parry numbers

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by mymoon, May 13, 2009.

  1. mymoon

    mymoon Rookie

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    Why are the parries numbered as such. Why is one"one" etc. In other words, why is the parry we do as one the first parry, why was that not 2 , and four "1" for example. I'm not trying to be glib, somebody asked me and I couldn't tell them. Does anyone know?
     
  2. maxruszkowski

    maxruszkowski Rookie

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    If I recall the lesson as my instructor originally gave it, this is how it goes.

    Back in the day, when you happened to actually have your sword at your side, in case you would be challenged for a duel, your "first" move in a bout would be to draw it from the scabbard (prime). Moves 2 through four would consist of rotating the sword to the engarde of the opposing side. Afterward you would super impose the hand (position 5, in foil I believe) as you brought it to the proper en garde side (position 6).

    I'm not sure why positions 7 and 8 are where they are, but that's really the best of my knowledge on this matter, I'd have to ask coach to be sure and I won't be able to do that for another week.
     
  3. deadender

    deadender Made the Cut

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    The numbers of the Parry positions correspond to the degree of pronation or supination of the hand, in the classical Parry system. Parry of priem requires the maximum amount of pronation (hand rotated in the palm down direction), and the classical parry octave is executed with the hand completely in supination (palm of the hand turned up).
     
  4. Jason

    Jason Podium

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    Completely wrong, but wonderfully imaginative.
     
  5. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    Odd, because I've heard this from a number of sources (other than the internet) as the basis for the numbering system of the parries.

    If you know it's wrong, you must know the right answer. Would you like to share it?
     
  6. masker

    masker Made the Cut

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    The only explanation I've ever heard before now was the "unsheathing" thing, specifically with much heavier weapon than a foil or epee. First through Third being designed to make a defence out of the unsheathing motion. Fourth through Eighth to cover to provide to cover the most likely lines of attack / most amount of real estate after that. I've gotten this from multiple sources, but it doesn't mean it's Da Troof. For instance, Fifth's position in the sequence seems somewhat arbitrary to me, though I can come up with an explanation or two.

    The idea that the system was built around degrees of pronation / supination is interesting, but it also seems weak in some respects. Was First really more pronated than Second or Third? Was Eighth more supinated than Second was pronated? :huh:

    Regardless of which theory is right--if either of them is right--I'd strongly suspect much of it is just the legacy of the idiosyncratic preoccupations of a particular school or master, that just happened to survive the meme pool.
     
  7. Superscribe

    Superscribe Rookie

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    I wish olympic fencing had more eastern influences. They get creative with their names. We could have had the parry of stalwart panda and the parry of unforgiving tiger.

    now we have numbers.
     
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  8. theLuz

    theLuz Rookie

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    good point

    I like the way this guy thinks. He's not right:blah:
     
  9. oiuyt

    oiuyt Podium

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    No, he just needs to point out a way in which it doesn't hold.

    Parry five does not come between four and six in degree of pronation.

    -B
     
  10. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    Hmmm...I think you're assuming the same method of measuring hand pronation was used uniformly to name the parries. I don't believe that was the case (what's the pronation for "parry nine" for instance?).

    I think I'll dig into this a little more on my own. I'm curious now....
     
  11. Durando

    Durando Rookie

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    Do what you like Allen, but I am totally busting out with the Stalwart Panda this evening.
     
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  12. Jason

    Jason Podium

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    Pronated positions (specifically, 1-4... probably 5, too... I can't remember) predate the supinated positions.

    Though hand positions initially had romanticized names (Superscribe will have to look them up on his own), they were given numbers in the 16th C. I have heard this numbering attributed to Agrippa--which seems reasonable considering he was a mathematician. This positions, it should be noted, were not parries--they were being applied to rapier and were used as initial positions from which to attack.

    Later the notion of numbered hand positions was carried over to the small sword and adopted to a parrying system.

    I don't remember when the supinated positions were added, but their numbering simply followed from where the exiting system left off.

    It should also be noted that the classical French and Italian numbering systems are different. A point that, in itself, demonstrates the falseness of the "numbering by supination" argument.
     
  13. oiuyt

    oiuyt Podium

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    No, that just indicates that they can't BOTH be numbered by supination. One or the other school could still be.

    Given that most of the US only uses the French numbering system, it can't be reasonably assumed by default that it is the system being referenced. The fact that the Italians have a system numbered based upon a different schema (or the Spanish, for that matter), doesn't invalidate points about where the French numbers came from.

    Pointing out that the French numbers didn't come from the referenced scheme IS a valid argument.

    -B
     
  14. Jason

    Jason Podium

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    Excellent points. Have you considered shutting the hell up? ;)
     
  15. prototoast

    prototoast Podium

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    What if they both are, but one is in ascending order and the other is in descending order?
     
  16. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    ...or one uses a Fibonacci number sequence?
     
  17. Jason

    Jason Podium

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    I understand that combining the two number systems creates a code that, if solved, would reveal the true name of God.
     
  18. Fencergrl

    Fencergrl Rookie

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    Perhaps it's "Stalwart Panda"?
     
  19. maxruszkowski

    maxruszkowski Rookie

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    Someone has been reading a bit too much Jacqueline Carey....
     
  20. Jason

    Jason Podium

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    No idea who that is.
    You can be sure that my joke has much older roots.
     

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