For some of you, our last practice introduced you to an offensive maneuver called a flèche. For the rest of you, this is a refresher. This is term originating from French (like many terms used in the sport of fencing), meaning “arrow,” referring to the surprising style of the attack. Here’s how the United States Fencing Coaches Association (USFCA) defines a flèche:
Attacking footwork formed by either leaping or running forward, with the rear foot crossing past the front foot
Wikipedia also has a good working definition with photos to help illustrate the execution of the attack. The flèche involves speed and an element of surprise. The flèche is absolutely not a charge down the piste at an opponent at distance. The flèche utilizes timing, not distance, so the distance shouldn’t be greater than an advance-lunge.
The flèche is only used in foil and épée. In sabre, it is forbidden for the back foot to pass in front of the front foot, outlawing the flèche.
Just in case the definition isn’t enough, at the tail end of the video below is an example of a flèche in slow motion. Enjoy!