Quadrants of Control


 Quadrants of Control

The following diagram represents the "quadrants of control" which are imaginary zones in front of you.








The Parries

 The following are the suppinated parries (palm up):

  • Six (aka sixte)
  • Four (aka quarte)
  • Eight(aka octave)
  • Seven (aka septieme)

 Note which quadrant each falls within (blue numbers)

Each of the suppinated parries has a counterpart pronated parry, The pronated parries (palm usually down) are: 

  • Three (aka tierce)
  • Five (aka quinte)
  • Two (aka seconde)
  • One (aka prime)
  • "Nine" (what I call "modified sabre quinte"-- similar to the quinte of sabre, but with the palm of the hand pointing down at the floor, rather than out toward the opponent)

Note which quadrant each falls within (green numbers)


Parries and Quadrants of Control 

When you parry or oppose an opponent's blade in any quadrant, you block them in the quadrant where you find them, and you prevent them from passing directly to the adjacent quadrant on the same level (e.g., if the contact is in 4, the opponent can't move right into the other upper quadrant; your blade's blocking it. In essence, you "close" two of the four quadrants. So once you have contact with their blade you know by feel alone--


  • Where their blade is
  • How far away they are, based on the contact point where their blade touches yours
  • What kind of footwork (e.g., a half-lunge, a single step, etc.) you'll need to hit them
  • Where they have to go to hit you
    • If the contact's in a high quadrant, they must drop to the low quadrant just below the contact quadrant
    • If the contact's in a low quadrant, they must move up into the high quadrant just above the contact quadrant
  • And you know if they're moving toward you, if they're moving away from you, or if they're stationary based on whether you feel their blade sliding toward you, sliding away from you, or not sliding at all


In other words, you never have to guess where they'll be after they "drop out" of contact with your blade.


"Hand Flips"

 What are "hand flips"? Hand flips--by my definition--are simply fencing moves involving a quick turning of the hand so that your weapon's position relative to your opponent's is changed. Hand flips can involve:

  • Moving from suppinated (blue numbered) to pronated (green numbered) positions in the same quadrant or vice versa

    For instance, if an opponent takes your blade in sixte, you can respond by flipping to tierce and pulling your elbow back; or if an opponent takes your blade in octave, you can respond by flipping to seconde and pulling your elbow back. In both cases, the hand flip effectively changes the leverage in your favor so that you steal control of the blade action and glide to target.
  • OR

  • Quarter to Three-Quarter turns from either a suppinated or pronated starting position.

    For instance, from the four position (thumb at 2:30 or 3 O'clock), quickly flip (turn) the wrist so that the thumb is at 10:30 and you'll "automagically" either have a "five" bind with glide (if they maintain contact) or a coupé shot if they "drop out" of contact with your blade.

When you do a hand flip "at the last possible moment " so that your opponent has very little time to react and if the distance is not too close, you'll either perpetrate "automagically" a bind (if your opponent resists your blade) or you'll position your point in a commanding position to hit his forearm, upper arm or shoulder (you'll probably own his Alley) if he falls out of contact with your blade.

Thinking in terms of hand flips eliminates the need to worry specifically about the mechanics of binding an opponent. Instead, if you think in terms of hand flips, you'll either have a bind, or it won't matter--you'll be able to score upon the opponent with a quick straight thrust or coupé.

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Last Updated:

Sunday, January 20, 2008