How to use circular parries with heavier swords (or Foil Fencing technique used with Military Sabre)

How to use circular parries with heavier swords (or Foil Fencing technique used with Military Sabre)



hey folks mattiece and his colleague Larry Tora and Pedro San Miguel also scholar gladiatorial so Pedro runs a foil class and Victorian foil class on Thursday nights isn't it in in London and as I've mentioned in a previous video we do do a bit of foil but rather kind of 19th century and earlier foil and small sword in scala now as as a separate class but also as a kind of adjunct d'azyr as an appendix also to the saber as well in to improve our repertoire somewhat and what I want to just have a little look at today is the subject of a circular parry now the first thing I'll mention is we use in modern usage certainly on the Internet these days and on forums and things like that and YouTube people refer to a parry there's any kind of defensive action in the 19th century it's sometimes that sometimes a parry means any defensive action but in a lot of early texts a parry specifically means a circular parry sometimes known as a parade or pirard and sometimes they use a cup Arry or let's say a defense against the cut they'll call a guard and the defense against the thrust they'll call the parry so it gets a bit confusing in different sources that's really just a note for any of you who are reading historical treatises sometimes some treatises make a distinction between a guard and a parry and that's what they mean other sources just say a parry for everything or a guard for everything right so what I want to look at today is the circular parry now many or certainly several military saber texts from the 19th century say that that was the foil does the circular Perry or parade that the saber can't do it because the sabers bigger and heavier now we kind of we had a brief chat about whether that's true or not I think we both agree that physically you can do a circular parry with a saber and there are some techniques in some treatises perhaps more as we go into the later Italian so-called dueling Sabre stuff maybe you see it a bit more but there are some techniques where you see something akin to a circular parry but it is generally true that we see circular parries less in Sabre treatises than we do in foil treatises and the basic rule is the basic reason rather is that it's quite a fiddly movement that's more easily done isn't it with with a lighter weapon okay so first up we're going to look at what is a circular parry and what does it actually look like okay well before we show it with us both doing it to explain simply if you're crossed against someone else's blade so their blade is to the outside of yours if they want to thrust you they have to come onto the inside of here and what we're gonna do to block that is rather than just moving the sword across to block it we're going to move in a circular manner like this under and around to lock them back to the outside so let's have a little look at how that works right okay so we're a little bit closer so that we can both get on camera shot without standing up the field over there so you can still hear us we're a little bit closer than window ideally want to be but we're really looking at the motion of the blade here and what a circular pareil pirard actually is okay so you'll notice that I'm locked on the outside of pedro's blade he's locked on the outside of mine so if I just extend my sword okay theoretically he's already in contact with my blade and he's already got me locked to the outside if I want to thrust him in the chest and then one common way of doing it not the only way but one common way of doing it is for me to move my sword if Pedro doesn't move for now if I move my sword in a circular underneath motion to here okay and at the same time move my hand to the outside there so what I'm essentially doing is I'm doing a disengages it's called a circular disengage underneath his blade locking it to my inside line and then from there I would extend and thrust into him normally I would lunge as well but as explained we're very close here so I'm not going to put the lunging because we're already in kind of poking distance as it were okay right so lock to the outside here I would disengage close the line thrust okay now one way of him preventing himself from getting thrust is to do a circular parry so let's have a look at that as I move around in a circle he follows my blade around and I'm locked back to the outside again okay so let's look at that there so I go round circular he goes circular lock me out I extend the sword but I'm locked to the outside let's look at that from a different angle so I'll go with my back to you hedge row goes over there right lock to the outside I move underneath in the circle he comes around and follows me locked me up again if I go really quickly and start to extend if he's too slow if he's too late he might still catch a point in the face okay so it's important that he keeps his filleted as close to mine as possible and notice he's put the strong of his blade which is the base of the blade against the weak of mine basically verage the weak but most of you will know this anyway but the week is called that because it's the end of the blade where you've got the greatest leverage against it the strong is called that because that's the