During last Thursday’s practice we were introduced to the Short Tactical Wheel. There is a Long Tactical Wheel, but we will address that at a later time. The Tactical Wheel defines how to defeat particular actions, beginning with the simple attack. As shown above, the direct attack is defeated by a parry-riposte, which is defeated by a feint-attack, which is defeated by a counterattack, which is defeat by an attack, which is defeated by a parry-riposte, etc. Thus, reducing fencing to little more than a physical game of paper, rock, and scissors.
The tactical wheel provides a good framework for understanding fencing actions but is NOT all there is to know about fencing actions. It gives us a good starting point to help us grasp the beginning concepts of fencing tactics. Here is a brief explanation of each of the points on the Short Tactical Wheel:
Simple Attack: an attack executed as one quick action (is defeated by…)
Parry and Riposte: defending with the blade and/or distance, and then attacking (which is defeated by…)
Compound Attack: an attack executed with multiple “feints” to close distance and draw out the final parry (which is defeated by…)
Counter Attack/Attack on Preparation: a timed Simple Attack into the early, non-threatening phase of the Compound Attack