S is for Stop-thrust
Okay. I know the image is gross but this is one of the coolest moves in fencing. Of course if you’ve been reading along this month you know that I think there are a lot of cool moves in fencing. Still, the stop-thrust is a great move. As your opponent advances in attack you evade back (by quickly drawing your forward foot back, straightening both legs and leaning forward as you extend your sword arm towards your opponent’s head. You attack into his attack. If you strike before he fully extends you should be able to score.
The stop-thrust can be to the wrist or arm (it’s closer to your sword point) but a good stop-thrust to the face (of course you are wearing a mast) makes your opponent think twice about attacking again. Psychologically brutal and satisfying.
This brings me to another fencing term, the straight attack. Straight or simple attacks are the best attacks in fencing. Complex moves with flashy flips and somersaults are great for entertainment, but are not realistic. In competition straight attacks or simple compound (a deceive or a parry-riposte) attacks are the soup-de-jour. Speed and cunning make split second moves the most successful.
Stop-thrusts are straight counter-attacks designed to stop your opponent… cold.