The Sabre Codex 5.4: Forward Parries

Previously on Competitive, we looked at how you could position your blade such that you could efficiently cover multiple potential attack arcs for theparry riposte. The crux of the class was to observe where your opponent would launch attacks from, aka their attack ‘origin’, and how their attack arcs would radiate from that origin. Once you had a mental image of where all these arcs were, you could place your blade during the ‘check’ part of the check parry-riposte to cut across these arcs and be in an optimal position to parry.

The success of this tactic depends on a couple of assumptions. One is that the opponent is making a direct attack. The second is that they don’t recognise what you are doing and keep the same origin. Some of you may have discovered that this works great at the beginning of a bout and/or against unsophisticated opponents, but smart opponents quickly switch to feint attacks and change where they launch their attacks from.

It is in these situations that fortune favours the brave. You see, feint attacks and origin changes depend on you giving your opponent enough time to execute those moves, which typically occurs because you stop and retreat as part of the parry riposte. But you don’t have to do that if you parry while going forwards.


Forward parries are incredibly risky because they give you virtually no time to adjust if you pick the wrong position for the parry. The flip side is that they also give your opponent no time to evade your blade. You have an edge though. You know their attack arcs and you can predict how to cut across them. And should your opponent run away, you are in a great position to give chase. This contrasts with the opposition arcs which we covered back in week 2.

This week, we will cover the application of forward parries in the 4m box. We will start by revising the work we did last week on parry ripostes while moving backwards, then go over the modifications to convert these into forward parries. In particular, we will spend some time on how to do ‘soft checks’ which put your blade in the position to forward parry while also being convertible into attacks should your opponent decide to do a feint attack after all. Then we finish with the backup plan: doing ‘soft parries’ which you can convert into guard positions for the March if your opponent flees the 4m box.