bit you can parry most strongly with okay so once so here we go again I'm gonna move circular disengage as quickly as possible underneath and Pedro is going to lock me out as quickly as possible good so he as you can see he goes around at the same speed that I do and locked me out the outside now could that work with other weapons well very clearly it could work with any thrust centric weapon in theory couldn't it so you can do that with a spear you could do that with a part design you could it with a bayonet can you do it with a favor well shall we have a look let's try and do the same thing with the sabers but there's one important difference you'll notice we started off in this guard which is known as sicked okay or sick which means that the thumb is up the hand is in supination okay and it's much like cut so this would be cut that is sick I'm not in that which would be terse okay now normally if just grab if I just grabbed a saber normally with the saber if I'm standing with the swords to my outside line I would be in terse okay I wouldn't normally be in sick-sick isn't very good with the say but it doesn't resist cuts very well and it means that the guard is pointing in the wrong direction and if it's a curved blade the blade messes things up as well so usually if I was locked to the outside I'd be in tests so let's have a look with sabers if this circular parry works in terse so we both got sabers now so we're going to engage in terse I'm going to do a circular disengage switching to cart to bring the handle line to give point so what Pedro will be seeing if you were my opponent here is I will move under the blade to the other side switch to cart and extend with the point online he's gonna track me round and try and do a circular pairing okay so as you can see it works just the same it works exactly same let's have a look at it from a different angle Pedro if you just go over there more quickly now good now you'll also notice because I switched my hand to cart Pedro has locked me out in Terce it also means I've created a bigger opening here as well so having locked me out if Pedro now either cut or extends just with a direct thrust in in preme and Cutler point one essentially okay it's actually really really bad for me because I've come around to here switched to cart because I expected to engage his blade and I've now given a void opening here for thrust into to defend that I'd have to turn back to terse again okay could I defend his thrust with a circular parry well let's have a look so if I circular disengaged switch into part he locked me out and starts to extend that I can now do a circular parry myself in cut and that's a very important part to note is that a circular parry can be done basically in any guard it could be done in terse it could be done in sick it could be Dunnan cut it could be done in high secand so let's have a look at that again in slow motion to begin with so I disengaged switching to cart he circular Paris extends his point I move my blade around quickly getting my strong to his weak parrying cart I could from there extend my point at him again okay so it can become an endless loop so actually circular Paris can be done in many different positions and they can be done with Sabres but we do nevertheless both agree it is harder with Sabres yeah it's essentially it's to do with inertia okay I don't know it might be the non-english language source maybe Italian Spanish French I don't know it may be that a there is a treatise out there explaining this but I've never seen it written myself but to my way of thinking the reason that you can do such quick circular parades or parries with the foil or the epee all the small sword is because it's so light at the tip you can move it really super quickly with the with the saber you've got a lot more inertia at the tip because it's a weapon that needs inertia at the hit in order to give hits with so therefore it becomes whichever guard you're in it becomes relatively much slower to do those actions with the tip but you can do them and I think you should do them and anybody out there who's doing back sword or saber I think you absolutely should practice these foil circular Paris because if you can mix them into your Sabre play particularly if you're using lightsabers not humming glowing lightsabers but italian-style lightsabers don't shake their focus if you're using lighter sabers then these more foil like actions or small sword like actions are gonna become more useful to you but even with heavy sabers so actual military weight sabers like these eight nine hundred grams you can still do it and if you can mix it into your repertoire and build up the forearm strength to be able to do it with a heavier weapon then why not do it but I think you should learn it with foil and it's another good illustration of why it is a good training aid for people doing Sabre and I would argue back sword as well to pick up a small sword or foil and train with them of it because there are techniques and there are actions which you can practice with these which are not so easily trained with the Sabre or the backs of itself I hope that's been useful and interesting to you buy from me buy from Pedro and that we'll see you soon cheers folks thanks for watching please subscribe we've got extra videos on patreon t-shirts on Spreadshirt and I hope to see you for the next video

