte). The counterattack is an action that's clearly intended to hit the opponent, even if it's going through the attacker's line and making contact with the attacker's blade.

    To a referee, a parry-riposte looks very different from a counterattack.
     
  6. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee is a Verified Fencing ExpertMac A. Bee Podium

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    Que est que c'est "block out" which isn't defined in the rules? I would like to hear from our most senior refs on if the touch (be it attack or riposte) lands and *then* the fencer "squeeves", what's the call? Former Olympians/now coaches want it to be called counter-attack. Consensus?
     
  7. Goldgar

    Goldgar Podium

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    Esquives?
     
  8. SolarBoss

    SolarBoss Rookie

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    Thanks for the responses, but I think my original question might not have been clear. I want to know if an action that should have right of way, e.g., a parry riposte or advance lunge, will lose right of way if you perform it in a manner indicative of a counterattack, e.g., blocking out or spinning. Does turning or blocking out after a hit grant my opponent the right of way regardless of what occurred before?
     
  9. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    This is in sabre, not foil, but I daresay that the principle is the same for both if in fact it is true: I had a coach and former FIE referee tell me that if I attack and hit and then go to close out the opponent's out-of-time cut, I did not in fact ever make an attack. The opponent's counterattack now becomes the attack and the touch will be his.

    This sort of retroactive assessment of the phrase based on something that happens after the touch strikes me as ridiculous, foolish and wrong---if we consider the "if they were sharp" perspective stopping a "dead man's blow" would be only wise and would not somehow bring the opponent you had just killed back to life and let him kill you instead. But the person who told me this is reputable and reliable and is, or was, pretty au courant on modern fencing high-level referee convention. So this may be just another of those "interpretations" which make you shake your head but are nevertheless the way it is.

    I should point out that I have never actually seen this called in a fencing bout.
     
  10. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee is a Verified Fencing ExpertMac A. Bee Podium

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    Oui. Merci.
     
  11. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee is a Verified Fencing ExpertMac A. Bee Podium

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    Concur on "ridiculous, foolish and wrong" but also "'au courant' on modern fencing high-level referee convention". If I don't, Olympians-turned-coaches yell.
     
  12. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    I think tbryans answer was pretty clear. It can be boiled down to this: "You are either attacking, or attempting to avoid/forestall the opponent's attack. You can't do both at the same time."

    The corollary to this is: "If you're not sure you're attacking, you probably aren't".

    The actions--as described in the original post--don't make a lot of sense. I make an advance lunge in foil, score, and then spin away? Why? The opponent's momentum (I assume he's going backward or standing still) doesn't put me in any immediate threat. They might stick their arm out, but priority is on my side and if a light turns on, it's an obvious counter-attack on their part.

    Ah....but what if the opponent is coming forwards--just like I am--and his momentum might allow him to set off a light as I make my advance lunge unless I close him off or avoid his blade after the hit? Well, then, I'm probably not attacking, but attempting to make a stop or an attack in preparation while closing down what MIGHT be my opponent's attack.

    What the opponent is doing is important (see tbryan above). WHEN the opponent is doing it is also important, relative to the fencer.
     
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  13. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    So much for the dictum "Hit without being hit". It's better to hit "correctly" and be hit also.
     
  14. SolarBoss

    SolarBoss Rookie

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    I know the situations I listed are a bit weird, but they're mostly thought experiments constructed to better my understanding of priority. If I understood correctly, though, Inquartata and TBryan seem to disagree on the call. Inquartata mentioned that "if I attack and hit and then go to close out the opponent's out-of-time cut, I did not in fact ever make an attack. The opponent's counterattack now becomes the attack and the touch will be his," while TBryan stated that "In theory, if you make an attack and hit with the attack, then what you do after the attack doesn't matter." Which ruling is more prevalent currently, and does that apply to ripostes as well, i.e., if a fencer clearly parries and then ripostes and spins for whatever reason?
     
  15. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    TByan's understanding was mine also, for the 30+ years I have been fencing. I mean, if you cross your feet after you hit ( sabre ), fall down after you hit, leave the strip after you hit, no one says that that invalidates the hit. ( unless clearly you couldn't have performed the action without doing one of these things ). The hit ought to cause a halt, after which only safety violations and such should be able to be penalized. Why should trying to find the opponent's blade after you hit or doing an esquive after you hit invalidate the hit?

