Flick Defense



I don't like to teach flicks. To me they're wide, crude, time consuming, energy wasting coupés. On the other hand, a good coupé, done correctly, takes little effort and can be quite stealthy when combined with other moves (e.g., bind, opposition, glides, small beats, etc.).

Nonetheless, fast flicks can be deadly; coping with them hard. Keep the following in mind when you're fencing a flicker:

  • If you manage to parry the flick, be prepared to infight immediately.
  • If you "float" with the flick attack, you may have more time to set up a defense, but you may also find it hard to avoid a change in line by the attacker.
  • A modified sabre quinte parry (aka "parry nine") works against the flick. Take the parry with the blade with hand pronated, position the blade high at 90 degrees to the axis of your body, "duck under it" (flex your knees so you drop low), and thrust your point quickly to your opponent's flank.
  • Taken quickly in-time, a wide quarte or sixte beat parry also works.
  • A "parry 10" works against a shoulder flick. To get this parry you lift your hand in pronated fashion (like "modified sabre quinte") and tuck the blade over your sword arm shoulder and behind your head so that it prevents the shoulder hit. If you've taken it correctly, the blade runs diagonally from a point about eight or nine inches above and slightly forward of the shoulder to just behind your head. When you ward the hit with this parry, you now can curl the blade around your head for the infight.
  • Against a flank flick, parry tierce or a parry seconde works, depending upon whether the flick threatens to strike above or below your sword arm.
  • Taken in-time, a stop hit attack can work (see below--the paragraph starting " One other thing . . .")
  • When the flicker starts to move his hand upward (the flycast hand movement), step in quickly so you're under his or her point. This screws up their distance so they overshoot their target. Then use an appropriate parry/ripost; but be prepared to infight.
  • Most flickers like to attack. If you attack them instead, it may throw off their game

One other thing, according to some of the national directors I talked to at the Cleveland North American Cup Open (Apr. 7-9, 2000), they were/are giving the flick right-of-way when it begins its forward trajectory toward target. What this means is that you can tempo into the flick with right-of-way as long as the flicker is in the process of "cocking" (moving his or her weapon arm back [the point is moving away from target]). Once the trajectory of the point starts forward (regardless of whether it´s actually pointing away from target at the time) right-of-way belongs to the flicker. So adjust your flick counter-offense accordingly.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008