Fencing Glossary (humor)

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Abstain: French for “so sorry, I wasn’t paying attention.”

Advance: Forward motion made by male fencers toward female fencers, usually resulting in a three-yard penalty, a red card, and a slap across the face.

Alléz: Place to go for a cigarette in the middle of a tournament

Attack in Preparation: When you sneak up and hit your opponent while they’re still putting on their uniform.

Ballestra: Male ballerina.

Barrage: Shelling your opponent with cannon fire from several miles away.

Beat attack: Counting ‘a-one, a-two, a-1,2,3,4’ before hitting your opponent

Change of Engagement: Selecting a new fiancee.

Corps-a-corpse: Sin of the Fleche. French for “full contact fencing.”

Coupe: Little foreign car fencers often drive.

Croise: A French pastry.

Derobement: The Houdini-like motions required by fencers to escape their straightjacket-like fencing uniforms.

Disengage: Getting rid of your fiancee, usually by fencing too much.

Dry Fencing: Fencing without alcohol

En Garde: French for “On Guard,” a paranoid state in which the fencer believes everyone is out to get him.

Engagement: What your fiancée breaks when they realize all you care about is fencing

Envelopment: What fencing does to people who just want to “try it once”

Feeble: What old fencers eventually become.

Feint: What a fencer does after they get their credit card bill from a tournament weekend

Fencing Time: Usually lost in equipment down time, tournament waiting time, etc.

FIE: A curse given in Old English.

Fleche: Is all bruised after a few bouts.

Foible: The mistake you make that lets your opponent get a hit.

Foil: What you are trying to do to your opponent

Forte: The cost of a new blade

French Grip: The fencers secret handshake

Guard: What you have to do at tournaments so your teammates don’t “borrow” all your food.

Lamé: Fencers term for a non-fencer

Off-piste: How you feel when your expensive equipment starts failing

One-Two: Basic fencing dance step. Followed by “Cha-Cha-Cha.”

Overlay: What the fourth person in the back of the Fiesta has to do

Passé: All those other sports you tried before fencing

Phrase: When fencers manage to string words together rather than grunting monosyllabically

Piste: How to end a tournament. Or start it, in some cases

Pistol Grip: What you want to grab when you loose a 14-14 D.E. on a questionable call

Plaqué: What you get between your teeth if you don’t brush

Pommel: Beating your opponent senseless with the hilt of your weapon, for sabre fencers only.

Principle of Defense: De grass is always greener on de other side

Quarte: A measure of liquid (i.e.: A quarte of milk. Or indeed a quarton of milk)

Quinte: No such word as…

Redoublement: Pause during the bout for the fencer to take another breath mint

Replacement: What you have to buy quickly at the Paul stand when your last body wire fails.

Right-of-way: That driving law you may need to ignore to get to a tournament on time

Score: What fencers try to do in the Venue after they’ve lost a match.

Second Intention: What you need to come up with when your attack fails miserably

Steam fencing: Fencing in a sauna

Stop-hit: Look left, look right, listen, look right again and then hit

Taking the blade: To steal someone else’s weapon

Tempo: Usually moderato, but faster on the rocky bits and the middle eight.

Touche: A famous cartoon turtle

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