    But this is what I've been told happens. By one official.
     
  16. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    The written word is a terriable substitute for describing what actually happens in a bout. Both TBrian and Inquartata are making verble statements that have elements of fact, but are still just words. Obviously, a halt occurs on the hit, but if I hit an opponent and then continue to move forward and knock them down, obviously what "happened after the hit" is relevent. On the other hand, if I make a hit, and then turn to make a victory shout, perhaps what happens after the touch is not relevant.

    Rather than chase will-o-whisps down rabbit holes, watch video and see what's actually being called. There is so much video out there, you should be able to find the action you're trying to describe and see how it was called in that bout. You may very well see a hit and an immediate parry called an attack, or called a counter-attack, even in the same bout. What was the opponent doing when the hit occured?

    I'll be a bit nit picky here and state that TBryan and Inquartata aren't disagreeing on a call, they are discussing a hypothecal situation that neither one is actually currently observing and they are coming from the persepcted of two different weapons (foil vs saber) in which the interpetation of the rules are slightly different. I'll also point out that Inquartata is relaying not his own opinion, but the opinion of a referee who may or may not have been describing the same action you are discusssing, and further states that Inquartata--himself--has never actually seen this called in a bout.

    Finally, in your post, I'll point out again (as TBryan has also pointed out in his reply) you're discussing what one fencer is doing, not what BOTH fencers are doing. The context of what both fencers are doing and when they are doing it is vitally important in calling the action. You seem to be looking for a rule like in poker, where one hand always beats another hand. Fencing isn't like that.
     
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  17. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    Excellent point.
     
  18. Privateer

    Privateer Podium

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    in my experience, hitting with right of way and then closing out a counter will not get you the touch as an 'attack.'

    have courage, finish the attack with confidence. if you have priority you don't need to close out their counter.
     
  19. tbryan

    tbryan Podium

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    Not really. The gist of my reply is more like, "In practice, the context and execution of your action, including what you do immediately after the hit, are all part of what the referee uses to determine whether your action was an attack." If it's a tight call (e.g., very close to simultaneous attacks), then attempting to parry after your hit will certainly introduce ambiguity and make it more likely that your action will be seen as a counterattack.



    You phrased the question like this, "If I have right of way, make an attack...and then block out after the attack, do I lose right of way?"

    In theory, if we know that fencer A made the initial attack and hit, then we're done. We don't really care what happens afterward.
    In practice, that rarely happens. Two fencers do things. Two lights are on the box, and the referee has to figure out what happened.

    I'd suggest that you try thinking of it from the referee's perspective instead. "Given when and what both fencers are doing, how does a fencer show that his action is the attack?" Or, closer to your question, "What factors will introduce ambiguity and make a fencer's action look less like an attack?"
     
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  20. keropie

    keropie Podium

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    So, yes, it's potentially complicated. Some things that I think are relevant to this question:

    If it looks like a counterattack to the referee, they'll probably call it that way.
    If it looks like you're trying to have your cake and eat it too (i.e., a two for one action), the referee shouldn't give you any benefit of the doubt.
    Officiating is, at many levels, pattern recognition; if you do something that doesn't trigger the patter recognition for 'attack,' and especially if it triggers pattern recognition for 'counterattack,' you shouldn't be surprised when that's the call.
    The definitions of attack and counterattack, and certainly the interpretations of, are ambiguous enough that 'what it looks like' absolutely matters.

    So, if it's clearly your attack, you clearly land the attack, and then, after some inestimable fraction of a second, you then parry what's clearly their attack, I'm fine calling it your attack.

    However, in practice there's little to no separation in the 'attack' and the 'parry,' which makes it feel like a counterattack from the referee's point of view. So it will often get called that way.

    ESPECIALLY on 'simultaneous' actions, you should expect that to be the call (i.e., if you hadn't tried to close it, it would be simultaneous; once you did, it's their attack, your counterattack, you better hope there's one light).

    Essentially, tbryan is right on the money in my experience. The interpretation isn't especially supported by the rules, but the flexibility in determining what's the attack vs. counterattack leaves plenty of leeway that the interpretation isn't really subject to review.

    To add: the more it 'looks like a counterattack,' the more likely you are to be penalized. If you make a riposte that closes out a line, you might be ok. If you spin with your riposte, it would be rare that your action would be called a riposte.
     
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