Talk:Parry (fencing)

Add topic
Active discussions


I have removed the specific reference to foil in the Classification. For the most part, the French classification is universal. The exception is quinte, which sabreurs do in a radically different way to foilists and epeeists. This is mentioned in the corresponding part of the text. sabreurs don't tend to use pronated parries (apart from quarte), because they don't work against sabre attacks. Consequently, we don't tend to count sixte, septime and octave as "sabre parries". That, however, doesn't alter the fundamental nature of the classification. Cat-o-nine-meows 18 January 09:40 (UTC)

I'm replacing "Right of Way" in this section with "Priority". The word is more accurate, and it won't change the meaning of the section. Kd5mdk 8 July 2005 23:25 (UTC)

Is it really called "priority"? Nobody I fenced with used that term, but then I haven't fenced in four or five years. Isomorphic 9 July 2005 00:45 (UTC)
In short, it is in the rulebook. (I don't speak French, so I can only use the USFA and BFA translations) I have to go to work, but I'll explain my more theoretical reason for liking it later. Kd5mdk 9 July 2005 16:30 (UTC)
Ok. The reason Right of War isn't the best term is that it gives the impression that the person with priority will get the touch. This is usually correct. However, the fencer with priority can still lose the touch through a number of ways, such as a stop hit in tempo, a simultainious action in which they miss, or a parry. Note that in driving, Right of Way cannot be taken away from you by another driver, regardless of what you do. Therefore, I think it represents things better to call it priority, and reflects the rulebook as well. Kd5mdk 21:42, 9 July 2005 (UTC)

A better definition for the word Parry?

Something like,

In fencing, a devensive movement which results in the blocking or turning aside of an offensive action by ones opponent.

BlindEagle42 00:37, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignmentEdit

  This article was the subject of a Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment, between 22 February 2019 and 29 April 2019. Further details are available on the course page. Student editor(s): Dswitala.

Above undated message substituted from assignment by PrimeBOT (talk) 06:09, 17 January 2022 (UTC)


I think that little diagrams would be helpful. If anyone has any free time... (talk) 09:13, 11 February 2012 (UTC)

Origin of parryEdit

Moving this unsourced statement here that was added recently. If someone can cite a source, then let's move this back to the article.

It was named for the first known fencer to defeat an opponent with the move alone, a certain Sir Thomas DeParry of the Netherlands.

Twisted86 03:38, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

Like almost every other fencing term, parry probably either came from the Italian (Parare) or French (Parez), which both basically mean to "block."

[Origin: 1665–75; < F parez, impv. of parer to ward off, set off < L parāre to set.]

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

[Probably from French parez, imperative of parer, to defend, from Italian parare, from Latin parāre, to prepare; see perə-1 in Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

BlindEagle42 00:27, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Parry .vs. BlockEdit

Outside of the specialized lingo of fencing, a "parry" is distinct from a "block". A parry redirects or deflects the force of a blow, usually by impact from the side, whilst a block stops the blow completely by interposing an obstacle. This distinction is extremely important in real blade combat because a hard-swung heavy weapon (such as an axe) cannot be blocked with a light weapon (such as a smallsword) but any blow can be parried - some martial arts (shorin-ryu for example) even teach methods for parrying two-handed swords with the unarmored hand. If you try to block a two-handed sword with your unarmored hand, you might slow it down slightly, but you sure won't accomplish the block.

Digrassi (1570) touches upon this point in his chapter on "the means to defend" when he mentions "slipping the blow" and "beating aside the sword", but his main theme is to abjure formulae and act with the means to hand, suiting your defense to the situation in which you are attacked. He does not formally define any distinction.

I have done a (very) small amount of research on the subject, and I cannot find any case where modern collegiate style fencing makes any distinction between blocks and parries. This is to be expected in foil and epee fencing, where all scoring blows are limited to thrusts, but it is somewhat surprising that sabreurs have not preserved some knowledge of the difference.

If a scholar of the fence could determine if fencers have ever distinguished between blocking and parrying, and if so, when they stopped, it would be a valuable addition to this article. Failing that, we should endeavor to keep it clear within this article that a fencing parry can be either redirecting or stopping an enemies' blow.


A parry defends by intercepting the opponents blade while closing the line to which the attack is ultimately directed. (E.g. you might attack me in 4, but if I make a successful 6-6, then the attack is ultimately directed to 6.) Whether this results in a deflection, a block, or a miss depends on the nature of the attack as much as the nature of the parry. The parry is pretty much the same. The current definition ("A parry is a fencing bladework manoeuvre intended to deflect or block an incoming attack.") mentions both deflection and blocking and seems pretty good as such. (talk) 14:31, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Positions or ParriesEdit

The classification is a good start. The problem is that it tries to classify both parries and positions. There should be some note at the start to say that parries are classified according to their final position. E.g. a quarte parry is a parry that ends in the quarte position.

I'd suggest that the the classification be of positions only.

A separate discussion could classify parries according to circular, semicircular, lateral, diagonal. For example it make no sense to say that all octave parries are semicircular; it is the 6-8 that is semicircular. (talk) 14:31, 2 December 2008 (UTC)


Malparry redirects to this page. However, there currently is no mention of this term in the article. Anyone knows what this term means? 08:48, 18 November 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

It is an expression for an attempt to parry that failed to prevent an attack from landing. I don't think that's the right spelling, as it's really a French word. It is sometimes used to describe fencing actions (eg: in refereeing - "Attack from the right. Left Mal parre'. Touch right), This usage is discouraged - either the attack was parried or it wasn't (preferred reconstruction: "Attack from the right lands. Touch right".) Jsavit (talk) 23:50, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Requested move 1 May 2022Edit

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review after discussing it on the closer's talk page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

The result of the move request was: Not moved. (closed by non-admin page mover) -- Vaulter 17:13, 7 May 2022 (UTC)

– The sword move is the clear primary topic by both longterm significance and pageviews. ᴢxᴄᴠʙɴᴍ () 01:25, 1 May 2022 (UTC)

  • Oppose, the other "Parry's" combined have more page views, I'm not convinced there's a clear WP:PRIMARYTOPIC even if this one parry is individually viewed than some of the others individually.--Ortizesp (talk) 03:26, 1 May 2022 (UTC)
    PARRY is distinct per WP:DIFFCAPS, EID Parry is always called EID Parry, so I'm not sure what other "parries" you are seeing that eclipse this one in views, even added together. ᴢxᴄᴠʙɴᴍ () 15:09, 1 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Leaning oppose, as the surname appears to common enough to be notable as a surname, and this usage appears unrelated to the sword move. BD2412 T 19:57, 1 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose, per above. 162 etc. (talk) 21:03, 1 May 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The surname is too common for the sword manoeuvre to be primary topic. -- Necrothesp (talk) 11:00, 5 May 2022 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.