35 Replies to “How to use circular parries with heavier swords (or Foil Fencing technique used with Military Sabre)”

  1. Great video. I would like to see more instructional videos of this type.

    Talking about swords and weapons is cool but the real magic is in being able to use them.
    https://youtu.be/Sg1HdHKtk7g

  2. You can also make quite effective use circular parries in Rapier, I would say it depends more on the balance of the weapon than the weight.

  3. That's very interesting. With rapier, sometimes you would want to do the opposite—disengage to place your blade on the outside of your opponent's, and from there thrust to the face/chest/throat in the typical downward angle. I assume the difference is the lack of a proper reliable crossguard with smallsword/foil.

  4. Anybody knows which sword Pedro uses (the foil or smallsword looking one) and where to order it? Thanks!

  5. Is there any reason why you would do this rather than just parry the thrust on the inside and then riposte? The inside parry seems safer and easier to me but I know very little about foil fencing.

    Great video by the way and hi Pedro!

  6. I started to study and compete in sport fencing when I was in university twenty years ago, coming from a Japanese Iaido background. When using foil I found I could use a circular parry offensively to disarm my opponent. Essentially, as I closed with my opponent and he extended his weapon to test my blade, I executed a sudden circular parry, binding the blades, and finished with a hard snap that beat my opponents weapon down and out of their grip, after which I was able to easily strike them. I succeeded in doing this to most of the members of my club, but after I disarmed my instructor he informed me it was not permitted in sport fencing (which made no sense to me at all). I am cannot believe this technique was not taught and used prior to the advent of sport fencing. Can you speak to this and any similar disarms? Also, I am curious if this would be possible heavier two-handed weapons: I assume so, but presumably it would be considerably more difficult.

  7. Man, I've been watching tons of these videos from all kinds of sources about HEMA and the like, but I have no idea how to swordfight myself. I know a little about how it was done from watching dozens of hours of this stuff, but It would be nice to find some step by step tutorials on how to swordfight. Not just the fancy stuff like how to perform a Zornhau, but also the simpler stuff. Like how to move and how to parry and such.

  8. I may be able to pull that off with a broadsword, particularly a well tapered mortuary. Would be much slower, but possibly easier than the saber.

  9. I believe that the reason thee circular parry is not mentioned in the treatises, is because they state they're not for beginners. Being that thee circular parry is a great training tool to get people use to using the tangent line.

  10. I'm not too big on modern fencing. Is a circular parry basically just durchwechseln vs. someone who durchwechselt you?

  11. Just something not in the video for epee and foil (maybe any small sword) use the fingers to go around the guard to make smaller parries, "working small" is essential to not telegraphing movements and to make faster disengages for circle 4s and circle 6s parries.

  12. Wait, "parade" means parry in victorian treatises? Maybe you could do a video on historical fencing terminology that is now archaic? (it also took me some time to work out that "divide" means cut and "shiver" means broken, for example)

  13. Great video! That Pedro guy is very handsome. More Star wars puns please, along with Pedro's reaction 😊

  14. Hey Matt, what’s your opinion regarding this type of circular parry in an Italian rapier setting a la Fabris? It’s still a heavy sword, but very nimble in the point.

  15. Thanks for the video. Given what I understand of the sabres capabilities, I'd be tempted to apply your circular parry, but just a bit differently. Try using it at longer range (I know you were trying to catch this in camera and that put you closer than you wanted to be, but maybe even further back than that, basically as soon as it's possible) and instead of coming out of it in a thrust, think about coming out of it with a cut to the weapon arm or perhaps the lead leg if it's in range. If that goes well you can follow on as you will, if it fails you might still skip back out of range in time to recover. Cheers!

  16. Roworth states that this works with a spadroon, but advises against doing so with sabres. Karl Temlich, in his 1781 work Gründliche Abhandlung der Fechtkunst auf den Stoß und Hieb (Detailed Treatise of the Art of Fencing on the Thrust and Cut) mentions something similar to a round parade that can be used with a sabre or pallasch. This technique is accomplished with an under disengage, and happens after one has already cut at the adversary in order to parry his subsequent riposte while simultaneously retiring in order to maintain proper measure. "When one has hit in- or outside at the enemy with quart or terz, and [the adversary] ripostes, one can thus parry his return in the retirade by disengaging under, and riposte again." (K.Temlich, 1781, p. 132)

  17. In my interpretation of 1:33 you get a circular parry in the bind. If the opponent is pushing into the bind it says to become weak and fall below with your blade using their force to assist in regaining the line. Of coarse I'm paraphrasing. Since you practised Wing Chun, I'll use the analogy of going from Lap Sao under and up to Tan Sao while playing "Sticky hands".

  18. Doing the whole thing without mask made me an nervous, especially your fast movenment to demostrate the importance of speed. :>

  19. I own a 1898 Wilkinson saber that is extremely straight and thin, so using traditional slashing parries looks a little unnatural, while this move comes to mind

  20. Are these kinds of motions more appropriate because of the developed guards? I don’t know much about this, but would you be able to do something similar with, say, a longsowrd that’s a bit on the wide end? What is the limit where the techniques lose effectiveness due to the safety risks posed by the weapon itself?

  21. I use circular parries all the time in (historical) sabre and singlestick — not just in drills but also in free-play — so it’s really odd to hear people saying it can’t be done. And of course it’s one of the most important techniques for the very light modern electric sabre.

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