FRENCH RAPIER AND EARLY-SMALLSWORD GLOSSARY
by Tom Leoni
Epee (also espee): sword.
Taille, estoc: cut, thrust (applied to a sword that can do both).
Garde: applied to the sword, the guard.
Poignee: the handle.
Pommeau: the pommel.
Revers (also branche): the knuckle-bow.
Pas d’anes (also pas d’asnes): the arms of the hilt.
Lame: the blade, generally divided into fort, demi-fort and foible.
Droit fil, faux fil, plat: true edge, false edge, flat of the blade.
Soye: the tang.
Poignart: the dagger.
GUARDS, LINES, OPENINGS
Prime, seconde, tierce, quarte: first, second, third, fourth guards.
Au dedans: inside.
Au dehors (also sur les armes): outside.
Dessus: over, above.
Dessous (also spelled dessoubs): under.
Se camper sur le pied gauche/droit: being in guard with the left/right foot forward.
Botte, coup: blow (attack).
Demi botte: a half-blow (ex. a half-lunge), often in conjunction with feints.
Pousser de tierce/quarte, etc. or tirer de tierce/quarte: to thrust in tierce/quarte, etc. This terminology is associated with the lunge.
Se remettre (en garde): to recover (after a lunge).
Feinte: a feint.
Reprise: a re-lunge.
Passer: to pass.
Volte, volter: a girata, performing a girata.
Serrer la mesure: to gain the measure, to shorten the measure.
Rompre la mesure: to break measure.
Avancer: to advance.
Se retirer (also reculer): to retreat.
Engager (l’epee): to engage the opponent’s sword.
Degager: to perform a cavazione.
Contre-degager: to perform a contracavazione.
Parade, parer: a parry, to parry.
Risposte: a riposte, intended both as a second-tempo and a stesso-tempo action (see Dancie, 1623).
Appel: an action designed to lure the opponent to attack - done in different ways (later becoming standardized as a beat of the front foot).
TEMPO AND MEASURE
Tirer de temps: to fence in tempo, i.e. taking the tempo from the opponent's motions - similar to the Italian classical "uscita di tempo."
Mesme-temps: as defined by Besnard (1653) it is a double hit resulting from both fencers lunging at the same time.
Contre-temps: contratempo, defined as a single-tempo parry-counterattack.
A mesure: in measure.
Hors de mesure: out of measure.
Estramacon: a stramazzone, also understood generically as a cut when performed with rapiers or other point-oriented weapons.
Revers (also renvers): riverso.
Main droite (also maindroict): mandritto.