"Fencing Practice" Home Page | No Fee TYRO Fencing Practice | Start Fencing Tutorials | Foot Work and Tracking | Simple Attack &Exchange Drill. | BLADE WORK with the Sport Sword | Hungarian Method | Foil Fencing | Sabre Fencing | Epee Fencing | Fencing Actions 1 | Fencing Actions 2 | Actions on the Blade, | Counter-Time, Counter-Attack Strategy and Definitions. | History at BERKELEY Prep. Summer PE Credit Course

Counter-Time, Counter-Attack Strategy & Definitions, Coach GerryD's home Fencing Practice salle


CoachGerryD, Fencing Lesson Tampa FL
CoachGerryD, Fencing Lesson Tampa FL


from Understanding Fencing, By Prof. Zbiniew Czajkowski.

All physical exercises, movements, strokes, and actions which are the form and content of various disciplines of sport, display certain traits which are characteristic of conscious, voluntary activity. Such activity occurs most often in the form of sensory motor response  commonly called reaction.                

Simple reaction  is a responsive action: it is a reply in which one knows or foresees a stimulus which is about to occur and for which one prepares an adequate response in a specific way. Take, for example, the sprinter's start. The athlete knows the aim of his movements, he knows how to execute them, and he knows the stimulus. He is waiting for the stimulus: the pistol shot. To this known signal, he responds with a well known, well learned, and often repeated movement the start. Another example of simple reaction: in a sabre lesson, the fencing master commands, "On my opening   change of position from quinte to seconde   you execute direct cut to head." The beginning of the fencing master's movement acts as a signal for the execution of the cut to the head.

Before I go into further discussion on sensory motor responses and their application in fencing, I shall try to present a simplified scheme of the most important processes of reaction.


The structure of reaction consists of:

1. Receiving a known conventional stimulus (signal).

2. Appreciation, or realization, of the stimulus.

3. Execution of the appropriate movements.

We can distinguish three periods of sensory motor response:

1. Preparatory period, which contains:
       a) waiting for the stimulus and 
       b) preparation for an appropriate movement.

2. Latent, or central, period.

3. Executive, or final, period.

The latent period of reaction, lasting from the appearance of the stimulus to the beginning of the action, takes a very short time but it is very important, indeed. It strongly influences the speed and manner of execution of a movement or action. The athlete is still immobile, but very dynamic and important processes are taking place in his brain cortex.

The latent period may be divided into:

1. Sensory part of the latent period of reaction: receiving the stimulus (signal).

2. Associative part of the latent period: realization that  this is the stimulus for action.

3. Motor part of latent period: excitation of the motor area of the cortex and a flow of motor impulses along the nerves to the appropriate muscles.

The executive (or final) period of reaction consists of the time from the beginning of the movement (action) to its completion. It is visible and therefore appears, to a superficial observer, to be the most important phase. It should be understood, however, that the actual movement is prepared by, and depends on, the first and second periods of reaction.

A motor response is a sensory motor skill (motor habit), executed and applied as a reaction to a stimulus. Figure 5.1 on page 91, depicts a simple model of a sensory motor response.

The preparatory period lasts from the signal, "attention" (or situation which causes an increase of attention), to the appearance of the stimulus.

The latent period lasts from the appearance of stimulus to the beginning of movement.

The executory period lasts from the beginning of movement to its completion.

When we say "reaction time," we mean the time of the latent period.

The time of motor response comprises the time of the latent period and the time of the execution of the movement.

Most autorsdistinguish and describe only simple choicie, and differential reaction. In my opinion, however, we must distinguish seven varieties of motor responses: simple reaction, choice reaction, differential reaction, reaction to a moving object, switch over reaction, intuitive reaction, and reaction to a pre signal. All these varieties of motor responses are very important in fencing and other combat sports, as well as in team games. In fencing, they form the basis of various technical tactical capabilities, like control of distance and choice of footwork, recognition of the threatened line, choice between parry and stop hit, choice of the appropriate parry, intuitive choice of an action, and the ability to change one's intention during a foreseen action as a reply to the opponent's unexpected movement, etc. The most important varieties are: simple motor response and choice motor response.

