Retreat when distance parry

Discussion in 'Rules and Referee Questions' started by CaptPirate, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. CaptPirate

    CaptPirate Rookie

    Feb 21, 2017
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    Hi everyone, I did a quick search and didn't find one. I am posting it here and will keep browsing. Feel free to remove this if there is duplicated entry.

    I fence Sabre. I have a relatively fast retreat and sometime the momentum is huge that carries me back more than one step after making opponent falls short. Quite some people from the club saying that the convention is that after making opponent falls short, it's okay to retreat one more step due to momentum. But if it's more than one steps, it's considered as losing ROW. When I watch international competition, that doesn't seem obvious to me.

    Can someone please help me understand this?
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  2. keropie

    keropie Podium

    Sep 10, 2005
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    TL;DR version: possibly, yes, if you retreat/pause too much/too long after an attack has ended, your opponent may be able to reprise/redouble and regain ROW before you begin your attack/riposte.

    OK... so some concepts:
    1) There's no such thing (for a referee) as a 'distance parry.' After you make someone fall short, you can't actually riposte, you just make your own attack.
    2) When someone's attack fails (whether due to parry, poor execution, or you retreating out of space and they fall short, or whatever), you have a 'moment' in which you can make your action. The duration of that moment is a matter of convention, perspective, what the two fencers do, and the officials opinion.
    3) When your opponent falls short, you don't have ROW; in fact, when you parry, you don't have ROW. When you begin your attack (or riposte, in the case of the parry), you ~gain~ ROW (ROW really only exists when two actions hit in the same phrase, but whatever, it's a useful concept to talk about having ROW even on one light actions). So if you wait/pause long enough for your opponent to reprise, you didn't ~lose~ ROW, you never had it. If you begin to make an attack, but then search/stop/whatever, you can say you lost ROW.

    Keeping those in mind, generally speaking if you are retreating and your opponent falls short, if you complete the retreat you're making and immediately start your attack (compound or simple), a simple remise/redoublement by your opponent should not be awarded as a touch.

    If your opponent falls short, you take a couple of steps back, and while you're still stepping back your opponent begins a new action, if may well be his/her reprise/redoublement. In my experience, this is more likely to be called if after the attack they are able to maintain balance, stop, and begin again before you 'turn the corner' (due to you taking multiple steps back after the attack has failed). If they simply continue without any break, it requires a bigger mistake and your part (more steps, waiting, searching, whatever) for the reprise to be awarded the touch (in the first case, your opponent has waited, seen your mistake, and is acting into it; in the second, they are just reprising/redoubling without seeing or attempting to capitalize on the mistake, so it's less likely to be called their way).

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