Renewed Fencing Attacks Classified3 min read
Renewed attacks in fencing provide a way to maintain pressure on an opponent, pick up distance on the strip, exploit errors in the opponent’s game, and counterattack his or her responses after a parry. There are three such classification of renewed attacks, each of which has specific tactical attributes. The three actions, remise, redouble, and reprise, are often confused. However, the definitions used below are consistent with the definitions in the rules of fencing as used for at least the last 50 years.
The Remise. A remise is a renewal of the attack in the same line as the original attack with a new thrust or cut. A remise is an intentional new action, not simply a continuation of the original movement after it has been displaced by the parry. An immediate remise may seize the right of way if the opponent delays the riposte (becoming a stop thrust or cut against the riposte) or it may actually stop a riposte that is incorrectly executed. The remise is also an effective option if the opponent’s riposte is routinely inaccurate.
The Redouble. A redouble is a renewal of the attack in a new line with a new thrust or cut. Again the redouble is an intentional new action, although in saber it may be possible to execute a remise cut in a way that it appears to be one smooth attacking action as opposed to a miss and a new action (a cut to the outside of the arm which misses may be converted into a disengage cut to the underside of the arm this way). Redoubles are, I suspect, mostly by disengage, although there is no theoretical reason that a redouble by coupe could not be made. This is a useful option against the opponent who holds or pushes a parry in the closed line.
The Reprise. A reprise is a renewal of an attack after a return to guard when the opponent has not riposted. The footwork may be either a lunge followed by a recovery backward to guard and a second lunge or a lunge followed by a forward recovery and a second lunge. The speed of modern footwork is such that neither of these actions is likely to succeed if done mechanically as individual steps unless you have a solid speed advantage over the opponent.
However, the rearward recovery reprise can be accelerated if the fencer identifies early in the recovery that the opponent is not riposting. At this point the recovery of the front foot hits with the heel and immediately lunges again without planting the full foot. The forward reprise can be also be accelerated with a slide. As the heel of the lunging foot lands the rear foot starts to slide forward, completing the forward recovery as the front foot comes down flat. From this position, a new lunge is immediately launched. This gains distance, accelerates the reprise, increases the pressure on the opponent, and may arrive on target in mid-step.
If your opponents consistently hold a parry and delay the riposte, make errors in the execution of the riposte, or miss with the riposte, a renewed attack offers an effective tool for capitalizing on their errors.