The essence of simple reaction is: a known, foreseen stimulus/a known, foreseen response. For example: in a laboratory, on the appearance of a red light, you must press a button; in a fencing lesson, when the coach announces, "On my step forward (the known, expected stimulus), you execute direct attack with lunge (foreseen response)"; in a fencing bout, when one expects or provokes a given movement by the opponent and reacts to it with a previously foreseen and planned action.

Figure 5.2 on page 92, shows the structure and essence of simple reaction. In simple motor response, the process of reaction is not very complicated. There is only one well known stimulus (signal) to which one replies with one well known foreseen movement. In the preparatory part of simple response, two important psychological processes occur: a) waiting for the expected stimulus (signal) and b) preparing the reply: motor program of a foreseen action.

By careful observation and laboratory experiments, it has been found that there are three main types of simple motor response:
the differences lie in the preparatory period. The noted differences have an impact on the latent and executory periods of reaction and   above all  on the duration of the latent period.

Counter attack-Counter time. 
Ones the opponents intention of winning by scoring HITS on you, is clear in your mind. Any action you do directly or indirectly is to counter an opponents intention.
Ergo, actions you do are counter attacks and actions made in response to a counter attack is counter time.
Counter time is every action against a counter attack.
I am of the opinion that a counter attack is one of the counter-time options, of a fencing bout.  Its validity is determined by the rules of engagement agreed upon, by the combatants'. Counter time is every action against a counter attack irrespective of the intentions of the fencer executing the action.  As soon as the command of fence or play is given in a fencing bout, the competitors' are in the prose's of preparing to execute an attack to secure an advantage over there opponent.


The Fencing Game, Coach Gerardo Duran A/K/A. Coach GerryD

Simple Reaction

Counter-attacker from the left, is attempting to be decisively ahead of the opponent's attack

Counter-attacker from the left is attempting to be decisively ahead (in time) of and evaded the opponent's attack. 

STOP HIT.  A direct thrust executed into the opponent's attack (a variety of counter‑attack). 

COUNTER-ATTACK. Offensive action executed after the start of the opponent's offensive action. An attack made against the right-of-way, or in response to the opponent's attack. 

Counter-attacker from the right, is attempting to HIT decisively ahead by 0.3 seconds of the riposte HIT.


In epee - For Fencer A his Counter Attack - Deceive (Deromare) control of the points movement-amplitude and rate of penetration to the nearest target sector is of utmost importance to

Hit first.

                        Fencer A              Fencer B

In FOIL and SEBRE - extending the arm will deceiving (Fencer A) can gain priority only if the referee perceives that the attacker (Fencer B) was attempting to seize or beat the opponent's blade to launch a compound attack (beat thrust, beat faintin-tempo or seize for transfer and opposition thrust).


Coach GerryD's No Fee TYRO (Beginners) a Small Home Fencing Practice Salle d' Armaes.
The first things to know about Sport Fencing & Home Fencing Practice Salle d' Armes.
FENCING FOOT WORK & TRACKING VideoTutorials from Coach GerryD's Home Fencing Practice Salle d' Armes
SIMPLE ATTACK, Exchange Drill With Coach Vincent Bradford from Home Fencing Practice Salle d' Armes
BLADE WORK Video Tutorials, Coach GerryD's No Fee TYRO (Beginners) Home Fencing Practice Salle
Using Hungarian Sport Fencing Methodology Coach David Littell & Home Fencing Practice Salle d' Armes
home Fencing Practice salle.Foil Fencing, CoachGerryD's No Fee a Home Fencing Practice Salle d'Armes
Sabre Actions, Home Fencing Practice Salle.
Epee Fencing, Home Fencing Practice Salle.
Fencing Actions Part 1, Home Fencing Practice Salle.
Fencing Actions Part 2, Coach GerryD's No Fee TYRO (Beginners) a home Fencing Practice salle
Blade Transfers "Prise de fer" French, Coach GerryD's Small home Fencing Practice salle
Counter-Time, Counter-Attack Strategy & Definitions, Coach GerryD's home Fencing Practice salle
History at Berkeleys' Physical Education Credit Class