W is for Window Parry
All parries have numbers whether they’re in English, French, Spanish, or Italian. The numbers start low left (1) low right (2), upper right (3), upper left (4), head (5), head (6), middle left (7), middle right (8). Depending on whether you’re fencing or involved in stage combat they numbers may mean slightly different parries and have different positioning. Some parries have cool names too.
If someone strikes at your head the 5 parry, or head protect, is the most natural of parrys. It’s a classic automatic response parry. You raise your hand and your sword creates a line/barrier above your head so you don’t get hit. Now reverse the tip of your blade and your hand positioning (hand goes to the left of your face, palm now facing towards you rather than away from you) and you have a “window” (6 parry) to look out from and a slightly weaker and more awkward parry but an effective one none-the-less. It also sets up a nice back-hand riposte.
Now… take the window (or 6 ) parry and move your hand back to the right, letting the blade “hang” down protecting your right side and back. This is a hanging parry – taken from a cavalry parry (while on horseback). Look for this parry in the fight (link below) from The Count of Monte Cristo. The fight choreographer is the famous William Hobbs. It’s got elements of realism and entertainment – who could ask for more? The movie is pretty good too. Spoiler alert – this is from the ending so if you haven’t seen the movie or don’t know the story… you’ve been warned.
Interesting that the head parry is numbered twice, but I suppose it makes sense.
April 26, 2013 at 9:12 am
They are two different hand positions so… numbered twice. 5 has the hand on the right, 6 on the left and palm reversed.
April 26, 2013 at 9:56 pm
Oooh, I am totally coming back to read through your other A-Z posts! I wish I had time/money to learn more about fencing/sword-fighting… but I shall have to experience it vicariously through my characters for now. 🙂
April 26, 2013 at 2:22 pm
Glad you liked the posts. Ever have any questions I’ll be happy to help.
April 27, 2013 at 8:58 am
I will have to peruse more of your posts! I always wanted to take a fencing class, but never had time/opportunity. I find your posts quite informative, thank you!
April 27, 2013 at 8:41 am