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FRENCH RAPIER AND EARLY-SMALLSWORD GLOSSARY
by Tom Leoni

THE SWORD

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.

Quillons: quillons.

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

Garde: guard.

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.

ACTIONS

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

Temps: tempo.

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.

Mesure: measure.

A mesure: in measure.

Hors de mesure: out of measure.

CUTS

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.

Fendante: fendente.

Last Updated: 28-Oct-11